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Found 154 results

  1. USS Enterprise CVN-65 Eduard 1:350 The Tamiya 1:350 CVN-65 USS Enterprise was released as far back as 1984. It was the first aircraft carrier in 1:350 I had seen, so had to buy it, only a week after it was released, the first model I used an airbrush, and I still have it, although in a rather poor condition, this was also the year I joined the Royal Navy, and it became the centrepiece for many a Captains rounds, distracting the inspecting party from doing any actual inspecting. For some reason it has been ignored by Eduard, but they have finally released the first of a number of sets for the venerable old kit. As usual, there are many small parts and a number of kit details that will need to be removed before the PE parts can be added. Ships Boats and Liferafts, (53-223). This single sheet set contains an awful lot of parts, but for only a couple of areas, namely all the emergency liferaft canisters that are hung around the edges of the flightdeck and the ships boats. The Liferafts in the kit come as runs of anything between two and five rafts, these will need to be separated and cleaned up of the joints. The racks are then folded to shape and glued to separate backing plates, before the liferafts can be added and the whole assembly attached to the model. The backing plates are joined together by a thin length of PE and come in sections of two, three, four and five plates. With the number of liferafts in the kit, this could get rather laborious, and certainly time consuming; but the effect will be worth it. The ships open boat will need to have its centre section hollowed out carefully before the new engine casing, control lectern and wheel can be added, as well as the waist thwart that goes around the inside of the boat, followed by the fore and aft decking, and gunwhales, which are as one piece, is attached. The pinnace is also modified, with eh removal of all the top hamper, then opened up, the new, carefully folded PE is then glued into place and additional details such as the railings, windshield, propeller skeg, propeller and rudder are attached. Conclusion It’s about time this fabulous kit got the Eduard treatment, I know other companies have released etch for it, mostly before I even knew PE existed, but I find some companies PE rather too fragile and thin. I look forward to the next releases as they might give me the impetuous to take my old kit and give it a good refurbishing, and hope the skills I have learnt in the intervening years will be put to good use. Review sample courtesy of
  2. USS Saratoga Big Ed Set Eduard 1:350 The Trumpeter 1:350 USS Saratoga has been out for a fairly long time now, in fact it was first released in 2005. So it seems rather strange that Eduard has only just decided to release some etched sets for it. This being the BigEd set, it comes in a stiff cardboard sleeve pack. Inside there are three sheets of relief etched brass and a set of flags in etched steel, each in their own separate packs. The set is up to the usual standard set by Eduard and as such is full of very small parts, where a good pick-up pencil wouldn’t go amiss. Some of the kit parts need to be modified or removed by the modeller before the etched parts can be fitted. Sheet 1, (53-216) This sheet contains parts for the island and funnel, and includes new skins as well as complete replacement parts for the various decks and island sections. The new platforms and mast mounted control position. All the platforms are provided with quite complex support structures and/or individual braces. The rear of the bridge deck is fitted with replacement flag lockers and supports, while the mast receives new yardarms, and what looks like an anemometer arm. The funnel is fitted out with new vertical ladders, walkways, inclined ladders, funnel inserts and caps. The superstructures for and aft of the funnel are replaced with PE parts and yet more support structures. All the decks for the bridge and funnel sections are provided with railings. Sheet 2, (53-217) This sheet contains parts which are used mainly to enhance the four 8” gun-houses. Each turret receives new front plate, access doors, access platforms, vertical ladders, sight boxes, roof railings and numerous other parts that I cannot identify without having the kit instructions in front of me. There is a new rangefinder/main armament director, saluting guns, and railings. The 5” guns are provided with ne trunnion mounts, railings, mounting plates, elevation hand wheels, traversing hand wheels, crew seats, elevation arc and sights. The mountings are also provided with ready use lockers for each position as well as access ladders to the flight deck. The ships crane is fitted with a completely new jib, cable wheels, cables, hook, and weather vane. Lastly the boat deck along the starboard side of the island is provided with new railings, davits, and cable reels, Sheet 3, (53-218) This sheet contains what looks like a lot of parts, but they are mostly for the ships railings and deck edge netting. All the moulded netting needs to be removed first, and the areas cleaned up in preparation for the etched parts to be glued into position. The railings are for all the weather deck openings, gun positions and catwalks. There are also a few railings that are fitted at flightdeck level when not at flying stations, including one just forward of the round-down at the stern and on the very bow section of the flightdeck. There are also a few platforms and inclined ladders that allow the crew to vacate the flightdeck and enter the hull on 2 deck through a side mounted watertight door. The rest of the sheet is dedicated to details for the ships boats. The four standard motor boats are fitted with replacement engine covers, new thwarts and gunwhales, new gratings, rear mounted railings, rudder and propeller, these boats are then mounted on new etched cradles. The smaller motor boats are also fitted with new gunwhales, rudder, complete with tiller and new propeller. They are the hung on replacement davits which are also fitted with new eye clamps which affix to the hull. Lastly there are three pinnaces, and these are detailed with the addition of new railings fore and aft, rudder, skeg, propeller and hatch. These boats are also provided with new cradles for them to sit on. (53209) US Ensigns WWII – Another single sheet with three very large pre-painted US Ensigns, so large in fact I had to check they weren’t 1:200 scale. Probably to be used on Battleships, Fleet Carriers and perhaps Large Cruisers. Conclusion You either love or hate brass etched detail sets, but for me they are almost vital, if you wish to produce as detailed a model as possible. Eduard are pretty much the kings of mainstream maritime etch at the moment and their release schedule seems inexhaustible, even though they seem rather late to the parade with this, big set for the old Saratoga. This set will certainly give the old kit a new lease of life with some great looking details. If you have the kit lounging around in your stash, get it out and start building, as the etched parts will make a great addition to your build.
  3. USS Saratoga detail set 3 Eduard 1:350 The Trumpeter 1:350 USS Saratoga has been out for a fairly long time now, in fact it was first released in 2005. So it seems rather strange that Eduard has only just decided to release some etched sets for it. The first set received, in what will be a series of releases is actually set 3. The set is up to the usual standard set by Eduard and as such is full of very small parts, where a good pick-up pencil wouldn’t go amiss. Some of the kit parts need to be modified or removed by the modeller before the etched parts can be fitted. Set 3, (53-218) The large ziplock bag contains just a single large sheet of relief etched brass. While there are a lot of parts they are mostly for the ships railings and deck edge netting. All the moulded netting needs to be removed first, and the areas cleaned up in preparation for the etched parts to be glued into position. The railings are for all the weather deck openings, gun positions and catwalks. There are also a few railings that are fitted at flightdeck level when not at flying stations, including one just forward of the round-down at the stern and on the very bow section of the flightdeck. There are also a few platforms and inclined ladders that allow the crew to vacate the flightdeck and enter the hull on 2 deck through a side mounted watertight door. The rest of the sheet is dedicated to details for the ships boats. The four standard motor boats are fitted with replacement engine covers, new thwarts and gunwhales, new gratings, rear mounted railings, rudder and propeller, these boats are then mounted on new etched cradles. The smaller motor boats are also fitted with new gunwhales, rudder, complete with tiller and new propeller. They are the hung on replacement davits which are also fitted with new eye clamps which affix to the hull. Lastly there are three pinnaces, and these are detailed with the addition of new railings fore and aft, rudder, skeg, propeller and hatch. These boats are also provided with new cradles for them to sit on. Conclusion You either love or hate brass etched detail sets, but for me they are almost vital, if you wish to produce as detailed a model as possible. Eduard are pretty much the kings of mainstream maritime etch at the moment and their release schedule seems inexhaustible, even though they seem rather late to the parade with this, and the succeeding sets for the old Saratoga. This set will certainly give the old kit a new lease of life with some great looking netting, and that’s without the rest of the sheet. If you have the kit lounging around in your stash, get it out and start building, as the etch will make a great addition to your build. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Shar2

    Type VIIC/41 U-Boat. 1:350

    Type VIIC/41 U-Boat Revell 1:350 Type VIIC/41 was a slightly modified version of the successful VIIC and had basically the same engine layout and power. Armament was the same with 5 torpedo tubes (4 at the bow and one at the stern). The biggest difference was that these boats had a stronger pressure hull giving them more depth to evade attack under (operational 120m and crush depth at 250m against VIIC's 100/200). They also had lighter machinery to compensate for the added steel in the hull making them actually slightly lighter than the VIIC. All the type VIIC/41 boats from U-1271 onwards had the mine fittings deleted. The Model The model comes in the new, glossy, but otherwise standard Revell end opening box with a picture of a submarine at sea on the front. Inside there is one large sprue, one small sprue and the two hull halves and deck, all in a medium grey styrene. The moulding on all parts is nicely done, with the vent holes and other detail on the hulls looking really nice. Being a submarine, construction is pretty simple as can be seen by the number of sprues. The build starts with the two hull halves being joined together followed by the deck. The foreplanes are then attached, as are the prop shafts, with integrally moulded fairing and A frame supports, then the propellers themselves. The sternplanes are then fitted, along with the rudders and rudder frame. The tower is assembled from two halves, the command deck, 20mm gun deck and the 37mm gun deck. The foreward periscope is then fitted, followed by the two piece 37mm cannon, and the two twin 20mm cannon are fitted. The main attack periscope is the attached, along with the railings around the 20mm gun deck and the 37mm bandstand. The tower is then glued to the deck, as are the fore and aft mounted guard rails and the snorkel in the raised position. The model is then affixed to the display stand. Decals The single sheet of decals provides markings for U998 and U1004, which also includes the ensign, (without swastika). The decals are nicely produced win good register and slightly matt. The paint schemes though, shows them with the yellow stripe on the tower depicting that they were being used in the training squadron. Leave this off if you want to depict her as an operational boat. Conclusion This is a very nice model of an late U-Boat from a time when Germany was improving all their U-Boat forces. The diminutive size of the completed model means it won’t take up much space in the cabinet. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit
  5. FN Dunkerque/Strasburg Barrels 1:350 Master Models Master models continue to build up their range of 1:350 scale armament sets, but they are now increasing the items produced to add other accessories. As usual they are well up to the standard we’ve come to expect from Master Models. [350-101] - This set is for the Hobbyboss FN Dunkerque and Strasburg kits it includes both main, (330mm), secondary, (130”). These are all direct replacements for the kit parts, unlike the normal sets in which you just cut off the kit barrels, drill a hole and glue the metal barrels onto the remaining plastic parts, this set also includes resin mounts. You still need to drill out the resin parts to 1.9mm and 0.9mm respectively, and then you just add to the mounts within the turrets using the kit trunnion. [350-102] - This set is for the Hobbyboss FN Dunkerque and Strasburg kits, but can also be used on the Richelieu it includes four French training gun 90mm Model 1935. These are all direct replacements for the kit parts as they include a resin gun mount. You still need to drill out the resin parts to 0.3mm, and then you just add the barrel to the mounts and fit the recuperator to the top of the gun. [350-103] - This set is for the Hobbyboss FN Dunkerque and Strasburg kits, but can also be used on the Richelieu it includes four Twin Mount 37mm/50. Once again these are all direct replacements for the kit parts as they include a resin gun mount and etched details, for the seats and sights. You still need to drill out the resin parts to 0.3mm, and then you add the barrels to the mounts, carefully fold the etched part to shape and glue into place. [350-104] - This set is for the Hobbyboss FN Dunkerque and Strasburg kits, but can also be used on the Richelieu it includes four French Quad Mount Hotchkiss 13,2mm/76. As with the other sets these are all direct replacements for the kit parts as they include a resin gun mount and etched details, for the gun controls, mounting and sights. You still need to drill out the resin parts to 0.3mm, and then you add the barrels to the mounts, carefully fold the etched parts to shape and glue into place. Conclusion This is a nice easy way to give your big French battleships that little bit of finesse that makes a nice model look great. The metal barrels are much more to scale than plastic can ever be moulded and the smaller weaponry will look so much better with the added etched parts.. Review sample courtesy of Piotr at
  6. Shar2

    HMS Belfast. 1:350

    HMS Belfast Eduard 1:350 The Trumpeter 1:350 HMS Belfast has been out some time now, in fact it was released in 2013, although rather late to the party, Eduard have now decided to release two sets of etched brass to detail the model. The two sets arrived in zip lock bags with the yellow card inserts. They are well up to the usual standard and provide a tremendous amount of extra, as well as replacement detail parts. Detail set- (53-210) comes on two sheets of relief etched brass and also includes a small sheet of acetate for the bridge windscreen. The sheets contains a myriad of parts such as watertight doors which can be posed open or closed, cable reels, for which the modeller will need to provide plastic rod for the reels themselves, flag lockers, replacement single and twin 20mm Oelikons, 20mm splinter shields, complete new mountings for the 2pdr Pom Poms along with replacement ammunition racks and even the ammunition belts. There are also replacement aerials for the Type 282 Yagi radar arrays and new mounts for fitting to the AA director mountings. The bridge receives a new shields, wind deflectors, ADF aerial and platform, while the searchlights are fitted with new mountings. The catapult is completely replaced with PE, as are the Type 279 radar arrays on the mast tops and the Type 284 aerials and their mountings. The detail continues with the 4” mounts being provided with new shields while the Type 271 radar in its distinctive lantern is completely replaced, as is the whole tower structure it sits on. The main directors are fitted with new Type 274 radar arrays, as well as new doors, hatches, and access ladders. The ships prominent platforms and supports on each side are replaced. The large, cranes for the aircraft and boats are also completely replaced with PE, including the, jibs, cables, hooks, all the mechanics and workings, in fact there is too much to mention, but each crane is made up from 30 parts. All the cradles for the ships boats will need to be removed, before being replaced with PE parts. The boats themselves are given new thwarts, gratings, gunwhales and oars where required. The motor boats also have new cabin tops, windscreens, rudders and propellers. Railings (53-211). With the title of this fret being so very descriptive, it’s not difficult to see that this provides ships railings which cover all sections of the ship from the main deck upwards, including the turret tops. There is a selection of three bar and two bar rails the majority of which are shaped to fit their specific positions. Also included in the set is a pair of accommodation ladders and platforms, deck extension beams for the ships boats, all the splinter shields around the 4” gun deck. The Carley floats get new inserts which represent the wooden tread boards. The funnels are provided with internal structures, unfortunately the funnels aren’t the correct size so they may not fit any replacements. The flat, plates you can see in the accompanying photograph are the main turret tops. The turrets also receive new ladders, surrounds for each main gun, and access doors. Each mast is fitted with new yardarms, although they are a little flat for the purpose, ladders, platforms, gaffs, and support frames. The Walrus also gets the Eduard attention and is fitted with a complete set of replacement struts, propeller, catapult cradle, transport cradle which is fitted with a turntable. > Conclusion It’s about time Eduard did something for the poor old Belfast, they aren’t usually this slow out of the block. The Trumpeter kit of the Belfast is very nice out of the box, but with these two sets you could dramatically improve the finished model. There are so many parts that you will need quite a bit of patience and care to fit them all, as with any etch set, but the results will be worth it.
  7. I have been impressed by some of the previous conversions of Airfix's 1:350 scale HMS Trafalgar kit that I have seen on this forum; so much so that I felt a desire to do one myself. This one will be a waterline version of HMS Spartan, set in the Falklands during 1982, which I plan to incorporate into a diorama, possibly with other vessels later. Much has already been said about shortening the hull length by 7mm, to get the correct dimensions for the Swiftsure class SSN's, so I am starting this with the hull already converted. Herewith the modified kit. The horizontal indentations on the forward hull sides have been filled, as they do not appear on photo's of the period I have planned for. The model needs the twin baffles to be installed on the hull, alongside the fin; plus the tail fin and other kit parts. As this is a waterline setting, the tail fin will appear separated from the hull; therefore I have placed the model onto a card base. This base will be trimmed to the width of the hull and will be hidden by the sea setting that will surround the model. My intention, hopefully, will be to have Spartan berthed alongside another vessel; probably the Stena Seaspread which was used for repair and maintenance of vessels after the conflict had ended. Well, it's a start and I hope that I can turn this into an acceptable representation of this fine submarine. Thanks for looking. Mike
  8. Shar2

    Naval Ensigns. 1:350

    Naval Ensigns Eduard 1:350 Quite a few maritime kits these days provide a selection of flags and pennants that are printed on paper. These can look ok, but generally always have a tired well worn look, like they’ve been left in the sun for a few months. Eduard have now countered this look with the release of this pre-painted steel sets, which supersedes the etched brass set previously available. Both sets are beautifully painted and will look great on either an ensign staff or in the battle ensign position. To use, just cut the chosen flag from the sheet and wrap it around your favourite rigging material. How you get the wavy flapping effect is entirely up to you, but it may take a bit of experimentation to get the desired effect. (53208) IJN Flags – Contained on a single sheet, there are twelve large Ensigns and twenty four Naval Jacks. They can be used on any vessel in the Imperial Japanese Fleet. (52209) US Ensigns WWII – Another single sheet with three very large US Ensigns, so large in fact I had to check they weren’t 1:200 scale. Probably to be used on Battleships, Fleet Carriers and perhaps Large Cruisers. Conclusion These are very nice and easy to use sets which would certainly add a dash of colour on your warships. Review sample courtesy of
  9. Shar2

    IJN Carrier Junyo

    It's been a bit of a struggle deciding which of the numerous carriers I have in the stash to build for this GB, but the 1:350 Hasegawa IJN Junyo has been extracted. On opening the box, I found all the Hasegawa add on packs that I'd forgotten about. Will probably need the full time of the GB to build, but in for a penny and all that. Will take pics later.
  10. This build has changed, instead of it being a conversion of the Heller kit the plan will be to scratchbuild the model without using any parts of the kit. On the real rebuild of HMS Victorious, from wartime fleet carrier to a modern angled-deck carrier of the jet age, the whole ship was completely cut down from the flight deck to the hangar deck. More to follow in due course, unless my medications run out! Mike
  11. USS Kitty Hawk, CVA-63 Merit International 1:350 The history of USS Kitty Hawk closely parallels the course of naval aviation over the past 37 years. Built in Camden, NJ, Kitty Hawk was heralded as the first in a new class of "super carrier" at her commissioning at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on April 29, 1961. The 82,000-ton ship departed her homeport of San Diego on her first Western Pacific (WESTPAC) deployment in 1962. Since that time, Kitty Hawk and a variety of Carrier Air Wings have completed 18 deployments in support of operations including Vietnam, the Iranian hostage crisis, Operation Restore Hope in Somalia and air strikes against Iraq, and as the leader of the joint, coalition offensive strike launched in response to increasing Iraqi violations of United Nations sanctions. Kitty Hawk underwent three overhauls in the Bremerton, Wash., Naval Shipyard in 1977, 1982 and 1998. The ship's most significant maintenance period, however, was a Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard beginning in 1987. That rigorous four-year overhaul added an estimated 20 years to the planned 30-year life of the ship. The ship displayed the long reach of carrier aviation by completing a world cruise on the way to Philadelphia and returned by rounding the southernmost tip of South America. The ship set sail on its 17th deployment on June 24, 1994. During the six-month cruise, the ship, and Carrier Air Wing Fifteen, under the direction of the Commander, Cruiser Destroyer Group FIVE, provided a stabilizing influence in the Western Pacific during a time of great tension in the Far East. Soon after her return from deployment, the ship was awarded the Battle Efficiency Award, or Battle "E," given yearly to the best carrier in the Pacific Fleet. In October, she welcomed aboard the proud members and imposing airpower of Carrier Air Wing Eleven, fresh off a deployment to the Persian Gulf aboard the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72). The Kitty Hawk and Carrier Air Wing ELEVEN, refined their teamwork during workups, enjoying a very successful participation in Exercise Rim of the Pacific '96, a multi-national exercise taking place around the Hawaiian Islands involving the maritime forces of Canada, Japan, South Korea, Chile and Australia, in preparation for deployment in October 1996. The Kitty Hawk/CVW-11 team made port calls in Hong Kong and Singapore. Christmas was celebrated in port Bahrain, and two Gulf port calls were made to Jebel Ali, U.A.E. Returning from a successful tour at the "tip of the spear", the crew enjoyed liberty in Fremantle, Australia and Hobart, Tasmania. After a brief stop in Hawaii, Kitty Hawk returned to San Diego April 11, 1997. In August 1998, Kitty Hawk changed its homeport from San Diego, Calif., to Yokosuka in Japan and relieved the USS Independence (CV 62) as the only carrier forward deployed to another country. On March 2, 1999, Kitty Hawk departed Yokosuka on a three-and-a-half month deployment to the Arabian Gulf where she operated in support of Operation Southern Watch. Before entering the Indian Ocean she participated in Exercise Tandem Thrust in the Pacific, during which the former USS Oklahoma City (CLG 5) was being used as a target. After the exercise, Kitty Hawk visited Apra Harbor, Guam, on April 3, 1999, before departing for the Persian Gulf where she patrolled the No-Fly-Zone over southern Iraq. Kitty Hawk departed the Gulf on July 15, 1999, and returned to Yokosuka where she arrived on August 25, 1999. The year 2000 saw Kitty Hawk and her Battle Group operating in the western Pacific. The carrier took part in Exercise Cobra Gold 2000 and conducted port visits to Phattaya, Thailand; Hong Kong and Singapore. After the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, DC, on September 11, 2001, the Kitty Hawk Battle Group was ordered to deploy to the Indian Ocean and was later involved in combat missions against the Taliban and Al Qaida in Afghanistan. The Battle Group returned to Yokosuka on December 23, 2001. On March 21, 2002, the Kitty Hawk became the first carrier in the US Navy to perform test firings with the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) System. On October 25, 2002, the Kitty Hawk Battle Group left Yokosuka for a regular scheduled underway period. After a port visit to Hong Kong November 29 through December 3, the Battle Group returned to Japan on December 13. The ships got underway again late January with orders to deploy to the Persian Gulf as part of the build-up of military forces in the area in preparation for the war against the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. she arrived on station late February/early March and from March 20 on, participated in air strikes against targets in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After serving 104 continuous days at sea, Kitty Hawk returned to Yokosuka May 6, entering a dry-dock period ending Oct. 17. 2004 was an eventful year that involved a series of inspections, exercises, and port visits. On Feb. 19, a new chapter in the book of Kitty Hawk Strike Groups history began with the first landing of an F/A-18F Super Hornet on board the ships 4.1-acre flight deck during the ships 12th FDNF underway period. The VFA-102 Diamondbacks introduced the improved F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet to the 7th Fleet area of operation, replacing the F-14 Tomcat, after more than 30 years of service. Kitty Hawk capped off the year with Annual Exercise 2005, which ran from November 9 to 18. Annualex provided Kitty Hawk with the opportunity to increase its military partnership with the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force. She was one of 61 naval vessels which participated, including: two U.S. submarines; 10 other Navy ships; and 49 JMSDF ships. The ship departed Fleet Activities Yokosuka, June 8, 2006, for its 16th FDNF underway period. During the 99-day deployment, the ship took part in Exercise Valiant Shield, a multi-service war game involving three carrier strike groups, 22,000 personnel, and 280 aircraft June 19 to 23. It was the largest military exercise conducted by the United States in Pacific waters since the Vietnam War. The carrier then pulled into Otaru, Japan, on Hokkaido Island from July 1 to 5 after Valiant Shield. Also during the deployment, the crew made three more port visits: Singapore; Fremantle, Australia; and Laem Chabang, Thailand. Dozens of distinguished visitors boarded the carrier during this underway period for tours. Visitors included the U.S. ambassador to Thailand, the Royal Thai army commander in chief, and various officials from Indonesia, Australia, Singapore, and Japan. The ship returned to Yokosuka September for a short period before departing for its summer deployment. During this two-month deployment, Kitty Hawk and embarked Carrier Air Wing 5 travelled more than 15,200 nautical miles and launched more than 8,000 aircraft. After a stop in Sasebo, Japan, the strike group took part in the 18th Annual Exercise, a week-long exercise which had more than 100 American and JMSDF ships training together, between November 9 and 14. The deployments last stop was Hong Kong, from November 23 to 27. Kitty Hawks Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Division organized 20 tours of Hong Kong and its surrounding areas, including mainland China, for 702 Sailors. The ship also hosted Japanese author Hiromi Nakamura who interviewed 41 Kitty Hawk Sailors for a book about Kitty Hawks flight deck. After returning to its homeport on December 10, the ship settled down for the holiday season and the New Year. The ship then went through a four-month maintenance period, during which the ship hosted Vice President Dick Cheney. The carrier then departed May 23, 2007, after completing sea trials and pilot refresher training, known as carrier qualifications. Kitty Hawk kicked off the summer cruise with Talisman Saber 2007, in which the United States and Australia combined land, sea and air forces. The exercise brought together more than 12,000 Australian and 20,000 U.S. personnel from all branches of the armed services. The ship made port visits to Brisbane and Sydney, Australia. Then-Prime Minister John Howard and current Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Academy Award Winning Actor Russell Crowe made visits to the ship while it was moored in Sydney. Kitty Hawk then participated in Exercise Valiant Shield 2007, one of the largest annual exercises in the Western Pacific. The week-long exercise involved about 30 ships, 280 aircraft and 22,000 U.S. Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers and Marines who worked together to build joint combat skills. The 30 ships involved with Valiant Shield were from three carrier strike groups: Kitty Hawks, USS Nimitzs (CVN 68) and USS John C. Stenniss (CVN 74). During the exercise, Rear Adm. Rick Wren, commander of the Kitty Hawk strike group and Task Force 70, had command of all three strike groups. The ship also took part in Malabar, a six-day exercise that took place in the Indian Oceans Bay of Bengal, involving more than 20,000 personnel on 28 ships and 150 aircraft from the United States Navy, Indian navy, Royal Australian navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force, and the Republic of Singapore navy. The ship returned to Yokosuka September 21. After a short in-port period, she set out for its final fall deployment October 21, 2007. Kitty Hawk participated in the 19th Annual Exercise, the maritime component of Exercise Keen Sword 2008. The exercise was the largest joint exercise for the Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force. The ship also had a port visit in Muroran, Japan. This was the first time a U.S. Navy ship made a visit to the port. The carrier pulled to its homeport November 27 after 38 days at sea. She stayed in port for a 5-month maintenance period before setting out to complete sea trials and carrier qualifications. On May 28, 2008, the Kitty Hawk left Yokosuka for the last time enroute to Guam and continued on to Pearl Harbor, Hi., to participate in RIMPAC 2008. Before heading out to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington, for decommissioning in May 2009, the ship stopped in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, to turnover with the USS George Washington (CVN 73) and thereafter continued to San Diego, Calif. She currently resides at the Bremerton Naval Yard in Washington State whilst a preservation group tries to garner enough funds to turn her into a museum ship. The Model Its certainly been a great year for the maritime modeller, with a wide selection of 1:350 scale ship kits being released, and it doesnt seem to be diminishing. There arent many 1:350 aircraft carriers released in the course of a year, but this month we have seen two, the USS Enterprise from WWII, reviewed HERE and this magnificent beast, the USS Kitty Hawk. The kit, naturally, comes in a huge top opening box, with a dramatic piece of artwork on the top of the ship at sea, and is a good indicator as to the size of the model. The kit is made up from over 1400 parts, which will build into to a model some 935mm long, with a width of 245.4mm. Inside, the single piece hull is protected in its own protective compartment with cardboard enclosures protecting the bow and stern sections. There are two separate boxes, each with a line profile of the ship on the lids, and these contain all the sprues and most of the individually moulded parts, such as the bridge and two piece hanger deck. You have to remove both of these boxes to finally get your hands on the massive, single piece flightdeck. This amazing piece of moulding is flawless and includes all the tiedown points, blast deflector bays and arrestor wires. The biggest disappointment is that, other than the hanger deck, there is absolutely no details included for the hanger, unlike the Enterprise release. This is quite a big empty space to fill and you will need good references to produce whats required for the particular era this kit is designed to replicate. Of course, the simple method would be just having all the hanger doors closed up, but you cant, as the closed doors also arent included. Its like the kit was signed off before the design was finished. I guess the other disappointment is that the ship has been modelled as she was not long before her retirement, rather than the more interesting period when she took part in the Vietnam war. Perhaps Merit will release an earlier incarnation of this fine ship. Although it seems the Kitty Hawks sister ship the John F. Kennedy, due to be released soon, is also for a late period fit. Although the kit is a large one and there are a lot of parts the instructions dont appear to be that thick, even though there are forty pages. Each stage of the build is very clearly drawn and shouldnt cause too many problems with following them, but care should be taken on some of the more complex sub-assemblies and where there are multiple parts of the same type, such as the life rafts spread around the flight deck edges. As with the other kits from Merit reviewed so far, the parts are all beautifully moulded, with no sign of flash. There are no perceivable imperfections, other than on the underside of the hull where the moulding sprues have been removed, although it wouldnt take much to clean these areas up. The kit includes fourteen sprues, the separate hull, bridge, flightdeck, and two hanger deck parts moulded in light grey styrene, with twenty two sprues of clear styrene, two sheets of etched brass and two large decal sheets. Construction begins with the two hanger deck section inserted into position within the hull, the aft section of which is fitted with two large bitts, five smaller bitts, a cleat and a large deckhouse, on what will become the quarter deck. The quarterdeck bulkhead is fitted with two side walls and glued into place, before the area is further detailed with a large mezzanine deck, five large stern mounted bumpers, a platform on the aft edge of the quarterdeck, and another attached to the bulkhead and fitted with the stern light cluster. The four hanger door openings are fitted into their respective openings in the hull, after which the hull can be turned over. The four propeller shafts each have two A frame supports and finished off with the propellers themselves. Each rudder is moulded with a separate rudder post, presumably so that the rudders can be posed to the modellers wishes. To complete the work on the lower hull, other than painting of course, is the fitting of the two lone bilge keels. Some small sub-assemblies are next on the build list, with the two Mk.29 Guided Missile Launch Systems, (GMLS), with each of the four launcher boxes being made from six parts, and two boxes fitted to each launcher pedestal. The two lifeboats are next, with the interior section being fitted to the hull, then each boat being fitted to their own cradle. Three hull sponsons, which require a number of holes to be opened up before the rest of the parts can be added. On the starboard side there are from forward to aft, the main sponsons are for the Rolling Airframe Missile, (RAM), saluting guns, radar structure, RAS, mooring, and Phalanx CIWS. There are also three small sponsons a deck lower than the larger ones. On the port side, the main sponsons are for the RAM, lifeboat, mooring, and Phalanx CIWS. As with the starboard side there are smaller sponsons dotted along the side. There are also a large number of unidentifiable box structures fitted on both sides; some of these are radar arrays, and other I guess are stowage boxes. Before the flight deck is glued, the large island support sponson is glued into position. The hull assembly is now put to one side so that construction can move onto the island. Before actual work on the island itself can begin several of the islands platforms need to be populated with the various deck fittings and smaller radar arrays, such as the Automatic Landing System, (ALS), array. The island is then fitted out with eleven floodlight fixtures, a couple of hose reels and other fixtures. The bridge deck is now attached to the top of the island structure, along with the large rear platform and its two support braces. The clear parts that make up the bridge and Admirals bridge are glued to the bridge roof, followed by a support rail that fits between the windows of the two bridges, which is in-turn fitted with two more floodlights, whilst four more are fitted to the bridge roof. With the bridge in the position and the separate starboard side bridge structure in place, its FLYCOs turn. His control position is sited at the rear of the island but at the same level as the bridge, FLYCOs bridge is made up from three large parts and numerous aerials, and further flightdeck lighting. Several platforms are fitted onto the island at this level, and include two side looking radar arrays. One level above the bridge is pretty much an aerial farm, with radomes for SATCOM, AN/SPQ-9 and other functions sited there, along with an AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare System, AN/SPS-49 surface air antenna and other unidentifiable antenna. The single pole mast is fitted with three triple legged platforms near the top, each kitted out with different aerials and radar domes, the topmost being the TACAN dome. Below these platforms the large yardarm is attached along with yet more platforms including the one carrying the four piece radar array. The completed mast is stepped, and the large funnel cap glued into position, followed by yet more aerials and radar arrays on their respective platforms. Moving back to the hull, there are several more large sponsons to assembled and fit, including those for the Sea Sparrow launchers. Each of the sponsons is also fitted with a cat walk around the outer edge and yet more aerials, platforms and ESM arrays. The biggest of the sponsons is that fitted port side which also includes a boat deck cut-out. Whilst the hull is upside down for the sponson fitting, the deck edge lift tracks are fitted, two per lift, and the flightdeck overhang structures are attached. All around the flightdeck catwalks there are fixtures and fittings added, such as the refuelling area hose reels, ladders, access hatches and the numerous liferafts. The four lifts are now installed, as are the four jet blast deflectors, which can be posed either raised or lowed, plus the PE radar mast and its associated fittings, including the AN/SPS-48, and attached to the deck just aft of the island which can also now be fitted, along with the large deck mount crane. With the carrier now pretty much complete, the aircraft and deck vehicles can be assembled. The kit provides, twelve F-18F Hornets, five E-6B Prowlers, two E-2C Hawkeyes and two HH-60H Rescue Hawks, plus Dumbo, the large mobile deck crane, forklifts, and deck tractors. Each is made up from multiple parts creating some very nicely detailed aircraft. If you need more, then they are easily accessible. Decals The two very large decal sheets are very well printed and should keep you busy for hours. The first sheet is for the ship and contains all the flightdeck stripes, lift surrounds, weapons lift surrounds and large numbers for the foreward end, the island, with ships numbers and ships medal tally etc. The aircraft sheet includes markings for all the aircraft, including special schemes for at least one from each squadron, including the Hornets of VF-102 Diamondbacks. Each aircraft is provided with national insignia and titles along with tail codes/artwork and aircraft ID codes. Best get your optivisor out for these, as you will need them. Conclusion As stated above its turning into a bit of a carrier month, and Im certainly not complaining. This is a great kit and will look magnificent on the mantelpiece. Just a shame its been spoilt by a little lack of imagination in the design stage, or it's been rushed into production, especially as its still possible to view the ship at Bremerton. If they had included at least some of the major parts for the hanger, such as the prominent fire doors etc, and given the option of having the hanger doors closed up, then this could have been one of those fabled uber kits, but alas, its close, but no cigar. Maybe the likes of CMK or Eduard will come to the rescue, or shares in plasticard will hit the roof as so much will be needed, by those wishing to scratchbuild the interior. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  12. RN Cruiser Zara barrels 1:350 Master Models With more and more 1:350 ship kits being released, Master Models are continuing to build up their range and keeping up with the ever increasing demand for barrels with a much better scale appearance [350-098] - This set is for the Trumpeter Italian cruiser Zara which not only includes both main, (203mm), secondary, (100mm), but also tertiary armament, (37mm and 13.2mm). These are all direct replacements for the kit parts, and will need the removal of the kit barrels before drilling appropriate sized hole, (0.8mm for the 203mm, 0.5mm for the 100mm, 0.3mm for the 37 and 13.2mm guns), into the breech for the tang of the barrel to be glued into. As you can probably imagine the smaller calibre barrels are extremely small and fiddly, but they will certainly add the scale look of the completed model when fitted. Conclusion The barrels for the Zara are well up to the standards we’ve come to expect from Master Models, with the added distinction of being some of the smallest turned parts I’ve seen in 1:350. Review sample courtesy of Piotr at
  13. USS Alaska/Guam Barrels 1:350 Master Models Master models continue to build up their range of 1:350 scale armament sets, but they are now increasing the items produced to add other accessories. As usual they are well up to the standard we’ve come to expect from Master Models. [350-099] - This set is for the Trumpeter USS Alaska and USS Guam kits it includes both main, (12”), secondary, (5”). These are all direct replacements for the kit parts, unlike the normal sets in which you just cut off the kit barrels, drill a hole and glue the metal barrels onto the remaining plastic parts, this set also includes resin trunnions. You still need to drill out the resin parts to 1.6mm and 0.9mm respectively, and then you just add to the trunnion mounts within the turrets. For the 40mm and 20mm guns Master already do replacement sets and even complete mounts for these, so are not included in this set. Conclusion This is a nice easy way to give your Alaska/Guam kits that little bit of finesse that makes a nice model look great. The metal barrels are much more to scale than plastic can ever be moulded. Review sample courtesy of Piotr at
  14. RN Battleship Roma detail set No.3 1:350 Eduard This is the last of three sets to be released by Eduard for the Trumpeter kit. Part 3- (53-201). This comprehensive single sheet set is jam packed full of parts for use throughout the ship. Mostly though, it contains the ships railings for the main deck, upper decks and platforms. It also contains numerous parts for the ships boats, such as hull gratings, superstructures, railings, oars, thwarts and gunwhales. Items such as rudders, propellers, life rings, portholes, engine covers, wheel houses, seats, windscreens and hatches are also included. Even the Carley floats are provided with gratings, although for best effect the moulded section should be removed first, which will be a little time consuming, but will give them a much better look. All the boats cradles are also replaced with new PE items, and are much more detailed than the moulded on parts, which will have to be removed first. Conclusion I’m not quite sure why this set wasn’t released with the other two which I reviewed HERE, but at least it’s out now. This set, even if used on its own looks like it will bring a big improvement to the kit, giving some much need finesse to the finished model, and certainly much improved detail for the ships boats. Review sample courtesy of
  15. HMS Agamemnon 1:350 Hobbyboss History HMS Agamemnon was the pride of the British Royal Navy and the last of her pre-dreadnought battleships produced. Because she was of a "bridge" design between the ironclad vessels of old and dreadnought ships to come, her design and her fate were already established before she was ever launched. Coming along just after the turn of the century, she survived long enough to see action in World War 1 (1914-1918) but very little beyond that. HMS Agamemnon was of a dying breed of ship, though a capable design she was, perhaps appearing two decades too late. Her profile was dominated by a center superstructure, twin masts and twin funnels. Her battery of four 12" main guns were housed in two armoured turrets - one fore and one aft, two guns to a turret. This was augmented by 10 x 9.2" guns positioned in turrets around the superstructure. Her other armament consisted of 24 x 12-pounder cannons and an additional 2 x 3-pounder types centered around a quick-fire action. To compliment this armament, 5 x torpedo tubes of 460mm were provided with 23 torpedoes to spare. Crew complement totalled over 800 personnel and power was derived from her vertical triple expansion 4-cylinder engines powered by no less than 15 x boilers. This turned twin screws at 16,750 horsepower and offered speeds close to 19 knots. Once launched, the vessel undertook some basic operations before being called up to active service in the First World War as part of the Channel Fleet in February of 1915, serving alongside HMS Lord Nelson - her sister ship. Her main guns were brought to bear on inland Ottoman targets in the same month and provided cover fire for amphibious operations soon after including the infamous Gallipoli landings in April. During this time, HMS Agamemnon survived several direct howitzer ships but none were critical to underlying systems and her crew losses were manageable. The Agamemnon survived the war and had Ottoman representatives present on her decks to sign the Armistice. Beyond that, the class had reached its pinnacle and HMS Agamemnon was relegated to the role of a target ship in the middle 1920's. Surviving that affair, she was broken down and sold for scrapping in 1927. The Model We’ve yet to see many British ships in this scale from WWI, but it’s great that we are at last seeing some pre-dreadnoughts being released, and long my it continue as there are some great subjects that I’m sure we’d all like to see on our work benches at some point in the future. This kit of HMS Agamemnon comes in a relatively small box, as these weren’t the largest of ships compared with later battleships. It’s just a shame that they got the spelling of the ships name wrong though, both on the box and the instruction sheet. Fortunately though, they got it right on the nameplate in the kit. Inside there are nine sprues, one separate part and the deck all produced in light grey styrene, four sheets of etched brass, a length of chain and a small decal sheet. Since they got the hull right on the HMS Lord Nelson kit, it’s only natural that they got it right with her sister ship, at least, according to R A Burt and his excellent books on British battleships and also the constructors model which used to be on display at the Science museum. The rest of the parts are very nicely moulded with plenty of detail, although there will be some who will want to add even more. There are no signs of flash or other imperfections, but there are quite a few moulding pips, which means a little extra cleaning up of parts. Construction begins with the two piece hull being joined together and strengthened with the three bulkheads and two end beams. The single piece deck is then attached, making a pretty solid and strong hull. On the underside, the tow propeller shafts, A frames and propellers are fitted, as is the single rudder. With the hull upright, the three piece, fully PE, Admirals walkway is fitted to the stern, followed by the PE rails fore of A turret barbette and aft of X turret barbette. The myriad of windlasses, cleats, bollard and ventilators are then glued into their respective positions, as are the Jack and Ensign staffs and their supports. Amidships there are seven deck houses to be fitted along with four cable reels and three winches. The superstructure is made up from a single piece item to which twelve supports are glued to the underside before being glued into position over the previously fitted deck houses. Remember to add the pair of foreward mounted 12 pounders that fire from ports at the forward end of the superstructure, as you won’t get them in once the deck is glued down. The superstructure longitudinal bulkheads are then attached, as are PE four inclined ladders, four side mounted windlasses, two boat booms and the anchor chains. To the upper deck, four, three piece winches, sixteen 12 pounder guns and five deck houses are fitted. This deck is then covered by a two piece 03 deck, with the aft section supported by six vertical columns. The main bridge deck is then attached foreward and small mezzanine decks aft with two inclined ladders leading to the 12 pounder deck. Each of the two funnels are made up from two halves, a base and funnel cap. To these, PE funnel cap grilles are added, along with PE hand and foot rails, and two auxiliary vents. The three piece armoured bridge, two deck houses and the two piece ships wheel are attached to the bridge deck. The two funnel assemblies are then glued into place along with two vertical columns aft. The boat deck is fitted out with eighteen PE boat cradles and a rescue float. There are fifteen boats in total, most of which come with separate hulls and decks, and some also have separate rudders. The three steam pinnaces and eight rowing boats are glued to their respective cradles, and then two other rowing boats are crutched within a larger boat. The main mast is made up from lower mast section, a two tier observation top with PE support brackets, upper mast section and yardarm. The lower section is then fitted with three PE blocks, and the three piece goose neck for the boat crane boom, which is also fitted with PR blocks and a PE hook. This is then fitted aft of the boat deck and supported by two angled support arms, finished off with two PE vertical ladders. The foremast is of similar construction, just with a slightly small boat handling boom, three yardarms and a searchlight in the lower of the two tier observation top, it is then glued just aft of the armoured bridge deck house. The PE bridge house surrounding the ships wheel is then folded to shape and glued into place, with another deck above it supported by two PE braces. Two binnacles are attached to this deck and inclined ladder. Six 12 pounder guns and eight searchlights are fitted around the boat deck and the PE bridge wings attached wither side of the bridge deck. The bridge deck and aft boat deck railings are then attached, as are the two long ladders to the foremast observation platforms, and two pairs of davits to the aft end of the superstructure. Four more two part ships boats are assembled and fitted to the two pairs for davits either side of the quarterdeck. The anchors, fourteen anti-torpedo net booms are then attached to the hull, along with the two PE rear mounted accommodation ladders and the PE folded netting that is fitted to each side to the ship. Each of the two main gun turrets and six secondary turrets are made in the same way with the barrels fitted with separate trunnions and trunnion mounts glued to the base with the turret slid over the barrels and glued into positions. Some of the turrets are fitted with 12 pounders and some with 3” gun on their roofs and all have PE vertical access ladders attached. Once assembled, they are fitted into their respective barbettes. Finally the main PE railing is attached to the main deck, completing the build. Well, I say completed, but if you want to do a proper job you will probably spend more time with the complex rigging than you had done for the whole build. Good luck with that. Decals The single decal sheet contains just a pair of White Ensigns and Admirals flags. They seem pretty well printed, with good opacity and in register. Conclusion With the releases of her sister ship, it was only natural that they release the Agamemnon, or “Egg and Bacon” as it was known in the service. It certainly is a lovely looking kit and not too taxing to build and paint. The rigging will, however, be a challenge, to say the least if you want to go the whole hog, but will look good with a representative amount should you blanche at the idea. Review sample courtesy of
  16. Shar2

    USS Alaska CB-1. 1:350

    USS Alaska CB-1 Hobbyboss 1:350 USS Alaska (CB-1) was the lead ship of the Alaska class of large cruisers which served with the United States Navy during the end of World War II. She was the first of two ships of her class to be completed, followed only by Guam; four other ships were ordered but were not completed before the end of the war. Alaska was the third vessel of the US Navy to be named after what was then the territory of Alaska. She was laid down on 17 December 1941, ten days after the outbreak of war, was launched in August 1943 by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation, in Camden, New Jersey, and was commissioned in June 1944. She was armed with a main battery of nine 12 in (300 mm) guns in three triple turrets. She was 808 feet 6 inches (246.43 m) long overall and had a beam of 91 ft 1 in (27.76 m) and a draft of 31 ft 10 in (9.70 m). She displaced 29,779 long tons (30,257 t) as designed and up to 34,253 long tons (34,803 t) at full combat load. The ship was powered by four-shaft General Electric geared steam turbines and eight oil-fired Babcock & Wilcox boilers rated at 150,000 shaft horsepower (110,000 kW), generating a top speed of 33 knots (61 km/h; 38 mph). The ship had a cruising range of 12,000 nautical miles (22,000 km; 14,000 mi) at a speed of 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph). She carried four OS2U Kingfisher or SC Seahawk seaplanes, with a pair of steam catapults mounted amidships. Her shakedown cruise took her to Chesapeake Bay and Trinidad and was followed by a period of yard work. She set off for the Pacific in mid-November 1944, and reached the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor on 13 January 1945. She crossed the Pacific to Ulithi with TG 12.2, and at the start of February 1945 she joined TG 58.5, which included the carriers USS Saratoga CV-3 and USS Enterprise CV-6), as part of the carrier screen. She took part in the final stages of the fighting on Iwo Jima, the invasion of Okinawa, and supported the fast carriers during their raids on the Japanese Home Islands and in the East China Sea. She was awarded three battle stars for her World War II service. On 10 February the Alaska sailed as part of TG 58.5. This was the first major carrier strike on the Japanese Home Islands, and was intended to provide cover for the invasion of Iwo Jima. Poor weather prevented the Japanese from attacking the US fleet. The ship was then moved to TG 58.4 to support the invasion of Iwo Jima. Her task force wasn't attacked during the nineteen days the Alaska was based off Iwo Jima. On 14 March the fleet left Ulithi to conduct another raid on the Japanese home islands, this time with the aim of destroying Japanese aircraft before the invasion of Okinawa. The Alaska was still with TG 58.4, which contained the carriers Yorktown (CV-10), Intrepid (CV-11), Independence (CVL-22) and Langley (CVL-27), and once again was part of their anti-aircraft screen. The carriers hit airfields at Usa, Oita and Saeki on 18 March. The Alaska finally got to fire her guns in anger on this day when Japanese aircraft attacked the fleet. Her first target was a Yokosuka P1Y 'Frances', which was targeting the carrier Intrepid, but that was destroyed by a direct hit from the Alaska. This marked the start of a day of kamikaze attacks, but most were shot down by the carrier's fighter aircraft or heavy AA gunfire. The Alaska claimed a second victory over a 'Judy'. On 19 March the carriers sent their aircraft against Japanese warships in the Inland Sea. Once again the US fleet came under air attack. The carriers Franklin (CV-13) and Wasp (CV-18) were both hit. The Alaska and her sister ship USS Guam (CB-2) were allocated to a new salvage unit, TU 58.2.9, which was formed to protect the Franklin. The unit contained the two Alaska class ships, the light cruiser Santa Fe (CL-60) and three destroyer divisions. The damaged carrier made for Guam, covered by TU 58.2.9. The other carriers from TG 58.2 provided more distant cover. On the afternoon of 19 March the small fleet was approached by two aircraft. One was identified as a friendly, but the other was a 'Judy', which was able to attack and escape unscathed. The Franklin was also undamaged, but the Alaska suffered her only combat casualty of the war when several men suffered flash burns. The Alaska escorted the Franklin until 22 March, when she was freed to rejoin TG 58.4. Late that day a Japanese submarine was detected close to the group, and it was rammed and sunk on the following morning. The Alaska returned to her position in the anti-aircraft screen while the carriers bombarded Okinawa. In late March the Alaska was ordered to bombard the island of Minami Daito Shima, 160 miles east of Okinawa, while on her way to refuel. She fired 45 12in shells and 352 rounds of 5in anti-aircraft shells at the island on the night of 27-28 March, without any response from the island. TG 58.4 refuelled and then returned to Okinawa to protect the invasion forces. The Alaska supported the invasion of 1 April, and also provided anti-aircraft cover. The Japanese navy attempted to send a suicide sortie of heavy ships to Okinawa, but they were repulsed by carrier aircraft on 7 April. Amongst their victims was the giant battleship Yamato. During April the Alaska covered the fast carriers as they operated against targets on Okinawa and on Kyushu. She claimed one assist and one victory on 11 April and three victories and three assists on 16 April, although on the same day the carrier Intrepid was hit. The Alaska returned to Ulithi to replenish on 14 May, after two months at sea. The 5th Fleet now became the 3rd Fleet, and the Alaska thus became part of TG 38.4. The group now included the carrier Ticonderoga (CV-14) and the battleship Iowa (BB-61). The fleet sailed in late May, and once again the Alaska formed part of the anti-aircraft screen. She also carried out another shore bombardment, this time hitting Okino Daito Shima, close to Minami Daito Shima, on 9 June, when her targets were Japanese radar bases. The Alaska spent the period between 13 June and 13 July resting at San Pedro Bay, Leyte. She was then allocated to the new Task Force 95, the first US surface fleet to enter the East China Sea since the attack on Pearl Harbor. The task force, which also included the Guam, encountered very little resistance during three sweeps into the East China Sea, operating from a base at Buckner Bay on Okinawa. After the Japanese surrender the Alaska formed part of the 7th Fleet's occupation forces. She visited the Yellow Sea and the Gulf of Chihli, before reaching Inchon in Korea on 8 September 1945 to support US troops that were occupying the southern part of Korea. She then moved to Tsingtao a former German possession on the Chinese coast taken by the Japanese early in the First World War. The US Marines occupied the port in October. The Alaska finally left the Far East in November as the start of a 'Magic Carpet' trip back to the United States. She reached Boston on 18 December 1945, where she prepared to be inactivated. She was placed in commission in the reserve on 13 August 1946 and out of commission on 17 February 1947. She was struck off on 1 June 1960 and sold for scrapping later in the year. The Model With so many maritime subjects being released over the last 5 years or so it’s great to see that there are still plenty of new and previously un-kitted subjects around. If you had asked me 10 years ago if I would see many of these subjects in any scale, let alone 1:350 then I would have probably said no. But we are living in a golden age of modelling, and no subject can be written off. Thus, we have the USS Alaska, designated as a heavy cruiser, she is more of a battle cruiser with her 12” guns surpassing those of the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau which were designated battle cruisers. The kit comes in quite a large box, appropriate, since the hull is just over 700mm long. The artwork depicts the ship at sea, with her light AA guns blazing away. Inside the box there are fourteen sprues, the single piece hull, two deck sections and four separate parts all in grey styrene, two small sprues of clear styrene, four quite large sheets of etched brass and a small decal sheet. The moulding is superb, particularly the hull, (I’d love to see the moulds this parts come out of), which has the smallest of detail on the lower bow, A number of sprues have been given extra protection with foam wrapping, as well as the standard poly bags in which the sprues are contained. There is no sign of flash, warping or other imperfections, with perhaps the exception of one bilge keel which looks slightly strained on its sprue gates. There are quite a few moulding pips though which will increase the time to clean up the parts. Despite its size, it doesn’t look a particularly difficult build, but you will need some experience with using PE as there are some parts that are made entirely of brass. Construction begins with drilling out of certain holes in the two deck sections, before attaching them to the hull. Turning the hull upside down the two bilge keels are attached, followed by the four propeller shafts, A frames, propellers and three piece rudder. With the hull right side up the decks are fitted out with the numerous bitts and cleats, ventilators, windlasses, four piece cable reels and three piece winches. The pair of three piece intake towers are the fitted amidships, whilst a three piece deckhouse is fitted aft, just forward of the stern 40mm gun tubs. There is a similar deck house fitted just aft of the anchor cables, for which there is a length of chain provided, followed by the two, three piece bow anchors, the main breakwater and a pair of 20mm gun tubs abaft the bridge. There are two, two piece catapult towers fitted amidships, while further aft there are more 20mm and 40mm gun tubs attached. Eight carley floats, stacked three high are then glued into position, followed by four AA controller towers and their respective controllers, while on the fo’c’sle another AA controller tub is attached to a small deckhouse, which, in turn is glued between the hawse pipes, and the Jack staff glued in place. Eight sub-assemblies are then built up using a combination of plastic and PE, with the exception of the bow mounted 40mm tub, the rest are ventilators. There are twelve two piece 20mm Oerlikons fitted from bow to abaft the bridge, and there are three float baskets fitted just forward of the breakwater. Aft of the catapult towers, twenty more 20mm Oerlikons and twelve more float baskets are fitted. The bridge structure, which includes B barbette on the lowest level, which is fitted with two more decks and the base of the foremast, with separate ships bell, as well as four triple stacks of carley floats, and two PE boxes fitted one per side of deck 02. Deck 02 is also fitted with a pair of 40mm gun tubs and for ventilators, while deck 03 is fitted with deck 04, which in turn is fitted with the armoured bridge and a deckhouse, followed by deck 05. Two searchlight platforms, with searchlights are fitted, one per side of the lower foremast, while the myriad of observation and controller sights are fitted around the decks and in additional cylindrical towers. All around the superstructure there are PE vertical ladders and some of the smaller railings to be added. On 02 deck the railing include the netting that goes around the two 400 mm tubs on that deck. More sub-assemblies are made up, again using PE and plastic, these being the main radar array, main battery controllers and secondary battery controller stations. The foremast is then assembled with several platforms separated by additional blocks and topped off with a large yardarm, more observation equipment, forward main battery rangefinder and radar array and the main radar platform main search radar array. This section of the tower is then fitted to the base fitted to the bridge earlier, along with a secondary battery controller. The funnel is made up form two halves, with additional parts fitted internally as well as externally, including searchlight platforms, claxon horns, walkway, multi-piece PE funnel cap and railings for the different platforms. It is finished off with the attachment of a large PE mast fore and aft, the foreward one with a navigation radar array, and the aft with a large yardarm. The aft superstructure is made up of two decks and fitted out with more ventilator intakes, PE gas bottles, vertical ladders, deckhouses and two tall controller towers. It is also fitted with the small AA controllers, and four 20mm Oerlikons. The funnel assembly is the glued to the foreward end of the superstructure, while a main battery rangefinder and radar assembly is fitted to eh tallest of the two towers, while the shorte one mounts a secondary battery controller. The bridge assembly and aft superstructure assembly are then glued to their respective positions on the deck and the four PE inclined ladders are folded and glued into place. Near the aft end of the aft superstructure there are two deckhouses, each fitted with two 400mm gun tubs, each fitted with more PE gas bottles, vent intakes and support columns. Just forward of these is a separate deckhouse which will mount the ships cranes.. Each quad 40mm Bofors mount is made from five parts, and there are fourteen of them to be assembled. Each one is then glued into one their gun tub. The two catapults the ship carried are made almost entirely of PE. Each catapult consists of eleven parts. When assembled they are fitted to their towers amidships. The two cranes are also mostly PE and consist of fourteen parts. These are fitted to their respective positions just aft of the catapults. The crane mounts and separate 40mm gun tubs are fitted with netting, rather than railings. The secondary armament consists of six twin 5” turrets. Each turret is made from ten parts, and once assembled fitted into their positions. The main turrets of three 12” guns are each made from eighteen plastic and twe3lve PE parts. Again, once assembled their are fitted into their respective mounts. Lastly the two Seahawk aircraft are assembled from seven clear parts and, once painted, glued to the catapults. The finishing touch is to add the ships main deck railings, and the build is complete. Just mount the model on the stand and add the name plate, which is also provided. Decals The small decal sheet provides the ships number for the bow, national markings for the aircraft and a pair of Jacks and Ensigns, in two different styles. They are well printed and look to have pretty good opacity. Conclusion I’ve always liked the Alsakas and never thought I would see one released in my favourite scale. But Hobbyboss have done it again and released something we never thought we’d see. From the limited resources I actually have, or more to the point, could find in my library, the kit looks to be pretty accurate, although I’m not sure about the bow, which does have a very odd step in the stem that I can’t see in any diagrams or pictures. If it is wrong then it is easily rectified with some filler. Other than that it really does look like a great kit. Review sample courtesy of
  17. Shar2

    HMS Gorleston. 1:350

    HMS Gorleston Atlantic Models 1:350 The Banff-class sloops were a group of ten ships of the Royal Navy. Built as United States Coast Guard Lake-class cutters, in 1941 these ships were loaned to the Royal Navy as anti-submarine warfare escorts. The transfers took place at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where HMS Malaya was under repair after being torpedoed by U-106. The sloops were manned for transport to England by personnel from the damaged battleship. The sloops were initially used to escort SL convoys between England and Sierra Leone, and one was sunk while so employed. The nine surviving sloops were assigned to Operation Torch where two were destroyed attacking Oran in Operation Reservist. The remaining seven escorted Mediterranean convoys in support of the North African invasion and saw varied employment in the Atlantic until assigned to the Kilindini Escort Force in late 1943 and early 1944. They stayed in the Indian Ocean for the remainder of the war escorting trade convoys in the Arabian Sea, and five served in the Bay of Bengal supporting Operation Dracula and Operation Zipper in the last months of conflict with Japan. Six were returned to the United States after the conclusion of hostilities; and one, disabled by mechanical failure, was scrapped overseas. Originally in USCG service as the Itasca performed Bering Sea patrols; but is most remembered as the "picket ship" that would provide air navigation and radio links for Amelia Earhart when she made her 1937 attempt to fly around the world. Itasca, stationed at Howland Island, tried to keep in radio contact with her. However, due to a series of misunderstandings or mishaps (the details of which are still controversial), two-way radio contact was never established. Itasca was decommissioned on lend lease to the United Kingdom where she received a name change, becoming HMS Gorleston (Y92) after the East Anglian port of Gorleston on 30 May 1941. Gorleston was equipped with Type 286M Radar after arrival in England; and was assigned to the 40th Escort Group escorting trade convoys between England and Sierra Leone with sister ships HMS Landguard and HMS Lulworth, Lend-Lease destroyer HMS Stanley and Shoreham-class sloop HMS Bideford. After escorting convoys OS 4, SL 87, OS 10, SL 93, OS 12, SL 95, OS 17, SL 100, OS 22, SL 106, OS 28, SL 112, OS 34 and SL 118 on this eastern Atlantic route, Gorleston made a trip to Iceland escorting convoys DS 33 and SD 33, and escorted convoys KMF 3, MKF 3, KMF 5, MKF 5, KMF 7 and MKF 7 between England and the Mediterranean Sea in support of Operation Torch. Gorleston was then assigned to the 42nd Escort Group with sister ship HMS Totland, River-class frigates HMS Ness and HMS Exe, and sloops HMS Weston and HMS Folkestone escorting tanker convoys UC 1 and CU 1. Gorlestone then resumed escorting eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean convoys until refit in Wales in December 1943. After refit, Gorleston escorted eastern Mediterranean convoys from March 1944 until assigned to the Kilindini Escort Force in August 1944. Gorleston escorted Arabian Sea convoys until transferred to Colombo in June 1945. Gorleston spent the remainder of the war escorting Bay of Bengal convoys in support of Operation Zipper. She was returned to the United States on 23 April 1946 and redesignated USCGC Itasca until scrapped in 1950. The Model As with all the other Atlantic Model kits this one comes in a sturdy cardboard box, although admittedly somewhat smaller than normal in this case. Inside you are met with a box full of polystyrene chips, amongst which you will find a bubble-wrapped two piece hull, two bags of resin and one of metal parts, a sheet of etched brass, and the instructions. As usual Peter has cast his magic and produced another superb resin model. The two piece hull is free from blemishes, pin holes or other imperfections other than the moulding pips on the mating surfaces of the hull sections. The detail included on the upper hull section is superb, but their is a fair bit of cleaning up on the smaller resin parts and particularly the metal parts. Originally, I believe that this was to be released by White Ensign Models, and was on their website for some time. But then they went down, and Peter has finally picked it up and finished it off. While it may not be the most well used or largest class in the RN, it is still a very interesting ship and a good reminder that there were many of these unsung heroes amongst the hundreds of ships the RN had at the time, small ships doing important and dangerous jobs. Once the modeller has decided whether to make the model as a waterline or full hull, it’s on with the build. If building full hull you will have to remove the small moulding pips on the mating surfaces first. This will ensure a really good fit with minimal filling and sanding required. The main superstructure is the glued to the deck. The rudder and prop are then attached to their positions on the lower hull. The many sub assemblies are then built up, these include the forward gun with PE shield, 6pdr gun and PE shield, PE 20mm Oerlikons, PE quad 0.5” mounts, anchors. The main gun, two 6pdrs, anchors, and if building one of the other ships of the class you may need to add the two gun platform extensions. The superstructure is then fitted with two tall ventilators, which may need to be shortened to match the bridge height as this was done in British service, the funnel, with PE funnel cap and two intake structures. The bridge is made up from the single piece main section bridge roof railings, the four piece PE Type 279 radar lantern, and six piece foremast topped off with the three piece HF/DF aerial. The bridge assembly is then glued to the front of the superstructure, followed by the two piece PE gun platform on which either two Oerlikons or two quad 0.5” assemblies and mounted. The bridge wings are fitted with two angled supports and inclined ladders are attached between the bridge deck and superstructure. The boat davits and accommodation ladders are assembled from their PE parts, as is the multipart aft platform, which includes the gun platform and splinter shields for two more Oerlikons or 0.5” Quads. Two short ventilators are also fitted to the roof of the structure. The three piece rangefinder tower is also assembled and glued into position. The aft platform is also glued into position and the wings fitted with their lattice supports. Again, depending on which ship of the class is being modelled, there are alternative gun tubs which are attached to the superstructure sides along with their lattice supports. Two inclined ladders are then glued into position between the superstructure and the main deck. There are four boats, two sitting on cradles either side of the aft superstructure, and two on davits which have a separate part depicting the downfalls. Just forward of the two cradled boats there are PE support platforms for three Carley floats on each side of the superstructure. The two depth charge racks aft are assembled and glued into position, followed by two depth charge throwers and their handle derricks, towing hitch and aft mounted 5” deck gun, followed by the railings, thus completing the build all bar the painting. Conclusion Well, Peter does it again, with this release of another great kit of an unusual subject. With the exceptional moulding and etch we’ve come to expect from Atlantic models it would make a good kit to start with if you wish to build these multi-media style models. It is quite a bit smaller than the previous releases too, so would make for a nice centrepiece to a seascape that will be easy to transport and store. Very highly recommended Review sample courtesy of Peter Hall of
  18. RN Battleship Roma Detail Sets 1:350 Eduard Since Trumpeter released the Roma as long ago as 2012, it’s taken the re-boxings released this year for Eduard to release anything for it. These two sets, each with two sheets, although the second sheet of set two barely constitutes a sheet. As usual you will need to remove quite a few parts of the kit details before the PE can be used. 53-199 – Main Deck and Guns. The first set consists of two sheets of etched brass crammed full of new parts, not including multiples. The sheets contain the usual numerous small parts such as the watertight doors, deck hatches, vents, skylights, vertical ladders, and anchor chains, complete with chain stoppers. There are also new jibs for both the small cranes and the large aircraft handling crane, loads of replacement deck houses, ammunition lockers, parts to details the winches, capstans, splinter shields, barbette walkways, breakwaters, support braces for the searchlight towers, boat cradles, funnel caps, and a complete replacement for the ships catapult. There are also new mast platforms, complete with support braces, yard arms complete with Jacobs ladders and halliards. The boat handling booms have cable rollers fitted as well as other fittings to the uprights. The main turrets are fitted out with a new AA platform, splinter shields, ammunition racks, vertical ladders, new doors for the rangefinder extensions, ammunition lockers, and strake around the base of eh turrets and to finish them off, each gun barrel can be fitted with their individual tampions. 53-200 – AA Guns. Naturally, this two sheet set is to add detail to the kits AA guns, but, not exclusively, as with most Eduard sets. The secondary armament turrets are fitted with new AA mountings, including supports, ready use lockers, vertical ladders, hatches and barrel tampions. The smaller turrets have new hatches, and canvas bags, but only to be used in the extreme elevation. The smaller AA weapons are all given various amounts of new detail and could include new sights, seats, ammunition chutes, elevation arcs, hand wheels, levers, and foot pedals. In addition to the AA guns, there is also new detail for the paravanes, pipe brackets, liferaft ramps, searchlight hand wheels and grilles, rangefinder hatches, doors, and fittings. There are also handling trolleys for the ships aircraft, launching cradles. The RO.43 biplane is also given new supports for the main and wing floats, new struts for the wings and tailplane and finally a machine gun for the rear gunner. Conclusion This is another pair of very useful etched sets from Eduard. The amount of detail covered is quite exhaustive and will require a fair amount of patience and time to get it all fitted correctly. Some of the details are completely new, not found in the kit so research will be required to ensure it was fitted. My biggest gripe is still the instructions, which really need to be made clearer, especially where parts positioning is concerned. Still, that’s a personal thing, which doesn’t stop me from recommending this set to any one with the lovely Trumpeter kit. Review sample courtesy of
  19. HMS Vendetta, (Vampire Class Destroyer) 1/350 Showcase Models History HMAS Vendetta (D69/I69) (formerly HMS Vendetta (FA3/F29/D69)) was a V class destroyer that served in the Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). One of 25 V class ships ordered for the Royal Navy during World War I, Vendetta entered service in 1917. During World War I, Vendetta participated in the Second Battle of Heligoland Bight, and operated against Bolshevik forces during the British Baltic Campaign. Most of the ship's post-war career was spent operating in the Mediterranean. In 1933, Vendetta was one of five destroyers selected for transfer to the RAN. Over the next six years, the ship was either involved in peacetime activities or was in reserve, but when World War II started, she was assigned to the Mediterranean as part of the 'Scrap Iron Flotilla'. During the Greek Campaign, Vendetta was involved in the transportation of Allied troops to Greece, then the evacuation to Crete. After, the destroyer served with the Tobruk Ferry Service, and made the highest number of runs to the besieged city of Tobruk. At the end of 1941, Vendetta was docked for refit in Singapore, but after the Japanese invaded, the destroyer had to be towed to Fremantle, then Melbourne. After the refit, which converted the destroyer into a dedicated escort vessel, ended in December 1942, Vendetta spent the rest of World War II operating as a troop and convoy escort around Australia and New Guinea. Vendetta was decommissioned in late 1945, and was scuttled off Sydney Heads in 1948. The Model The kit comes in a nicely presented top opening box with an artists representation of the ship at sea. On opening the modeller is presented with five sprues of dark grey styrene, three sheets of etched brass which includes a very nice name plate and a length of string. The parts are all very well moulded with finely represented details, although the hull is a little stark, with no signs of any plating which can be seen on the real thing, this level of detail can be subjective, but it would have been nice to have a little added, even if it’s just for interest value. There is no sign of flash or other imperfections but some of the sprue gates are quite large and certain parts, such as spars and chimneys look like they could be broken quite easily due to the number of gates, so be aware. The build begins with the single piece, full hull, being fitted with the bilge keels, propeller shafts, propellers and rudder. Meanwhile the main deck is fitted out with the individual cleats, bollards, cables reel, floater basket and a selection of other parts which I cannot identify. The next stage more detail is added to the main deck, in the form of derricks, main mast with yardarm, rear steering position binnacle, four piece aft funnel and ships boat cradles. Next up is the assembly of the two triple torpedo tubes. Each unit is made up from fifteen parts, which, naturally, are very small in this scale so plenty of care will be required when assembling these. One of the completed tube assemblies are then glued to its respective position on the main deck, along with the four piece turret for Y position, the main mast, seven support columns for the AA gun bandstand, two carley floats and two, three piece paravanes. There is a small piece of main deck taht is separate, to this the second torpedo tube assembly is attached, as well as the nine piece searchlight tower, a five piece carley float platform, carley float and ventilator cover. The assembly is then attached to the main deck. X turret superstructure si then assembled and the four piece turret glued into position, as is the four piece AA gun bandstand, complete with three piece gun and four davits. The bridge superstructure is then built up from twenty one parts and attached to the a separate section of the main deck, as is the forward superstructure for B turret. The fo’c’sle section is then fitted out with the numerous bollards, cleats, anchor chains and capstan, while the quarterdeck is also fitted out with bollards and cleats as well as depth charges, two four piece paravane cranes and four paravanes. The four completed sections of deck are then glued to the hull. The build is completed with te addition of the two ships boats, one motor boat and one whaler, each made from four parts, the five piece main mast and the PE railings. Decals The comprehensive deals sheet contains a full range of numbers in several different colours and enough letters to use on destroyers, frigates of all types, not just the Vendetta. There are also Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy Ensigns and Jacks and two colours of depth marks. They are very nicely printed, in good register and nicely opaque, even the white markings. Conclusion This is a really great little kit, not to mention a very welcome release, certainly not one that one would have thought would have been injection moulded. Yes there are lots of very small and fiddly parts and it is a little like a limited run kit with the size of the sprue gates, but with care and patience it can be built into a lovely looking and highly detailed model. Well done to Showcase for this release, and I hope they bring us more in time. My thanks to Tim, of West Middlesex Model Club, who lent me this kit for the review.
  20. French Battleship Strasbourg HobbyBoss 1:350 The battleship Strasbourg was ordered on 16 July 1934 in response to the Italian Littorio-class battleships. The ship was laid down on the N°1 slipway of the civilian Penhoët Shipbuilding Yards, at Saint-Nazaire, which had been built to accommodate the 313-meter long keel of the liner SS Normandie. She was launched in December 1936. Once fitting out was completed, she left Saint-Nazaire for Brest on March 15, 1938 for her acceptance trials. The Strasbourg was commissioned in April 1939, joining the French Atlantic Fleet, and forming, with Dunkerque, the 1ère Division de Ligne (1st D.L.). White bands were painted on the funnel, in March 1939, a single one on Dunkerque as Division flagship, two on Strasbourg. After an official visit to Lisbon (Portugal), for the commemoration of the discovery of Brazil by Alvares Cabral, both battleships, accompanied by three modern light cruisers of the 4th Cruiser division, visited various ports and Royal Navy bases, such as Liverpool, Oban, Staffa, Loch Ewe, Scapa Flow, and Rosyth, returning to Brest after a four-day call at Le Havre. In the first days of September 1939, the Force de Raid, under Vice Amiral d'Escadre (Squadron Vice Admiral) Gensoul on Dunkerque, including the 4th Cruiser division, plus eight large destroyers were based in Brest. Reports came in, (that later proved incorrect), that German Pocket-Battleships had been sighted, and the force left Brest immediately to stop them from passing into the Atlantic. Soon after this, it was decided to split the Force de Raid into hunting groups against the German surface raiders, which also incorporated Royal Navy warships. In October–November 1939, Force X, under Vice Admiral Duplat, on the French heavy cruiser Algérie, along with Strasbourg, the French heavy cruiser Dupleix and the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes, was based at Dakar and vainly undertook sweeps trying to find Admiral Graf Spee. When Strasbourg returned to Brest, 800 of her powder charges remained in storage at Dakar. During the battle of Dakar, this powder was used by Richelieu and was (wrongly) implicated in the explosion of Richelieu's upper turret 380 mm gun barrels. The Force de Raid was despatched, on April 2, 1940, to the Mediterranean to counter uncertain Italian intentions during the spring of 1940, but, some days later, was ordered to return to Brest to provide cover for an eventual Allies' reaction to the German landings in Norway, on April 9, 1940. Finally the Force de Raid was ordered to Mers-el Kebir on April 24, 1940. The only test in battle for Dunkerque and Strasbourg came in the attack on Mers-el-Kébir, after the fall of France, the battleships, HMS Hood, HMS Resolution, and HMS Valiant from Force H. The French battleships had not been designed to confront these heavily armed battleships. They were also complete taken by surprise when the attack took place on July 3rd 1940. The tightly packed vessels of the French fleet still having their turrets trained fore and aft. The old super-dreadnought, Bretagne, was badly hit, and her magazines exploded, causing the ship to blow up, capsize and sink, taking nearly 1,000 seamen with her. Strasbourg, commanded by Captain Louis Edmond Collinet, had managed to cast off and make head-way. A 15-inch (381 mm) salvo just missed he and at 18.00, another 15-inch salvo fell where her stern had been one minute previously. Escorted by five destroyers, she headed to the entrance, and then steered northeast. Strasbourg increased speed from 15 knots to 28 knots but was hampered by damage to an air intake on the funnel, which had been blocked by a piece of flying masonry from the jetty. However she escaped the pursuit by Hood and Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers of Ark Royal until about 21.30. At this moment, all thirty boiler room 2 personnel were found lying unconscious, overcome by the heat and the toxic fumes, and three petty officers and two seamen had died. Passing alongside the western coast of Sardinia, Strasbourg reached Toulon, in the evening of the following day. With Bretagne lost, Dunkerque and Provence severely damaged, Lorraine interned at Alexandria, Courbet and Paris seized in Great Britain, only four heavy cruisers of seven and three light cruisers of twelve remained under Vichy control in Mediterranean waters, and with the Atlantic harbours under German occupation, a reorganisation of the Vichy French naval forces had to be carried out. The 1st (fast battleships) and 2nd (slow battleships) Divisions de ligne and the Atlantic Fleet were dissolved, in August 1940 and new Forces de Haute Mer (High Sea Forces) were created, with Admiral de Laborde appointed as C. in-C., on September 25, 1940, and raising his flag on Strasbourg, which had had the lower bridge tower modified to better accommodate an admiral and his staff. Although the Strasbourg was the flagship of the so-called High Seas Forces, she rarely went to sea, due mainly to the lack of fuel, but did escort the Provence which was returning to Toulon in November 1940. She received three more single 13.2 mm Browning CAS machine guns in 1941, and in 1942, a so-called détecteur électro-magnétique, the French equivalent of an air and sea search radar was fitted. Four small rectangular antennas were fitted atop the main yards. Early tests indicated a range against aircraft of 50 km. Strasbourg was still at her moorings of the Milhaud piers at Toulon when the Germans invaded the so-called "Zone libre", in retaliation of the Allies' landings in French North Africa. On November 27th 1942, when the Germans attempted to seize the French warships remaining under Vichy control, she was scuttled by her crew as part of a pre-planned effort to keep the ships from being turned over to the Italian Navy. She was refloated July 17th 1943 by the Italians, but the armistice between Italy and the Allies in September 1943 halted these activities and the ship was taken over by the Germans. On April 1, 1944 they handed her back to the Vichy French authorities. Her wreck was then towed to the Bay of Lazaret, where she was heavily bombed by the US aircraft, and sunk, three days after the August 1944 landings, as part of the preparations for liberation of Toulon. She was raised for the second time on 1st October 1944 but found to be beyond repair. She was then used as a test hull for underwater explosions until condemned and renamed Q45 on 22 March 1955, to be sold for scrap on 27 May that year The Model Hobbyboss are continuing to release plenty of new and exciting maritime subjects. They have now released the sister ship to the Dunkerque, and while there are many similarities between the two kits there are enough differences between the two ships to keep them interesting. The kit comes in quite a large, longish box, with an artist’s impression of the ship at speed on the ocean. Inside there is the single piece hull, which, according to my research and the Seaforth book on French battleships, by John Jordan and Robert Dumas, is actually pretty accurate. Although, as with the earlier release, the two lower strakes down the side of the ship need to be sanded back a bit as they shouldn’t reach the bow. The rest of the parts, nine separate pieces, twelve sprues of grey styrene, and two sprues of clear styrene are all beautifully moulded, with no flash or other imperfections but quite a few moulding pips. The kit also comes with six sheets of relief etched brass, a length of chain and a small decal sheet. Construction begins with the drilling of several holes in the foredeck and main deck. The three deck sections are then glued to the hull. Unusually there are no bulkhead parts to strengthen the hull, so check first as you may need to add thwart ships beams for added rigidity. With the decks in place the foredeck is fitted out with three capstans, three lengths of chain, suitably painted, and the three, two piece bow anchors. At the stern there is a single capstan, chain and another two piece anchor. Several sub assemblies are the built up, six two piece searchlights, eight double carley float assemblies, four three piece twin 37mm cannon mounts and eight quad 13.2mm cannon mounts. The hull is turned upside down and fitted with the two bilge keels and four propeller shafts, A frames and propellers, along with the single rudder and two stern mounted boat booms, which should probably be left till nearer the end of the build. The PE and styrene catapult is also assembled at this point and put to one side to dry along with the two quadruple main turrets, each made up from thirteen parts. The twelve ships boats, each with separate decks and PE cradles are also assembled at this point, along with the eleven piece main mast and rear mounted armoured control station. The upper and middle rangefinder turrets are also assembled, from nine and eleven parts respectively. Moving to the foredeck again, the area is fitted out with the various cleats, bollards, deck houses, ventilators, the jackstaff and the large breakwater, along with a couple of paravanes. The main deck is given the same treatment, and four of the ships boats. The quarterdeck is also fitted with cleats and bollards. Six more of the ships boats are glued into position, along with the various boat booms, carley float assemblies, accommodation ladders ensign staff and inclined ladders. The secondary turrets are assembled, the two twin turrets from four parts and the three quadruple turrets from seven parts. The ships cranes are built up from four styrene parts are three etched parts. The assembly of the superstructure begins with the assembly of the ten piece funnel searchlight platform onto which four searchlight assemblies are fitted. The lower bridge is then assembled, and the rest of the ships boats are on fitted onto the boat deck section, along with the two boat cranes and four inclined ladders. The searchlight platform assembly is fitted to the fore end of the aft superstructure, along with eight carley floats and two small rangefinders. Amidships there is longitudinal bulkhead with deckhouses either side fitted in the centre of the deck. Either side, a twin 37mm and quad 13.2 mount are glued into position, whilst just behind the base of the aft rangefinder tower there is a large tubular mount for another quad 13.2mm mount. The hanger door is then attached while on the hanger roof, two paravanes, a ventilator and eight carley floats are glued in place. Along each side of the superstructure there are numerous armoured hatches, vertical ladders and cable reels attached. The lower bridge deck is built up from three sub-structures, six support beams, and eleven PE supports before being fitted with the lower bridge assembly, a medium rangefinder, two small rangefinders, lower tower block and a quad AA mount. The next level platform is fitted with four lookout stations and two searchlights. Onto this platform the upper tower block is attached, followed by another platform. The larger of the three rangefinders fitted to the tower is assembled and the two smaller units fitted to each others roof. The topmost rangefinder is fitted with an elaborate PE aerial array. The upper tower is also fitted with three large aerial spreader bars before being attached to the lower tower and the whole assembly being glued to the front of the boat deck, followed by the fifteen part funnel assembly. The completed structure is then glued to the main deck, followed by the aft superstructure, main and secondary turrets, catapult and nine piece aircraft handling crane. The model can be displayed onto the four piece stand included. The kit comes with two of the Loire 130 seaplanes the ship carried, each is produce in clear styrene, which, I must admit I’m not a fan of, but it can help with the clear sections I guess. The fuselage is in two halves, which, once glued together are fitted with the tailplanes and wings, each of which has separate floats. The engine and separate two bladed propeller is the attached to the top of the fuselage. Decals The small decal sheet provides the French national flags in straight and wavy forms; ships name plates, national stripes for B turret and the aftermost 130mm turret, plus the roundels and fin flashes for the aircraft. They are nicely printed with good opacity and in register. The ship is painted in Dark Sea Grey overall, with black boot topping and red antifouling. Conclusion This is another very welcome release, giving the modeller the option of making either/or both of a very attractive ships. Since they got the Dunkerque right, it’s natural that this kit is also pretty accurate. Unfortunately Hobbyboss still haven’t provided enough railing for the whole ship, meaning the modeller will have to provide the main deck, quarterdeck and foredeck railings themselves. That said, it’s still a great looking kit. Review sample courtesy of
  21. French Pre-Dreadnought Condorcet Hobbyboss 1:350 Although the Danton-class battleships were a significant improvement from the preceding Liberté class, especially with the 3,000-ton displacement increase, they were outclassed by the advent of HMS Dreadnought well before they were completed. This, combined with other poor traits, including the great weight in coal they had to carry, made them rather unsuccessful ships, though their numerous rapid-firing guns were of some use in the Mediterranean. Construction of Condorcet was begun on 26 December 1906 by Ateliers et Chantiers de la Loire in Saint-Nazaire and the ship was laid down on 23 August 1907. She was launched on 20 April 1909 and was completed on 25 July 1911. Condorcet was initially assigned to the 1st Division of the 1st Squadron (escadre) of the Mediterranean Fleet when she was commissioned. The ship participated in combined fleet manoeuvres between Provence and Tunisia in May–June 1913and the subsequent naval review conducted by the President of France, Raymond Poincaré on 7 June 1913. Afterwards, Condorcet joined her squadron in its tour of the Eastern Mediterranean in October–December 1913 and participated in the grand fleet exercise in the Mediterranean in May 1914. Condorcet was 146.6 meters (481 ft 0 in) long overall and had a beam of 25.8 m (84 ft 8 in) and a full-load draft of 9.2 m (30 ft 2 in). She displaced 19,736 metric tons (19,424 long tons) at deep load and had a crew of 681 officers and enlisted men. The ship was powered by four Parsons steam turbines using steam generated by twenty-six Niclausse boilers. The turbines were rated at 22,500 shaft horsepower (16,800 kW) and provided a top speed of around 19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph). Condorcet reached a top speed of 19.7 knots (36.5 km/h; 22.7 mph) on her sea trials. She carried a maximum of 2,027 tonnes (1,995 long tons) of coal which allowed her to steam for 3,370 miles (2,930 nm) at a speed of 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). The ships main battery consisted of four 305mm/45 Model 1906 guns mounted in two twin gun turrets, one forward and one aft. The secondary battery consisted of twelve 240mm/50 Model 1902 guns in twin turrets, three on each side of the ship. A number of smaller guns were carried for defence against torpedo boats. These included sixteen 75 mm (3.0 in) L/65 guns and ten 47mm(1.9 in) Hotchkiss guns. The ship was also armed with two submerged 450 mm (17.7 in) torpedo tubes. The ship's main belt was 270 mm (10.6 in) thick and the main battery was protected by up to 300 mm (11.8 in) of armour. The bridge tower also had 300 mm thick sides. During the war 75 mm anti-aircraft guns were installed on the roofs of the ship's two forward 240 mm gun turrets. During 1918, the mainmast was shortened to allow the ship to fly a captive kite balloon and the elevation of the 240 mm guns was increased which extended their range to 18,000 meters (20,000 yd). At the beginning of the war, the ship, together with her sister Vergniaud and the dreadnought Courbet, unsuccessfully searched for the German battlecruiser Goeben and the light cruiser Breslau in the Balearic Islands. On 9 August, Condorcet cruised the Strait of Sicily in an attempt to prevent the German ships from breaking out to the West. On 16 August 1914 the combined Anglo-French Fleet under Admiral Auguste Boué de Lapeyrère, including Condorcet, made a sweep of the Adriatic Sea. The Allied ships encountered the Austro-Hungarian cruiser SMS Zenta, escorted by the destroyer SMS Ulan, blockading the coast of Montenegro. There were too many ships for Zenta to escape, so she remained behind to allow Ulan to get away and was sunk by gunfire during the Battle of Antivari off the coast of Bar, Montenegro. Condorcet subsequently participated in a number of raids into the Adriatic later in the year and patrolled the Ionian Islands. From December 1914 to 1916, the ship participated in the distant blockade of the Straits of Otranto while based in Corfu. On 1 December 1916, Condorcet was in Athens and contributed troops to the Allied attempt to ensure Greek acquiescence to Allied operations in Macedonia. Shortly afterwards, she was transferred to Mudros to prevent Goeben from breaking out into the Mediterranean and remained there until September 1917. The ship was transferred to the 2nd Division of the 1st Squadron in May 1918 and returned to Mudros where she remained for the rest of the war. From 6 December 1918 to 2 March 1919, Condorcet represented France in the Allied squadron in Fiume that supervised the settlement of the Yugoslav question. Afterwards, the ship was assigned to the Channel Division of the French Navy. She was modernized in 1923–24 to improve her underwater protection and her four aft 75 mm guns were removed. Together with her sisters Diderot and Voltaire, she was assigned to the Training Division at Toulon. Condorcet housed the torpedo and electrical schools and had a torpedo tube fitted on the port side of her quarterdeck. She was partially disarmed in 1931 and converted into an accommodation hulk; by 1939 her propellers had been removed. The famous underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau began diving while stationed aboard the ship in 1936. In April 1941, the ship was towed to sea to evaluate the propellant used by the battleship Richelieu during the Battle of Dakar on 24 September 1940. One 38-centimetre (15 in) gun had an explosion in the breech and the propellant for the shell was thought to be the cause. A number of shots were successfully fired from Condorcet's aft turret by remote control that exonerated the propellant. The following July, the ship was modified to house the signal, radio and electrician's schools. Berthing areas were installed in the bases of four funnels, which had been removed previously, and the latest radio equipment was installed for the students to train on. Later that year, she was accidentally rammed by the submarine Le Glorieux as she was leaving dry-dock. The impact punctured the ship's hull and flooded one compartment which required Condorcet to be docked for repairs. The ship was captured intact by the Germans when they occupied Vichy France on 27 November 1942. Unlike the bulk of the French Fleet in Toulon, Condorcet was not scuttled because she had trainees aboard. Used by the Germans as a barracks ship, she was badly damaged by Allied aircraft in August 1944 and scuttled that same month by the Germans. The ship was salvaged in September 1945 and listed for sale on 14 December. By 1949 the dismantling of the ship had been completed The Model This really has been the year of the pre-dreadnought, and long may the releases continue. Packaged in the standard style of box Hobbyboss use for their ship kits, it is somewhat smaller than most. Inside there are thirteen sprues of light grey styrene, and one separate deck section. There is also a small black stand, three sheets of etched brass, a length of chain and a smallish decal sheet. All the parts are very nicely moulded with some very fine details, particularly on the deck and superstructure. The parts are all cleanly moulded, with no sign of flash or other imperfections, but there are quite a few moulding pips, mainly on the small parts. The instructions are well printed and very clearly mark the positioning of parts and sub-assemblies along with a nicely printed painting guide. Construction begins with the fitting of the two hull halves between which are two bulkheads and the rudder. There are two, two gun casements fore and aft and two four gun casements, one on each beam, these sub- assemblies are then fitted into their appropriate positions in the hull. The main deck section and the quarterdeck section are glued into position once a couple of holes have been drilled out in the main deck. The hull is then turned upside down, so that the bilge keels, four propeller shafts, A frame supports and propellers can be attached. Before continuing the main build, several sub-assemblies need to be built up; these are the main capstans, and the folding of the inclined ladders. The capstans, bitts, chocks and roller chocks are fitted to the foredeck and quarterdeck, whilst the inclined ladders are fitted in their appropriate positions as are the PE casement doors which can be posed in either the open or closed positions. The anchors, anchor chains, ensign staff, jack staff, midships mounted winches, several deckhouses and four searchlights, each fitted at the end of a PE walkway/track, fitted amidships, while two more searchlights and associated PE walkway/track are fitted at the aft end of the main deck, whilst along each side there are more PE doors, vertical ladders and plastic boat booms are glued into position. The bridge structure is assembled next with the base being fitted with the bridge deck which includes the bridge wings. Under the wings and bridge front there are fifteen PE supports to attach. The after superstructure is also assembled with the deck mounted on sixteen supports, and fitted with a small deck house. The main bridge is then fitted with the armoured hood and another deck house, followed by another deck and four light guns, two rangefinders, four vertical items, which I cannot identify, the binnacle and the navigation lights. The bridge, aft structure and upper deck structure aft of the bridge are attached to the main deck. The aft structure is then fitted with four light guns, binnacle and four upright items. The turrets are then built up, two main turrets and six secondary turrets, each made up form a turret base, two guns on a single trunnion, two trunnion mounts, turret top, and sighting top. The two masts are also assembled at this time each with separate yardarms, platforms and their associated railings. The masts are then glued into position, along with nine ventilators and several deck houses, plus three chimneys. The most obvious identification for this ship is the five funnels; each is made up from two halves, then fitted with two piece funnel tops and PE grille, along with PE vertical ladders and railings. The two boat cranes are built up from seven plastic and seven PE parts. The completed funnel and crane assemblies are then glued into position. The two PE boat cradles are folded to shape and attached to the main deck, followed by a set of railings and a selection of PE inclined ladders. There are ten rowing boats and two steam launches to assemble. The rowing boats have thwarts fitted and the steam launches a funnel, they could do with some etched oars, rudders and propellers, but other than that they look ok. Once assembled, the ships boats are then fitted to their respective cradles. The kit does come with a full ships complement of railings which are now attached, followed by the turret sub-assemblies, PE accommodation ladders, boat davits and boats, side anchors and small cranes, completing the build. Decals The small decal sheet provides the French national flags in straight and wavy forms; and the ships name. They are nicely printed with good opacity and in register. The ship is painted in Dark Sea Grey overall, with black boot topping and the option of having green or red antifouling. Conclusion There are to be at least three of this class to be released, Danton, Condorcet and Voltaire, each is slightly different so you could, in effect build your own French battleship squadron. They are all pretty accurate and although already well detailed, I’m sure aftermarket companies will bring further detail out for them. I’m now looking forward to seeing more pre-dreadnoughts being released as they have a peculiar attraction to a lot of modellers. Review sample courtesy of
  22. HMS Roberts Trumpeter 1/350 History HMS Roberts was the first of a two ship class of 15” Monitors. Her keel was laid on April 30th 1940 at John Browns shipyard on the Clyde, and was launched on the 1st of February 1941. HMS Roberts was commissioned, six months late, (due mainly to have repairs made good on damage caused during an air raid), on 6th October 1941, she left Clydebank three days later for the Gareloch where she was dry docked in a floating dock brought up specifically for the job, as no other dock was able to accommodate the Roberts extreme beam. Once trials and final adjustments had been completed, it wasn’t until 13th November that she sailed for work up and to prepare for the long voyage out to the Mediterranean via the Cape of Good Hope. She did not arrive at Suez until the 26th February 1942. She remained at Suez, acting as AA guardship, and was anchored about three miles south of the canal entrance. Her radars and AA directors, added to her design during construction, proving particularly useful, although no action was actually seen during this time. In July 1942 she moved down the Red Sea for a few weeks , before she was ordered to sail for an unspecified operation. This operation turned out to be Operation Torch, the landings in North Africa. Throughout the landings she was anchored seven miles off the coast, but didn’t fire a shot as the French fort Sidi Ferruch did not resist the allied troops. The day after the landings she acted as radar guardship, warning of the approach of any German aircraft from the direction of Tunisia. Her AA guns were used against sustained air attacks, particularly from Ju-88s. She continued in this role until the 11th, when she was hit by two 500kg bombs, one hitting the port side sloping armour on the bulge and the other just aft of the funnel. She was immobilised for two days, before repairs were completed to allow her to sail, all the time still under constant air attack. During the operation she had fired off some 30,000 rounds of AA ammunition in less than a week. With the worst of the bomb damage repaired she went back to her duties and AA guardship until finally relieved, sailing for Gibraltar and home, arriving in Liverpool on the 6th January. The rest of 1943 saw the Roberts providing both AA and 15” cover for operations around the Mediterranean including the landings at Salerno, where she bombarded enemy positions from the 9th to the 19th of September on which she sailed back to Malta to replenish her ammunition as she had fired almost her entire complement of 15” shells during the actions off the beaches. April 1944 HMS Roberts found herself back in home waters to work up for Operation Neptune and to carry out practice bombardments on the Kintyre range in company with the other ships of the bombardment fleet. Owing to her slow speed, she had to sail several days in advance of the rest of Force D, arriving at Spithead on the 28th May to await orders for the invasion fleet to sail to France. On the 5th June she sailed as part of convoy S.6, joining up with the other bombardment ships and minesweepers coming from the Clyde. The Roberts anchored in her firing position eleven miles west of LeHavre at 05.20 on the 6th of June 1944, three minutes later she opened fire from about 20,000 yards range on the Houlgate battery, which had four ex-French 155mm guns, ten miles east of Sword beach. A heavy fire was kept up on the enemy batteries until H hour. Roberts fired some twenty seven rounds during this period, but had difficulty in spotting the fall of shot due to enemy smokescreens and the failure of some armoured piercing rounds to explode in the marshy ground. Periodic fire was required throughout the day to silence any batteries that showed signs of interfering with the build up of troops, vehicles and stores on the beachhead. Most batteries though concentrated their fire on the bombardment ships rather than the flimsy landing craft. During the afternoon of D-Day Roberts made a particularly successful shoot on Houlgate, after sixteen rounds, the spotting fighter reported several direct hits and two large explosions. At 21.30 she had just started to fire on a troop concentration inland from Sword beach, when a crash was heard and a large chunk of metal was seen to fly up in front of the bridge. On ceasing fire it was found that the right 15in had burst its jacket. The jacket had split into several pieces without the whole gun bursting, so further damage was prevented by strapping it with wire rope. It wasn’t until after further action off the Seine and on targets around Caen, using only the one good barrel that she finally was sent back to Portsmouth on the 14th June with only 37 of her compliment of 235 15in rounds left and to replace her guns as the remaining barrel was also out of life. One of the replacement guns was No102, which is now to be found outside the Imperial War Museum, London. By the 21st of June Roberts was back on station on the Eastern flank of the beachhead. Up until the final day of the bombardment operation on the 18th July she continued to give covering fire throughout her operational area. To increase the range out to 30,000 yards the monitor was flooded on one side to give a three degree list to give the guns greater elevation. Roberts returned to Portsmouth on the 23rd July for the next ten weeks, to change her guns, again, give leave and repair the wear and tear of six weeks almost continuous bombardment in which she had fired 692 rounds of 15in, of which only about sixty being armoured piercing. Having completed her duties off the French coast, Roberts took part in the commando landings at Flushing and bombarded the gun emplacements around Zeebrugge. This turned out to be the last action HMS Roberts would take part in, as although she was primed at four hours notice to bombard forts on Heligoland, the operations were called off as the German defence of the Reich collapsed, and the ship’s crew celebrated VE day in Portsmouth. Allocated to the Far East Fleet, she sailed to the Mersey for a quick refit before setting sail on the 27th July 1945 bound for the Indian Ocean where she was ordered arrive before the 1st September to acclimatise before operations against Singapore. Fortunately, the dropping of the two atomic bombs precluded they use, yet she and her sister Abercrombie continued to sail Eastwards until the formal Japanese surrender. The order for the two ships to return and reduce to reserve came on the 11th September, by which time the Roberts had reached Kilindini. The Roberts finally arrived at Plymouth on the 22nd November. Whilst her sister didn’t survive long after the war, being reduced to an accommodation ship and turret drill ship in 1946 before being laid up in Fareham Creek in 1953 and scrapped in 1954/55, HMS Roberts survived quite a bit longer. After arriving in Devonport, she stayed there until 1965, being used as a turret drill ship, accommodation ship and even the headquarters of a sailing club. On the 3rd of August 1965 she arrived at the Wards berth in Inverkeithing to be scrapped. This was the end of the Big Gun Monitors in the Royal Navy after nearly 50 years of service. The Model It was a very pleasant surprise to hear of Trumpeter releasing this 1:350 kit as it would be the first time it has been done in this scale as an injection moulding. The only other option has been the fantastic, but rather expensive resin offering from White Ensign Models. Due to one thing and another we didn’t receive the kit for review until very recently, so I was eager to get the box open and see what it was like. The box lid has a nice painting of the Roberts on the gun line of one of its operations. On opening the box the modeller is confronted with seven sprues of light grey styrene, with separate hull halves and main deck. There are also three frets of etched brass, a small stand and an even smaller decal sheet. The mouldings are really nicely done with some fine detail evident throughout the sprues. There are no signs of defects and not that many moulding pips, being only seen on some of the smaller parts. Unfortunately there is quite a big fly in the ointment as, once again, Trumpeter seem to have mucked up the hull, particularly the foreward end of the bulge, which runs to far foreward on each side, to almost underneath the anchors. The whole hull doesn’t appear deep enough either, although the general shape isn’t too bad. The foreward bulge really needs to sanded away, but due to the way it’s indented this would leave a whole that will require sheeting over with plasticard and filler, probably something only the most fastidious modeller would try. Moving on to the build, construction starts with the two hull halves being joined together. Now, there are several large spurs on both hull joints and gunwhales where they have been cut away from the sprues, which have to be carefully removed before joining. Even though the hull is pretty stiff already due to the shape, Trumpeter have provided three bulkheads and two joining pins to give extra strength and also for giving the main deck somewhere to be affixed to. That said, the next step is to fix the main deck to the hull, before being turned over to have the bilge keels attached, followed by the two propeller shafts, a frames, propellers and rudders fitted into their respective positions. With the hull complete, it’s on with a raft of sub-assemblies, including windlasses, air vents, lookout binoculars, and two Type 282 directors. The weapons assemblies are then built up, the octuple and quad pom pom mounts, (the instructions appear to be wrong, in that it tells you to build two octuple mounts and one quad, whereas it should be the other way round), single 40mm mounts, (which weren’t fitted to the Roberts until 1945), include both styrene and etched parts, whereas the four twin 4” turrets and twin 20mm mounts, (only fitted to the Roberts in 1945), are purely styrene in construction. The next batch of sub-assemblies include the Type 284 directors, fitted with etched Yagi aerials, and three different styles of liferafts, stacked in twos and fours. The main 15” turret is made up of the main turret, turret base and a choice of either moveable barrels, without blast bags, or fixed, with blast bags. Putting the sub-assemblies aside, and with the hull the right way up, the breakwater and storage locker are fitted to the foredeck, along with two 40mm gun tubs. Either side of the main barbette the two quad pom pom splinter shields are fitted, whilst further back on each side the splinter shields for the 4” turrets are attached. The many and various ready use lockers, complete with etched doors are fitted in their appropriate positions, followed by the liferaft stacks. The four paravanes, windlasses, fore and aft anchors, plus their anchor chains and more ready use lockers are fitted. The build then moves onto the aft superstructure with the structures of 01 deck being glued onto the bottom structure. The etched vertical ladders are fitted, along with yet more ready use lockers, followed by the Type 284 mounts, octuple pom pom, three 40mm mounts, the emergency steering position and the twin 20mm mounts. The railings around the 02 deck structures are also attached, thoughtfully provided in the kit. Moving foreward the single piece bridge structure, (like a smaller Queen Annes Mansions seen on the likes of HMS Warspite), which is fitted out with the rear upper bridge surround, rear bridge detail plate, ready use lockers, vertical and inclined ladders, chart and wireless offices, lookout binoculars, aldis lamps, main rangefinder and bridge screen. The structure between the bridge and turret barbette is fitted out with two twin 20mm mounts, their ready use lockers and another stack of liferafts. The funnel is moulded in two halves, which, once joined together is topped out with a two piece etched funnel cap and fitted out with a number of steam pipes on the forward face. These assemblies are then attached to the main deck and at last it’s beginning to look like a warship. Before the assembly of the two masts the midships 40mm mounts are fitted in their elevated tubs, whilst either side of the turret barbette, in similar elevated mounts the two Type 282 directors are fitted. More railings around the upper decks can be fitted now, or the modeller may wish to wait till the end of the main build. The mainmast is assembled from a single pole foreward and double pole moulding aft, connected by two Y shaped struts. To the front pole a long vertical etched ladder is affixed. The top of the mast is fitted out with an oblong star platform on which the mast for the aft Type 281aerial is attached, followed by the yardarm, vertical ladder and etched radar aerial which will need some careful folding to keep everything square. The supporting rear poles of the tripod for the foremast are slid into position to the rear of the bridge structure. The fore pole fitted on top of the bridge, with the large starfish platform, (made entirely of etched parts), fixed to the top of the three poles. The spotting top is fitted onto the starfish platform along with the mast and Type 281 aerial as per the mainmast assembly. With the masts fitted into place, the 4”, 15” turrets can be fitted, as are the forward quad pom pom mounts and foredeck mounted 40mm units. Sundry items, such as the foredeck derricks, Jack Staff and Ensign Staff, ships boats, boat booms, accommodation ladders and quarterdeck derricks are attached. Finally the boat davits, acoustic hammer, (actually removed in 1945), hammer derrick and ships railings are fitted, thus completing the build. Decals The small decal sheet provides just two types of White Ensign, one wavy and one straight. Conclusion I really am quite disappointed with this kit. It had so much promise on opening the box, but Trumpeter has once again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. The hull, especially the extended bulge seems to have been made by the same team that made, and mucked up the same area, that designed their HMS Warspite. That flaw and the fact that the hull appears to be too shallow overall, but mostly under the waterline makes the whole ship look wrong in its proportions. The twin 20mm mounts and single 40mm Bofors, according to my references, were only fitted to the Roberts in 1945, yet the acoustic hammer was removed, (although the derrick was retained), in the refit before sailing to the Far East. If you want to build HMS Roberts as per her time at Salerno or on D-Day, at the very least you will also need to find some single 20mm mounts to replace the 40mm, another Type 282 director and pair of searchlights, which is a shame really, as the boxart shows her during her bombardment of France during D-Day. Recommended with the above caveats. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  23. Tarantul III class corvette OrangeHobby 1:350 History The missile boats of Project 1241 class are further developments of the Molniya (Lightning) family boats, developed for export. It differs from its predecessor (Project 1241RE boats) in that the outdated P-20 missile system (SS-N-2 Styx) has been replaced by the Moskit-E (SS-N-22 Sunburn) missile system which fires supersonic anti-ship missiles, and the new Garpun-Bal multirole radar system has been installed. Trials of the first boat of the class have already been completed. The Project 1241 Molniya Missile Boats are intended to engage combatant ships, amphibious ships, and other vessels at open sea. With its comparatively small displacement of 550 tons, "Molniya " is equipped with four "Moskit" supersonic anti-vessel missiles. The first launch of Russia's newest supersonic anti-ship missile, the Moskit SS-N-22 Sunburn, was conducted from an export Molniya fast missile boat at the Feodosia test range late in October 1999. The boat has a radar missile target designation system. It's fitted the latest radio-electronic systems of this purpose. With its high noise-proof features, it can observe fifteen targets simultaneously and define target destinations of six. Besides the missiles and 57mm guns, the boat has anti-aircraft missile weapons and automatic 30mm gatling guns. It has twelve portable anti-aircraft missile launchers "Igla" meant to hit air targets in conditions of natural visibility. The on-board rapid-fire artillery guns are meant to destroy air, surface and coastal targets. They can also be used to destroy floating mines. "Molniya" also has two launchers and combined-interference shells to protect targets from anti-boat weapons with different guidance systems. The boat is also fitted with active radar jammers and IFF radar. The missile boat is equipped with the full set of navigation and communication equipment, powerful gas turbine power plant, air-conditioning and ventilation systems to provide efficient operation in any climatic conditions. The boats' relatively small size enables them to blend in with coastal merchant and fishing traffic, making them difficult to locate and target. With a skilled operator, Russian-built patrol craft armed with Sunburn anti-ship missiles would be a significant threat to any seagoing adversary. The boat's high navigation characteristics allow it to use weapons in stormy weather with wind force 5 and ensures safety in the sea with wind force 8. Thanks to its sophisticated weapons, high running features, the boat can control a total area of water up to 5 thousand square nautical miles. The boat's speed is up to 38 knots, sailing range up to 2,400 miles, crew 41 members. Project 12411 was the designation for a new class of guided missile corvette that would replace the Osa-Class corvette that served the Soviet Navy and its allies around the world. Using a hull that is smaller than the Nanuchka-Class and is less capable than that class, the Tarantul is nevertheless faster and more agile. Powered by a pair of 34,000 HP gas turbines, the Tarantul class can cruise around 40 knots. The Model The kit comes in a rather plain brown cardboard box, with just a small label to tell you what’s in it. Inside there are separate single piece lower hull, main deck and transom parts, along with six “sprues” of parts are all moulded in grey resin. The kit si completed with the etched brass sheet, four turned brass parts and a small decal sheet. Whilst the parts are all beautifully moulded, there is a fair bit of flash, but since it’s quite thin it shouldn’t take much to clean them up. The details moulded are very finely done, yet still crisp. There is a fair amount of mould release visible on the parts, so they will need a thorough wash in warm soapy water. The kit is produced as full hull only, so if you wish to build this as part of a seascape, you will have to take a cutting disc to the hull. Construction begins with the fitting of the transom and main deck to the hull section, with the transom also fitted with two large exhaust port doors. On the underside of the hull, the brass turned prop shafts are glued into position, along with their A frame supports, followed by the two rudders, whilst the bow mounted anchor is also attached. The small resin mast carrying the separate bass tilt radar is fitted with two PE platforms, each of which has a PE plate radar array attached. The main mast is made up of upper and lower sections. The upper section is entirely made of PE and will require some careful bending to get it all to shape, the platform on which it sits is also of PE with the exception of the platform frame. The top dome radar and ECM pods are glued to the platform. The lower section consists of a styrene centre piece around which the mast frame is folded before being glued to the base platform, which, in turn, is fitted with the styrene and PE support beams. The platform is also fitted with SATCOM domes and two PE platforms. The upper section is then glued to the lower section. The main superstructure part is fitted out with the upper deck part over the bridge area, onto which the large radar dome is attached, along with the bass tilt mast and mainmast. The blast deflectors are fitted just forward of the gatling gun tubs, which have a PE gangway fitted between them. The watertight doors are then glued to their respective positions. The main 57mm gun turret is now assembled, consisting of the metal barrel which has the resin trunnion moulded integrally, the turret and the base. The two 30mm gatling gun turrets are also assembled, each made up from the base, turret and tiny metal barrel. The multi barrel rocket launcher parts are glued to their PE frames, as are the separate liferafts. These are then glued to the top of the superstructure, along with the gatling guns and upper deck railings. The completed superstructure is then fitted to the main deck, followed by the main gun mounting, deck bollards, and winches. The models is completed with the fitting of the main gun turret, two more rocket launchers, liferafts, anchor chain, two cable reels and the two main missile launchers. Decals The waterslide decals are provided for the ships numbers for two vessels, one of which also has a name plate on the port and starboard quarters, missile launcher numbers and ships ensigns. They are well printed and in good register. Conclusion It’s great to see the smaller Russian ships getting released, although even in this scale it’s actually not that small. As usual the kit is very well moulded, with some lovely details. Recommended to all maritime modellers, of at least intermediate skill level. Review sample courtesy of
  24. HMS Eskimo detail set 1/350 White Ensign Models It was good to see Trumpeter releasing the 1:350 kit of HMS Eskimo and whilst it is a nice kit overall it does have a number of problems, not all of which can be sorted with just the parts on the single etched brass sheet in this set. That said, this set will enable the modeller to build the ship in any number of forms throughout her career and also provides parts to build a number of her sisters. To really make an accurate model of the Eskimo you will need to change the ships boats, which are of the wrong type, (certainly not British), the 8 barrelled 2pdr Pom Pom also need to be replaced with a correct four barrelled example. Whilst you’re at it you may also like to change the turrets to ones of the correct shape, and the propellers. All these additions are available from White Ensign Models should you want to make one order for the etched set and all the other detail sets. The single sheet is actually quite large but doesn’t appear to have the same number of parts that some other sets have, but, what it does give you is what’s needed. The sheet is up to their usual standard, being finely and cleanly relief etched. Research will be required to ascertain which parts to use for a given build date, but they are all included, such as two types of lattice mast. There are also a couple of types of light AA weapon, the quad 0.5” machine gun mounts and the single 20mm cannon mounts with separate shields. A comprehensive radar fir is also provided, including the Type 286 array, Type 276 antenna, 285 Yagi, 282 Yagi, AA radar Yagi aerials, type 291 Yagi antenna and HF/DF Antenna, just check which ones were fitted and when. The sheet also includes the lattice masts mentioned above, which are completed with further platforms, yardarms and aerials. The alternative tripod mast is assembled from the kits parts, or the modeller can use brass rod, but the yards, aerials and are taken from this set. The bridge receives a new DF antenna, screen, canopy, aldis lamps and stove pipes, whilst the funnels each receive new funnel cap grilles, and sirens. The bridge wings and aft superstructure wings each receive new supports and the carley floats are provided with new bracing structures. A complete replacement searchlight platform will need to be carefully folded before fitting into position as is the quarterdeck mounted depth charge chute and spare charge racks. Each of the ships boats is provided with new davits and there is a new crane for the torpedo loading. As is usual the set provides a full range of railings for the ship along with inclined and vertical ladders, accommodation ladders, anchor chain and anchors. Conclusion This is another superb and useful set from White Ensign Models. It not only provides everything you need to enhance the Trumpeter kit but also helps with correcting some of the shortcomings. If used with the other sets the modeller will be able to build an accurate and highly detailed model. What is more, the instructions are really clear and informative, even showing how to fix the lack of sheer on the fo’c’sle. Highly recommended. Review sample kindly provided be John at
  25. French Pre-Dreadnought Danton Gun Set 1:350 Master Models A new month and a new set of barrels as Master models continue to build up their range of 1:350 scale armament sets. This set is for the recently released Hobbyboss French pre-dreadnought battleship Danton. As usual they are well up to the standard we’ve come to expect from Master Models. [350-097] The guns in the kit are pretty good for injection moulded parts, but you can’t beat some finely machine turned brass barrels to add that extra finesse to the model. In this set you get four 305mm aluminium barrels, twelve 240mm aluminium barrels, sixteen 75mm brass barrels and twelve 47mm brass barrels. The set also includes six resin trunnion mounts for the 240mm barrels and two for the 305mm barrels. These replace the trunnions in the kit. You will need to cut the kit barrels from the 75mm and 47mm mountings and drill appropriate sized holes both 0.5” and 0.3”. Conclusion Master models just amaze me how they continue to churn these sets out and keep the quality so high, just what you need to give your model a lift. Review sample courtesy of Piotr at
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