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  1. HMS Belfast 1:600 Airfix HMS Belfast is a town-class cruiser, one of ten constructed for the Royal Navy between 1934 and 1939. As of 2019, the ship is probably most famous for being moored on the River Thames where it has served as a popular museum attraction since 1971. HMS Belfast was build by Harlaand and Wolff in Belfast and was commissioned in August 1939. The penultimate of the town-class cruisers, she was originally designed to carry sixteen 6 inch guns in four quadruple turrets, but this proposal was shelved due to the difficulty of designing such a turret and she reverted to using the same triple turrets as her the other members of her class. Belfast was badly damaged by a magnetic mine during the first months of the War. She was repaired and modernised with the additional of anti-aircraft armament, as well as radar equipment. Belfast was recommissioned in November 1942 and was put to work on the arctic convoys. On boxing day in 1943 she was involved in the Battle of North Cape and played a part in the sinking of the German battlecruiser Scharnhorst. The ship went on to support the D-Day landings before sailing to serve in the Far East, where she remained until 1947. Between 1950 and 1952 she participated in the Korean War, undertaking shore bombardment and coastal patrols. She was modernised once again and re-commissioned later in the 1950s, once again serving in the Far East. Reduced to disposal in 1971, she was saved by the Belfast Trust, led by her former captain Rear-Admiral Sir Morgan Morgan-Giles, then MP for Winchester. The Kit Airfix's HMS Belfast has been around since 1973, just after the real thing opened as a visitor attraction. As a model kit, it is far from state-of-the-art, but it is a nice trip down memory lane that will have you reminiscing about tube cement, old-fashioned Humbrol enamels and being vituperated for marking the dining room table with some kind of long-since banned solvent. The kit has just been re-released again in collaboration with the Imperial War Museum with some of the money from the kit sales going to them. The part count is pretty high, and while there is a little flash on some of the smaller parts the mould for this kit seems to have held up well which must be a testimony to the quality of the original tooling and toolmakers. The kit is spread across four frames of grey plastic, with the larger parts for the hull and decks moulded separately. It is a full-hull model (complete with stand) and clearly depicts Belfast in her wartime configuration, before she had those horrible lattice masts fitted, you get lots of detail, including a pair of Supermarine Walrus aircraft (one stowed, one ready to launch), life rafts, launches, cranes, davits and the aforementioned AA armament. the cranes for recovering the aircraft are surprisingly fine for the scale. You don't get (or need) any decals, but the three-view colour painting scheme shows Belfast in the D-Day scheme that the real thing currently sports. Construction is fairly standard for the ship. The main hull is assembled with the main deck from the rear of the forecastle all the way to the stern going in to help it all stay rigid. The rudder goes on and then at the stern all four propeller shafts and propellers go on. Moving back topsides the rear deck house structure is completed and added on to the main deck. The fore deck has its lower structure added and this can then go onto the hull. Also at this time the to stands are built up to place the hull on. Moving back to the alter deck davits for the ships boats are added along with AA guns. The four 6" turrets can now be made up and put to one side. Now moving back to the main hull A turret is added along with some foredeck fittings and AA guns. The racks are added for the carley floats followed by the floats themselves. The bridge and gunnery director structures are now built along with the main mast. B turret goes on the deck in front of the bridge structure. Amidships the seaplane launching catapult complete with Walrus is added, though if modelling the warship after June 1943 the aircraft can be left off as they were decommissioned then due to radar being used for surveillance. Still amidships the secondary 4" turrets are added along with the deck house and mast structure there, and the engine room intakes. The ships funnels then go in before and aft of the midships deck house. The top structure for the after deck house is made up then X & Y turrets can be added. At the rear there are additional launching racks for more carley floats. An addition for this boxing is a card base of the sea with additional information and photographs of the Belfast on it. The model can be displayed directly on it using the stand, or the more adventurous modeller may wish to do some surgery and convert the model to water line. Conclusion Whilst I would love to see Airfix release a brand new tool of this famous warship, it is nevertheless still nice to see this model back in their catalogue. The moulds must have paid for themselves dozens of times over by now, and although they are starting to show a little wear here and there, they are still in remarkably good nick all things considered. Those wanting to build a show stopper will naturally want to add extra details such as photo etched railings, but for those just wanting to add a model of this famous old ship to their collection, this will fit the bill nicely. The inclusion of the base for this one is a nice touch. Review sample courtesy of
  2. The Belfast Telegraph on-line has this short aerial film on its site The film is dated 12/31/1935 As it goes over Harland & Wolff you can see some ships in the H & W wet-dock - on the right, at 0:40 to about 0:50. One looks like an aircraft carrier under construction maybe Then from about 2:21 to about 2:58 as the aeroplane heads towards part of Belfast harbour we see, at first in the centre and at a distance, then centre and then to the right another aircraft carrier. Is it the same one? perhaps, perhaps not - its not where H & W did final fitting out of ships, it lies in the deep water section of Belfast Harbour proper, H & W are off further to the right. https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/archive/incredible-aerial-footage-of-belfast-in-1930s-can-you-spot-your-street-31218710.html PS. Just before 0:40 you can see a black mass on the left, disappearing into the bottom left corner. These were the iron work gantries where Olympic, Titanic and Britannic were built. They were only demolished in about 1972/73 ish
  3. 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.
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