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Shar2

HMS Rodney. 1:200

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HMS Rodney
Trumpeter 1:200


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HMS Rodney (pennant number 29) was one of two Nelson-class battleships built for the Royal Navy in the mid-1920s. The ship was named after Admiral Lord Rodney. The Nelsons were unique in British battleship construction, being the only ships to carry a main armament of 16-inch (406 mm) guns, and the only ones to carry all the main armament forward of the superstructure. As her superstructure was located aft of midships like RN fleet oilers whose names carried the ...'ol' suffix, she was sometimes derisively referred to as "Rodnol".

Rodney was laid down on 28 December 1922, the same date as her sister ship Nelson. Construction of the ship was carried out at Birkenhead by Cammell-Laird shipyard, Launched on 17 December 1925 by Princess Mary Viscountess Lascelles after three attempts at cracking the bottle of Imperial Burgundy. Ship trials began in August 1927 and she was commissioned in November 1927, three months behind Nelson. The construction cost £7,617,799. The commissioning Commanding Officer in 1930 was Captain (later Admiral) Andrew Cunningham and Chief Engineering Officer was Lieutenant Commander (later Admiral) George Campbell Ross, son of Sir Archibald Ross, a marine engineer and pioneer of shipbuilding.

From commissioning until World War II broke out in September 1939, Rodney spent the entire time with the British Atlantic Fleet or Home Fleet. In 1931, her crew joined the crews of other ships taking part in the Invergordon Mutiny. In October 1938 a prototype type 79Y radar system was installed on Rodney's masthead. She was the first battleship in the Royal Navy to be so equipped. In 1940 the type 79Y radar was replaced with type 279 and UP AA rocket projectors were fitted to 'B' and 'C' turrets, but removed in 1941 after concern about their safety and effectiveness. These were replaced by 35 single 20 mm Oerlikons over the next three years.

Following the sinking of armed merchant cruiser HMS Rawalpindi on 23rd November 1939 by the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, Rodney hunted the enemy ships but developed serious rudder defects and was forced to return to Liverpool for steering gear repairs until 31st December. Rodney was damaged by German aircraft at Karmoy, near Stavanger on 9th April 1940, when hit by a 500 kg (1,102 lb) bomb that pierced the upper deck aft of the funnel, but did not explode and exited sideways after striking the armoured deck. On 13th September, she was transferred from Scapa Flow to Rosyth with orders to operate in the English Channel when the German invasion of Britain was expected. In November and December, Rodney was assigned convoy escort duties between Britain and Halifax, Nova Scotia. In January 1941, Rodney joined the hunt for the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, without success. On 16th March, however, while escorting a convoy in the North Atlantic, contact was made with the German battleships, but no battle followed, as the German ships turned away when they realised that they were facing superior firepower.


In May 1941, while commanded by Captain Frederick Dalrymple-Hamilton, Rodney was ordered to sail to Canada, along with the ocean liner MV Britannic and four destroyers. Rodney was intended to travel on to the United States for repairs and refits; the ship carried a number of passengers, as well as additional materials, such as boiler tubes and anti-aircraft guns intended for use in her refit. Britannic was taking civilians to Canada and would be bringing Canadian troops and airmen back to Britain.

It was during this run on 24 May that she was called on by the Admiralty to join in the pursuit of the German battleship Bismarck, leaving the destroyer Eskimo to escort Britannic and taking Somali, Mashona and Tartar with her in the search. Despite Admiral Sir John Tovey in the battleship King George V heading north-west due to a misinterpreted signal from the Admiralty, Dalrymple-Hamilton and his own 'Operations Committee' consisting of Captain Coppinger (newly appointed captain of the battleship Malaya, which was undergoing repairs in New York); Navigator, Lt.Cmdr. Galfrey George Gatacre RAN; USN Naval Attaché, Lt.Cmdr. Joseph Wellings; and Executive Officer, Cmdr. John Grindle, decided that Bismarck was, most likely, headed to Brest and so set course to the East to head Bismarck off, 'at some stages exceeding her designed speed by two knots', despite her engines being in need of an overhaul. On 26 May, she joined up with King George V, as Admiral Tovey had realised his mistake and doubled back. Tovey then sent the three remaining destroyers home because they were low on fuel, and had Rodney fall in behind King George V for the battle against Bismarck the next day. Early on the morning of 27 May 1941, along with the battleship King George V and the cruisers Norfolk and Dorsetshire, she engaged Bismarck, which had damaged rudder machinery due to a torpedo launched by the aircraft carrier Ark Royal's Swordfish bombers the day before. Unable to manoeuvre and listing to port, Bismarck scored no hits before her forward guns were knocked out, after which Rodney closed with Bismarck until she was firing on a virtually flat trajectory, and spotters could actually follow the shells to the target. One 16-inch shell was tracked from the gun to where it hit the face of Bismarck's turret Bruno and exploded, blowing out the back of the turret, with the resulting splinters killing most of the crew on the bridge. Rodney fired 340 16-inch shells, some in 9-gun broadsides, and 716 6-inch shells during the battle, scoring many hits from a range of under 3,000 yards (2,700 m) and inflicting most of the damage suffered by Bismarck, whose stern was blown off. During the battle, Rodney also fired twelve 24.5-inch (622 mm) torpedoes at Bismarck whilst zig-zagging across her bow; most of the torpedoes missed, but one hit Bismarck and exploded amidships on the starboard side, making Rodney the only battleship in history to have torpedoed another battleship, although Bismarck survived the hit by Rodney's torpedo. Rodney and King George V finally broke off the action; Dorsetshire was then ordered to finish Bismarck off with torpedoes. Rodney and King George V, running short on fuel, were ordered home, and were attacked by Luftwaffe bombers, who sank Mashona, but missed Tartar, with whom the battleships had rejoined.

In September 1941, Rodney was stationed with Force H in Gibraltar, escorting convoys to Malta. In November, she returned home and was stationed in Iceland for a month and then underwent refit and repair until May 1942. After the refit, she returned to Force H, where she again escorted Malta convoys and took part in Operation Torch, the invasion of Northwest Africa. She was subsequently involved with the Invasion of Sicily and Salerno. From October 1943, she was in the Home Fleet, and took part in the Normandy invasion in June 1944, where she was controlled from the headquarters ship HMS Largs off Sword Beach. Her tasks included a 30-hour operation firing an occasional shell 22 miles (35 km) inland, to prevent a Panzer division from crossing a bridge. She also destroyed targets at Caen and Alderney. On 7th June 1944 a collision between Rodney and LCT 427 resulted in the loss of 13 Royal Navy seamen. In September 1944, she performed escort duties with a Murmansk convoy.

During the entire war Rodney steamed over 156,000 nautical miles (289,000 km) with no engine overhaul after 1942. Because of the frequent machinery problems and the fact that Rodney had not been upgraded to the extent of her sister Nelson, starting in December 1944 she became the flagship of the Home Fleet based at Scapa Flow and rarely left her mooring. HMS Rodney was scrapped at Inverkeithing, starting on 26 March 1948

The Model
The kit comes in a very large box with an artists impression of the ship at sea in its distinctive camouflage. In side all the sprues and other parts are contained in four additional boxes, each with a line drawing of the ship on the tops, whilst on side of the main box contains the large single piece hull held in place by two card supports and covered in a cardboard flap. As anyone who has seen this series of ship kits from Trumpeter will testify, they are big, really big. Even this kit of HMS Rodney, not the largest battleship by any means, is still over a metre in length. Although very similar, naturally, to the earlier HMS Nelson kit in the same scale it does feature the specific features of the original. The nicest addition is the catapult on C turret and the superb looking model of the Supermarine Walrus aircraft that sits on it. The ships crane is also a distinguishing feature when comparing the two ships; one is straight, whilst the Rodney's one has a cranked jib. The single piece hull and deck mouldings are pretty darn impressive and must take one heck of a mould to produce. Whilst both parts are nicely detailed, the hull plating is still a little too prominent, as with the Nelson kit, and the deck planking too symmetrical. The first is easily overcome with a little sanding, and once you have some primer and paint on the effect with be further diminished. The planking though, is something you will either have to live with, or buy one of the superb wooden decks that will surely be released for this kit shortly.

The rest of the kit comes on twenty two sprues of medium grey styrene, with an additional six parts that are packed separately. There are also ten sheets of etched brass, two lengths of metal rod, a length of chain and a decal sheet. All the parts are beautifully moulded, with no signs of flash or other imperfections, but there are a fair few moulding pips which will add to the cleaning up of parts. Whilst the mouldings for the main and secondary armament have been produce using slide mould technology, the addition of turned brass or aluminium would have been something that could have been included. Theres not even an add-on set that includes these items, as produced for the USS Missouri and the forthcoming HMS Hood releases. Im sure it wont be long before the aftermarket companies will take up the challenge of producing them though.

Construction begins with the drilling out of the holes in the main deck that are required to add the different parts required to build the Rodney, rather than the Nelson. Then its onto the assembly of the four searchlights, two light AA directors, six eight barrelled 2pdr PomPoms, ten winches, ten ammunition ready use lockers, two quad .5 machine gun, thirteen 20mm Oerlikon mounts and six 4.7 mounts. Each of these sub-assemblies is made up from a mixture of plastic and brass, some parts of which are still tiny, even in this scale, so patience will still be a virtue during the build. The build then moves onto the two Walrus aircraft, with each one being assembled from twenty one plastic parts plus six brass parts which make up the rigging wires. The six ships boats are also made from both plastic and brass parts with the exception of the two 32ft motor cutters, followed by the two main armament directors, and nine cable reels.

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The secondary armament, consisting of six twin 6 turrets are now built up, each from separate turret, turret base and two barrels, and then detailed with a variety of vertical ladders and Carley floats. The aircraft handling crane is built up from no less than twenty three parts and is probably as detailed as any plastic assembly can be, with the only PE part being the access ladder and platform. The catapult fitted to X turret for the most part is also all plastic, with the centre section being made up from fifteen parts, the aircraft cradle from an additional six parts and only the folding ends each being made up form two brass sections folded to shape. The big main armament turrets are next to be assembled, with each of the trunnion mounts, the three gun barrels and the trunnion bar being fitted to the turret base along with a bulkhead that sits behind the guns, followed by the fitting of the turret itself. This is then detailed with PE ladders, the rangefinder caps and in the case of B turret a Pom Pom mount, and C turret with the fitting of the catapult, two ships boats and a Walrus.

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Before fitting the main deck to the hull, there are three bulkheads fitted, to give both strength to the hull and some more support for the deck. With the hull upside down, the two bilge keels, single rudder, two shaft supports, the two metal shafts and the propellers are attached. Turning the hull over, the modeller then fits the multitude of windlasses, cleats, bollards, cable guides onto the foredeck, and ventilation trunks around the front of the B turret barbette. The main breakwater, three two piece anchors, secondary breakwater are then attached, whilst the ventilator trunking for around the rear of B turret barbette are fitted with PE grilles before being glued into position, followed by the third breakwater sections either side of B barbette. The fifty six small mushroom vents, are then fitted around the foredeck, followed by thirty five large vents, two 20mm gun tubs, and numerous deck hatches and lockers. Staying on the foredeck, the torpedo handling mast and two davits are fitted just aft of the first breakwater, followed by the jack staff, eight boat booms, two either side of A turret, two either side of C turret, eight cables reels six winches and two Oerlikons are fitted into the respective positions.

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Moving right aft, the procedure of fitting the various bollards, cleats, and mushroom vents continues, although there aren't quite so many of them. There is a chimney fitted between X turret and the superstructure and the Ensign staff at the stern. The Queen Annes Mansions, or bridge structure to most of us, is made up from a single piece main section, to which the side platforms, internal bays, four aldis lamps and six binocular stations are fitted. The next bridge level is attached, along with its six supports, and aldis lamp platforms. Some etch details are then added to the tower, with the addition of two inclined ladders, railings, and platform supports, followed by several sub-assemblies, including two Oerlikons, the two AA directors and two more aldis lamps. On the top of the bridge structure, there is a small tower, made up from three plastic parts and six PE parts. There is a tub at the top into which the seven piece Type 284 radar mounting. The tower is further detailed with the fitting of a two piece office to the rear, with associated railings and two other unidentifiable parts to the front. The foremast is the attached to the office platform and fitted with a gaff, railings and topped out with the forward Type 281 radar aerial. The main and secondary fire control directors are then attached to their respective mounts and fitted to the bridge roof, whilst to the rear, two more blocks and support beams are fitted. Further detail, such as the two .5 quad machine guns, yardarms, navigation lights, PE vertical ladders and railings are also attached.

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The build now moves onto the funnel, which is made from two halves, and internal structural part, base and funnel top surround, onto which the two piece PE funnel cap is attached. Near the funnel base, there are two lookout posts, each with PE support legs , whilst further up there is a double searchlight platform, with searchlight sub-assemblies, fitted to the rear of the funnel, a walkway to the front and then further enhanced with various vertical ladders, railings and the auxiliary exhaust chimneys. Moving further aft and the construction of the main mast begins with the fitting of the two rear legs to the main pole, between which a double platform is fitted, followed by another double platform glued to the rear of the twin support legs. The star platform is mainly plastic, with all the support braces in PE. This is then fitted to the top of the pole along with a large yardarm, two 0.5 quad machine guns, and two searchlights. The top mast is then attached and fitted with the rear Type 281 radar aerial, vertical ladders, and the Type 272 radar lantern, for which you will need to carefully role the PE parts to shape.

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The build now moves to the superstructure elements, with the fitting of 02 deck to 01, followed a lot more of the smaller, medium and large mushroom ventilators. The aft director block is assembled and topped out with two of the secondary directors and several vertical ladders before being glued into position. To the rear of the superstructure a Type 282 radar array is mounted, whilst in the centre section the cradles for eh ships boats are fitted. On 02 deck, yet more mushroom vents are fitted, along with five large engine intake screens, followed by the mainmast assembly which is finished off with the addition of a large PE inclined ladder. The large inverted cones in the kit are in fact the mountings for the forward pair of eight barrelled PomPoms and are fitted, along with the gun mounting bases and centrally fitted support structure, between where the funnel and bridge assemblies are fitted. The aft PomPom structure is more conventional and is fitted with a director tower before begin attached just forward of the Type 282 array. At the fore end of 02 deck the armoured director hood and control block are glued into position along with two more lookout stations on either side of the bridge position. The bridge and funnel assemblies are now glued into place along with two more intake screens and the large boat handling boom, which is fitted to the mainmast. A smaller deckhouse is fitted to eh aft Pompom platform and topped off with a double Oerlikon platform, whilst to the front of 02 deck three more Oerlikon tubs are fitted. Several areas are now fitted with PE railings. Four of the 4.7 guns, four PomPoms, and eight Oerlikons are fitted, along with the rear main armament director. The ship boats are fitted to their respective cradles and the various Carley floats are attached, as well as the two flag lockers on the bridge. More Carley floats are then fitted around 01 deck, plus ready use lockers, vent hatches and railings. The superstructure is then fitted to the main deck, although the build described above is the way the instructions tell you how to do it, I might add the superstructure first then add all the parts, but its entirely up to you how you build it.

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With the superstructure in place there are still plenty of smaller items to add, such as more vents, inclined ladders, hatches, the ships dinghy on its support cradle on the port side of the bridge structure, two more Oerlikon tubs and their guns, the rear mounted splinter shield for the aft 4.7 guns and the splinter shield mounted right aft for the rear PomPom. The rear 4.7 guns and PomPom are glued into position, along with two more chimneys, five ready use lockers and two more winches. Finally the 16 turrets are fitted into their respective barbettes foreward, and the 6 turrets fitted to theirs aft. The sturdy display stand provided in the kit comes with a nice name plate with raised lettering which will look great when painted up.

Decals
For the size of the model, the decal sheet is actually quite small and contains decals that are mostly for the two Walrus aircraft with roundels for all positions along with the fin flashes. The ship only has the two nameplates for the rear quarters and a selection of Union Jacks and White Ensigns in different sizes and in straight or wavy form. They are nicely produced and appear to have a nice thin carrier film and to be in register.

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Conclusion
Well, what can I say, apart from the fact that I never thought wed see a Nelson and Rodney produced in anything other than 1:700 scale, we now have both in 1:200 and the prospect of having both in 1:350 too, soon. This kit has either been produced by Trumpeters A team, or by the likes of Merit International, as they seem to have got the hull shape and details pretty much spot on from what I can see from researching through my R A Burt books, amongst others. Yes the hull plating is a little overdone and the main deck planking doesn't look right, but these are fairly easy to overcome with a bit of elbow grease and a nice wooden deck. You shouldn't need to buy anything else for it, unless you are a real detail masochist like me, and will wait for the new Mk1 Design release specifically for the Rodney, which is due out pretty soon or something from one of the other detail manufacturers. You are limited to building her form the period of 1942 to the end of 1943, after which the catapult was removed and the 4.7 guns had shields fitted, (although, saying that, the shields are in fact included in the kit, just not mentioned in the instructions), but she never got the upgrades that her sister-ship received. Overall though, this kit will build into a superb looking model, that wont look out of place in a museum or collection, particularly with its spectacular colour scheme, if built with a bit of care and attention of course. Very highly recommended.





Review sample courtesy of
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Weren't they nicknamed Repair and Refit due to dockyard time ??

Otherwise where do you keep a ship this size

D

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I don't know given the hard work the Rodney did without a major overhaul I think she did all right.

Nice looking kit, with this and your other ships you are going to need a bigger house Dave!

Julien

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Weren't they nicknamed Repair and Refit due to dockyard time ??

Otherwise where do you keep a ship this size

D

NO that was Repulse and Renown

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