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Shar2

French Pre-Dreadnought Danton. 1:350

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French Pre-Dreadnought Danton

Hobbyboss 1:350

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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.

 

Danton was laid down at the Arsenal de Brest in February 1906, launched on 4 July 1909, and commissioned into the French Navy on 1 June 1911. The ship 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; 21,755 short tons) at full load and had a crew of 681 officers and enlisted men. She was powered by four Parsons steam turbines with twenty-six Belleville boilers, the first French warship to use turbines. They were rated at 22,500 shaft horsepower (16,800 kW) and provided a top speed of around 19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph). Coal storage amounted to 2,027 t (1,995 long tons; 2,234 short tons).

 

Danton's main battery consisted of four 305mm/45 Modèle 1906 guns mounted in two twin gun turrets, one forward and one aft. The secondary battery consisted of twelve 240mm/50 Modèle 1902 guns in twin turrets, three on either 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 47 mm (1.9 in) guns. The ship was also armed with two 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 conning tower also had 300 mm thick sides.

 

In May 1909, at the launching ceremony for Danton, socialist activists prevented the ship from leaving the stocks. The ship was eventually launched on 4 July 1909. A week after she was completed, she was sent to the United Kingdom in honour of the Coronation of George V in 1911. Upon her return to France, Danton was assigned to the 1st Battle Squadron, along with her sister ships and the two powerful dreadnoughts Courbet and Jean Bart. In 1913, while off Hyères in the Mediterranean, Danton suffered an explosion in one of her gun turrets, which killed three men and injured several others.

Danton served in World War I in the French Mediterranean Fleet. At the outbreak of the war in early August 1914, she was assigned to guard convoys bringing French soldiers from North Africa, to protect from attack by the German battlecruiser SMS Goeben and light cruiser SMS Breslau, which were operating in the area. At the time, she remained in the 1st Battle Squadron alongside her sister ships, under the command of Vice Admiral Chocheprat. By 16 August, the French naval commander, Admiral de Lapeyrère, took the bulk of the French fleet from Malta to the entrance of the Adriatic to keep the Austro-Hungarian Navy bottled up.

 

Danton, commanded by Captain Delage, was torpedoed by U-64, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Robert Moraht, at 13:17 on 19 March 1917, 22 miles (19 nm; 35 km) south-west of Sardinia. The battleship was returning to duty from a refit in Toulon and was bound for the Greek island of Corfu to join the Allied blockade of the Strait of Otranto. Danton was carrying more men than normal, as many were crew members of other ships at Corfu, and had been zig-zagging to foil enemy submarines. The ship sank in 45 minutes; 806 men were rescued by the destroyer Massue and nearby patrol boats, but 296, including Captain Delage, went down with the ship. Massue attacked U-64 with depth charges, but the U-boat successfully evaded her attacker.

 

In February 2009, it was made public that in late 2007 the wreck of the ship was discovered "in remarkable condition" during an underwater survey between Italy and Algeria for the GALSI gas pipeline. The wreck lies at 38°45′35″N 8°3′30″E, a few kilometres away from where it had been thought she sank, sitting upright with many of her gun turrets intact at a depth of over 1,000 metres (550 fathoms; 3,300 ft).

 

The Model

This is the first Pre-Dreadnought release of the year, with at least three more to be released this year and a very welcome release it is too, with the hope that there will be many more to come. 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.

 

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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 exceptions being a couple of the loose parts, where they have become detached from the sprue and will need the a bit more cleaning up.  The instructions are well printed and very clearly mark the positioning of parts and sub-assemblies along with a nicely printed painting guide.

 

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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.

 

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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 are then glued to the deck, whilst along each side there are more PE doors, vertical ladders and plastic boat booms are glued into position.

 

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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.

 

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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 form 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.

 

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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; ships name plates and a white funnel band. They are nicely printed with good opacity and in register. The ship is painted in Dark Sea Grey overall, with the option of having green or red antifouling.

 

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Conclusion

At last, we are seeing the promised release of the pre-dreadnoughts. This is great looking kit and from the research I did for this review it looks pretty accurate, although the middle side turret extension may not be correct, depending on which pictures you view. I’ll let you decide on that one, but to me it’s not quite the right shape. Other than that, it should be an enjoyable build and I’m sure the aftermarket people will be releasing some more etch for it.

 

 

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Review sample courtesy of
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Strange looking boat...

this kit went completely out of my radar scope.

thanks Dave.

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2 hours ago, Antoine said:

 

this kit went completely out of my radar scope.

 

Oh la vache !

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Saw this kit a Starling Models last week. A lovely looking kit and a really interesting subject.

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Great review! I believe Hobby Boss are releasing the entire Danton family, along with HMS Lord Nelson and HMS Agamemnon. I still waiting for HMS Queen Elizabeth or any of her sisters in WWI fit, and any German or Austro-Hungarian Pre-Dreadnought. SMS Nassau would be nice, too.

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Seydlitz 

Von Der Tann

Derfflinger

Lutzow 

Goeben 

Scharnhorst 

That would be a good start  on the   Hoch See Flotte  

 

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1 hour ago, Panzer Vor!!! said:

Seydlitz 

Von Der Tann

Derfflinger

Lutzow 

Goeben 

Scharnhorst 

That would be a good start  on the   Hoch See Flotte  

 

 

I forget to mention Hobby Boss are releasing SMS Seydlitz in 1/350. Combrig do Scharnhorst and Seydlitz in resin with Von Der Tann coming soon, though they would also be nice in plastic.

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