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Paul A H

HMS Belfast - 1:600 (A04212V)

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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.






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 as part of Airfix's new Vintage Classics range, which brings a sense of openness about the age and origin of the moulds to an otherwise unsuspecting public. 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. The part count is pretty high and there is actually quite a lot of detail, but the mouldings themselves are rather soft compared to their modern equivalents. Due to the age of the moulds there is some flash, particularly on some of the smaller parts such as the anti-aircraft guns. I won't go into the construction process for this kit, but suffice to say the part count is surprisingly high for a vintage kit, and 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. 




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. 




Review sample courtesy of 


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