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1/600 HMS Benbow 1940

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Gidday All, here's my latest completion, a battleship built for the 2019 Airfix 'What If' Group Build on the ATF (Airfix Tribute Forum). This is an Airfix "HMS Iron Duke" kit in 1/600 scale and depicts what a sister-ship HMS Benbow might have looked like if retained instead of scrapped and refitted as a convoy escort to ward off raiders. The ship lost one of it's twin 13.5-inch turrets and all of the 6-inch casemate guns. It was ultimately armed with eight 13.5-inch guns in four twin turrets, twelve 4-inch AA guns in six twin mountings, sixteen 2lb pompoms in two octuple mountings and sixteen .5cal Vickers machine-guns in four quad mounts. Although somewhat obsolete and outgunned by more modern battleships she could still pack a punch. Her secondary and AA outfits were also somewhat sparse, but her area of operations was to be mid Atlantic, where destroyer and aircraft attacks were unlikely.

     Here is HMS Benbow as she might have appeared in 1940.

HMS Benbow 1940 jm2 HMS Benbow 1940 jm3 HMS Benbow 1940 jm5 HMS Benbow 1940 jm10

I scratch-built the main mast assembly and fore top mast, and like the way they turned out. Also the twin 4-inch guns. They were from an Airfix 'HMS Ajax' kit but considerably altered. The removable main turrets turned out to be very convenient and I think I'll do this in the future, if possible. Although I tried to 'flesh-out' the superstructure I think it still looks very WW1-ish, particularly with the very prominent protrusion of the bridge/compass platform. I omitted the 6-inch casemate guns, extended the foc'sle deck aft, and added a deckhouse in lieu of 'Q' turret. I replaced all the boats with those from WW2 vintage kits, replaced the searchlight platform on the rear funnel with a scratch built one, replaced the range-finder mounted on top of the armoured conning tower and added a HACS (High Angle Control Station) above the spotting top. The octuple pompom mountings came from a 'Belfast' kit and the quad machine-guns came from 'Ajax' and 'Hotspur' kits.

     I would have liked to have added more detail, such as door hatches, lockers, hawser reels etc but time was a bit limited. Still, I'm happy with how the model turned out and enjoyed doing it. I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but to me she looks a purposeful and balanced vessel.

     Regards to all, Jeff.

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Great job! This is indeed plausible, given the reconstruction of (say) the Andrea Doria class in the 1930s. The UK had enough newer dreadnoughts that this was never likely for the Iron Duke class, even if they didn't have to be demilitarised as a consequence of the 1930 London Naval Treaty.

Edited by klr
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