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Recent build of the reissued classic Airfix 1:600 HMS Hood

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I have a memory, which I hope is not a false memory, of first building this kit rather crudely as a young lad. I recollect I even made a partially successful attempt to make it bath worthy, if not seaworthy. Back then I had little knowledge of Hood’s history, but a few years back an episode on Hood in the BBC Scotland TV documentary series “Clyde built – The Ships that made the Commonwealth” piqued my interest and I did some further reading on the “Mighty ‘ood”. John Roberts’ technically detailed “The Battle Cruiser Hood” in Conway’s “Anatomy of the Ship” series being a key source. I built and completed it during the last few months of working life prior to COVID lockdown and retirement. I make model aircraft primarily, but hope to complete some further naval subjects in the future, perhaps at larger scale.

Best known I guess for being sunk by the Kriegsmarine “Pocket” battleship Bismark in the Denmark Strait off Iceland in May 1941 with the loss of all but 3 of her hands, her story and fame is so much more than her terrible end. Designed by chief naval architect Sir Eustace Tennyson d’Eynecourt at the outset of WWI, she was the first and only Admiral Class Battlecruiser built and an attempt to combine the firepower of a Battleship with the speed of a Cruiser – hence she had long elegant lines and carried less armour than a Battleship. Her keel was laid on the day of the Battle of Jutland, when the vulnerability of ships equipped predominantly with belt armour to so called plunging fire falling on decks at extreme range really became apparent. This led to a hiatus in Hood’s build while Sir Eustace modified her plans to include further deck plating as further protection against plunging fire. She never received the final 3” thick deck armour over the aft magazines as planned by Sir Eustace, but even so the additional weight of the deck plating that was added lowered her effective freeboard and led to Hood being known as the Navy’s largest submarine when she was in service, because her Quarter deck was usually awash when at sea. She entered service in 1920 and was the largest warship in the World, plus the pride of the Royal Navy for many years. The lack of effective deck armour was to prove Hood’s downfall when she was straddled by a salvo from Bismark on that fateful day in May 1941. One or two shells are thought to have hit the shelter deck near the main mast and penetrated through to her aft 15” shell magazine, which erupted in a huge explosion and broke the ship’s back. Within minutes, she plunged to the seabed in two pieces with loss of almost her entire crew.

As with all ships with a such long service record and unlike Bismark, which was also lost in action shortly after Hood in 1941 on her first major operational sortie, Hood had several refits and reconfigurations over her 20 plus year service. Out of the box, the kit appears to represent Hood as she would have appeared around the mid-1930s, so I decided to build her as she may have appeared circa mid-1936, when she was flagship of the Home Fleet and prior to her stint as flag ship of the Mediterranean fleet.

This old kit is something of a simplification and the fit of the parts is a little off, but with a bit of care, plenty of Mr. Surfacer and much sanding, it proved possible to produce out of the box what I consider to be a reasonable looking model for the scale. To be honest, there’s no doubt a list of kit inaccuracies much longer than those here below, but I’m not skilled enough to make a detailed likeness of any object at 1:600 scale and no amount of after-market add-on’s and modification could ever satisfy the dedicated rivet counter in me, so with only a few modifications I decided to accept it for the relatively crude approximation that it is. Sorry, there are no handrails!

The hull cross section is somewhat suspect due in part to the lack of the pronounced below water line bulges formed by the torpedo crush tubes along the hull sides. Also, the foredeck cutwaters are way too shallow as moulded. The bilge keels are also absent from the kit hull sides, so I created these as best I could with plastic card. The shape of the main gun turrets is a bit suspect, plus their mounting spigots were moulded way off centre and had to be cut off and reattached so that the turrets located correctly. The rear of the shelter deck required the insertion of a 1mm thick plastic card shim to meet the hull sides correctly and there are no funnel top grids supplied with the kit. The supplied mast starfish are also sadly best described as approximations.

The white canvas blast protectors on the main guns were added using plastic putty and I also had an attempt at recreating the wireless yard and gaff missing from the main mast plus the signal yards missing from the foremast with stretched sprue, then started to add in various rigging lines. However, I am ashamed to admit that I lost steam on this one and have yet to finish the ship’s rigging and radio lines, although I could well go back to the task in time. Even in its admittedly incomplete state, I hope it can be considered a worthy memorial for a gallant ship and crew.




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Gidday Nelly, this is a great model of the ship, and I like the mods that you've done. From info in the "Anatomy of the Ship" book I thought the model represented the ship in about 1932-33-ish, very close to your deduction. I knew that the quarterdeck was nearly always awash in a seaway but I've never heard of her being called the navy's largest submarine. 🙂 Thanks for the info. Regards, Jeff.

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