Zvezda 1/350 HMS Dreadnought

KIT #: 9039
PRICE: $95.00 SRP
REVIEWER: John Doerr
NOTES: There is some ambiguity about the placement of the secondary armament and the color call outs are completely wrong


Vittorio Cuniberti, an Italian naval architect, conceived and published the idea of the all big gun battleship in 1903.  Following the Battle of Tsushima, it was noted and the 12 inch (30 cm) guns were the most effective of the weapons used and at much longer ranges than previously imagined.  Also observed was that the shell splashes of the larger intermediary guns made it difficult to discern  the shell splashes from the main battery.  Cuniberti published his conception in Jane's Fighting Ships

 The Japanese were first off the mark to build the all big gun battleship, the Satsuma.  However, because of a  shortage of the Armstrong type 1904 12 inch guns, she was completed with only four 12 inch  guns.  Due to that, the new type were called Dreadnoughts and not Satsumas

 It is a fresh wind that blows against the empire.  Through out the later part of his career Sir Jackie Fisher strove to clear away the dead wood of useless tradition that he saw clogging the modernization of the Royal Navy (RN).  After his elevation to First Sea Lord he scrapped 90 ships that were totally outmoded and whose only use was to inflate the ship count of the RN.  He convened the “Committee on Designs” whose only purpose was to deflect criticism of the already decided characteristics of the new all big gun battleship.  The other major breakthrough was the use to steam turbines.  These would provide a higher top speed and be relatively vibrationless, as compared the current triple expansion engines.  The top speed of the current engines was around 18 knots.  While capable of perhaps more, the effect was to set the whole ship shaking which was highly detrimental to accurate gunnery.  The First Sea Lord wanted a ship capable of 21 knots, carrying 12 inch guns with a secondary, anti torpedo boat, armament of 12 pound (75 mm, three inch)  Quick Firing (QF) guns

 To facilitate speed of construction, materials were stock piled and many items prefabricated prior to the formal laying down.  Due to these precautions the Dreadnought was launched in only four months time. The RN had stolen a march on the battleship revolution

 From 1907 until 1911 the Dreadnought was the flagship of the home fleet.  As newer and more powerful ships entered service she was relegated to being a the flagship of a division and later a squadron  The Dreadnought missed the clash of the battleships at Jutland.  She was under refit at the time.  The only action she was to see was the ramming of the German U-boat U-29 on 18 March, 1915 and is the only battleship credited with sinking an enemy submarine

 Immediately after the war the Dreadnought was paid off for refit but was subsequently sold off for scrap


 The Kit comes in a sturdy box with a top opening flap secured by three tabs,  It is reminiscent of the old ProModler/Monogram boxes only far more sturdy.  I found it to be more protective and less prone to falling open than the traditional lid and tray boxes

 Inside you will find 315 parts, on six trees, one of which is clear, a stand, a paper flag and a decal sheet.  Each tree except for the D trees are packed in individual cello bags.  The bags are not sealed so the tree may returned to it's protective bag .The two D trees are in one bag.  Tree A is the hull halves.  Tree B contains most of the large pieces.  Tree C contains the intermediary to small pieces.  There are two D trees containing most of the small to tiny bits.   The clear parts include the searchlight lenses and the bridge cabins.  The idea is to paint them gray while leaving the windows clear

The parts appear precise, fine and well molded.  The masts are some of this thinnest I have ever seen in an injection molded kit.  The 12 pound QF guns are a marvel and look precisely scaled.  The plastic is on the soft side and care must taken when separating and trimming

 The instructions are the standard, international style pictorial, type on A4 paper.  For the most part the are clear enough.  The part requiring enlightened skepticism is the placement of the 12 pound secondary armament and the color call outs.  While doing my research that the arrangement of the secondary armament was revised several times and the placement of the 12 pound guns in the instructions matches none of them, nor the original plans.  I ended up saving a profile of the 1907 refit and will base my placement on that.  I am not sure that is totally accurate either.

 I have no idea who did the research for Zvezda on the colors but he was clearing looking through psychedelic glasses.  Unfortunately there are no color photos, obviously, and some black and whites that one wag described as bad scans of badly distorted photos due way too much photocopying.  About the only use I found for them, a far a color goes, was looking for contrast between varying  parts of the ship and say, the ships boats

 As far as painting goes; one's best guess is what is called for and research.  I have seen that the color of the RN ships was noted as as home fleet dark gray and North Sea dark gray.  In the photos it appears lighter than any dark gray I am accustomed to seeing.  I know of no available paints covering the RN in WW I.  I would test swatches of medium and dark grays to see what appears to be closest.  Also as far as I know the RN painted their decks the same color as the hulls, except for the splinter decks.  Essentially the ship should be the same color from the water line up


I picked this up when I first saw it at my local shop.  The fact that is was $16.00 cheaper than on line did not hurt either.  I have been fascinated by WWI battleships so how could I not get this one.  Time will tell whether it is a good build or not.  I found the Zvezda 1/350 Suvorov a nightmare of ill fitting parts but in the box this kit looks terrific. 








John Doerr

October 2011

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