|KIT:||Trumpeter 1/350 HMS Hood|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||New Mold (2006)|
"HMS Hood, a 42,100-ton battlecruiser built at Clydebank, Scotland, was completed in March 1920. For more than two decades, she was the World's largest warship and, with her long, low hull and finely balanced silhouette, was to many the embodiment of "big-gun" era seapower. During her travels in European waters and far away, Hood actively represented Great Britain throughout her career. Her first cruise, in 1920, was to Scandanavia. The next year she went down to Gibraltar and Spain and in 1922 visited Brazil and the West Indies. After a brief call on Denmark and Norway in 1923, Hood was flagship on a eleven-month cruise around the World, accompanied by the smaller battlecruiser Repulse and a number of light cruisers. In 1925, she called on Lisbon to help commemorate Portugal's contributions to navigation and exploration.
For ten years after 1925, Hood was assigned to the Royal Navy's Home and Atlantic Fleets, operating primarily around Europe, with a visit to the West Indies in 1932. She served with the Mediterranean Fleet in 1936-39, protecting British interests during the Spanish Civil War. Back with the Home Fleet after mid-1939, Hood operated in the North Atlantic and North Sea through the first part of World War II and received minor damage in a German air attack on 26 September 1939, an event that demonstrated the relative ineffectiveness of contemporary anti-aircraft gunfire. In June and July 1940, the battlecruiser was in the Mediterranean area. She was flagship during the 3 July Mers-el-Kebir battle, the most dramatic and destructive of several incidents in which the British Navy seized, interned, destroyed or attempted to destroy the warships of their recent ally, France. These acts were undertaken on Government orders to allay fears that the French Navy might fall into German hands.
Hood spent the remainder of her service operating from Scapa Flow, covering the North Sea and Atlantic from the threat of German surface raiders. She was now elderly, overloaded, and burdened with an inadequate armoring arrangement. However, her great operational value had acted through the 1930s to prevent the Royal Navy from taking her out of service for a badly-needed modernization, and now it was too late. In May 1941, in company with the new battleship Prince of Wales, she was sent out to search for the German battleship Bismarck, which had left Norway for the Atlantic. On the morning of 24 May, the two British capital ships found the enemy to the west of Iceland. In the resultingBattle of the Denmark Strait, one or more of Bismarck's fifteen-inch shells got into Hood's after magazines. They erupted in a massive explosion. The great ship sank in moments with all but three of her large crew, an event that shocked the Royal Navy, the British nation and the entire World. HMS Hood's remains were located and photographed by a British deep sea expedition in July 2001."
There is something about the HMS Hood that fascinates ship modelers. I daresay that this is probably one of the more built and desired ships around. For many years, rumors of an injected plastic Hood have been circulating, and before the demise of the original ICM, it was on their short list of kits to be produced. Now Trumpeter has released what many have been awaiting in 1/350 scale.
Some preliminary commentary on test shots have been less than kind regarding this kit and there are rumors and suppositions that this may well be the still-borne ICM kit, finished off by Trumpeter. Your reviewer does not know, though it is in the realm of possibility. Regardless, the kit is now here and though I'm not a dyed-in-the-wool ship fanatic, it sure looks like a very nicely done kit to me.
First thing I noticed (aside from how big this is) is that there was absolutely no flash anywhere and I could find no sink areas, even on the thicker bits. Typical of Trumpeter ship kits, the ejector pin marks were on the back side of bits. Detail level seemed quite good, with nicely done moldings where you could see the detail on the hatches and the small gutters above each of the portholes. Separate ladders are included as are the usual plethora of ship's boats and guns. The main gun barrels are semi drilled out so that one merely adds a bit of paint to give the illusion of depth. Outer bulkheads are separate and added to an inner core, as in other Trumpeter ship kits. This facilitates painting the deck as one can simply paint the bulkheads separately and then attach them. Most of the larger deck fittings (such as splash guards and ventilators) are separate parts as well so can be pre-painted before installation.
Several of the sprues are duplicated (those with the main guns and the stacks, for instance) so there will be parts not used. A small etched fret in included, this is for the ship's crane and a few other bits. in line with other Trumpeter ship kits, the option is available for either a waterline or full hulled version. According to the instructions, there is an optional metal parts set for the main guns, smaller AA guns and props, though this was not included in the kit. A small decal sheet (not shown) provides flags.
The instructions are very well done and show all the parts placement in an easy to follow format. Included is a full color painting guide with Gunze and generic paint references. No fancy camouflage on this one, just a standard navy grey with a tan deck.
It looks to me as if Trumpeter has a very nice kit and from all the anticipation surrounding its release, I'm sure that it will sell quite well.
My thanks to Stevens International, the US Trumpeter Importer, for the preview kit.
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