MiniHobby 1/350 King GeorgeV
HMS King George V was the lead ship of her class of five battleships, her sisters were Prince of Wales, Duke of York, Anson and Howe. The King George V class battleships were designed in accordance to the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 and as a result were limited to a 35,000 ton displacement. King George V was built by the Vickers-Armstrong yard at Newcastle upon Tyne; she was laid down on January 1, 1937 and commissioned on December 11, 1940. King George Vís main armament consisted of 10 14-inch guns mounted in three turrets, she had a tower bridge similar to other British battleships of the time period and her antiaircraft armament evolved throughout the war.
King George Vís most famous action of the Second World War was the battle against the Bismarck in May 1941. Following the Bismarck action King George V was assigned to cover convoys in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean thereafter. In 1944 King George V was reassigned to the British Pacific Fleet and served in that theatre until the end of the war.
Post-war King George V served in the British Home Fleet until 1950; afterwards she was put into reserve and broken up at Dalmuir in 1957.
The MiniHobby 1/350 King George V is almost a copy of the Tamiya kit put out by Trumpeter under a different label. Early in Trumpeterís history, they were known for basing their kit on other manufacturerís kits. Those days have since passed, and today Trumpeter is the dominant player in the 1/350 ship market. I picked up my copy from a hobby store in Hong Kong and my copy of the kit is dated from 2009, so it seems that Trumpeter still produces these copies for the local market long after their masterpiece ships such as Nimitz and Hood.
Upon opening the box one is greeted by neatly packed sprues and a hull that is secured by a cardboard frame. A full hull option and a waterline plate are provided, a feature that will be seen in Trumpeterís later ship kits. A small motor is also provided should anyone want to make their battleship into a bathtub toy. The decal sheet is quite simple and contains various Royal Navy flags that can be affixed to the finished model. The instruction manual should look familiar to anyone who was built a Trumpeter ship kit.
The parts present in the kit are nearly identical to the Tamiya kit, though the details are softer and the quality of the moldings is poorer. I actually have a Tamiya Prince of Wales so I was able to do a side-by-side comparison and take a few photos. The turrets shown are just an example of how the Tamiya kit outshines the MiniHobby copy. Where the Tamiya parts have a smooth finish, the MiniHobby pieces have a rougher finish and the details are much softer. The biggest let down of the MiniHobby kit is the lower hull, the inboard propeller shafts are molded into the hull and are essentially walls that look nothing like a propeller shaft. With the poor lower hull most modelers would probably be better off doing a waterline model, though I personally prefer my ships full hull. The porthole detail on the hull is also quite poor and may require some drilling to make the hull presentable.
The model depicts King George V in her late war fit, so thereís only one paint scheme possible for the kit. The modelís vertical surfaces should be a light grey with a dark blue-grey panel on the hull. Wood decks should be natural teak and the steel decks should be dark grey. Modelers who want to represent King George V in her earlier fits would actually be better off getting a Prince of Wales kit.
I actually quite like the kit, even given all of its flaws. Itís a quirky kit that can only be found in parts of Asia and makes for neat comparison to the Tamiya version. Iíll definitely enjoy building this next to the Tamiya Prince of Wales.
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