Trumpeter 1/350 HMS Hood

By Bob Pearson

Introduction

Considered the most handsome ship of the 'tween wars period, HMS Hood is now more famous for her loss to the German battleship Bismarck on 24 May 1941. When originally designed in 1915, she was to be the epitomy of the battlecruiser genre, however events at Jutland led to design changes that delayed her completion until 1920. Even then vertical protection was stll inadequate as future events were to show.

During the 1920s and '30s Hood was used to show the flag around the world and came to symbolize the might of the Royal Navy. Witht he declaration of war in September 1939, Hood was found serving as the flagship of the Home Fleet's Battlecruiser Squadron. She went for her final refit between March-May 1940, upon completion of which she became the flagship of Force 'H' based at Gibraltar, by August she was once again wearing the flag of the Home Fleet's Battlecruiser Sqn, where she remained until that fateful day in May 1941.

At 0535 on 24 May 1941 Prince of Wales reported enemy in sight and Hood opened fire at 0552 at Prinz Eugen, which she had mistaken for Bismarck. Bismarck, in trun opened fire on Hood, hitting her with her third salvo and then again with her fifth. Flames immediately erupted and Hood broke in two adn quickly sank leaving three survivors out of a crew of 1419.

The Kit

Previously anyone wanting a large scale Hood had to make do with the Lindberg Line's kit of dubious scale and detail - that it could be built into a reasonable Hood says a lot about those who cared to go to the extremes to do so. The Lindberg kit was part of their series of large scale ships designed with a motor, and as such scale fidelity wasn't a major concern, not when you could program it to sail in a figure eight!

For the last few years various manufacturers have been threatningto release a 1/350 Hood, but it was left up to the prolific Trumpeter to actually do so as an injected kit - and what a kit. The box measures 31x10x3 and reveals the contents (533 pieces according to the boxtop) quite securely packaged within. The hull was wrapped with a foam sheet, while the various sprues are packaged two to a bag and in two further sections of the main box.

The hull is in three pieces, allowing for both waterline and full hull options. Test fitting of the full hull shows no gaps and a nice seam should result. The upper hull has a few sinkholes at the extreme stern. Moulded on detail is minimal and consists of portholes and the degaussing cable. The prominent plating on the bow area is a little overdone, but is visible in photos of the real ship.

The main deck is in four pieces, all of which have finely engraved planking with commendably thin splinter shields around the various gun positions.

The superstructure is built up of interconnecting bulkheads in the manner of Airfix kits. Detail on these parts is limited to portholes, doors and ladders.

Armament is on two identical sprues - the result of which leaves you with two extra 15" turrets for some future scratchbuild.. ...besides the 15" mounts, you are given eight 4" mounts (one extra), four Pom-poms, (one extra) and four .5" quad machine gun mounts. The instructions show that metal gun barrels are offered separately if so desired.

Assorted boats are included on the same sprue as the funnels, ladders, propellors and various reels. There are two of these sprues.

To round out the plastic parts there is a base to display the ship on as well as a name plate.

A full colour drawings is included showing both sides and the plan view of the ship, decals are included with various ensigns and a small PE sheet with ladders, radar and yardarm complete the package.

The instructions are in a 20 page booklet divided into 19 steps. Each step is shown with the usual exploded view drawing.

For those wondering about the lack of an aircraft, Hood was one of the few major warships to noit carry one. She originally carried flying off platforms on B and X turrets, these were replaced in her 1929-31 refit by a quarterdeck catapult, however this was difficult to use in anything but calm weather and was soon deleted as well.

Conclusion

The Trumpeter Hood certainly looks good in the box and test fittings reveal no problems. With the addition of one of the aftermarket PE sets from Tom's Modelworks or White Ensign Models, the builder should have a most striking representation of this famed ship.

My thanks to Stevens International for the review sample

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