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In-Box Review
1350
HMS Roberts
HMS Roberts Monitor
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by: Todd Michalak [ TRM5150 ]


Originally published on:
Model Shipwrights

Introduction

Since the time of the American Civil War the Monitor class of ships has been deployed by many navies around the world. The Monitor style ships are typically small in stature, lighter with a shallow draught and usually supporting a dispassionately large caliber main single or double gun mounted in an equally disproportionate barbette. Utilizing the shallow draught and big guns made the monitor a formidable force for close to shore bombardment and/or support.

Leading up to the outset of the Second World War, Britain had all but scrapped their surplus of monitors within the Royal Navy. There were two Great War leftovers ready to fight, both Erebus Class Monitors; the HMS Erebus and her sister ship HMS Terror. Having a need for close to shore combat and coastal bombardment in shallow water, the Royal Navy ordered two new Monitors to be constructed to serve alongside the Erebus and Terror; the result was the Roberts Class Monitor. Only two ships were constructed for this class, the HMS Roberts and the HMS Abercrombie.

The Roberts Class Monitors weighted in fully loaded at just over 9000 tons. With a beam of 89 feet and an overall length of 373 feet, these two Monitors were certainly not the biggest fish in the sea but each ship packed the punch 4x2 4 inch guns, 16x2 pdr Pom Pom’s, 20x20mm guns all topped off with the main armament being the 2x15/42 MK 1 guns in a single turret. This main gun certainly enforced the ugly duckling look to these new ships. The ships were designed with a higher placement of the observation platform to give a better shot on target view.

The HMS Roberts had seen service supporting the landings in North Africa where she took the brunt of two 500kg bombs. After repair, she would go on to support the Allied invasion or Sicily and Salerno as well as coastal bombardments off Sword Beach during the D-Day Invasions and taking part in the Walcheren Operations. The HMS Roberts would finish out here illustrious career as an accommodation ship after WWII until she was eventually scrapped in 1965.

The Kit

The 1/350th scale HMS Roberts Monitor model no. 05335 from Trumpeter, comes in a sturdy slip top cardboard box with an artist’s rendition depicting this ship on the cover. Each of the styrene sprue trees along with all of the bulk parts are individually sealed in plastic bags and there is considerable amounts of photo etch parts included in this kit.

Contents

The following is included in the Trumpeter HMS Roberts Monitor kit:
  • 1 – Styrene sprue tree containing the hull halves (A)
  • 1 – Styrene weather deck section (Loose)
  • 8 – Styrene sprue trees (C, D, 2xE, 2xF, H, K)
  • 3 – Styrene superstructure sections (loose in one bag)
  • 1 – Black Styrene stand (base)
  • 3 – Photo etch sheets
  • 1 – Length of chain
  • 1 – Decal sheet
  • 1 – Instruction booklet
  • 1 – Painting guide

Review

There is a total of 557 parts including the photo etch sheets contained in this kit. The sprues are laid out nicely and all are individually sealed in their own polystyrene bags. Trumpeter has always made a great effort in protecting the parts in the kit through their packaging. There are two of the sprue trees are partially covered with foam wraps to protect delicate parts. With close inspection, all of the parts are molded clean, crisp and with little to no flash on the parts.

The two-piece hull nicely molded and is closely representative of what is seen on the original ship including the many recessed port holes and surface details. The construction of the two halve includes the use of three internal bulkhead plates for support. The model builder may want to consider drilling the portholes out to add some definition to the look. The weather deck section for the HMS Roberts model is a one-piece mold. After a bit of research on the HMS Roberts and the Monitors as a whole, I found there is very little information as to the deck construction of this class other than one reference to the HMS Abercrombie, sister ship to the Roberts, having deck armor in place upon commissioning. This would substantiate the flat, non-planked deck appearance to the deck found on the molded kit part.

A quick cleaning of the hull pieces to see the basic fit shows a small gap that runs down between the two halves. This is fairly typical with many ship models and once glued a small amount of filler may be needed to close the gap. Another quick dry fit was attaching the deck to the hull parts loosely. This was an exceptional fit showing no gaps the entire length around the perimeter of the deck.

The most prominent feature to the Roberts is of course the 2x15/42 MK 1 barbette which rise high out of the main deck just in front of the main superstructure. The main battery of the HMS Roberts was placed atop a multi-faceted turret platform. Due to the shallow draught to the Monitor, the full MK 1 battery used on many of the capital ships in the Royal Navy needed to be extended above the deck. The turret supplied with this kit is molded cleanly and closely represents the original turret fund on the Roberts. There is an option of the barrels being either stationary placement or movable elevation. Now although the barrels are nicely molded the barrels are a bit chunky in appearance and the end of the barrels seems to have a thicker banding adding thickness to the muzzle section of the barrel. This is not a feature present on the 15/42 barrels. This was most likely added by accident after looking at photos of one of the original barrels on display at the Imperial War Museum in London. The end of the barrel is painted white and from a distance appears to be thicker; however, this is not the case. The first option I can offer is to simply sanding down the end of the barrel so that it meets up smoothly matching the section of the barrel just before the muzzle section. The second option I can provide would be for an aftermarket barrel replacement.

Trumpeter did a decent job in regards to the superstructures. All of the sidewalls and porthole placements are close to what is seen on the original ship. There are some of the eyebrow drip caps for the postholes that appear to be offset a touch. This is not too noticeable for most and an easy fix if the builder wants to do a quick sanding and glue some stretch sprue in place. Like with the portholes on the hull, the main superstructure portholes are recessed, the drilling out of the portholes for definition is an option. There seems to be one penetration in the main superstructure on the front at the top that was present on the actual HMS Roberts that do not seem to be on the model. This was most likely an oddly shaped viewport or window. This window can be added if so desired by simply drilling then hole in the appropriate locations and filing to the desired shape.

The deck features are molded fairly decent. The 20mm and 40mm Pom Pom’s wells have the thin appearance bringing the piece into scale. The same thin molding was applied to the breakwater with close to accurate ribbing and supports. The life boat supports at the stern of the ship seem thick but should be acceptable after placement of the life boats and other deck features and railings and such, these would not be noticed to much. Many of the peripheral items such as ships anchors, life rafts and floor plates for the gun-wells are crisply detailed.

Trumpeter’s HMS Roberts Monitor kit comes with an extensive compliment of photo etch parts. There are three separate sheets providing numerous upgrades. The is a complete set of the ship’s railings included as well as the starfish platforms, radar antenna and various brackets for overhangs on the superstructures. Many of the ladders and stairways are included as well. The added detail of the photo etch adds a tremendous amount of detail to this build and is not too overly complex in respect to bends and attachment as to scare off any would-be ship builders that typically shy away from photo etch (PE).

The only decals included in this kit are two scales White Ensign or St. George’s Ensign Flags. The placement for the White Ensign Flags appears to be off from the normal Royal Navy placement. White underway, a Royal Navy vessel must display the White Ensign. Typically the white would be hung from one of the Gaffs off of the forward and/or aft mast points. Also, the White ensign could be flown from the Flagstaff which is the small vertically attached mast at the stern of the ship. Please note, the instructions call for the flags to be attached at the top of the mast contradicting the typical placement of this flag by the Royal Navy standards.

The instructions booklet is laid out nicely in a standard black and white exploded view format spread out over sixteen pages. The first two pages of the instructions show the parts legend for this kit, the rest devoted to parts installation. The instructions are presented clearly and easy to follow. Each of the photo etch parts are denoted by a ‘PE’ in the instructions. I would suggest to someone building this kit to take a highlighting pen and mark the entire photo etch parts listed on each page prior to starting the model as this would make it easy to see when the parts need to be installed.

Conclusion

I feel the HMS Roberts Monitor from Trumpeter is a well-made kit even though there are a few minor discrepancies; as with most plastic molded kits originating from the original engineered planning of the kit, but the parts are molded cleanly and there is little to no flash on the parts and the details are sharp. I only managed to see a tiny amount of flash on the 20mm gun barrels; certainly nothing a sharp #11 hobby knife blade could take care of easy enough as well as some mold seems on many of the round parts such as the cranes, masts and some of the smaller barrels; again this is typical and easily taken care of with a light scraping with a sharp blade or light sanding.

There is a slight lapse in accuracy to the 15” MK1 main guns with this kit as they are a bit chucky at the muzzle of the barrels. This can be corrected rather easily with a sanding of the tip of the barrel to the thickness of the part of the barrel just before the thickening, tapering to the tip of the muzzle. Another viable option would be a replacement aftermarket barrel. I did manage to find an excellent outsourcing for barrel replacement for this kit. B&D Barrels carries the two brass barrel replacements sold in one set to the correct accuracy issues. The price is too good not to buy them; $6 US investment, no shipping cost in the US and more than reasonable amount for shipment everywhere else in the world. As part of this review, I have added a few pictures of the B & D Barrels replacement barrels I purchased to show the comparison..

The added benefits of the three photo etch sheets not only will add a great deal of details to the model but value as well. Often I see many ship model kits sold without such items as PE railings and other fittings resulting in spending more money on aftermarket purchases. This is not the standard amount of PE added to this kit either; there is three full sheets. From the railing, ladder and platform to the watertight doors, funnel caps and more, all the extra PE will add a tremendous amount of fine detailing to the model.

In the end, I will recommend this kit as I do feel this is a decently made kit with lots of great details despite the incorrect barrel shape and the missing superstructure penetration as these are all easily corrected with a little planning and patience. The overall kit is engineered nicely and the added compliment of extensive photo etch parts make for an even better built model in the end. There will need to be a little bit of modelling experience needed to build this kit mainly due to the high photo etch parts count but should prove to be enjoyable for most modelers that are fans of the nautical and subject genres.

Todd's Build Log

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B&D Barrels Live links
SUMMARY
Highs: A nicely engineered kit with a pile of PE and plenty of details throughout.
Lows: The 15/42 MK1 Main barrels are incorrect and need fixing or replacing. Minor detailing missed on superstructure.
Verdict: This is a decent kit with plenty details, goodies and potential after some minor improvements.
Percentage Rating
90%
  Scale: 1:350
  Mfg. ID: 05335
  Suggested Retail: $63.99 US
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jun 04, 2014
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 95.48%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 84.63%

Our Thanks to Stevens International!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Todd Michalak (TRM5150)
FROM: MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES

I am building what I like, when I like and how I like it; having fun doing it. I have been building and finishing models on and off my whole life but the past ten years things really exploded. Just about anything goes when it comes to hitting the bench, but wrecked armor, rusted hulks, ships or ...

Copyright ©2017 text by Todd Michalak [ TRM5150 ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Wow another kit added to the wish list! If Trumpeter are prepared to manufacter this class of ship surely a Nelson or Rodney can't be far away and hopefully an Ark Royal?
JUN 04, 2014 - 03:36 AM
Just go mine last night. Beautiful little kit. Everything is there except glue and paint. Man it is little - and rather "odd" looking.
JUN 07, 2014 - 07:16 PM
Is it my imagination, or is Trumpeter slowly getting their $#!+ together and making better models? I especially like that amount of PE. Except for new barrels and maybe AA, very little in the way of AM seems to be needed. Looks like I'll have to make a hole in my stash for a new box!
JUN 08, 2014 - 11:19 AM
Hey Biggles! You are correct in Trumpy is getting their "S**T" together...LOL!! I am finding there futher I get into the build the more I like. I also agree with you on the AA and various barrels. The kit supplied would suffice and there is even the possibility the 4: guns could be drilled out, but I caved and picked some AM...20mm and 4" in addition to those 2 Big Guns from B&D. I will have an update later today on my progress and will show what I replaced and why more or less. This doesn't take away from the kit by all means but just offers an avenue to go down if someone wanted too!
JUN 08, 2014 - 11:50 AM
Looks like I spoke too soon! LINK
JUN 08, 2014 - 12:08 PM
There are some additions to what comes with the kit there but I am not sure if the extras are worth the buy...personal judgement call there. All of the ladders, stairs and railings are supplied. The added railing for the 40mm POM POM's are needed and I suppose any extras you don't use can be put to good use on another kit down the road. The MK V 20mm's are interesting but I was able to work out something with the Master 20mm set and still have plenty to work out the single AA later. I will update to build blog soon and probably toss a pic in here as well. Thanks for sharing!
JUN 08, 2014 - 12:45 PM
Todd Just ordered this baby + barrels. This review certainly was a great help and inspiration, so thank you very much for draining my pockets Jacob
OCT 26, 2015 - 03:06 AM
Well that is good news on the order...and you're welcome? LOL!!! Enjoy!
OCT 26, 2015 - 03:45 AM
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