login   |    register
Trumpeter [ MORE REVIEWS ] [ WEB SITE ] [ NEW STORIES ]

In-Box Review
1350
HMS Zulu
HMS Zulu Destroyer 1941
  • move

by: Todd Michalak [ TRM5150 ]


Originally published on:
Model Shipwrights

Introduction


The HMS Zulu (F18) was a Tribal-class destroyer of the British Royal Navy. The ship was commissioned in September of 1938 for use in the 2nd Tribal Flotilla, Mediterranean Fleet.

The 344 ft long HMS Zulu had a displacement of 1900 tons with a top speed around 36 kn (41mph) and serviced by a compliment of 190 men. Her armament consisted of 6 x 4.7 in. QF Mark XII (L/45) twin mount guns (CP Mk. XIX), 1 x Twin QF 4 in Mk. XVI, 4 x QF 2 pdr quad mount Mk. VII’s,8 x .50 cal. Machine Guns (refit to 4 x single 20mm later in the war), 4 x 21 in. Mk. IX torpedoes and 1 x rack, 2 x throwers for depth charges.

Not serving the longest naval career in the fleet, the HMS Zulu did share the operational load quite well being deployed before the Second World War in a non-interventional capacity preventing passage of arms during the Spanish Civil War in 1939. With the outset of WWII, the Zulu was assigned to contraband control to enforce the blockade of goods destined for Germany as well as many escort duties throughout the Mediterranean.

One of the more notable operations the HMS Zulu would take part in is the hunt for the battleship Bismarck in May of 1941 where she would carry out torpedo attacks with the 4th Flotilla. Soon after, the Zulu would be deployed to the Mediterranean for escort and screening duties for Force H and K and various other operations until September of 1942 where she was deployed with the Mediterranean Fleet and take part in Operation Agreement, the assault landings at Tobruk. She would succumb to air attacks after sustaining heavy damage and sink while in tow on its way to Alexandria.


1/350 Scale HMS Zulu Destroyer 1941


One of Trumpeter’s latest releases in there ship line of styrene model ship kits is their 1/350th scale HMS Zulu Destroyer 1941. This is a full styrene plastic model with some photo etch added. The kit comes in their standard slip-top cardboard box with a graphic of the ship continued within on the top. The kit contains the following:

Contents


One-piece grey colored styrene full hull section
• Seven grey colored styrene sprue trees
• One sheet of photo etch parts
• One decal sheet
• One set of instructions


This kit contains a total of 252 parts to construct the HMS Zulu as she was seen in 1941. Of the 252 parts, 210 of them are styrene while the remaining 42 are located on the photo etch sheet supplied in the kit.

While at a first glance this looks to be a new offering to continue the Tribal Class ship offerings, but sadly, it is a simple re-boxing of the previously released HMS Eskimo from Trumpeter. I have to be the bearer of bad news to anyone who is familiar with the Eskmo and expected the kit to be redesigned to fix some notable items that were incorrect. All of the sprue, as well as the hull section, are labeled “1/350 Eskimo” .I will touch on the few items that are still incorrect in this review, mainly for anyone not familiar with the previous release of the HMS Eskimo and its inherent inconsistencies with the original ship.

So with that out of the way, taking a closer look at the styrene parts, they all appear to be molded very clean and crisp and free from flash. Starting with the hull, this is a full hull kit. As mentioned, this is the same hull issued with the Eskimo kit; this also means that the same incorrect bow sheer still exists. The discrepancy is not much, but it is apparent when there is a side-by-side comparison of the kit and one of the Tribal Class Destroyers.

For the modelers out there that are not too concerned about little design discrepancies and just enjoy building models and having some fun, you would enjoy this kit. The hull is cleanly molded and somewhat representative of the original ship’s hull with the exception of the bow issue I mentioned above. Fixing the bow would not be out of the question either. A simple adding of some styrene to the top side of the outer hull edge and sanding things to the curved shape would not be terribly difficult as is a slight shortening of the tip of the bow as it protrudes slightly forward at a different angle than seen on the original ship.

The weather deck is made up of two parts which the superstructure and other decks are attached. As seen with the previous release of the Eskimo, the modeling is clean and well-appointed what was seen on the original class of ships. As with all the deck parts, superstructure buildups and armament seen on the previous release, the parts are molded nicely and somewhat indicative of the ship’s wears. There is still an extra deck included in this kit that does not get used. This is the deck is aft the funnels and has a small deck house located on it.

To the best of my knowledge, the HMS Zulu did in fact have three twin mount 4.7 in. Mark XII (L/45) along with the single twin QF 4 in Mk. XVI. The kit supplied armament looks to consist of four pairs of 4.7 inch guns which is incorrect. However, there are suitable barrel upgrades on the market for reasonable cost if one wanted to raise the level of detail a bit. When it comes to the four 2 pdr quad mount Mk. VII guns (POM POM), the kit is just wrong. Supplied with this kit, again, is the Chicago Piano 8 x 2 pdr mounting. Unlike the difference between a 4.7 inch and 4 inch barrel on the bigger guns and might not be as noticeable, these POM POM guns would stand out like a sore thumb.

One option for correcting the POM POM issue is to modify the existing part which will involve a bit too much surgery to get a suitable looking gun out of the deal. I have, in the past, been able to plausible modify Flyhawks 1/350 40mm octuplet POM POMS to create a suitable quad version for this ship. Sticking with the guns on the Zulu, this kit includes two Vickers cal. 0,5 inch Mark I gun for placement on the quarterdeck. While I am not 100% in my assessment on this, there was no Vickers cal. 0.5 inch Mark I installed on the Zulu. There was an accounting of single mount 20mm Oerlikons installed during a refit in June of 1941on the bridge; however, there is no mention of the in MKV duel 20mm/70 guns being installed. These were late war modifications and doubtful they would be seen on the 1941 configuration but could have been installed at the time of a refit before being deployed to the Mediterranean in 1942. While it does appear on several destroyers there were several the gun was not seen installed on. So I would have to classify this one under builder’s choice if it was to be installed.

This brings me to the final incorrect value of this kit; the launches. While I am not sure which ship these boats are designed for, the HMS Zulu they are not. One thing to consider when looking at tackling this kit would be fabricating new boats. After looking at numerous photographs of Tribal Class ships as well as many other classes of destroyers, these boats do not exist. It is possible the designers of the kit used a bit of literary licensing and adopted some boat designs they had lying around to fit the quota needed to complete the kit.

The included photo etch sheet seems to be the only item changed from the previously release Eskimo kit. The change comes with the radar and range finding antenna only. This is indicative of a refit in June of 1941 where the main mast was replaced to accept a new type of wireless direction finding antenna as well as a Type 285 for main armament gunnery fire control installed. This appears to be supported in the upgraded photo etch sheet.

There is a 12-page instruction booklet included with this kit which is supplied in a black and white, exploded view format. Except for the changing of the name plate (both in the kit and instructions) and the addition of the newly added antennas, the instructions are an exact copy from the previously released kit. All of the parts placements appear to coincide with parts supplied with this kit. Along with the instruction booklet, there is a one-page color painting and marking guide included which shows the two-tone Blue and grey scheme which was seen on the Zulu at the time period intended for this kit.

The supplied decal sheet contains the ship’s G18 identification numbering along with two versions of the British naval Ensign.


Conclusion



In the end, personally, I am not able to look past the fact that with the previously released kit’s shortcomings that Trumpeter never attempted to actually correct when they had the chance. Each of these little discrepancies is really no big problem to correct, but together it would be a bit daunting. Personally I can look past the armament as this is an area often modified through the use of aftermarket parts, but the incorrect launches and decidedly the incorrect sheering to the bow, it may be a little too much for someone not familiar with scratch building and modifications a little too much to handle. There were Sixteen of these Tribal Class ships used during WWII, this is the second ship released by Trumpeter of this class…I am hoping they might consider making some changes to this kit before releasing more in the future.

Okay, I guess it might seem I have been a bit stringent when it comes to Trumpeter’s offering of their HMS Zulu Destroyer 1941 kit in 1/350th scaling. As a basic kit for modelers not too concerned about accuracy and are looking for a little fun building a WWII era British Destroyer, the kit might be something fun to have a go at. The molds are clean and aside from the few inaccuracies I have listed above this is a nice looking kit of the represented HMS Zulu and I could recommend the kit on this alone. But if accuracy is what you want, you may want to wait for either a fix to the listed issues with this particular kit, wait for a new kit to come out with the fixed bow and convert it to the Zulu or hope for someone else to make an accurate version of the ship in 1/350 scale.
SUMMARY
Highs: Welcomed subject, clean, crisp molds and pleasing details.
Lows: Inaccurate bow configuration, incorrect launches and imprecise armament representation.
Verdict: A nice little kit for a bit of fun and should build up well to represent the HMS Zulu. Be aware there are some inaccuracies that can be fixed if one so chooses.
Percentage Rating
87%
  Scale: 1:350
  Mfg. ID: 5332
  Suggested Retail: $47.99 US
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Feb 14, 2015
  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.
View Vendor Homepage  More Reviews  

Photos
Click image to enlarge
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
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.


Reader Reviews
Do you own this item and want to review it? You can add your review of the item here. Please read the reader review instructions before posting.


Comments

I don't think I'd have noticed the launches or the pom poms. Nice work, Todd - great research.
FEB 14, 2015 - 06:45 PM
Todd thank you for the review however the 4" twin is more than a barrel change the whole turret is completely different, it's smaller, has a bigger cut away and under cut on the back and a different profile. I was luck enough to get the replacements from WEM before they folded let's hope Tom's gets them out again. WEM also did the quad 2pdr and quad 0.50 Vickers. As for the bow it's a fairly easy fix (I'm doing it so it must be) again WEM spotted the problem and included the how to fix in their upgrade set. Here's my Eskimo several months ago with the 'fix' in progress. Now I know what's wrong and how to fix I went out and brought the Huron and Zulu although Zulu will be converted into HMAS Arunta while Eskimo has been back dated to a 1940 fit complete with twin Lewis in the bridge wings.
FEB 14, 2015 - 11:24 PM
Thanks Fred! I do think one could get away with using the whalers possibly, as they do look close to something used on various ships. The POM PSM's are one of the bigger issues. Just poor research on the part of the company actually designing and producing these kits which end up privately labeled to numerous kit companies...Trumpeter being one. Thank you Luciano! I don't agree with you on the casemate for the 4 inch as well as the 44.7 inch guns, it appears to me the kit designers loosely took to HMCS Haida's and matched them to something they had on file from maybe and early version of the turrets. What I meant by barrel replacement is it would be the the best way to enhance the kit, not necessarily correct it. It is a shame the WEM offering won't be available. Make me want to hold out hope for someone to come in and pick up on the parts. As I mentioned, the Flyhawk version is unbelievably easy to switch over to a plausible version of the quad. While I feel the Vickers does not apply to the Zulu judging from the limited photographic evidence of this ship, I do think they are a crucial part in any conversion someone wants to take on. As for the bow, you are making fine strides to correct the problem. Personally I would have though adding the 2 mm or so rise would be done with styrene card stock and fared back in, but certainly raising the deck and filling works just as well. I just think it more disappointing that Trumpeter did not contact the maker (Pitroad if I remember correctly) and have them change the bow. Until then...happy filling for all!!
FEB 15, 2015 - 04:00 AM
Todd, HMCS Haida only has twin 4" guns her 4.7's being removed and the for'ard pair replaced by 4" in a post war refit. The difference between the 4" and 4.7" mounts can easily be seen on the photo of HMAS Arunta below X mount has the 4" and Y the 4.7" As for the deck raise it has been filled with card stock then a layer of filler to fill any remaining holes and rough spots. As for WEM, Tom's Modelworks brought all the remaining stock along with the name and the rights to produce, they have announced that we should see the WEM range back on sale this year.
FEB 15, 2015 - 04:29 AM
Thanks again Luciano, I guess what I am saying is the taking of the "basic" design features of the existing gun mounts on the Haida, because she is the only existing reference point, may have been used along with various pictures, mashing them together to create the guns. Unfortunately there are differences between the British, Canadian and Australian versions aside from refitting and kit manufactures just don't dig too deep to pull the information out. And we all know they do not listen to the builders crying out for fixes. Thanks for the addition information on the various fittings as well as the bit about Tom's Modelworks picking up the WEM line, I remember reading that not so long ago. Personally I thought the TW PE was always a bit on the thin side, but does fill the void when needed. I think in the end, if Trumpeter could force the hand with the kit maker to change the bow sheer, that would translate into a 100% improvement of what they have. The guns are not to difficult to construct or with any luck, purchase in the near future again from Tom's. No kit is ever perfect, it is just a matter of seeing how close it can come to being perfect.
FEB 15, 2015 - 04:44 AM
The bow sheer line correction should start from around the breakwater going forward, so I really securely glued in a piece of sprue into the V of the prow (on the inside hull) which extended about 2 1/2 mm high. I then bent up the deck slightly at the point of the breakwater, and securely glued the deck in position (from the forecastle break to the breakwater) and the point of the prow rested on the piece of sprue. The deck now had the correct sheer line and rose to the correct height at the prow. Now the bow hull sides had to be corrected to both the new sheer line as well as flare shape - as the sheer rises, the flare has also to be extended outwards to follow it's contour. I filled in with plastic strip to build it up then covered with putty. After a couple of days to set up securely I sanded, and sanded, and sanded... After that correction the prow of the deck has to be lengthened slightly (about 2 mm.) and widened to fit the new wider flare with plastic strip. Not too difficult, but a lot of putty work and shaping, and more putty, and lots of sanding. As for the launch - it looks more like the standard German motor launch on Graf Spee, Prinz Eugen, etc. Trumpeter really fudged this one! Admiralty Modelworks might make better ones. WEM made beautiful replacement 4" and 4.7 " turrets, but that ship has sailed!
FEB 15, 2015 - 04:57 AM
Tip: Just hit enter to submit your reply!
   
What's Your Opinion?


Photos
Click image to enlarge
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move