The famous Hood in 1/350 at last!
Trumpeter has brought many model warship builders dreams to reality with a very nice kit that makes up into a finely detailed model right out of the box.
I will not go into the history of the Hood or how she met her demise by a well aimed salvo from the 15 inch guns of Bismarck during the ‘Battle of the Denmark Strait’ in 1941, as I would presume that anyone considering building this high end kitset would be well acquainted with these matters.
what you get?
The box art is a moody blue painting by Michael Donegan and shows the HMS Hood under a breaking dawn sky, steaming resolutely to her poignant rendezvous with history.
The kit comes in is strong corrugated cardboard, which Trumpeter use on all their larger kitsets, with separate compartments for the tidy and safe packaging of the main kit components.
There are eight large grey styrene sprues in individual plastic bags, a small etch fret consisting of four ladders, a tripod cross spar, two radars, and the main mast crane.
The manufacturer has kindly provided a two piece hull, for a full hull or waterline option; hence a waterline plate is included along with a display stand and each part is packed in separate plastic bags. Also in the box is a colour painting guide and good quality Cartograpf decals.
The upper hull section of my kit had masking tape that was pulled relatively taut wrapped around it; the tape was about four inches back from the bow.
Once the tape was removed, the four inch long indent it had caused in the bow region, remained. I dry fitted the foredeck to see if any serious problems had arisen from this. It all clipped together quite well and the indent opened out with a only a couple of gaps that would pull up easy with masking tape when it became time to fit the foredeck to the hull. A modeller from the USA who purchased the Hood 350 kit, posted images to a website of the same minor deformation with the same cause. This condition may be quite common in kitsets, but appears to be no cause for concern.
The hull mouldings are surprisingly light and quite thin, but well moulded in good quality styrene. There is nice detail, the amour belts, portholes and degaussing lines surrounding the top of the hull are well defined.
The flexibility in the pre-assembled hull is useful in fitting the decks and then disappears completely, with a strong sturdy hull appearing once the decks are glued in place.
There are four deck sections comprising a foredeck, centre deck, the quarter deck and the boat deck.
By having a ship of this design, Trumpeter’s life is made a little bit easier in this kit, as one join is obscured by the boat deck, and they have hidden the fore deck to centre deck join under a cowling that is angled back from the base of B turret.
The mouldings are clean, with sharp detailing down to a delicate level, and the seam lines on individual items, when visible, cleaned up sweetly with a couple of edge passes from my number 4 Swann and Morton surgical scalpel or a few cuts from fine flat files. For the benefit of a nice fit and tidy appearance of the finished model it pays to make sure the back and edges of pieces are free of flash artefacts because quite a few of said pieces attach to a flush surface.
Oh yes, included is a lovely 25 page instruction booklet that consists of professionally laid out exploded views, that are clear and easy to follow, when assembling the model.
the place to look for references...
Now that I had had a look in the box, removed and read the nice instruction booklet several times to familiarize myself with the suggested kit construction methods, I still needed to do some research into correct deck and hull colours before I could make a start.
I visited the HMS Hood Association www.hmshood.com
website that is dedicated to the memory of HMS Hood and all who served on her and is the best Hood resource on the Net.
In the planning stage for this kit, Trumpeter
and The Hood Association
cooperated to provide modellers with an accurate detailed kitset model of the ship.
The word is out, that the kit is very good perhaps even an excellent representation of the Hood in 1941 and has only a few anomalies that will worry those needing authenticity to a high degree. The most notable of those anomalies is that the main gun turrets, while nicely moulded and looking exactly like they belong on the finished model to most people other than the enlightened few, are in fact, very incorrect in the top plating layout and frontal angularity.
The good news is E.J. Foeth has made resin turret masters that are accurate. You can buy quality duplicates of E.J.’s turrets from White Ensign Models in the U.K. if this is of concern to you.
The other anomalies are minor and are summed up well in the brief review of the kit on the Hood Assn website
I then visited perhaps a rather obscure page on The Hood Assn site for accurate paint colours for the ship as sunk in 1941. That page can be reached here:
diving into the box!
Unfortunately, when decide to write this out of box build review, the model was already built so I cannot provide progress pics (we live and learn as we go.) However I have taken some merciless close up macro shots of the finished kit that will show every glitch and examples of rough workmanship as well as demonstrate the text.
Now that I had done some research and figured out a plan of attack, it was time to start the build.
I do not have an airbrush so every thing is hand painted, the way it was done on the real ship, a look that cannot accurately be reproduced by airbrush. Of course, common sense applies and vertical surfaces get vertical brush strokes and the horizontal surfaces, lengthwise brush strokes.
In 1/350th, given the right choice of paint and some care in the application, from normal viewing distance, hand painting gives a clean but ‘weathered’ look to a finished model.
I decided to paint everything twice that I could, while it was still attached to the sprues. The overall paint is RN medium grey or official designation, AP507b.
I am a resourceful type, and as I had no Tamiya XF 66, which is a good match for AP507b I decided to mix my own mid grey that would approximate the shade of grey depicted on the Hood website.
50% Tamiya Dark Sea grey 50% Tamiya Light sea grey enamels and I soon had a nice semi flat medium grey that brushed well.
The key to successful brush painting is to use the best quality brushes you can afford. Get several sizes, both flat and round from oo size, up to a number six. Because they are relatively costly, learn when they have passed their use by date and need to be retired.
I sat down for a couple of long evenings with the 8 sprues, cleaning the components up with the surgical scalpel and a new no 4 blade. I then followed this up by using a new Haydn 01 artists brush to paint all the components on the sprues, including the boats and black parts such as the Tripod, starfishes, funnel tops, etc, taking care not to paint over surfaces where glue would be applied. I also painted two coats of reddish brown to represent the corticene flooring in the bridge superstructure decks at this time.
When undergoing this exercise, the only issue with pin marks that became apparent were the fifty two ‘ready ammo’ lockers that go on the boat deck. Each one had a pin mark on the back and after looking at the relevant page of the fitting instructions, I noted that some of those locker backs can be seen on the finished model.
While all those little items were still on the two ‘E” sprues, I levelled them up and applied a generous drop of medium CA glue into the pin mark of each as filler.
The instruction manual leaves joining the waterline plate or hull bottom as the final step in the construction of the model.
After dry fitting the upper and lower hull parts, I decided that the mating of the two part hull would be the first step in my construction program. The fit between the two parts was good enough, but some delicate filling and sanding work would be needed to make a clean join. This would probably involve some hull gymnastics to get the most comfortable angles to work at. This could be a challenging task, inviting plenty scope for damage if everything was stuck on the model, as the manual instructs, while you are attempting to apply and sand, filler putty around the kits waterline.
I next checked the edges and cleaned up any minor aberrations before dry fitting the three decks into the upper part of the hull.
The quarter deck (stern section) was too long to fit into correct position in the hull, but fitted perfectly until at the very tip of the stern, where four light passes with a fine file allowed the correct and excellent fit to be achieved.
The centre deck needed a millimetre removed from the starboard rear to shorten the length before it slipped nicely into place, the fore deck fitted well as was, with a close fit at the butt joint to the centre deck.
As I fitted the decks, I used sellotape to hold them in place so I could check for potential gaps or fitting problems, of which none became apparent.
I washed the decks in warm soapy water and enjoyed a nice cup of coffee as they dried. After checking with the painting guide to see which parts were steel, I painted all the ‘steel fittings and plating’ moulded to the decks, twice, in my custom mid grey.
Using Tamiya Buff (XF 57) I painted the four decks ‘wooden’ areas. I find the Tamiya Deck Tan (XF55) dries a bit too much of an anaemic green to be an accurate wood colour. I added a drop of red to a small pool of the Buff, about a 20% ratio and applied this randomly but discreetly to break the monotonous tone of the 750mm long buff deck. Near the stern I added a few more different shades to the buff and applied it to provide a bit more contrast to this area that would be often wet due to the low freeboard here.
I set these parts aside to cure for a few days.
The next step was to fit the two hull components together.
I first removed the mould seam from the red styrene hull bottom and cleaned up any minor aberrations on that part then gave it a light sanding with 800 wet and dry. The upper deck received the same treatment.
I made up several spreader bars from old sprue that fitted nicely across the inside of the hull just below the waterline join as a temporary measure to assist in holding things firmly in place while the glue dried. This could not be done following the instruction book assembly formula.
I applied Humbrol Precision Poly carefully around the join area, fitted the hull halves together, slipped the spreaders into place to assist in a good fit. I put this aside for several hours to cure.
On inspection, when all was cured the fit was very good and a little CA glue carefully applied as filler took care of any minor gaps.
I washed the assembled hull and masked it at the waterline then using Tamiya Acrylic Hull Red XF9 and a 12mm wide flat brush (Tamiya no 5) proceeded to paint the underwater part of the hull.
Some people have said it is impossible to brush Tamiya acrylics; well it is not impossible, just challenging. Everything needs to be prepped and in place so that you have no distractions once you start and the temperature warm enough to let the paint flow as best it can.
The acrylics dry fast, even when brushed, so it needs to be applied quickly and evenly in one coat, wet on wet, giving good coverage but no runs, and no going back over for touch-ups for at least twenty four hours, when a second coat can be applied in the same manner.
I next masked off the hull bottom section at the water line using good quality sellotape, which adheres well and is much thinner than masking tape thus allows less bleeding. I ran a thin line of Tamiya Hull Red along the edge of the tape with a round number 2 Haydn brush to stop any bleeding and when this had dried, painted the upper hull with the much more pliable XF Tamiya custom medium grey in two even coats, using the no5 Tamiya brush again.
The black strip for the waterline was already masked on the bottom side so after checking the painting guide again I applied another strip of sellotape as a mask, and used the no2 brush again to apply a line of medium grey along the edge of the upper masking tape to discourage bleeding and left this to dry for a couple of hours.
I then painted the black waterline strip with two coats of Tamiya XF1. I allowed this another hour to dry and then removed the tape.
It is not good policy to leave masking tapes on items for long periods as they can lift the paint beneath them as they are removed themselves.
The correct method to remove masking tape is to lift the front edge and pull it directly back, back being the operative word, NOT UP! Once you have removed enough tape for a firm grip, continue pulling the tape directly back along its axis. I will include a pic!
Again using the Tamiya no5 brush, the final step with the hull was to apply two coats of Testors Dullcoat.
This one is a lacquer and has the same application difficulties by brush as acrylic and if the modeller is not careful and applies the initial coat too thick it can cause orange peel or crazing, in enamels. Like before, wet on wet, not too thick but be quick and be careful.
Once the first coat has dried (minutes) a seal is made from the enamel and a couple of finishing coats can be applied. I leave this for a couple of days to cure.
The reason for the Dullcoat is that as the build has only begun and there will be plenty of handling of the hull before the end is in sight and the Dullcoat is much more fingerprint resistant than the Tamiya paints.
From this time on, I wash my hands often to remove the natural oils while I am handling the model.
We can now follow the instruction booklet for a while as we proceed with the build. I glued and fitted the quarter deck, fore deck and centre decks in that order and used masking tape to hold all in place as the glue dried. The result was a nice clean hull with no unsightly gaps to fill anywhere.
There are quite a few parts that make up a network of corridors and cabins under the boat deck, most of this cannot be seen in the completed model, but care is needed to clean up the back and edges of the ‘cabin’ walls so the boat deck sits flush on them. Extra care is also needed in cleaning (especially the back) and placing parts C15 and C16 (the outer hull under the boat deck) so they line up correctly at the start of the quarter deck.
Aussie modeller Dave Gatt has built a couple of these kits to a very high standard and has had the same fit issues with part C15.
For accuracy Dave also says:
“Part E32 needs to have the trunk cut off to just leave the flared top end, there was no trunk above the deck. These also need covers”
Out with the tweezers, fine long nosed pliers and other delicate tools to aid in fitting the myriad of small components, consisting of capstans, vents, breakwater cowlings, ready ammo lockers, cranes, etc and the beginning of the bridge superstructure.
I deviated from the manual here to fit the complete bridge, funnels and the rear searchlight tower, leaving the fitting of the boats, to be among the last things to be attached to the model.
Incidentally the boats have received some flak for being rather shoddy, from informed “Hood” modellers, but can be painted up to look ok, if you are not too worried about total accuracy.
I elected to paint the life rafts and boats in an incorrect yellow and some of the boat hulls white, to add a bit of contrast to the finished model, but if I ever get guilt stricken and feel the need to be accurate in this area, it is a quick and simple medium grey fix!
superstructures and turrets...
Many of the structures are made up as sub assemblies and can be nicely touched up with the paint brush before final fitting.
I like the way Trumpeter has done the main turrets as they can be lifted out fully assembled and easily replaced by aftermarket options at any stage after the build is complete should you wish to do so.
Me, I will save my money, thanks, and use it to buy a nice AFV instead!
The completely last things I fitted to the ship were the prop shafts, props, and the shaft bracket; I did experience some difficulty getting the red styrene of the lower hull and the grey styrene of the shafts and bracket to adhere together. They did stick in the end, but with hind sight, I would attach the brackets and prop shafts, sans props as the step following the joining of the hull halves.
This was a fairly straight forward out of the box build, with no major problems, that a little bit of foresight and dry fitting of parts made much easier to complete. The styrene is excellent quality, strong and pliable, it cuts, files and sands and glues well.
The casting quality is generally very good but there is shrinkage on some components that needs to be squared up and the windows in the spotting tower and bridge could have been better rendered.
I did improve the look of those windows on my Hood kitset by the application of a small dab of “Crystal Clear” applied with a fine sewing needle into the window holes, as one of the touch up jobs after all painting and assembly tasks were done. Of course it would have been much easier to do these when the superstructure is just a sub assembly.
I must admit I did throw the flimsy flagstaff at the stern away and replaced it with a dressmakers pin so the build is not totally OOB!
Some experience in building kitsets will be very helpful in tackling this model as there are many fiddly components that require patience to fit correctly and also some delicate parts that need careful handling.
All said and done, the Trumpeter “HMS Hood”
makes up into a nice model that you can build and display OOB, or you can add as many aftermarket goodies as your heart, wallet and patience may desire.
Here in New Zealand it is not a cheap kit, and the best local price now that the first rush is over is Ace Hobby in Auckland at $163NZ (that converts to US$105).
A well recommended kitset. Shop around for the best price.