Double your pleasure, double your fun, with Gold Metal Models, you get tons of fun! OK, so that is a poor rhyme, however, with the two new brass photo-etch frets from Gold Metal Models for the 1:350 scale HMS Hood from Trumpeter you are provided incredible brass detail to enhance the plastic model. Although both frets are specifically designed for the Trumpeter kit, one release is essential items for the kit and a separate GMM Gold Plus set takes your Hood where no Hood has gone before (other than the original).

Gold Medal Models Standard Hood Fret
This fret is the larger of the two new releases, GMM set 350-37. It measures 9 7/8 by 7 ľ inches (250mm x 180mm). As mentioned above it contains the essential items to enhance your Hood. As is always expected from Gold Medal Models this product is of the highest quality, with relief etching found throughout the parts. Three types of armament are enhanced. The four-inch/45 guns receive beautifully relief-etched trunions for the sides of each mount. These are simply attached to the sides of the smooth featureless Trumpeter mounts. The pom-pom mounts receive the detailed addition of gun-sights, which fit over the plastic mounts provided by Trumpeter. Also included are relief-etched ammunition box sides and the safety rails for these large mounts. Of course GMM also throws in four mounts for that most wonderful piece of ordnance, the Vickers quadruple .50 machine guns. The originals may have been fairly worthless but the GMM renditions confer great detail and value when attached to the sides of the nondescript plastic mounts. 

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 Night of the Long Knives
To properly attach a significant number of these parts, it will be necessary to use a hobby knife to open up or remove some aspects of the plastic parts. The largest two parts are the stack grills. Since the plastic stack caps are solid, the plastic grate/top must be cut out first. However, it is strongly recommended to do that because the GMM brass parts are infinitely superior in the finished appearance from the provided Trumpeter plastic part. At the base of the stacks are air intake louvers. GMM provides mesh vent/louver screens, which will further dramatically improve the detail of the model. As with the stack caps, it will be necessary to drill out and square off the openings but the quantum leap in appearance more than justifies the effort employed. Some platforms will need to be opened for insertion of brass inclined ladders and the plastic bottoms of the carley rafts will need to be removed to use the mesh bottoms provided by GMM. Perhaps the most delicate removal operation will be the removal of the external degaussing cable from the hull so that you can use the brass cable in the fret. Other parts requiring modification are the removal of the plastic pulleys on the main boat derrick and removal of the boat chocks on the boat deck. 

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No Quarter for the Quarterdeck
Gold Medal Models
does not go easy on the details for the quarterdeck. The aft superstructure is very prominent at the deck break between the upper deck and quarterdeck. Overlooking the quarterdeck is the admiralís cabin. GMM provides a full set of relief-etched square window covers for these windows. There are also four prominent inclined ladders running up to the openings in this bulkhead. You will need to use the platforms from the plastic pieces but substitute brass parts for the ladders. Perhaps the greatest degree of exactitude comes with the placement of the letters for HOOD on the two bulkheads. GMM provides a cutout jig, which allows exact placement for each letter. Quarterdeck hatches also present the opportunity for extremely fine detail. Using the outline of a deck hatch, youíll have to form a deck coaming sill from plastic card but then youíll be able to use the relief-etched hatches and hatch canvas frame. You can take this further by filing in the open framework with white glue to portray these frames as covered with canvas. 

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An Awning Situation
Not only does Gold Medal Models provide the opportunity to model deck hatch moldings but also you can take whole hog but adding quarterdeck and forecastle awnings. GMM provides a complete set of tripod and bipod stanchions for the rigging of full deck awnings. These stanchions are inboard from the deck edge railing, so they will add another level of deck detail, even without awnings. Since stanchion locator holes are no on the Trumpeter kit, GMM provides a jig template and it appears that the outboard end of the template is placed one plank from the deck edge. GMM recommends using nylon monofilament line for the awning support line that runs along the top of these stanchions. 

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This product is just chock-a-block with detailed parts of the highest quality. Three hawse-pipe screens add great detail at the forward tip of the forecastle. Do you like your photo-etch to go to insane lengths of detail? Loren certainly provides it with his Hood set. There are four accommodation ladders and each ladder is provided a separate base foot-plate with the relief-etched name "Hood" present on the plate Remember that this is just one tread of a 1:350 scale ladder! How about individual eyebrows to place over portholes? This set has them. There is a full set of yards for the masts and also a full set of radar array. Rafts receive grid bottoms as well as small paddles and the shipís boats get the long and short oars. There are choices to be made with relief-etched doors, both open and closed. There are small, medium and large hose reels; four styles of relief-etched boat chocks; and extraordinary detail to boat davit positions with not only the davits but also with gripping spars, line rigging and jump nets. The set gives a full line of railing in various styles. There are 32 inclined ladders in various lengths and styles and even a set of individual grid foot-plates for the inclined ladders. GMM provides even more insane detail with extremely small parts for turnbuckles, hand-wheels, eyebolts and capstan brake-wheels.  

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Lorenís Time Machine Ė Gold Plus Detail Set
If your quest for brass detail has not been quenched with the standard Gold Medal Models Hood Detail Set, 350-37, you can take the detail further with this supplemental Gold Plus Set for the Hood 350-37A. This fret measures 7-inches by 3 ĺ-inches and seems to be made of thicker gage brass. This is understandable in that about a quarter of the fret is of heavy machinery parts for back dating the Trumpeter Hood kit. From 1929 to 1932 the Hood was equipped with a catapult and aircraft crane at the stern. This Gold Plus set contains the parts to add this detail. Included are numerous parts such as a large relief-etched turntable, the catapult, crane jib, crane base, crane gear, crane rigging, aircraft cradle and catapult platform. Wing supports, float supports and two bladed propeller are provided for a Fairey IIIF floatplane. Also included are perforated platforms for X turret. Now before you get too excited about a 1930 era Hood in 1:350 scale, you need to know that there will be more work involved in back dating the ship to that period. There will be superstructure changes to the bridge, searchlight tower between the funnels and aft end of the upper deck. Equally important, youíll need to add the secondary guns that were removed before 1941. 

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Alternate boat chocks and davits are provided. Shipís boats are further enhanced with boat thwarts and boat stern gratings. This fret also has the most detailed jack staffs that I have ever seen in photo-etch or any other medium. Now this is a subject that you normally donít think about and never gets mentioned, but these are beyond spectacular. The jack staff at the bow has the staff, support and bullnose, which secures the staff to the deck edge. The ensign staff at the stern has itís own unique design and parts. 

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Loren Gives You the Bird
Well actually, that should read "Loren Gives You the Birds". The shipís crest of the Hood features a black rook (bird not chess piece). When not cleared for action the 15-inch guns of the ship usually had brass tampions closing the muzzles from intrusion of rain or snow. In the Royal Navy the shipís crest was on the tampion. Gold Medal Models provides these tampions and they include relief-etched shipís crests. New parts also include night lifebuoys and racks, boat boom brackets for the hull sides, semaphores and skylight covers. You can attach the skylight covers in an open position and it suggested that you hollow out the plastic skylight on the deck to give the fitting a true three-dimensional appearance. Other parts included in this set are additional open and closed doors; awning stanchions; oars; and eyebolts. 

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Verdict
When a friend of mine first saw the Gold Medal Models 1:350 scale photo-etch sets for the Hood he statedí "Damn, this is insane!" He was referring to the incredible detail provided by GMM and I had to loan him a set of three power glasses for him to see some of it. With these Gold Medal Models sets the only question that you need to ask yourself is, "How far do I want to go?" With GMM there are no distance limits on detail. 

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