The August 1931 issue of Motor Ship listed the new Victoria as the fastest motorship in the world, capable of 23 knots. Built in the San Marco yard by Cantieri Riuniti dell Adriatico, the Victoria was ordered by Lloyd Triestino , Trieste. Victoria replaced two slower steamers , the Helouan and Vienna, carrying passengers and cargo between Trieste, Venice, Brindisi in Italy and Alexandria, Egypt. She was designed to be spacious as well as luxurious, Victoria was one of the first ships to incorporate air-conditioning with the use a Carrier refrigerating plant. (see photo below)
Later Victoria was transferred to service on the Far East run. Leaving from Genoa, her ports of call were Naples, Port Said, Bombay, Hong Kong and Shanghai. Her accommodations and appointments were luxurious compared to steamers on the Europe to Asia route. Quite often passengers traveling on P&O lines to India or China, would transfer to the Victoria if the opportunity presented itself.
When Italy entered into World War Two Victoria was pressed into service as a troop transport. She was often part of fast convoys (14 to 18 knots) on runs to North Africa and in her capacity of transporting troops, normally had a heavy warship escort. On January 22, 1942 she left on her last journey. Embarked aboard her were 132 officers and 588 soldiers of the 12th Bersaglieri Regiment, 405 German soldiers and 441 tons of cargo. She left with three other motorships and as usual had a strong escort of the 7th Cruiser Division (Aosta, Attendolo and Montecuccoli) and the 13th Destroyer Squadron. On the 23rd the convoy came under air attack despite the presence of an aerial escort of 12 Ju 88s. Victoria was torpedoed at 6:45 PM and started to list. She lasted until 3:00 AM on the 24th. Of the 1400 embarked, passengers and crew, 1046 were rescued.
The casting on the secondary parts is of the highest order. The two funnels with their housings have the same exquisite detail as the hull. Finely cut louvers, excellent deck machinery, skylights and funnel tops that are so finely cast that they are translucent, all add visual impact to this model. Even the siren on the fore funnel is detailed and the cargo kingposts even have climbing rungs cast into the pieces. Truly it is a tour de force.
There are a few problems. On the minor side, the fore funnel front face needed a little sanding to smooth it out. More significantly, the top of the hull casting, upon which the boat deck sits was uneven and required sanding to get the boat deck to sit flush. The top of the cabin of the salon deck (Ponti saloni estr.), which should run level with the top of the hull casting, also had to be sanded so that the aft end of the boat deck would sit flush.
This deck also had a slight fit problem with the forward edge and the hull casting, which required minor filling with super glue gel and sanding.
There were only a few other problems encountered in the build. The kit really needs an overhead plan or locator holes to show the locations of the numerous ventilators. The instructions are not precise enough. I attached the ventilators before I attached the funnels. Build it the other way, place your funnels first. After installing the ventilators, when I tried to fit the funnels, I discovered that I had placed the ventilators too far inboard and blocked the placement of the funnels. I had to remove the offending ventilators, attach the funnel pieces and then re-attach the ventilators. Another mistake that I made was in cutting the large ventilators (A4) too short. These ventilators look like golf tees and the instructions have a small diagram of the part showing a golf tee shape. I wrongly decided that this couldn’t be right so I cut the ventilator shafts fairly close to the base so that the shafts did not have a golf tee taper. Only afterwards did I discover that these ventilators are indeed shaped like giant golf tees. In the photo of the Carrier plant, notice the golf tee shape of the ventilator to the right of the Carrier plant. Don’t cut your ventilators too short. Don’t confuse the funnels. They are not identical. The fore funnel has the siren on the front face, rectangular louvers at the top on each side and three windows on each side of the funnel deck-house. The rear funnel doesn’t have the siren or louvers and has two windows on each side of the deck-house.
As with the other Regia Marina kits of merchant ships, such as the Poeti Class Motorships, (click for review), you must drill out scuttles through the solid deck bulkhead. There are six elliptical scuttles (five on the forecastle, one on the quarterdeck) and three circular scuttles (on the forecastle) on each side of the ship. The instructions show their placement. When I started, I made the elliptical scuttles too large when I tried to give them an arch. In retrospect I think the best procedure is to drill two holes next to each other with your pin-vice and use a hobby knife to make a simple oval. Drill the scuttles from the inside out and shape them and clean them up from the outside in.
Resin runner A, from left to right:
A1 x 2 are the two kingposts on the raised forecastle deck (cargo loading position), cut to 16 mm. Four 14mm plastic rod booms are placed 2mm from the base of each kingpost.
A2 x 2 are the two kingposts on the Salon deck (Ponti saloni estr.), cut to 12 mm, Two 14mm plastic rod booms are placed 2mm from the base of each kingpost.
A3 x 2 are the two short kingposts in front of the forward cargo hatch on the forecastle, cut to 6mm each.
A4 x 9 are the nine golf tee shaped ventilators. Don’t make the mistake that I made in cutting them too short. The ventilators do have the distinctive taper. (See photo) There are three centerline ventilators (aft stack deckhouse, bridge and forward cargo loading deck) There are six paired ventilators on the boat deck.
Resin runner B, from left to right:
B1 x 1 is the small kingpost on the centerline raised square platform at the aft end of theboat deck.
B2 x 1 is the small kingpost on the raised square platform to the port of B1.
B3 x 2 are the two anchors. You’ll have to discover their location yourself.
B4 x 1 is the searchlight placed in the crow’s nest (B5).
B5 x 1 is the crow’s nest, which is placed 4mm from the base of the foremast.
B6 x 7 are the seven short rectangular ventilators. One centerline on the forward raised cargo loading deck and six paired on the boat deck.
Resin runner C, from left to right:
C1 x 2 are the two small boats placed at the bridge location (one per side).
C2 x 8 are the eight large boats placed at the boat deck positions (four per side).
NOTE: If you are modeling Victoria in her merchant livery, the boats are on the chocks inboard. If you are modeling her as a troop transport, the boats are swung outboard.
As mentioned above, this kit could use an overhead plan or locator holes to show ventilator positions. At first glance the mast diagrams are confusing. It took me a few minutes before I saw what were the masts and what were the positioning lines. On the photo of the assembly instructions, I have indicated in yellow the masts. All the other lines show lengths from position to position on the masts or yard lengths. In summary the foremast, designated by a + sign is 32mm in overall length. From the base the crow’s nest is placed at 4mm, 17mm above the crow’s nest is an 8mm yard arm, leaving another 11mm of mast above that. The mainmast, designated by a horse shoe symbol, is also 32mm overall, with an 8mm jack placed 19mm above the base, leaving 13mm of mast above the jack. There are no locator holes for the masts, although their positions are indicated by the + for the foremast (on the bridge) and by the horse shoe symbol for the mainmast, near the aft end of the boat deck cabin/superstructure. I drilled positioning holes with a pin vice. Use a measuring stick to insure that the positions are centerline and mark with a pen. When you drill the holes make sure to account for the correct rake to the masts and try to keep the pin vice in a centerline position, so that the hole does not swerve to port or starboard. The masts and yards are not provided. I used .02 mm palstic rod. You could use brass, if you wished to add greater strength.
Most merchant ships have support posts, along the edge of the decks, to the deck above and Victoria has plenty of them. With other kits Regia Marina has shown their placement and you use plastic sprue for the posts. The instructions for Victoria don’t show the placement for these posts, which is a short-coming. From the profile drawings in the instructions, I could determine that there are nine support posts running from the lower machinery deck to the upper quarter-deck at the stern. There are four on each side and one centerline at the very stern. I added 19 support posts per side, running from the main deck to the boat deck.