HMS Argonaut 1942.jpg (17793 bytes)
Dido class cruiser HMS Argonaut 1942


HMS Dido 1942

White Ensign Models
1:700 Scale Waterline Model

In-the-Box Review
by
Rob Mackie


HMS Dido was the first of the distinctive Dido class Royal Navy cruisers.  Shipping ten 5.25" guns in five centerline turrets, Dido class vessels utilized a dual purpose armament that gave them both anti ship and anti-aircraft capability. In concept they were similar to the US Navy's Atlanta class cruisers, and they suffered from some of the same shortcomings.

This kit shows the ship after her 1942 Brooklyn refit. HMS Dido was among White Ensign's earliest 1/700th releases.  It has been re-tooled and I obtained this upgraded version at the July '98 US IPMS Nationals.  I am partial to these very attractive Royal Navy cruisers, especially the unmodified early versions of which this is one, so I looked forward to this kit with anticipation.  I was not disappointed.  The re-tooled Dido is excellent in every way.

The kit is an all resin affair.  There is no white metal.  Two etched brass frets are included, one for the various fittings, davits et al and the other for railings and ladders.  The hull casting is simple and clean, utilizing WEM's extraordinarily fine deck planking. The five detailed resin pieces comprising the deck structures fit atop the hull.  Cleanup is minimal.  The guns and fittings, also resin, are uniformly excellent. The 5.25" barrels are delicately tapered and straight.  They don't have that heavy, out-of-scale look one so often sees in 1/700th scale barrels.

WEMDido Quad Pom Pom.jpg (17934 bytes)

The cast resin quad pom-poms are extraordinary.  Click the "penny" photo for a highly magnified look at this gun (sorry UK readers, but I didn't have any of your currency against which to compare the pom-poms). The flared flash hiders are especially noteworthy.

Instructions are as comprehensive as one could reasonably ask.  The exploded view diagram and the step-by-step written instructions eliminate any guesswork. Masts are fabricated from brass rod included with the kit.  Again, the clear diagrams remove the guess work from this step. For the more compulsive among you there is a drawing showing the steam ductwork layout around the stacks.  This is a nice touch.

The colour guide shows Dido in the grey scheme she wore after her 1942 Brooklyn refit. Dido class cruisers wore some of the wildest camo patterns in the Royal Navy (see the 4-colour HMS Argonaut above), so those of you partial to challenging paint schemes can go to town with this model.  The difficult-to-find Ensign series Dido volume by Alan Raven has numerous colour plates showing the many dazzle schemes of the Dido class.  And I expect that Mr. Raven's upcoming Royal Navy camo volume will have even more.

This is an outstanding kit that I recommend highly.  Cost when purchased directly from White Ensign Models is 38.25 pounds (about US $63) air post included. A straightforward build, it is suitable for a ship modeler seeking to construct his first 1/700th resin kit.

Click thumbnail photo to view full size picture

WEMDido02.jpg (24004 bytes)
Hull plan & profile views
WEMDido01.jpg (18936 bytes)
Deck structures top & side views
WEMDido guns and fittings.jpg (19598 bytes)
Guns and fittings
WEMDido etched brass.jpg (19605 bytes)
Etched brass
WEMDido Colour Guide.jpg (47791 bytes)
Colour guide
WEMDido steps 1 of 2.jpg (84817 bytes)
Construction steps 1 of 2
WEMDido steps 2 of 2.jpg (43009 bytes)
Construction steps 2 of 2
WEMDido exploded view.jpg (45984 bytes)
Exploded view
WEMDido tripod inst.jpg (39186 bytes)
Tripod & steam pipe layout

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