In my experience this great ship never failed to answer the slightest touch of wheel or engines, nor did her armament ever fail when needed. The rapport between Renown and her commanders brought her to life and permeated all who served in her; indeed it became an identity. This ship thereby attained the heights of efficiency and morale, and was always found ready and anxious to ‘Hit First and Hit Hard’. Vice-Admiral B.C.B. Brooke, former commander H.M.S. Renown, Introduction to Hit First, Hit Hard; H.M.S. Renown 1916-1948, 1979 by Peter C. Smith

Birth of a Greyhound
The 1912 battleship program for the Royal Navy consisted of the five fast battleships of the Queen Elizabeth Class. The 1913 program introduced the five ship Revenge Class designed for the slower battleline. The 1914 program, instead of introducing a new class, was comprised of repeat orders for one Queen Elizabeth and three slightly modified ships of the Revenge Class. Contracts were awarded and the selected builders began to accumulate the required material. Then in August World War One broke upon Europe. Britain, as well as Germany, thought that it would be a short war and a directive was issued that the battleships of the 1914 program would be suspended as it was thought that they would not be available before the end of the war. The 6th Queen Elizabeth, to be named Agincourt and built at the RN Portsmouth dockyard, was cancelled and the name given to a newly completed battleship built for Turkey and seized by the government. For the 6th and 7th battleships of the Revenge Class, fate had something else in store. The 8th Revenge, to be named Resistance and built at the RN Devonport dockyard, was also cancelled.

Admiral Jackie Fisher was the towering figure of the Royal Navy at the end of the 19th and start of the 20th centuries. He was a man of extremely strong opinions, likes and dislikes. He knew no moderation. He either loved or loathed and in turn he was either loved or loathed by officer corps of the Royal Navy. In the 1890s Admiral Fisher was appointed commander of the North American and West Indies station with his flagship, HMS Renown. Fisher then became the commander of the British Mediterranean Fleet, which was by far the largest British fleet. His flagship at that time was again HMS Renown, which he brought with him from the West Indies.


British Battleships of World War Two
Considered the "Bible" on the subject, British Battleships of World War Two by Alan Raven and John Roberts covers every battleship design that served in World War Two from their inception. Published in 1976, the title provides complete coverage of the Queen Elizabeth Class through the Vanguard, including a chapter on the aborted Lion Class of 1937 in the 436 pages of the work. Coverage on Renown includes chapter three on the class as designed, consisting of 15 pages, 14 pages on her modernization from 1936 to 1939 found in chapter 11, plus coverage in the different chapters on operations. Laced with high quality photographs and excellent line drawings. Graphical highlights on the class consist of a three page fold out line drawing profile of Repulse 1916; six pages of line drawings of Repulse after 1936 refit consisting of inboard profile, 11 sections, profile and individual deck plans; and a three page fold out plan, profile and internal plan of Renown in 1942. Recently republished in German, the English editions are long out of print and expensive in the used book market.
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The HMS Renown of 1893 was the 7th ship of the name in the Royal Navy. She was the last 2nd class battleship ordered by the Royal Navy. Mounting only 10-inch guns, she was much lighter armed than the standard British battleship, of the Royal Sovereign Class of 1890 with their 13.5-inch guns or the Majestic Class of 1894 with their 12-inch guns. Renown had something that the stronger battleships did not have, speed. At a time when the standard British battleship was lucky to reach 17 knots, the Renown did 19.75 knots on trials. Jackie Fisher loved his Renown and he loved her greatest strength, speed. In addition to serving as flagship for Admiral Fisher, the 7th Renown occasionally served as a Royal yacht and in 1905 took the Prince of Wales, future King George V, and Princess of Wales to India. This Renown was sold for scrap in 1914, just before the start of the war.

When Admiral John Fisher became First Sea Lord of the Admiralty for the first time, he was responsible for the HMS Dreadnought and the all big gun battleship. What is often missed is the change to the steam turbine engine, which increased the battleship’s speed to 21 knots, when the standard was 18 knots. Under the lash of Fisher the Dreadnought was built in unheard of speed. Laid down on October 2, 1905, launched on February 10, 1906, Dreadnought started trials October 3, 1906, one year and a day from laying down. Speed, Fisher wanted speed in everything. With his project after Dreadnought, Fisher found his true love, cruiser equivalents to the Dreadnought.

On February 5, 1906, five days before the launch of Dreadnought, the first of these cruisers was laid down at Clydebank, HMS Inflexible. The three ships of the Invincible Class embodied everything Fisher loved, heavy armament on a very fast hull. The cruisers could hit 25 knots. He considered their lack of armor, with only a 6-inch belt, to be immaterial. In his view, speed was armor. Fisher considered them his "New Testament" ships opposed to the slow battleship designs. At first they were called, simply armored cruisers, like earlier heavy cruiser designs. Then they became known as Dreadnought Armored Cruisers or battleship cruisers to elevate them above the earlier designs but finally they received the name that stuck to the type, Battlecruisers. After Fisher left office the RN continued to build battlecruisers but Fisher’s successors as First Sea Lord went back to emphasizing battleship construction. By 1914 the RN had 10 of the New Testament ships completed or almost ready, 3 Invincibles, 3 Indefatigables, 3 Lions & Tiger.

In early October 1914 the current First Sea Lord, Prince Louis Battenberg, was shown the door, mostly because of his German birth and connections, although he was fiercely loyal to the Royal Navy and his adopted Great Britain. The First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston S. Churchill, invited Jackie Fisher out of retirement to become First Sea Lord again and Fisher leaped at the prospect. Naval events in the fall of 1914 seem to amply confirm Fisher’s high opinion of the battlecruiser. At the Battle of Heligoland Bight on August 28, 1914, RN battlecruisers came rushing to the aide of British light cruisers and destroyers and smashed the attacking German force, sinking three German light cruisers, while three more escaped with heavy casualties.

On December 8, 1914 the battlecruiser reached her pinnacle of reputation. On that day HMS Invincible and HMS Inflexible avenged the loss of Rear Admiral Christopher Cradock and two armored cruisers to Admiral Graf von Spee’s German Asiatic Squadron at the Battle of Coronel. One of the first actions that Fisher took upon replacing Battenberg was to dispatch two of his beloved greyhounds to the South Atlantic to hunt and crush the German Squadron. Von Spee found them at the Falklands and tried to escape when he realized that there were modern RN capital ships present. He made this decision before he realized that they were battlecruisers. "When the British ships had left harbour it was seen by the Germans that two, larger and faster, had detached themselves from the rest and these were at first thought to be Japanese, on the assumption that none of our battle cruisers could possibly be out at the Falklands. A little later they were recognized, and recognition meant a fight to the death." British Battleships, 1971 by Oscar Parkes at page 626. The two greyhounds overtook the fleeing German Squadron and sank the two armored cruisers and two of the three light cruisers with only Dresden escaping. British casualties amounted to one killed on Inflexible. The battlecruiser seemed to be everything that Fisher had envisioned.

Although policy had mandated that no new capital ships would be laid down in British yards until the end of the war, Fisher used the Battle of the Falklands to push through a plan that would allow the two R Class battleships of the 1914 program to be built, not as repeats of the Revenge Class, but as new battlecruisers. At first Churchill refused, as he was against the battlecruiser concept. However, Fisher asked Admiral Jellicoe, the new commander of the Grand Fleet to write Churchill a casual letter in which Jellicoe would lament his need for more battlecruisers. That was all that was needed to overcome Churchill’s resistance. The pair were ordered as battlecruisers. The pair retained the names assigned to them when they were planned as R Class battleships, HMS Renown and HMS Repulse. Fisher could not have been more delighted than seeing one of his newest creations become the 8th HMS Renown of the Royal Navy. The pair as designed, emphasized both the strengths and weaknesses of the type.


British Battleships 1919-1939
A lesser known volume on the battleships of the Royal Navy of World War Two, R.A. Burt’s British Battleships 1919-1939 covers the same material as the earlier Raven and Roberts volume. The 414 pages, published in 1993, has coverage which includes ships that survived immediate scrapping after World War One with chapters on each class from Iron Duke through the World War Two King George V. It also has two chapters devoted to Jackie Fisher’s "Large Light Cruisers" / light battlecruisers converted into aircraft carriers with one chapter on Furious and one chapter on Glorious/Courageous. The chapter on Renown and Repulse runs 40 pages, with 24 photographs and seventeen line drawings. Graphical highlights include two page profiles of Renown in 1921, 1933; Repulse 1922, 1933, a two page plan and profile with separate deck plans of Repulse as reconstructed July 1936; and a two page plan and profile with separate deck plans of Renown as fitted after reconstruction in 1939. The title is out of print and expensive on the used book market. An additional complication is that it is more difficult to find than the Raven & Roberts volume, probably because it had a smaller print run.
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Since the advent of Dreadnought and Invincible, both battleships and battlecruisers had acquired greater armor protection as new classes were introduced. In battleships the Bellerophon Class had a 10-inch belt (Dreadnought had 11-inches) and more armor was added until reaching a 13-inch belt with the Queen Elizabth and Revenge. For the battlecruisers the belt was 6-inches for the Invincible and Indefatigable Classes and was upped to a 9-inch belt with the Lion and Tiger Classes. In late December 1914 Admiral Fisher mandated that preliminary designs should be prepared for a very fast, heavily armed battlecruiser to be built in an abnormally short 15-months. Ten days was given to prepare the designs. Fisher wanted ships with a 32-knot speed and mounting 15-inch guns. Originally it was envisioned to have four guns mounted in two twin turrets but the Fisher quickly added a third turret. Fisher would come back to the four gun cruisers with his "Large Light Cruisers" Glorious and Courageous. The limited number of mountings to become available within this time period further limited the ships to three twin mounts. Four twin mounts would have been much better for salvo shooting and another turret aft would have only added 30 feet to the length. There would have been very little rise in displacement if 31 knots was selected as maximum speed instead of 32. However, the additional two turrets would not be available in the time frame and Fisher wanted the pair built quickly, so each stayed with six 15-inch guns. Armor was strictly an after-thought. They were to be armored on the same scale as the original battlecruiser, Invincible. They were given anti-torpedo bulges as an integral part of the hull, rather than an afterthought.

Renown would still be built at Fairfield but the construction of Repulse was transferred from Palmers to John Brown because Palmers did not have a slip long enough for the much longer battlecruiser design. Material assembled at Palmers was shipped to John Brown. To speed the design process, since no formal drawings had been prepared, the machinery plant for Tiger was selected with additional boilers to increase speed. Another requirement of the pair was that they have a comparatively shallow draft (26 feet) as Fisher wanted to use them in one of his pet projects, Royal Navy support of Russian Army landings on the Baltic Coast north of Berlin. By January 21, 1915 both builders had sufficient information to really start on the task and both keels were laid down on Jackie Fisher’s birthday, January 25. Final specifications were agreed upon in April. Construction proceeded at a furious pace but it was impossible to produce them in 15 months. Repulse took 19 months and Renown in 20. They were fast. Renown hit 32.68 knots at 126,300 shp on trials. Because of their very high speed, Admiral Beatty called the ships "The Gallopers". However, they suffered severe vibrations at speeds above 25 knots and the low quarter deck was flooded at full speed. They were the last lineal descendants of the battlecruiser concept started by the Invincible as the subsequent Hood carried the armor of a battleship with the same standard of the Queen Elizabeth with the speed of a battlecruiser.


Plan, Profile & Quarter Views
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White Elephant
They arrived at the Grand Fleet a matter of months after the Battle of Jutland, where two with the same thickness of belt, Invincible and Indefatigable, and one with a 50% greater armor belt, Queen Mary, were destroyed by catastrophic explosions. Just as the two had been laid down at the peak of enthusiasm for the type following the Battle of the Falklands, the came to the fleet at the nadir of enthusiasm for the type following the Battle of Jutland. Although additional plating had been incorporated in the design after the results of Jutland, they were not well received in the fleet. "Two long lines of scuttles proclaimed hulls devoid of armour, and armour in battle cuisers now not only meant ‘vision’ but ‘survival’ in a fleet action. Compared with the Derfflinger they were tin-cans, and although nothing could be done about side armor it was considered that their deck protection might be strengthened still further without much difficulty." British Battleships, 1971 by Oscar Parkes at page 610. Although deck armor was better than the preceding Tiger, belt armor was only half of that of the earlier design. A comparison of 1917 battlecruiser designs shows the following: Inflexible – Side Armor 2,020 tons, Deck Armor 1,200 tons; Princess Royal Side Armor 3,900 tons, Deck Armor 2,300 tons; Tiger Side Armor 4,750 tons, Deck Armor 2,300 tons; Renown Side Armor 2,440 tons Deck Armor 3,300 tons; Hood Side Armor 6,750 tons, Deck Armor 7,500 tons; Seydlitz Side Armor 5,200 tons, Deck Armor 2,400 tons. The pair, considered white elephants, spent so much time in the dockyard, that they received the derisive names Refit and Repair. With additions the maximum speed of Renown fell. After a very minor refit in 1919 her maximum speed was clocked at 29.85 knots.

Following the end of the war and the signing of the Washington Treaty, it was recognized that the pair would be in the service of the Royal Navy for some time. In a refit in 1919-1920 the belt armor of Repulse was increased to 9-inches with a supplemental belt of 6-inches thickness above the main belt. HMS Renown did not receive a refit at this time because she was tasked with two consecutive missions that would take almost three years.


Hit First, Hit Hard; H.M.S. Renown 1916-1948
If you want the biography of HMS Renown the title to acquire is Hit First, Hit Hard; H.M.S. Renown 1916-1948 1979 by Peter C. Smith. It has some good photographs but the chief interest is in the detailed historical text on the life history of the ship, laced with recollections of crew members. It makes 335 pages of good reading. It is no longer in print but not particularly expensive. However, it only pops up infrequently on the used book market. I had to order to a bookstore in Australia for my copy but was well worth the expense just to add it to my library. It is a must have for anyone serious about the history of the 8th HMS Renown.
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Royal Yacht
In 1905 the 2nd class battleship HMS Renown took the Prince and Princess of Wales to India. That Prince of Wales became King George V. In 1919 the battlecruiser HMS Renown offered the same service for the new Prince of Wales, eldest son of King George V. The first tour lasted from August 5 to December 1, 1919, when Renown visited the eastern coast of Canada, the United States and the Caribbean, with stops at Newfoundland, Halifax, Quebec and New York. During part of the time the Prince of Wales was on a train tour of Canada and the United States and Renown visited ports in the Caribbean and South America. Renown with the Prince of Wales returned to Portsmouth on December 1, 1919 and for the next three months received a light refit to prepare her for the second tour, which would be to the Pacific. 

From March 16, 1920 to November 5, 1920 HMS Renown was engaged in traveling half way around the world with the heir to the throne aboard. The purpose was a good will visit to the far-flung commonwealths, dominions and possessions of the British Empire with a few other stops in between. The story of this odessy was made into an 183 page book entitled "H.M.S. Renown in Australasia" and subtitled "The Magazine of H.M.S. ‘Renown". Anyone familiar with the modern warship cruise book will instantly recognize the format of this title. Some material on the ship, some material on the crew (mostly the officers), some photos although far fewer than modern cruise books, and a lot of material on the places visited. In almost every regard, this title is the ancestor of the modern warship cruise book.


H.M.S. Renown in Australasia
An odd and fairly rare volume is H.M.S. Renown in Australasia" "The Magazine of H.M.S. ‘Renown". This title was printed in Australia and has no publication date. However, it was probably printed shortly after the conclusion of the second Royal tour aboard Renown that ended in October 1920. In content it is the same format of modern warship cruise books. The majority of the issue of 183 pages covers the places visited by the Renown in this voyage to New Zealand and Australia. There is very little coverage on the ship itself, however, it does contain some interesting photographs as well as all sorts of curious poems, odd songs and the results of different obscure athletic contests between teams from the Renown and teams from the ports visited. This piece of Renownicana is definitely the odd bird of the group.
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The Renown went east to the Barbados in the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal and then north to San Diego. From there she visited Hawaii before heading southwest to Fiji and New Zealand. From there she steamed to Australia, back to Fiji, then Somoa and then back to Hawaii. To conclude her homeward voyage stops were made at Acapulco, eastward through the Panama Canal, various British islands in the Caribbean were visited and then back to Great Britain. The volume covers the various stops and what happened and what was done. Clearly the Renown and her crew left a strong impression. The following are the first and last verses of a poem written by an unidentified young lady in Australia and found addressed to one of the officers of Renown.

At evening when I go to bed
I think of him, and hide my head;
I – a simple girl in town;
He – a sailor of Renown.

I – a twinkling star at eve;
He – nobody could believe,
A simple girl from a country town,
And a sailor in H.M.S. Renown.

The cruise of Renown featured an unusual event. Those who had not previously crossed the equator, were initiated by King Neptune on April 17, 1920. That was a time honored custom and not unusual. What was unusual was that one of the recipients of the initiation was heir to the throne of Great Britain, as the Prince of Wales did participate. "Admiral Halsey then again introduced H.R.H. the Prince of Wales to His Aquatic Majesty, who invited him to take his seat on one of the stools. This done, His Royal Highness was plentifully lathered with fearsome-looking concoctions, his temperature was taken by the Doctor with an enormous thermometer, his chest and back were sounded with a huge stethoscope – a voice pipe head piece. He was given a large pill, which made him cough exceedingly, was lastly shaved with a two-foot wooden razor, the foot pedal of his stool was released, and he was tipped backwards into the bath, there to be seized and ducked by the waiting bears, who in the meantime been growling ferociously." H.M.S. Renown in Australasia "The Magazine of H.M.S. ‘Renown" at page 126. Sub-Lieutenant Lord Louis Mountbatten, who was flag lieutenant at the time, was another initiate at these proceedings. Lord Mountbatten had an anglicized last name, changed from the original German form during World War One. He was the son of Prince Louis Battenberg, replaced by Jackie Fisher as First Sea Lord of the Admiralty in October 1914, and had a long career with the Royal Navy, just as his father. The Prince of Wales however, went on to abdicate the throne to run off with Wallis Simpson.

In 1921 to 1922 Renown again conveyed the Prince of Wales but this time to India and Japan. Renown left Portsmouth on October 26, 1921 stopped at Malta, went through the Suez Canal into the Indian Ocean. Stops were made at Persian Gulf ports, Bombay, Karachi, Bombay, Port Swettenham, Singapore, Hong Kong and Yokohoma. On the return trip stops were Manila, Labuan, Penang, Trincomalee, the Suez Canal, Malta and Gibraltar.


Deck Detail
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Renown received her refit from 1923 to 1926. Costing more than the refit of Repulse, 979,927 sterling versus 860,684sterling, the Renown also received a 9-inch armor belt. Twenty-four of the fifty-two 9-inch plates came from an order for the Chilean battleship Almirante Cochrane, which was purchased from Chile and became the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle. She was given a new anti-torpedo bulge built over the existing bulge, which gave her greater protection against the torpedo. She also received additional deck plating over key areas. She also received sponsons for pom-poms, extra bridge work and a larger control top.

After her refit she was again assigned the role of Royal Yacht but this time she took the Duke of York to Australia in 1927. This time Renown did again carry the heir to the throne. Upon his older brother’s abdication of the throne, the Duke of York became King George VI and was the father of the present British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. He was king during World War Two in which HMS Renown had her most glorious period of service in her lengthy career. From 1928 to 1936 she was part of the four ship Battle Cruiser Squadron, consisting of Hood, Renown, Repulse and Tiger, until Tiger was removed in 1931, leaving only the three battlecruisers started after the beginning of World War One. Renown had a minor refit in 1931-1932 that added a HACS Mk I to the fore top and added some pom-pom mounts and directors. In 1933 a catapult was amidships. On January 23, 1935 Renown collided with Hood off of the coast of Spain. Renown rammed Hood on her starboard aft quarter with Renown fracturing her bow above and below the waterline. After temporary repairs in Gibraltar, Renown steamed to Portsmouth for three months of repairs.


Renown and Repulse, Ensign 8
Published in 1978 Renown and Repulse, Ensign 8 was the last of the numbered Ensign series. Written by Maurice P. Northcott the 47 page monograph has about equal coverage divided between Renown and Repulse. Liberally supplied with 73 photographs, 13 drawings and various data tables, the graphical highlight is a four page fold out plan and profile of Repulse as completed in 1916.
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The Great Rebuild
Since Repulse had received a major refit between 1934 to 1936, the Renown was selected for a complete rebuild. Between 1936 and 1939 the HMS Renown was reduced down to the hull and then rebuilt as a new ship. She was completely re-engined and re-boilered with the new plant producing greater horsepower at 130,000 and saving 2,690 tons in weight. In a way the less intensive refit received by Renown from 1923 to 1926 worked in her favor. The threat to Renown was now predominantly from bombs and torpedoes from the air. The thickness of the belt was now of less importance than the thickness of the deck armor or the protection against torpedo strikes afforded by bulges. She immerged in 1939 totally transformed on roughly similar lines to the rebuild of the Warspite. However, Renown’s refit went further. Renown completely replaced her outdated and inefficient triple 4-inch secondary armament with new 4.5-inch DP turrets countersunk into the deck. These ten twin mounts were arranged in the "four corners" system. This provided a group of the turrets at each of the four corners of the superstructure and provided all around AA coverage. She was also fitted with three eight barreled pom-poms.

Elevation for the main guns was increased to 30 degrees. The only new armor that could be fitted was an additional 4 to 3 inches over the new 4.5-inch magazines, boiler room and engine room and an additional 2.5-inches over the steering gear. The A & B barbette armor below deck was increased as well. Additionally, Renown was equipped with a water protection system. When fuel tanks were empty, water would be pumped in to add extra protection. On average she would carry an additional 1,040 tons of weight in the form of water pumped into empty spaces. A new large tower superstructure replaced the classical British bridge with tripod fore mast. However, the tower bridge of Renown was more graceful than the blocky, angular tower design of the three Queen Elizabeths or even the modern King George V bridge work. In part this was because her upper bridge/compass platform was rounded at the forward edges and in part because Renown received streamlined, tear-shaped stacks, which fume interference. Seaplane hangars on either side of the second funnel and a cross deck catapult aft of these were also added. After finishing her rebuild in 1939 Renown was actually 1,491 tons lighter than after her 1926 refit, displacing 30,025 light load. This however, was still far heavier than her 26,500 tons light as commissioned. Renown did 32 knots only on trials in 1916 as speed immediately dropped with addition of extra protection in that year and her refit between 1923 through 1926. After her rebuild she had a top speed of 29.93 knots on trials in shallow water at 120,560shp. She later hit 30.1 knots. It wasn’t the 32 knot ship that Jackie Fisher wanted but it was a far better warship in 1939 than she was as new in 1916.

"When she steamed out of Portsmouth in June 1939 her ‘refit’ represented only 30,000 (sterling) less than her prime cost, but an out-of-date and very vulnerable ship had been given the teeth to defend herself from air attack, and by the then standards was well equipped to withstand it." British Battleships, 1971 by Oscar Parkes at page 614. Renown rejoined the Home Fleet just in time as war came in three months. In September 1939 Renown and Hood with supporting cruisers and destroyers made a sweep of the Iceland to Faroes gap to intercept returning German merchant ships. In October she and Ark Royal formed Force K in the search for the Graf Spee in the South Atlantic. Renown was reassigned to Force H with Eagle and two cruisers based in Capetown when the Graf Spee was reported in the Indian Ocean. She stayed in the Cape of Good Hope area while assigned to this force. On December 2, 1939 she sank the German freighter Watussi, 9,552 tons. The freighter had already been abandoned when set on fire by the cruiser Sussex and Renown just polished off the burning hulk. "One of our companions had intercepted the German liner Watussi; she was well alight when we arrived and it was decided to use one of B turrets guns to sink her. Imagine the delight of the engine-room crowd assembled on deck to watch the fun when B gun missed completely at close range, but managed to sink her after a couple of further shots; her survivors had previously been picked up by Sussex and taken on to Capetown." Hit First, Hit Hard; H.M.S. Renown 1916-1948, 1979 by Peter C. Smith, at Page 85. In February 1940 Renown and Ark Royal were again paired in hunting six German freighters that had left Vigo, Spain. Only one of them reached Germany as four were sunk or scuttled and one wrecked on the Norwegian coast. She returned to England on March 4, 1940. Her next targets would be more formidable than the derelict burning Watussi.


Hull & Deck Detail
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Renown & the Twins
"At 0337 when steering a course 130 at 12 knots, Renown sighted a darkened ship coming out of a snow squall with apparently another ship behind her." Hit First, Hit Hard; H.M.S. Renown 1916-1948, 1979 by Peter C. Smith, at Page 106. On April 9, 1940 Renown engaged the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau 80 miles west of the Lofoten Islands. Renown, flying the flag of Vice Admiral W.J. Whitworth, and nine destroyers closed with the German twins. A half an hour later she turned broadside and opened fire on Gneisenau. The Germans were wondering about the identity of the new ship and were surprised by Renown opening fire. Six minutes later Gneisenau opened fire. The antagonists were steaming parallel with the six 15-inch guns of Renown facing eighteen 11-inch guns of the two German ships. The British destroyers also opened fire with their 4.7-inch guns but the targets were far out of range. However, their numerous gun flashes deceived the Germans into believing that they were facing a far more imposing force. There was heavy weather that obscured visibility and spray interfered with the gunnery. Twelve minutes after opening fire Renown finally hit Gneisenau and knocked out her main fire control. Gneisenau turned away and switched gunnery direction to her secondary directors. Scharnhorst covered Gneisenau’s withdrawal by laying smoke before she too withdrew to follow Gneisenau. HMS Renown chased the two German battle ships, as all three raced into the full force of a gale. The Germans increased speed to 28 knots and started to draw away. In her chase Renown had gone up to 29 knots but her forward turrets were unworkable at this speed and in these sea conditions. Renown was taking green water over the bows and was taking on water through a hatch on the forecastle and through A turret. She had to slow down to 20 knots. In this action the water protection of Renown worked against her, as water pumped into some bow compartments made her bow lower and more susceptible to the effects of the rough weather.

Before the Germans were out of range Renown scored two more hits on Gneisenau that put her forward turret out of action. Renown was hit by three 11-inch shells. All three passed through unprotected areas without exploding. One went through a leg of the light tripod foremast, one passed through the extreme stern damaging a fan and light fittings and the third cracked the upper casing of the forward funnel. "One shell drilled a hole in our mainmast, the second clipped the funnel, while the third penetrated close aft of Y magazine, into and out through the bottom of the Admiral’s wine store. Never have I seen so many volunteers to help the DB party pump out the compartment, all arriving with their suck-sacks, tool bags and what have you and all subsequently gliding away forard with their loot! I don’t know how the Admiral managed for wine but we all did very well thank you, our DB section looked more like an off-license." Hit First, Hit Hard; H.M.S. Renown 1916-1948, 1979 by Peter C. Smith, at Page 109. It took one month to repair the damage, which was far greater with that caused by the rough weather and blast damage than the damage caused by the glancing German hits. Jackie Fisher would have laughed approval of his battlecruiser child, 24 years out of the builders, chasing two new German fast battleships through the snow squalls.


Renown, Profile Morskie #34
British Battle Cuiser Renown, Profile Morskie #34 – Actually the title is in Polish and is Brytyjski krazownik liniowy Renown. The title is almost totally devoted to the Renown after her 1936 to 1939 rebuild. Text is in Polish. However, the greatest interest for the modeler lies in extensive line drawings of the ship. Of the 56 pages, plus covers, 35 pages are for plans/drawings of Renown in her 1942 fit. There are also 22 photographs. The title comes with three separate inserts. One is an 1:400 scale line drawing plan and profile back-printed with plans for various decks. The second has 1:400 hull lines and section lines back-printed with an 1:700 scale plan, profile and detail drawings. The third is a full color plan and profile. The title photo for this article came from this color insert. All inserts are for the ship in 1942.
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The Club
In August 1940 Renown joined Force H in Gibraltar. On November 27, 1940 Renown was the flagship of a force of Renown, Ramilles, Ark Royal, six cruisers and 13 destroyers that engaged an Italian fleet of battleships Vittorio Veneto and Giulio Cesare, five cruisers and 16 destroyers off Cape Spartivento in Sardinia. After a short inconclusive action, in which Renown fired on Zara and other heavy cruisers, the Italian fleet broke contact and used their superior speed to return to home port, chased almost all of the way by the slower British force. "Thus ended the main phase of the battle which reflected most creditably on the British force which had accepted battle even if it lacked the legs to enforce a decision. From Renown’s viewpoint the knowledge that the latest Italian battleship had run away from her in the same manner as the two German heavyweights earlier in the year, raised morale to a new peak." Hit First, Hit Hard; H.M.S. Renown 1916-1948, 1979 by Peter C. Smith, at Page 168. During most of this time Force H was used to escort convoys to Malta and Alexandria. However, on February 9, 1941 Renown, Malaya and Sheffield did close on Genoa and bombard shipping in the port, installations, and the shipyard located there. The Gibraltar Daily Despatch stated, "The bombardment of Genoa was in many ways Renown’s greatest day. That dawn approach, that perfect navigation, were matched and bettered by some of the best gunnery that this war has seen. Genoa’s battered waterfront, Ansoldo’s ruined works bore witness to the mightiness of that grey ship slipping along the horizon in the dawn." Hit First, Hit Hard; H.M.S. Renown 1916-1948, 1979 by Peter C. Smith, at Page 183.

In May 1941 Renown was still part of the Gibraltar based Force H. Earlier in the month when the ship was subjected to an air attack, the interrupter gear of the third 4.5-inch DP mount on the port side malfunctioned. As a result, in the heat of action P3 turret fired two shells into the rear of the adjacent P2 turret causing five instant deaths in the gun crew to P2. Five more gunners were seriously injured, one of whom died latter, and 22 more received lesser injuries. "Our 4.5’s were firing at the torpedo bombers with their barrels pretty well depressed. For some unknown reason P3 gun fired into the back of P2 and blew the crew and guns to smithereens. Theoretically this should not have happened because when a gun is trained on a dangerous bearing it cuts out and breaks the firing circuit and so automatically prevents the guns from being fired. This did not happen and when we got back to Gibraltar they erected angle iron around the outside to prevent this type of ghastly accident happening again. It is ironic to think that this should happen to ourselves, the only casualties of the war we suffered." Hit First, Hit Hard; H.M.S. Renown 1916-1948, 1979 by Peter C. Smith, at Page 198.


Hull & Deck Detail
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At the end of the month, when Bismarck sortied, Force H sailed north with the main components being the carrier Ark Royal escorted by Renown and Sheffield. After the Bismarck was sighted by a Catalina, Force H closed with the position. Admiral Somerville requested permission for Renown to engage Bismarck. Although Renown stayed with the carrier and did not see action. To the contrary, with an armor scheme lighter than the just sunk Hood, Renown was ordered not to engage Bismarck unless she was already under fire from other capital ships. "This is the Captain speaking – I have signaled Admiralty, requesting permission to engage Bismarck – That is all.’ Thinking in our minds of what that ship had just done to the Hood, that was plenty! It was a very subdued D/C party that sat around. About an hour later, or so it seemed like, the intercom crackled again. ‘This is the Captain speaking – In reply to my signal, Admiralty has sent the following reply. On no account is Renown to engage Bismarck unless already engaged.’ It’s just as well the Jerries couldn’t hear the cheers throughout the ship at that announcement, we felt we’d probably lived to fight again by that decision." Hit First, Hit Hard; H.M.S. Renown 1916-1948, 1979 by Peter C. Smith, at Page 203. It was a torpedo hit from a Swordfish from Ark Royal that disabled the steering of Bismarck and sealed her doom. However, the Admiralty order, kept top secret, that Renown was not to engage a Bismarck or Tirpitz Class alone, remained in effect. Upon entering Gibraltar, one British soldier shouted out, "Does it take all the Bloody Navy to sink the Bismarck?’ The reply from our side probably sank him too – ‘No, only half. The other half is evacuating you bastards from Crete!" Hit First, Hit Hard; H.M.S. Renown 1916-1948, 1979 by Peter C. Smith, at Page 204-205.

On June 4 she intercepted the German supply ship Gonzenheim, which was tasked to support the Prinz Eugen and now sunk Bismarck. For eight months Force H, which called themselves "The Club", had consisted of Renown, Ark Royal, Sheffield and the F Class destroyers of the 8th Flotilla. Mediterranean operations were called "Club Runs". It was deemed to be an exclusive club of the most efficient warships in the Royal Navy. A mythical regimental tie was designed for members of "The Club", consisting of a Mediterranean gray field, scattered with raspberries. However, the run was now over as replacements arrived. Hermione took over from Sheffield, the L Class destroyers took over from the F Class and Renown was replaced by Nelson. Later that year the last member of "The Club", Ark Royal was sunk by a U-Boat. In August 1941 Renown was ordered back home for a refit to prepare her for operations in the east. She was initially selected to be sent to Singapore to strengthen the British Navy in the Pacific but, luckily for Renown, her sister Repulse was substituted in her stead. Renown would have probably have been sunk by the Japanese Nell and Betty torpedo bombers in December 1941, just as easily as Prince of Wales and Repulse, in spite of her better AA fit than Repulse. With the loss of Repulse, HMS Renown became the last of the battlecruisers but to her crew her nickname was the "Largest Destroyer in the Fleet".


British Battle Cruisers Type Repulse, Okrety Swiata #12
British Battle Cruiser Type "Repulse", Warships of the World #12 – Another Polish title entitled Brytjskie krazowniki liniowe typu "Repulse" in the Okrety Swiata series written by Maciej S. Sobanski. Larger in dimensions than the Profile Morskie volume, this has 56 pages, plus covers. There are 53 photographs and a series of color profiles, Renown 1918, Repulse 1939, Repulse 1941 and both sides of Renown 1942. All text and photograph labels are in Polish. In the back of the book are two back-printed four page fold out sets of line drawings. There is a plan and profile of Renown 1918 back-printed with a plan and profile of Repulse in 1941. The second sheet has a plan and profile of Renown in 1942 and back-printed with various armament drawings. Plans and profiles are in 1:400 scale and the armament drawings range from 1:200 to 1:50 scale. For a complete review of this title click on British Battle Cruiser Type Repulse.
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Renown & Sara
Her first war-time modifications came between August 18 and October 31, 1941 when six 20mm Oerlikon AA guns were fitted. She also received two Type 285, one Type 284, three Type 283, two Type 282, one Type 281 and one Type 273 radar sets. Additional 20mm mounts were worked in as time and ordnance availability permitted. Between November 1, 1941 and fall of 1942 Renown received an additional ten Oerlikons and landed the completely ineffective quad Vickers machine gun mounts. Between March 6 to 10, 1942 in support of a Russian convoy, Renown, King George V, Duke of York, Victorious and Berwick tried to bring to action the Tirpitz, which had sortied after the convoy. Tirpitz turned for home and escaped before the British force could close. On April 14, 1942 Renown, Charybdis, Cairo, 4 British and 2 USN destroyers escorted the USS Wasp in the very successful mission of flying spitfires off of Wasp to reinforce Malta. In November 1942 Renown along with Duke of York, Rodney and Nelson supported the Operation Torch landings at North Africa. Tasked to provide support against surface opposition, Renown didn’t get to fire her guns.

Between February 22 to June 9, 1943 there was another big increase in AA armament. Another three single and 13 twin Oerlikon guns were added to the existing AA fit. The aircraft equipment was removed to provide more space for AA and to modify boat storage.

From December 1943 to January 1944 Renown was being fitted to join the British Eastern Fleet in the Indian Ocean. More AA mounts were added in the form of a quad pom-pom replacing the 20mm guns on B turret. These displaced Oerlikons were repositioned seven twin and five single Oerlikons were added. Each addition added weight and crew requirements for the new guns but very little if anything could be removed to improve stability. On April 19, 1944 she escorted HMS Illustrious and USS Saratoga on an air attack mission of Sabang, Sumatra. "Sara’ made an immediately good impression on the British Fleet as she joined up with her ship’s company fallen in in immaculate white uniform on her flight deck. She never lost her reputation for smartness and efficiency from that moment." Hit First, Hit Hard; H.M.S. Renown 1916-1948, 1979 by Peter C. Smith, at Page 274-275.


Forward Superstructure
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Renown bombarded Car Nicobar and Port Blair in the Andaman Islands on April 30 to May 1, 1944. She was again escort to Illustrious and Saratoga in air attacks of Surubaya, Java on May 17 and Port Blair on June 21. On May 18 when Saratoga and her three USN destroyers departed the British Eastern Fleet, the fleet was strung in line and as each ship was passed, the British crews cheered the Saratoga. On July 25, 1944 Victorious and Illustrious made an air attack on Sabang, Sumatra. Renown, Queen Elizabeth, Valiant and Richelieu then closed and bombarded the port with gun fire. From October 17 to 19, 1944 she bombarded the Nicobar Islands after air assaults. In November she was selected to be part of the new British Pacific Fleet along with Queen Elizabeth and Valiant. In March 1945 Renown was recalled to supplement the now depleted Home Fleet just in case the remaining German heavy units tried a last ditch suicide sortie. On May 11, 1945 following VE Day, Renown hosted a conference with German naval delegates in which the Germans showed the locations of their mine fields. Four days later Renown was placed in reserve.

The Royal Navy still had plans for Renown. In July 1945 six of her 4.5-inch turrets were removed and along with all of her light AA. The plan was to replace the turrets with fully automated mounts. However, in a brief flash of her old status as Royal yacht, she served as host for the meeting of King George VI and President Truman on August 3, 1945 as Truman was returning from the Potsdam Conference and about to take USS Augusta home. A final refit that would have added another 350 tons was scheduled for October 1945 but was cancelled in September with the surrender of Japan.






HMS Renown Vital Statistics 1939


Dimensions: Length –
794 feet (oa), 787.7 feet (wl), 750 feet (pp); Beam – 102.6 feet; Draught – 26.6 feet (load), 31.7 feet (deep load); Displacement – 33,725 tons standard, 36,080 deep load: Armament – Six 15-inch/42 Mk I with 120 rounds per gun, elevation increased to 30 degrees; twenty 4.5-inch DP 10x2 400 rounds per gun; three eight barreled 2 pdr pom-poms Mk VIII, 1,800 rounds per gun; eight 21-inch torpedo tubes, above water; 24 depth charges; six 6pdr; 18 machine guns:

Armor – Belt – 9-inches; Turrets – 11 to 4 inches; Barbettes – 7.5-inches; Conning Tower – 3-inches; Deck – 2.5 to 5 inches; Machinery – Parsons turbines, eight three drum small tube Admiralty boilers; four shaft, 120,000 shp; Maximum Speed – 30.75 knots, 29.5 knots sea-going:

 

Lack of Speed for the Fastest Capital Ship in the Navy
In October 1946 she was reduced to Category C Reserve, which was the equivalent of having one foot in the grave and finally on January 21, 1948, exactly five days short of a third a century from her hull being laid down, her disposal was announced. The reason given by the politicians was "…due to the lack of speed for service in the modern fleet." "I received a letter at that time from Renown’s wartime Engineer Officer – who was then Deputy Engineer-in-Chief of the Fleet, Rear-Admiral Iain Maclean, to the effect that such an announcement was a bit steep since Renown was still the fastest capital ship in the Navy!" Hit First, Hit Hard; H.M.S. Renown 1916-1948, 1979 by Peter C. Smith, at Page 309. In August she was purchase by Metal Industries of Faslane and was towed there from Devonport. Her dismantling started on August 3, 1948. "Then one day I saw a number of tugs towing up another ship destined for the yard and I recognized HMS Renown. I remember saying, ‘Oh no, not her’, but yes she ended up in the floating dock used for the purpose." Hit First, Hit Hard; H.M.S. Renown 1916-1948, 1979 by Peter C. Smith, at Page 311.

Throughout almost all of her long career HMS Renown, along with her sister Repulse, remained the weakest armored British capital ships. However, until 1940 they could outrun any ship more powerful, which was exactly what was called for by Jackie Fisher back in December 1914. (Bulk of history from British Battleships, 1971 by Oscar Parkes;British Battleships 1919-1939, 1993 by R.A. Burt ; British Battleships of World War Two, 1976 by Alan Raven & John Roberts; Hit First, Hit Hard; H.M.S. Renown 1916-1948 1979 by Peter C. Smith; H.M.S. Renown in Australasia" "The Magazine of H.M.S. ‘Renown"; Renown and Repulse, Ensign 8, 1978 by Maurice Northcott )


Aft Superstructure & Armament
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HMS Renown From White Ensign Models
OK, lets get this out of the way. There is no getting around it. It is a 600 pound gorilla standing in the road. The hull casting for the Renown from WEM is the best hull casting that I have seen! There, I’ve said it. Should I qualify that bold statement? No! 1:700 or 1:350, it doesn’t matter, it still is the most detailed hull casting that I have ever seen. There are a lot of great manufacturers producing a huge variety of exceptional products but as of July 2004 the WEM Renown hull stands by itself, alone at the peak. Of course this is just my opinion and everybody is free to make up there own mind but let me ask this question. How many commercially available ship models in either 1:700 or 1:350 scale feature individual planks? I can only think of one, the 1:700 scale HMS Renown from White Ensign Models.

Deck planking is almost universal on models of ships that had timber planks. Whether plastic or resin, the planking can be readily seen. Sometimes subtly done, sometimes overdone. However, in each case the planking runs length wise along the long axis of the ship, conveying the impression that a series of extraordinarily long planks were used. Some of the best modelers have spent a great deal of time in adding in the athwartship "width" lines for the planking. The butt ends of the planks had to be added because they were never present in the casting or molding. Peter Hall decided that he would add this detail. For the WEM HMS Renown Peter prepared a brass photo-etch deck in which each individual plank was delicately etched. Is this the EXACT plank arrangement that Renown carried? I don’t know and I doubt if anybody knows but it surely looks right. Maybe there is a small band among the "rivet counters" that can be classified as "plank counters". Maybe Peter unintentionally started a brand new club. As I frequently say in reviews, "Look at the photos!" They are far more eloquent in showing this amazing detail than words can ever be.


Stacks, Pom-Pom Platform, Smaller Parts
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The other detail is almost as amazing. Normally when I describe hull detail features in a review, I just look at the hull and write what I see. With the WEM Renown I had to change this custom. The detail is so fine and plentiful that I had to look at the photographs, magnified greatly over the size of the model by macro-photography, to see everything that is present on this casting. The bow capstans have a very delicate hour-glass profile and the star-rayed metal foc’sle deck at the bow is spectacular. The breakwater with its brace work is superb. The catapult has 74 lateral supports. The resin deck hatches have individual hinges, handles and dogs. The individual cable and hose reels are extraordinary in the fineness of their detail. The bollards & cleats and their base plates are plentiful and crisp. The small deck ventilators, boat chocks and other deck bits create a forest of detail blooming from the deck. With all this detail cast integral to the hull casting, perhaps the most amazing thing is that it is all perfectly executed. Everything was crisp, clean and totally without defect. The only damage to the casting was when I accidentally broke a boat choke loose by putting my finger on it during the photography.

The hull sides are just as well done from the unique outward flair at the bow with its cleaver cutwater to the prominent bulging with its series of vertical strakes. About the only thing to pick at is the portholes, which are rather shallow. However, to me the most significant, although rather minor, problem with the hull casting was the clean up of the resin sheet on which the hull was cast. On other WEM kits I have not noticed this casting sheet but with the Renown it was very noticeable as the sheet extended beyond the bottom hull edges. Now, all it took to remove the sheet was to easily break it loose from the hull with a thumb and finger. However, you also have to get out the sanding pad or sanding stick and smooth the tiny remnants of the sheet from the water line. I was so eager to start photography on the hull that I just used a pad and didn’t go get my sanding stick for the minute cleanup. As a result the photographs still show very minute particles of the casting sheet still at the waterline as well as some resin dust on the hull casting. The small amount of time necessary for this cleanup is a very small price to pay for the incredible detail packed into this hull casting.


WEM Renown with Dry-Fitted Parts
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Other Comments
Just so the reader doesn’t think that I have gone overboard in my description of the WEM HMS Renown kit or thinks that I have been co-opted by WEM, I’ll again depart from the format of my usual review by adding comments posted on the SteelNavy message board by a few modelers that have already received their Renown.

Jon Iverson – "My WEM Renown just arrived and folks, if you buy one kit this year, buy this one!… One definitely does not build this kit! But, merely should take the hull out and fondle and caress it while watching one's favorite documentary on the Royal Navy in WW2. Peter Hall: You have made a masterpiece!…Everything is in this kit to make a sure show-stopper….This is WEM's best offering yet IMHO - and they offer some wonderful kits….Folks, you may believe that I am gushing a bit much about this kit, but trust me, hold this beauty in your hands and you may no doubt state I have understated this kits true magnificence. Again, thank you Peter Hall and the rest of the WEM gang for creating this much needed subject - and doing it so well!"

Jim Baumann – "I have to admit to having cleaned up the casting plugs, and applied a light undercoating to the decks and hull sides of Renown, very, very thinly..., neat decking like this must not be buried under thick paint!!" Jim stopped in the middle of another build just to start preparation of the WEM Renown. "I have to say I am REALLY looking forward to this build/assembly, looks so far to be hassle free and crisp; truth be told I cannot wait... Damn Monitor holding up the production line!!"

Clay - Confessions of a 1/350th bigot... - "Even if an inaccuracy can be seen this is an incredible effort. With efforts like this 1/700th may yet be considered worthy enough for consideration for "true scale" status like 1/350th and 1/72nd are. There. I said it. I am actually impressed by a 1/700th kit. Humbled, Clay" Clay didn’t have the kit but made his statement after seeing one photograph of the deck detail.

J.R. - WEM Kits Are Works of Art – "Its almost a shame that you have to build them."

Maybe all of us are under some mass-illusion cast and spun by the guileful Master of Illusion, Mad Pete, and Caroline, John and Dave, his willing accomplices at White Ensign Models, but I don’t think so. The kit is that good!


WEM Renown with Dry-Fitted Parts
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Smaller Resin Parts
In an effort to balance this gushing review, I’ll lead this section with a negative. 75 to 85% of all of the smaller resin pieces still have their resin pour plugs still attached to the parts. Removing these plugs and cleaning the area of their attachment to the parts will take some time and care. It took me about three hours to do this and after looking at the magnified photographs, such as the Walrus parts, I still see that I have more cleaning, i.e. sanding, to do, to remove the last vestiges of the pour plugs. That’s it. Flash – none. Broken parts – none, except the parts that I accidentally broke during cleaning such as three 4.5-inch barrels.

After clean up the smaller parts readily fall into place. The model’s design makes them practically lock into place. There is no need to maneuver pieces around before the glue hardens because there is perfect placement from the get-go. When you look at the photographs of the model with some of the larger parts attached, remember that they are dry-fitted. The parts were simply placed in their positions on the hull with no glue or any other form of attachment. In spite of the exquisite detail of the hull casting and the smaller parts, the kit is designed for easy, error free assembly.

I could describe almost each of the smaller resin pieces and proclaim its detail but in stead you can see the photographs. I will describe some of the stellar parts. My favorite smaller part is the aircraft hangar. Actually there are two, sitting one on each side of the second funnel but the hangar piece is one of the larger size smaller pieces and comes as a single block. Each segment of the roll-up hangar doors is minutely shown with the utmost care in detail. The boat chock base plates on the top are already cast into place. The different platforms already have their supports cast in place. The rear lip to the hangar already has its nine supports cast integral to the part. WEM is probably has the most photo-etch fret intensive approach among the manufacturers, probably being only equaled by YS Master Pieces. In the past WEM may have made all of these supports and many details on the hull as separate brass pieces. However, if WEM did this with their Renown, the brass photo-etch fret would have been twice the size of the already large fret provided. With these details cast onto the parts in resin with such fineness and detail, it is unnecessary to produce them in brass. Another significant benefit to the modeler is the reduction in build time and the elimination of points of possibly botching the assembly.


WEM Renown with Dry-Fitted Parts
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The tower bridge is one block with the two top levels being separate parts. This part from WEM has some wonderful and perfectly clean undercuts, with all of the smaller architectural features cast into the part. These details also include different raised platforms on the bridge and two of the 20mm tubs. The stacks are nicely done, although from the pictures, you can see that a little clean-up is still necessary. The forward stack especially deserves note as the two platforms on the forward face of that stack are cast integral to the stack. There is no fumbling around with those platforms as they are already perfectly placed through the magic of Mad Pete and WEM. The armament, as a whole, deserves special note. The eight-barreled pom-poms are outstanding creations. Each minute single piece casting of this ordnance has a tremendous amount of detailing cast into the part. Although not as intricate, the ten 4.5-inch counter-sunk 4.5-inch DP turrets have all of the detail that a modeler could want. Although B turret with its three roof top Oerlikon tubs is the most prominent, all three of the main gun turrets come packed with roof top detail.

Brass Photo-Etch Fret
The HMS Renown kit from White Ensign Models comes with one large brass fret. Originally this kit was going to represent Renown as she appeared in 1944. Clearly the brass fret was developed with that fit in mind. Only later did WEM switch the design to the 1942 fit. If you look at the fret, you’ll find rows of beautifully done twin 20mm Oerlikon mounts. Twenty of these twin mounts are provided as well as forty single 20mm Oerlikons, more than enough for the much more AA intensive 1944 fit. Unfortunately, you’ll not get to use them in building the 1942 fit, as they were only mounted to Renown starting in 1943. Another piece of ordnance included in the fret that reappeared in the 1944 fit is a quad pom-pom that went onto the roof of B turret in place of the earlier Oerlikon positions. However, the parts are there for any modeler who wishes to rework the kit into her appearance for the British Pacific Fleet at the end of the war. Otherwise, they provide a great stockpile of high quality parts for any 1:700 scale project requiring twin Oerlikons.

As always WEM uses extensive relief etching for this fret. This provides an extra 3rd dimensional perspective to the two dimensional character of photo-etch. Although the kit provides superb one piece resin parts for the pom-pom mounts, optional brass pom-poms are provided on the fret. Each of the mounts consists of nine brass pieces. Even if you choose to use the resin ordnance pieces, you still need the safety railing for the mounts found on the fret. The early quad Vickers machine gun mounts are there on the fret in all of their splendor. Each of these minute pieces of ordnance is made up of seven parts, starting with the relief-etched base plate on which you can actually count the eight bolts that secured the base plate to the deck. If you think about that – you can actually see and count individual bolts in 1:700 scale! Although the heavy tripod and foretop of Renown was eliminated during her 1936-1939 rebuild, the new Renown still had starfish, two of them, the larger 13 piece on for the foretop and the smaller 5 piece starfish for the maintop. The boat/aircraft cranes feature their own relief etching in the spidery grid work pattern. The Yagi radars are extraordinarily well detailed and fine with eight parts in each array. Patience and time will be needed to assemble these miniatures to do the parts justice, as well as a good pair of magnifying glasses to see what you are doing.


Brass Photo-Etch Fret
Ren0516fret.JPG (163854 bytes) Ren0517crane.JPG (135470 bytes) Ren0518anch.JPG (137436 bytes) Ren0519bofor.JPG (111775 bytes)
Ren0520bofor.JPG (127353 bytes) Ren0521twOer.JPG (121205 bytes) Ren0522yagi.JPG (99978 bytes) Ren0523name.JPG (124960 bytes)
Ren0526boatdet.JPG (125519 bytes) Ren0424quad.JPG (95623 bytes) Ren0529boatdet.JPG (106758 bytes) Ren0530dh.JPG (128374 bytes)
Ren0531Oer.JPG (94145 bytes) Ren0533boat.JPG (91413 bytes) Ren0535hat.JPG (68650 bytes) Ren0538anch.JPG (95282 bytes) Ren0532rail.JPG (121362 bytes)

For those modelers than wanted all of the itsy-bittsy brass piece assembly of a WEM kit and bemoan the decision of WEM to cast doors, hatches and platforms in resin, this fret still contains all of the brass detail for which White Ensign Models is "renowned". In addition to the optional brass pieces already mentioned and the assemblies that only found in brass already mentioned, there is plenty more detail on this fret. In addition to the cast on stack platforms, there are more, smaller stack platforms that done in brass and feature a platform tread/grid work and folding railing. Of course the multiple piece relief etched anchors still need to be assembled and the accommodation ladders feature relief-etched platforms. There is still plenty of supports, electronic gear with a mass of different radars, large lattice boat chocks for the top of the hangar, relief-etched catapult turntables, Walrus detail, davits, yards, 3-D boat thwarts with oars and rudders, relief etched deck hatches & doors and a host of other detail to satisfy even the most jaded brass junkie. WEM even throws in searchlight covers in the photo-etch parade. WEM also provides brass rod for the light tripods of the fore and main masts.

Renown Instructions
As always with WEM, superb. As I have stated in other reviews and as others have stated, White Ensign Models, has the best instructions in the industry, probably only equaled by those of YS Master Pieces. The instructions with the WEM Renown follow in this fine tradition. The instructions consist of six sheets, five for the instructions proper, which are back-printed and a color plate. Page one – photo, history and specifications. Page two – photo of resin parts, text description of resin parts and general assembly instructions. Page three – photo and text description of brass parts. Page four – overall view of major component locations. Page five – assembly modules on the 282 & 285 Yagi arrays, 281 radar array, eight & four barreled brass pom-poms, Oerlikons, 4.5-inch and 15-inch turrets. Page six – Modules on the forward superstructure/ tower bridge assembly and forward tripod. Page seven – Modules on fittings of the tower bridge, stack assembly, pom-pom platform and aft funnel location. Page eight – Modules on boat storage, crane assembly, and aft superstructure assembly and fittings. Page nine – Modules on the main mast, starfish, accommodation ladders, carley raft locations, Walrus assembly and forecastle fittings, as well as a list of supplemental instructions. Page ten – over-all plans of boats and boarding/accommodation ladder placement and armament locations.


Box Art & Instructions
 

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Ren0548Inst6b.JPG (92961 bytes) Ren0549Inst6c.JPG (95700 bytes) Ren0550Inst7.JPG (58878 bytes) Ren0551Inst7a.JPG (95911 bytes) Ren0552Inst7b.JPG (104545 bytes)
Ren0553Inst7c.JPG (111453 bytes) Ren0554Inst8.JPG (69351 bytes) Ren0555Inst8a.JPG (131070 bytes) Ren0556Inst8b.JPG (105597 bytes) Ren0557Inst8c.JPG (112928 bytes)
Ren0558Inst9.JPG (61048 bytes) Ren0559Inst9a.JPG (109292 bytes) Ren0560Inst9b.JPG (138428 bytes) Ren0561Inst10.JPG (105451 bytes) Ren0562plate.JPG (109381 bytes)
Ren0563plateA.JPG (91940 bytes) Ren0564plateB.JPG (85030 bytes) Ren0565plateC.JPG (97862 bytes) Ren0566plateD.JPG (130589 bytes) Ren0567plateE.JPG (134920 bytes)

The color plate provides full port and starboard profiles of Renown featuring her distinctive 1942 Admiralty Disruptive camouflage scheme as well as a top down plan. This camouflage is striking in the rainbow of colors used to such an extent that Peter Max would have been proud to have designed it. From the plan the modeler will see that although A & B turrets have an AP507A dark gray (grey) roof, Y turret has the roof in a two color white & AP507A scheme. White Ensign Models was kind enough to note, in addition to the colors Admiralty designations, the eight colors by their Colourcoat number. How thoughtful! 

Verdict
I’ll go back to my original statement, "The hull casting for the Renown from WEM is the best hull casting that I have seen!" Not that the smaller parts are slouches, as they are uniformly excellent. However, the hull casting is of such fine detail, heretofore not seen in a commercially available kit, that it truly pushes the envelope in kit design to a considerable degree.

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