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1/700 Battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth

By Waveline

Reviewed by Rob Mackie


Kit: Battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth 1915 Fit

Scale: 1/700 waterline

Producer: Waveline

Medium: Resin and white metal

Strengths: Cleanly cast, clear instructions, and easy assembly

Weaknesses: Etched Brass not included

The Ship
The HMS Queen Elizabeth was the name ship of an outstanding class of Royal Navy battleships. Laid down in 1912, she was arguably the finest warship of her time, achieving a near optimal balance of armament, speed and protection. The QE and her sister ships (Barham, Malaya, Warspite, and Valiant) had long and illustrious service histories. Four of them were present at the 1916 Battle of Jutland, suffering - and surviving - significant damage. After rebuilds in the interwar period, all of them saw extensive service in WW2. In 1941 both the Queen Elizabeth and her sister ship Valiant were sunk off Alexandria in a daring torpedo attack carried out by Italian naval special forces. Fortunately the harbor's shallow waters enabled the ships to be refloated. The Queen Elizabeth subsequently underwent repairs in the USA, gaining additional AA armament and radar. She saw extensive WW2 service thereafter, principally in the Far East.

The Queen Elizabeth was the first ship to utilize the outstanding 15-inch British naval gun, an example of which guards the entrance to the Imperial War Museum in London. First Sea Lord Winston Churchill was the moving force behind the adoption of this outstanding weapon. The gun's additional weight precluded the use of a fifth amidships "Q" turret, conventional battleship practice prior to the QE.. This had the benefit, however, of enabling her to ship more powerful and better arranged machinery. The Queen Elizabeth could move her 33,000 tons (full load) at 24 knots, making her the first "fast battleship".

The Model
This 1/700 scale kit by Waveline, a Japanese resin caster, depicts the Queen Elizabeth in her 1915 fit. Subsequent rebuilds in the 20's, 30's and during WW2 greatly changed her appearance, so this model is not suitable for those of you wishing to build a WW2 Queen Elizabeth. Get the Waveline Barham, a 1941 fit QE class battleship, if that is your preference.

Waveline and an American resin caster, Corsair Armada, are currently setting the standard in 1/700 resin cast ship models. The Queen Elizabeth kit is, in a word, superb. Hull and upper works are resin and the many fittings are precise white metal castings. At US $85 the kit is not cheap, but read on to see why Waveline kits are worth every penny.

Hull: A beautiful one-piece resin casting crammed with exquisite surface detail. Minimal cleanup is required and the surface bits have a delicate, jewel-like quality the likes of which I've never seen in a 1/700 scale kit. The teak deck is represented by finely scribed deck planking. The anchor chains are cast integral with the deck and are quite acceptable. Length and beam both scale out within inches of published dimensions.

Superstucture: More finely cast resin pieces. Deck structures are keyed to fit into the corresponding openings in the lower hull casting. Waveline's ability to produce paper thin, "in-scale" blast shields and deck structures is most impressive.

Main Guns: The four twin 15-inch turrets are detailed resin castings. The barrels are white metal with very nice cast-in blast sleeves at the base of each barrel.

Secondary Armament: The deck mounted guns and blast shields are more of the same jewel like white metal. The twelve casement mounted 6-inch guns are white metal with integral blast sleeves.

Masts & Cranes: Instructions are provided for fabricating masts and cranes from brass (included). This step is not difficult and should not put off anyone who thinks that resin kits require some sort of advance building skills. This one does not. Even with injection molded kits where the masts are provided I usually fabricate them from brass rod. It is an easy step that adds tremendously to the "look" of the finished product.

Miscellaneous: Davits, searchlights, launches, rafts and all manner of small bits and pieces are white metal castings of extraordinary quality and "scale" appearance. I'm sure there is something that Waveline has omitted but I haven't found it as yet.

Etched Brass: none included. Add deck railing using the appropriate Tom's Modelworks or Gold Medal Models fret.

Instructions: Excellent. Exploded view drawings show parts placement and necessary dimensions, and there are 1/700 starboard and plan views as well. Both a parts diagram and a parts list are included. The instructions are in Japanese, but this is not a significant drawback.

Cost: US $85 from Pacific Front.

Conclusion: It is difficult to speak in anything but superlatives when reviewing a Waveline kit. If you like 1/700 scale ships and would like to treat yourself to a high quality, accurate kit that builds into a beatiful replica, then look no further. The Waveline Queen Elizabeth is a great kit of a famous ship.

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