HMS Belfast

1/700 Waterline Kit by B Resina

Reviewed by Rob Mackie

Kit: HMS Belfast WW2 British cruiser (modified Town class)
Scale: 1/700 waterline
Producer: B-Resina
Medium: All resin
Strengths: Stunning one-piece hull casting, ease of assembly
Weaknesses: Slight deformity in hull, no torpedo tubes, some small parts a bit rough

Availability (in US): Pacific Front Hobbies, US$68

The Ship
The HMS Belfast and her sister ship, Edinburgh, were completed in 1939. They were designed both to improve upon the Town class cruisers (HMS Southampton, Sheffield et al) and as a response to the Mogami class of IJN cruisers and their fifteen 6 guns. They were intended to carry sixteen 6 guns in four quadruple turrets. The turret design proved impractical, and in the event she shipped twelve 6" guns in four triple turrets. The weight saved was used to supplement her armour protection. The Belfast suffered serious mine damage in 1939 and she was laid up for 3 years. Thereafter she participated in the Battle of the North Cape, in which the battlecruiser Scharnhost was sunk.

She is now a museum ship moored on the Thames in London. Note that she is displayed in her post-war 1960's fit (altered bridge structure, lattice masts rather than tripod masts, modernized radar) rather than the 1943 livery depicted by this kit.

The Kit
is a new name in 1/700 waterline models. It is a German concern affiliated, I believe, with Doc Modell, a producer of high quality waterline kits. Open the box and you are greeted by an extraordinary hull casting. Almost everything short of the masts and guns is cast integral with the hull. There were no bubbles or flash in this impressive piece of resin. Even the searchlights and rafts are part of the hull casting. How is this done? High pressure or vacuum casting? I have no idea but the end result is convincing and makes for very rapid construction. Just affix the guns, boats, cranes and directors. This is truly a one evening project for those of you not given to superdetailing.

You are probably asking, did B-Resina sacrifice detail for ease of construction? No. I compared the hull casting to the profile view in Raven and Roberts British Cruisers of World War Two. Details generally match both in location and appearance. I wonder if this represents a trend in 1/700 ships? If the hull were any more complete, the modeler could skip the construction step entirely and start painting. The hull appears slightly asymmetrical at the armour belt. The port side bulges slightly more than the starboard. This causes the kit's beam to scale out to 72' rather than the correct 66'. This is only noticeable when the ship is viewed from the underside, and can be fixed by carefully sanding the side belt. The kit's length scales out perfectly at 613 feet.

Small parts are fair but useable. Consider replacing the barrels with brass rod and the very rough 20mm guns with PE brass. The resin masts are acceptable, but I suggest you fabricate your own using brass rod, especially if you plan on rigging your Belfast. A very nice Walrus floatplane is included, but the kit omits the cruiser's two banks of triple torpedo tubes.

Instructions are simple but adequate, and there is a useful paint guide.

British WW2 ship camouflage is a subject of endless conjecture. See Alan Raven's comprehensive discussion in Plastic Ship Modeler and then consult the camo articles elsewhere on this site for paint mixing instructions.

No etched brass is included. Radar and 20 mm guns are best depicted using PE. Add PE railing and you will have a beautiful replica.

This is an excellent model for those of you new to 1/700 resin kits. Trust me, you will have no construction problems. More advanced modelers will also like this kit. They can embellish the already substantial built-in detail and wind up with a real crowd pleaser. Highly recommended.