HMS Hood
Copyright 1997, Ian Wilkins

Tamiya 1:700 Scale Injection Molded Kit

Reviewed by Ian Wilkins

Brief history:
Hood was probably the most elegant warship ever built, and the longest ship to serve in the Royal Navy. Hood was one of a class of four ships originally planned in WWI in response to reports of German construction of 15 inch armed battlecruisers. Ordered in 1916, they were delayed due to policy changes regarding battlecruisers as a result of the disaster at Jutland. Recast as fast battleships, all but Hood were cancelled when it was learned that Germany had ceased construction of 15 inch armed battlecruisers. Hood's construction was slowed and she was not launched until 1920. She served with distinction in the peacetime years and was widely regarded as the most powerful ship afloat. Hood was due for reconstruction and modernisation in 1939 that would have seen her protection improved, secondary armament upgraded and a new bridge structure reminiscent of the type fitted to some of the Queen Elizabeth's. However, the war intervened and she blew up while engaging Bismarck and Prinz Eugen in the North Atlantic, 24 May, 1941.

The Kit:
The kit represents Hood in her final appearance after she had her 5.5 inch mounts removed and radar, 4 inch twin AA mounts, and UP mounts added in 1940. It is finely moulded in dark grey plastic. Two of the sprues are identical, yielding some extra items after the kit is finished including some boats, a pom-pom mount, and a 4 inch twin.

The mouldings very crisp and the level of detail throughout is exceptional. The scuttles are well done, looking as if they have been drilled out, the boats are very finely moulded with thin sides and good internal detail, searchlights have excellent detail including their lenses, the pom-poms are very well done (they could so easily look bad in this small scale). The bridgework is excellent too with very thin sides on the various platforms. The spotting top too is good and the starfish platform very well detailed. Both the bridge and spotting top windows are neatly recessed allowing the modeller to paint them black before the other colours are applied. The shields around pom-poms and UP mounts are also beautifully thin. What really stands out though are the 15 inch turrets which are very well shaped and actually have heads of the bolts moulded onto them. The effect of this is remarkable. Overall there is no flash and only the odd few (slight) sinkmarks.

Construction of this kit poses few problems. Care must be taken when fitting the funnels as location is not very positive and it is easy to glue them down only to find later on that they are twisted off their axis when viewed from above (I know because I did it!). Also the join between the hull and the hull bottom is not very good and will need a lot of work to blend into the hull should you desire. Tamiya mould this component in separately in black plastic I suppose to save you the task of masking and painting in the boot topping. I did find a niggling fault with this component, however, in that at the tip of the bow, on the underside the corner is somewhat rounded giving the profile of the bow an "s" shaped twist right at the waterline. I've noticed this in pictures of the completed model in their catalogues so It mustn't be just my example. This is awkward to fix and would detract from a flat sea setting for the model.

Fastidious modellers would want to replace some of the masting and radar aerials which, given the quality of the rest of the kit, could have been finer.

Really though, this is nit picking. The kit builds into an exceptionally detailed and good looking model and is a fine candidate for the addition of as much photo etched detail as you have the patience to apply.

Painting the model is straight forward if fiddly with so many deck details to negotiate the brush around (I've often wondered why all kit manufacturers mould barbettes into the deck. They'd be easy to mould as separate items and would make for an easily achieved clean paint demarcation).

Probably one of the best injection moulded 1:700 scale ships ever made. The kit accurately captures the look of the ship, construction is straightforward, and the end result is fantastic. Buying this kit wouldn't be money wasted.

There are excellent drawings and a history of the design process behind Hood given in Raven and Roberts', British Battleships of World War Two. Unfortunately I don't possess a copy of this book so I relied on Tony Gibbons' The Complete Encyclopedia of Battleships (New York: Crescent Books, 1983) which includes a brief history, coloured profile and plan illustrations, and a very interesting artist's impression of how Hood may have looked after her proposed 1939 refit. There is an excellent Hood kit review article in the September 1996 issue of Scale Model international which covers all seven injection moulded kits of HMS Hood. Finally, if you're really interested watch the 1960 film "Sink the Bismarck", starring Kenneth More and a host of British film luminaries. Its a cinema classic.