1/700 HMS Iron Duke

by White Ensign Models

Reviewed by Rob Mackie

 

Kit: Battleship HMS Iron Duke 1916

Scale: 1/700 waterline

Producer: White Ensign

Medium: Resin, brass rod and etched brass

Strengths: Cleanly cast, comprehensive photoetch fret, clear instructions/colour guide, easy assembly

Weaknesses: No simulated wood planking

The Ship
There were four Iron Duke class battleships, Benbow, Iron Duke,Marlborough and Emperor of India.  These 30,000-ton vessels, completed in 1914, mounted the excellent 13.5" main gun in five twin turrets.
Unlike the previous King George V and Orion classes, the Iron Duke featured a heavy secondary armament of twelve 6" guns. This was in response to the growing size and hitting power of foreign destroyers.
The low placement of these casement mounted 6" guns limited their usefulness, however, as they were subject to spray interference.

Other distinguishing features were the faceted bow, a characteristic of subsequent British battleships but first seen on the Iron Duke, and the two thin round funnels.  As the war progressed larger control tops were
fitted to the prominent tripod mast, as well as a turret-mounted aircraft fly-off ramp.   It is also worth noting that the Iron Duke was the first Royal Navy battleship with anti-aircraft guns, mounting two 3" high angle guns atop her aft superstructure.

The Model
The White Ensign HMS Iron Duke shows the battleship in her 1916 fit when she served as Adm. John Jellicoe’s flagship at Jutland. Casting is excellent with minimal cleanup required. The one-piece tripod cum bridge assembly is a sight to behold. Resin beginners can tackle this model knowing that they will not encounter any problems with a complex tripod assembly. White Ensign has done the heavy lifting for you. Indeed, the model almost falls together. It is among the most easily constructed 1/700 capital ship kits I have ever seen, including the B Resina series, which heretofore had set the standard for ease of assembly. And White Ensign has not sacrificed detail. The rendering of the steam launches and life boats (10 in all), is truly outstanding. The two stacks are very fine indeed as are other resin details, including the tiny spare screws stowed on deck.

Shortcomings? White Ensign has not simulated the teak deck planking. This is probably technically correct. One should not be able to discern separate planks in 1/700 scale, but nevertheless I like the look of wood planking, out of scale or not. And the sleeves at the base of the 13.5" main gun barrels don’t look right. They are too large and lack the proper taper. I suggest you cut them off and substitute smaller diameter plastic or brass rod.

The fore topmast, boat booms and smaller derrick posts are fabricated from the included brass rod. The photoetched fret is very complete. Even the most obsessed among us should be satisfied. It includes "rails/mesh for the stern walk, canopy and support struts, jack & ensign staffs, stove pipe type chimneys, copper life buoys & racks, boarding ladders, davits for the 10 davit mounted boats, boat chocks, loading davits, stream anchors, range clocks, cruciform girder supports for the aft funnel searchlight platform, funnel cap supports, yardarm footropes, bridge rangefinder and binnacle, 3 x anchors & chains, torpedo loading davit, support brackets, semaphores, periscope, doors, hatches, all rails and ladders, block & tackle et al." Whew! Affixing all this photoetch will be a test of character, if not sanity. But the result should make all the effort worthwhile.

The instructions, which include a very useful colour guide, measure up to the very high standard established by White Ensign in its previous releases.

Summary
This is an excellent kit that I highly recommend. White Ensign has striven to refine their 1/700 line and it shows. The Iron Duke is a complete, well engineered model. At US $72 (more in those countries subject to VAT) it represents good value. Enthusiasts of World War One era capital ships (me, for instance) shouldn’t miss this one.