HMS Suffolk
Royal Navy Heavy Cruiser
B Resina
1:700 Waterline Model

Reviewed By: Rob Mackie

Kit: HMS Suffolk County Class Heavy Cruiser (circa 1939)

Scale: 1/700 waterline

Producer:B Resina (Czech Republic?)

Media:Resin, white metal

Strengths:Outstanding resin casting, ease of assembly

Weaknesses:Simplified bridge structure, lack of surface detail

Price:US $60

Availability: Pacific Front Hobbies

The Ship

Launched in the late 1920s, County class heavy cruisers were designed to comply with the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922. This limited cruisers to 10,000 tons displacement and 8” guns. Protection was minimal, a consequence of the 10,000 ton maximum. Propulsion machinery was reduced in size and power from original design specifications in order to increase armour plating. Nevertheless these rather stately looking, 3-stack ships were capable of 31 knots.

The HMS Suffolk belongs to the first group of County class cruisers. Her side protection is external instead of the internal scheme of later variants, and there are configuration differences in both the bridge and aft structures. A distinguishing feature of Suffolk (and her sister Cumberland) is the cut down quarterdeck resulting from her 1936 refit. This weight reduction measure altered her appearance considerably. Instead of the uniformly high freeboard and flush-deck of other class members, the Suffolk has a sleeker, less massive appearance.

Three County class cruisers were lost during WW2. Cornwall and Dorsetshire went down at the Battle of Java Sea in April 1942. In August the Australian flagged Canberra was sunk in a fierce surface engagement with Japanese cruiser and destroyer forces near Savo Island off Guadalcanal.

The Model

B Resina has made its name producing easily built 1/700 ships. The Suffolk is no exception. Take a look at the hull. Besides being dimensionally accurate, it is a very impressive piece of resin casting. There is little construction required beyond affixing guns, cranes and masts. Bill Gruner, the owner of Pacific Front Hobbies, tells me that B Resina kits are popular because they are so easy to build. Working adults appreciate being able to quickly add an attractive replica to their 1/700 collection.

B Resina has improved its small parts casting. Guns, cranes and fixtures, a weakness in previous B Resina releases, have improved. The white metal work, while not up to the level of Waveline, is quite acceptable. The Walrus float plane and masts are also white metal. I still prefer brass masts. They remain straight and look more “in scale”. I used the kit pieces as a template and fabricated replacements from brass rod, an easy and quick improvement that I highly recommend, even for newcomers to 1/700 ships.

Other B Resina releases appear to have been mastered using the comparable Airfix 1/600 kit as a 3-dimensional “plan”. This seems to be the case with Suffolk. Many of the idiosyncrasies present in the Airfix kit have been carried over to this one. The “Aztec steps” leading from the quarterdeck to the main deck are still there, and the forward forecastle detail is a dead ringer for the Airfix Suffolk.

It is worthwhile reading Ian Wilkin’s perceptive review of the Airfix 1/600 Suffolk elsewhere in Warships. Many of his observations (and remedial steps) apply to the B Resina kit. Unfortunately B Resina has duplicated the oversimplified and incorrect bridge structure of the Airfix 1/600 version. The undersides of the bridge “wings” are cast solid. Cut them away and replace with overhead deck wings resting on support beams. I used sprue and brass to simulate the support structure. I made many other modifications to the bridge. Anything that is white (plasticard), black (stretched sprue) or brass in the accompanying photos is a non-kit part that I’ve added.

You should consider re-positioning the three prominent funnels. They are too close together as well as being angled too sharply aft. Use an Xacto knife with a chisel blade to separate the resin stacks from the hull. Move the forward funnel to a position between the pom-pom platforms, and then locate the rearmost stack further aft. Reaffix all of the funnels at a less extreme angle, and make sure they are parallel.

The instructions are simple but adequate. There is no etched brass fret. You can add lots of surface detail (a step I particularly enjoy) using bits of plasticard and anything else at hand. I left my Suffolk unpainted to better show some of the ways I’ve embellished this kit.

Conclusion

In spite of the minor surgery involved I like the B Resina HMS Suffolk. I added many details fabricated from plasticard, brass, and Grandt Line bolts (excellent for simulating vents). But construction was otherwise so easy that adding these “density” bits at least gave me the illusion I was building something. This is not the definitive 1/700 County class kit. That will likely be the recently released Hi-Mold Dorsetshire, which retails for over $100. But the B Resina Suffolk is not a bad kit by any means.

Beginners will appreciate the extremely easy construction and flawless casting. The more compulsive among us won’t have any problem fixing the bridge and funnels. Use your imagination to embellish this kit and you’ll be rewarded with a nice replica of a County class cruiser.

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