After over 30 years, I finally have a good 1/700 HMS Hood. The ship has always been one of my favorites, and I’ve held a spot at the top of the display case for her for a long time.
I had (and still have) the 1/600 Airfix and 1/400 Lindberg (motorized) Hood models growing up, but since I focus on 1/700 waterline I’ve wanted a May 1941 waterline 1/700 version for some time. I started on a Tamiya at one point – I’m not sure when – and photos of my workshop show I had another one after I finished law school in 1992. But I never started on it, and finally abandoned it for the newer Trumpeter when I saw it.
I started on the Trumpeter kit in May of 2019, but got sidetracked on a long series of carriers and aircraft, and only recently started back on it when I really needed the pine board “dock” it was on for a new project. Of all the ships I had under construction, Hood was closest to being done, and was supposed to be an out of the box build.
The http://www.hmshood.org.uk/hoodtoday/models/tips/hoodpaint.htm website is a tremendous source of info on the appearance of the ship, and guided me towards the right colors. While I had a small jar of the correct paint color, Home Fleet Dark Gray 507-A, it was enamel and for ease of application I opted to finish the ship in Testors Ocean Gray 5-S, which was very close. I also went with a darker tan for the deck that I usually use for wood decks, ModelMaster Dark Tan FS 30219.
According to a very helpful piece of analysis by Sovereign Hobbies the decks were a hodgepodge of wood, dark gray, Semtex (maybe concrete colored – no one is sure) and red-brown Corticene (linoleum). The ship’s boats wore a variety of paint schemes, and I had to draw up a spreadsheet identifying what she carried, which model part(s) they were, and how they were painted in May 1941. Many boats were overall hull color, but some also had white undersides, and some still carried their white undersides “and” dark blue abovewater hulls.
She still had some sort of round marking on “A” Turret in May 1941, likely an aerial identification mark. She had worn a similar mark during the Spanish Civil War. I hypothesized a red and blue roundel, and that’s what I did. The hmshood models page had a few other examples that did the same thing.
While I studied the kit review and accurizing details at http://www.hmshood.org.uk/hoodtoday/models/trumpeter/trumpeter1941-700.htm , I opted to largely build the kit out of the box. I got a nasty surprise, however, near the end of the build when I opened that 1992 Tamiya kit and found a photoetch set by White Ensign. Apparently I’d bought a PE set at some point and dropped it in the box. While at that point it was too late to use all of, I did end up using parts, most notably the mainmast yardarm & rigging, the foremast yardarm and spreaders, the boat crane rigging, and railings. I also decided to apply the degaussing cable.
In term of alterations, I did decide late in the build that the waterline plate wasn’t thick enough, so I added a additional layer of .040″ sheet plastic. It’s a little crude, but I liked the way it gave the model a little more of a base. And one thing I did take from the hmshood review of the Trumpeter kit – as well as the appearance page – was that the array of ships boats really didn’t need to be finished on top since they would have been – and photos show that they were on May 23, 1941 – covered with canvas at sea. So I smeared the ship’s boats with putty and sanded them until their features were appropriately hidden.
The last step was to crosscheck my model against two or three of the better models on the hmshood model page site to make sure I hadn’t missed a detail.
As far as appearance, I wanted to show Hood as she appeared at the Battle of the Denmark Straits where she was sunk by Bismarck. According to hmshood that meant no jack staff or ensign staffs at bow and stern, and she was flying a vice admiral’s flag and a single oversized 24′ White Ensign. I could not locate a correct-sized ensign, so I used the kit one, and that’s why there isn’t a specific date for the appearance – Hood is portrayed at sea between after she left Scapa Flow to engage Bismarck at midnight May 22, 1941, but before the morning of the battle on May 24 when the larger ensign was hoisted as she went into her final battle.
The final build was one of the cruder ones I have made. Part of the blame lies with the kit – the parts just don’t fit together as well as they should, and the mainmast was so oversized I replace it with plastic rod and brass wire, and didn’t do a good job. And part is that the PE was for the Tamiya kit and doesn’t fit the Trumpeter. But it’s mostly my fault. I wanted to see the ship on the shelf and free up the dock, and knew I wouldn’t mind if it was unobservably sloppy.