HMS Belfast

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Company: Trumpeter - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Stevens International - Website: Visit Site

Many ship modelers have been puzzled as to precisely why this World War 2 era heavy cruiser has never seen plastic. Belfast currently resides in London, permanently berthed as a museum and memorial. Her status as intact leaves a few decisions Trumpeter made with this kit rather puzzling.

This kit comes packaged as many Trumpeter kits these days, with foam protecting styrene particularly vulnerable to damage. I saw no flash and injection points are all well hidden. Molding is extremely crisp, and many details will not need photo etch replacements. The hatches are WWII era British, which is a nice detail. Both her AA and pom poms are good, especially for plastic. The PE set that covers some fine details is also nice, though I wish a manufacturer would include some railings.

I originally had pictures of the ship before I pulled parts off the sprue for test fitting, but those were lost when my old computer took damage. Still, this did give me the opportunity to do some test fitting. The hull halves merge easily, and the shape is well held with the ribbing. The deck does on easily, and base superstructure parts show few signs of gaps. Construction of this model appears to be relatively easy with little clean up.

This kit does have a number of accuracy issues that may put off dedicated fans of this class and those obsessed with detail. Trumpeter has the wind baffles (both plastic and PE) as some sort of window complex. The Belfast also had her middle barrel set behind her port and starboard guns. Trumpeter has simulated this by molding a shortened barrel on the sprue. If you do not want to model the ship with her guns at level, you will have to find some aftermarket assistance. Worst of all, her funnels are, strangely, completely different. Several similar classes had this feature, but Belfast and her sisters did not.

With these considered, the kit is still a good one. Detail on the plastic is great. I was blown away by how well molded the turrets themselves are. Her launches are also a huge bright spot.

For those who are like me, a PE superset is absolutely necessary to address the shortcomings of the mold. White Ensign Models makes a good set and corrects the funnel issue. Flyhawk has also released a set, with resin funnels that are still incorrect.

I want to thank IPMS and Stevens International for allowing me to review this kit. It will definitely be one I will enjoy building.


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