DAVID McNAIR-TAYLOR and his experiences with an Almost Ready to Run Model
On Empire Day, 24th May 1941, HMS Hood, together with HMS Prince of Wales, took part in the hunt for the Bismarck which was accompanied by the Prinz Eugen. The ships met in the Denmark Strait and during this action the ship came under devastating steep-angle fire from the Bismarck and Prinz Eugen, which succeeded in gaining a hit that started a fire on the boat deck. A second hit is believed to have spread fire from the torpedo stowage to the main magazines. The resultant gigantic explosion split the ship in two and she sank in just two minutes. Sadly, there were only three survivors from a crew of 1400. HMS Prince of Wales broke off the battle and turned away after suffering severe damage. However, on the 26th May the Royal Navy subsequentially caught and sank the Bismarck which ended German major warship incursions into the Atlantic.
Graupner ARTR model
I need not have worried as the model is built in China for Graupner and has a first class finish with lots of excellent detail. There was scope to improve detail, for example with better quality hooks on the cranes and ammunition davits. Also, to improve other areas, I made a new main boat boom, completed all the rigging plus re-rigged and detailed the sea boats and davits. New smaller boat booms were constructed and rigged, two night man overboard markers plus additional fittings were made for the mainmast and BECC signal flags and ensigns were flown as at 24th May 1941 to replicate the signals flying at the time of her loss in May 1941. 4.5kg of lead ballast was also needed to bring the model to the correct waterline.
Power is provided by four Speed 400 motors which ran quite slowly on 7.2v and a much better performance has been obtained using four 8.4v NiMH batteries which give a realistic scale top speed. I have heard of one of these models with these motors being run on 12 volts, but this must really overload these motors as they are rated at only 6 to 8.4 volts and get quite hot running on 8.4 volts. The model, not unnaturally, has a very large turning circle and individual port and starboard motor power is recommended to aid manoeuvring.
Value for money?
She is an excellent performer on the water and with relatively few modifications, looks fantastic as a static model. Models like this do not come cheap as the recommended price is about £1200, but I paid considerably less via ‘A Model World’, website: www.amodelworld.co.uk. Certainly not a toy and I would say that it is an excellent price for a true scale model of this standard.
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