HMS Hood

DAVID McNAIR-TAYLOR and his experiences with an Almost Ready to Run Model



The Admiral Class ships
HMS Hood was one of these which were developed during WW1 to counter the threat of the German Mackensen classes, but only HMS Hood was eventually completed. She was first commissioned in 1920, although her three sisters were cancelled or broken up on the slipway. She was named after Admiral Samuel Hood, the first Viscount Hood who lived from 1724 to 1816. (Longevity of human life is not just a modern phenomenon – Editor!)
 
The Battle of Jutland had shown that battle cruisers were vulnerable to steeply angled artillery fire, but construction of HMS Hood continued despite this discouraging experience, even though the idea of developing a completely new design with improved armour was under consideration at the time. In the 1920s the ship became a national treasure in Great Britain after gaining worldwide fame when completing a circumnavigation of the globe to visit all corners of the British Empire.
 

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

The model is inexpensive when compared with semi-kits of the same and similar sized warships. More to the point, the Graupner version fits easily into my car. However, I made the purchase with a little trepidation as I am a scratch builder and detail freak. I exhibit my models with the Surface Warship Association at various locations and HMS Hood would need to be of an acceptable finish and detail to not appear as a toy. The model became available in the UK in 2009 and I ordered one from the first batch on the understanding that it could be returned if it was not up to the standard I wanted.
 

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.

Electronics

Motors are supplied installed, but the r/c and batteries are down to the owner. This is straightforward and I am now working on motorising the turrets in a similar way to that carried out by Terry Small on Graf Spee (Model Boats, February 2010). I intend to use micro servos as the access to the rear turrets is very limited and dwarf size hands are required!
 
For motor control I was supplied with two ‘Plug and Play’ Mtroniks 15 amp speed controllers which had several annoying problems including varying neutral positions, relatively little throttle control and a tendency to run the motors in the opposite direction when they felt like it! These were replaced with programmable MTroniks versions which have been perfect (Mtroniks have an ongoing upgrade programme for their esc’s –Editor).
 

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.

My club

The Solent Radio Control Model Boat Club, Lymington , Hampshire was founded in 1978 and is affiliated to the MYA and the South West Association of Model Boat Clubs. Initially a Yacht sailing club racing International RM and One metre class, National R class and 6 metre yachts, a Scale Section was started later. The club has a thriving membership of some 50 sailing and 125 scale members using its sailing waters at Setley Pond located in the New Forest close to Lymington, Christchurch and Brockenhurst in Hampshire.
 
The Yachting Section meets at the lake on Tuesdays, the first Wednesday of the month and Friday mornings at 10am and the Scale Section meets on Thursday and Sunday mornings from 9am. A very friendly welcome is extended to all visitors and we use a frequency board. An added bonus is that there are also regular visits from the New Forest ponies. The lake is co-located with a National Parks Picnic Area and model boaters can park directly adjacent to the lake, but fast electric racing models or i.c. boats are not allowed.
 
We have our own public exhibition each year and take part in local fund raising events and other exhibitions, plus hold two scale steering competitions annually. Anyone interested in starting the hobby or joining our club is welcome to come along to the lake on a club morning with no obligation to join. Visitors may sail for a small insurance fee . Club website is: www.srcmbc.org.uk , or contact please: The Scale Captain, David McNair-Taylor, tel: 01425 618900 or email:
david.mcnairtaylor@sky.com