For several months after the Armistice of November 11, 1918 the British government kept the Grand Fleet at full strength. They were still uncertain times and it was thought that the war could flare up again. By mid 1919 it was clear that there was peace and the threat of the German High Seas Fleet was no more. Britain no longer needed the Grand Fleet and so it was dissolved. The political leaders said that Britain no longer needed the hundreds of ships that made up the greatest fleet that Great Britain ever possessed. They cost too much money to man and maintain and besides the Great Threat had been defeated and they too, were no longer needed. In that year and the few that followed, rapid naval disarmament was the order of the day issued by the politicians to their Lordships of the Admiralty.

In this period Britain disposed of 83 cruisers. Almost every cruiser of pre-war construction was removed, sold or scrapped. It was a fire sale to end all fire sales. The remainder of the RN cruiser force that survived this gutting, amounted to 49 ships and nine of those were still on the stocks with work on them slowed to a glacial pace. Admiral Jellicoe had calculated that the Royal Navy needed a minimum force of 70 cruisers to adequately defend the far-flung trade lanes and possessions of the British Empire . Now the RN had only 72% of that minimum requirement. Through the 1920s and early 1930s the Admiralty hung on to the 70-ship minimum and unsuccessfully tried to lobby the politicians to increase the quantity of RN cruisers. However, the political and popular criticism of increased naval budgets and the shaky financial condition of the Exchequer precluded any meaningful attempt to bridge the gap.

A new naval building race erupted between Japan and the United States and though it was in terms of capital ships, it affected the views on the cruisers that the RN still possessed. The wartime cruiser construction of the RN concentrated on cruisers with speed and gun power but of short range. They were designed for combat in the North Sea not for cruising the huge distances of the British trade routes. Only the four Elizabethans, the four 9,750 ton cruisers named after Queen Elizabethís great sea captains had the range and size for sustained operations in the deep ocean. Only four of 49 were truly capable of the new mission that was mandated with the peace. 

When it was realized that the ambitious USN construction program had only triggered a new arms race, all the major naval powers were invited to Washington to enter a Treaty that would limit naval construction. Britain jumped at this because she was in no financial position for a new arms race and although Japan was less eager, that country was near bankruptcy because of the tremendous tempo of new construction. Before the conference, a brief was prepared by the Admiralty for the British negotiators. In cruisers it emphasized that parity between the USN and RN was unacceptable. As a minimum the RN needed a 3 to 2 quantitative superiority. As a back up position, if parity in numbers had be granted, cruiser size limitations were to be limited to a maximum of 10,000 tons. This size limitation was based solely on the RNís desire to retain the four Elizabethans, which were just under this limit. This provision, generated solely on a short-term outlook, would come back to plague the Royal Navy throughout the 1920s and 1930s.

The 10,000 limitation was also exactly what the USN desired, as that was the size of cruiser designs that were being explored for new construction. One additional provision was inserted that mandated a maximum gun size of 8-inches, slightly more than the 7.5-inch armament carried by the Elizabethans. The terms on cruiser construction were quickly agreed upon and it was only later in the decade that their full implications to the RN came home to roost.

The result was almost instantaneous, the maximum also became the minimum and every naval power started building 10,000 ton cruisers armed with 8-inch guns. Although there was no quantitative limitation in the treaty to cruiser construction, there was a de facto monetary limitation. The British government did not have the funds to build to the 70-ship level and every pound spent on RN cruisers went into the big, expensive County Class heavy cruisers. By 1925 it was clear to the Admiralty that British interests would be far better served by more numerous, smaller cruisers. With more and more budget cuts the RN had to do something to get more cruiser construction. The first solution was the Type B heavy cruiser. The big County Class cruisers were designated as Type A cruisers and two smaller cruisers, mounting six 8-inch guns was designed and became York and Exeter , sometimes called the Cathedral Class because of the two major cathedrals located in those cities. Coming in at 8,230 tons, they were cheaper and lighter than the 10,000-ton cruisers. However, that still was not the answer. The RN needed lighter and more numerous cruisers than the quantity that could be afforded by the Type B cruiser. 


Profile, Plan & Quarter Views
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Concurrently with the Type B design and construction, the RN looked into the ideal 6-inch gun light cruiser that could give the service the numbers she needed for trade route protection. However, heavy cruiser construction still absorbed the entire cruiser budget. In 1927 at Geneva there was a new conference in which a new individual ship size limitation on cruisers was suggested by the British delegates. The new limit would be 7,500 tons, armed with guns no greater than 6-inches. Although the Japanese seemed agreeable, the Americans adamantly refused the new size limitations and the conference broke up with no agreement.

In 1928 the need for a modern RN light cruiser was again discussed. Still the heavy cruiser dominated discussions and one early proposal was for a Convoy Cruiser of 7,500 tons, six 8-inch guns and a maximum speed of 21-knots. That idea was quickly shot down. Another proposal was for cruisers of around 5,000-tons armed with four 8-inch guns but that also was killed because of the lack of firepower and limited ability to operate with the fleet. However, the ideal characteristics for a new light cruiser were identified and in January 1929, five sketches were prepared. The designs varied from five 6-inch singles in open mounts at 5,995 tons to eight 6-inch guns in twin mounts at 6,410 tons. The later design was selected as the basis for new construction. This design, approved on June 3, 1929, became the Leander Class light cruiser.

The Leander proved to be a handsome ship with one massive trunked funnel. It was obvious that cruisers operating individually on the trade routes would need their own aerial reconnaissance assets, so a large 53-foot catapult was worked into the design. This catapult design was chosen as the minimum size necessary to carry the newly designed Fairey 111F three seat reconnaissance aircraft. Hangars were ruled out because of space limitations. More changes were made to the design so that the displacement crept up to 7,154-tons. The Leander became part of the 1929 program. Three more, Achilles, Neptune and Orion were part of the 1930 program and Ajax was part of the 1931 program. The last four were redesigned to add one more foot to the beam for stability. Although the RN finally had the cruiser that was best suited for their needs, the country was in the depths of the depression and the required numbers could not be built. 


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The London Treaty of 1930 went further in restricting cruisers than the Washington Treaty. The Washington Treaty only put a maximum on displacement and gun size with no restrictions on the number of cruisers that could be built. The London Treaty imposed an overall cruiser tonnage restriction. The RN could have a maximum total tonnage of cruisers of 339,000 tons by December 31, 1936. It further broke the cruisers into two categories based on weapons. Cruisers with a main armament of 6.1-inch or smaller (light cruisers) and cruisers of 6.11 to 8-inch (heavy cruisers). The allowable tonnages of each country varied between the two. Under the London Treaty the limits by navy were: Heavy Cruisers; USN, Ė 180,000 tons: UK & Commonwealth Ė 146,000 tons; Japan Ė 108,400 tons: Light cruisers; USN Ė 143,500 tons; RN & Commonwealth Ė 192,200 tons; Japan Ė 100,450 tons. That left 91,000 of new cruiser tonnage for the RN to add in the light category. The RN pressed on with the 7,000 ton cruiser, in spite of the fact that both Japan and the USN had decided to build 10,000 ton light cruisers. Again, the RN wanted numbers, rather ships of the maximum possible displacement. It was anticipated that the RN would expend all 91,000 tons in the construction of 13 Leanders. However, those plans changed with the development of the even lighter, Arthusa fleet cruiser design. 


HMS Amphion
There was actually a sixth Leander planned. In addition to Ajax , the 1931 program called for another Leander to be named Amphion. However, it was decided to redesign the machinery layout for this last Leander to a "unit layout" used by the USN, rather than an "inline layout" previously used for British cruisers. The "unit layout" separated boilers and engines far more than the "inline system". Ships with the "unit layout" were far less susceptible to loose all power through one lucky hit. The disadvantage was that a unit layout required more machinery space than an inline layout. This system had already been approved for the small fleet cruisers of the Arthusa Class but they had half the range of the trade route Leanders. Amphion would be the guinea pig for the new layout for the larger cruiser designs. The Amphion appears to have been reordered to the new specifications in the 1932 program and was called a "Modified Leander". 1944 figures showed a far smaller difference in range. Modified Leanders were shown with a range of 10,700 nm at 12 knots with the Arthusas at 8,200nm at 12 knots.

Although the new machinery plan resulted in saving 60-tons, this was more than lost by the increase in length of the armor belt because of the length of the machinery spaces increased by nine feet. The new layout precluded the single trunked funnel design of Leander. Two widely separated funnels would be necessary. This in turn resulted in shipping a smaller catapult. The 53-foot version could not be efficiently worked into the design in the space between the funnels, so a 46-foot version was installed. Theoretically, the Amphion would have to do with smaller, lighter aircraft than the Leanders. Two more of the class were part of the 1932 program, Apollo and Phaeton


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All three were laid down in the summer of 1933, Amphion at Portsmouth Dock Yard on June 26, 1933. Phaeton at Wallsend by Swan Hunter on July 8, 1933, and Apollo at Devonport Dock Yard on August 15, 1933. In early 1934 it was arranged to transfer the Phaeton to the Royal Australian Navy. The RAN made two requests for changes. First the ship was to be renamed HMAS Sydney. Second that a 53-foot revolving catapult be installed in lieu of the planned 46-foot version. In spite of the fact that the 53-foot catapult was originally thought too large for the space available, it was mounted on the now Ė Sydney . The RAN wanted the larger catapult in order to operate the new Seagull Mk V seaplane, which became more commonly known as the Walrus.

Work on the Sydney preceded much faster with the private builder, Swan Hunter, than the two sisters being built in Royal Dock Yards. Apollo completed January 13, 1936 and Amphion, ordered first and laid down first, lagged until July 6, 1937, when she was finally completed. After trials Apollo and Amphion joined the Royal Navy. Sydney came in heaviest of the three at 7,198 tons standard or legend but that was still short of the estimated displacement of 7,250 tons. It is interesting to note that before she was completed, it was estimated that Sydney would displace 6,830 tons and this was the weight reported under the terms of the London Treaty. Now under-reporting 368 tons doesnít equate with the false figures being reported by the Japanese Navy or later the German or Italian navies, but it does show one occasion in which Britain broke the rules of the Washington/London Treaties.

Sydney ran her trials in July 1935. In trials in a loaded condition at 8,138 tons, she achieved 32.137 knots with 71,972 shp of the designed 72,000 shp. In trials a little under standard or legend displacement at 7,105 tons, Sydney produced 72,340shp and hit 33.05 knots. Other bonuses of the design were her very responsive handling and the almost absence of vibration. She was completed on September 24, 1935 and after trials, left for Australia , per British Cruisers of World War Two. According to Cruisers of World War Two, An International Encylopedia, Sydney went to the Mediterranean Fleet until August 2, 1936 when she arrived in Australia . Later both Apollo and Amphion joined the RAN. Apollo received a refit in 1938 and then became HMAS Hobart. Amphion received her refit in 1939 and in June 29, 1939 became HMAS Perth and was manned by the crew from the WWI design HMAS Adelaide, which was paid off for refit. These two ships received twin HA 4-inch mounts in lieu of the single 4-inch guns, a crew shelters for these guns amidships, and installation of the revolving 53-foot catapult on a deck house in lieu of the fixed 46-foot deck catapult. Sydney never received a refit and therefore kept the original 4-inch HA singles. 


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HMAS Perth
HMAS Perth
drew an ace for her first mission, as in August 1939 she steamed to New York City for the 1939 Worldís Fair. Next Perth was scheduled to take the long cruise to Australia but she had her new Australian name for only a month when World War Two broke out. Instead, since the German navy still had raiders at sea, HMAS Perth was dispatched to the West Indies to provide protection for British oil installations. She remained in the Caribbean until March 1940, apart from one short trip through the Panama Canal and into the Pacific. For almost the remainder of 1940 she escorted various convoys in the Mediterranean and became flagship of the Australian Squadron in June. Her flagship duties ended in November and joined the 7th Cruiser Squadron at Alexandria . On one of her first missions to Malta , she received damage from near misses by bombs while at anchor at Valetta. The crew of Perth distinguished themselves as fire fighters, not on the Perth but the ship anchored astern of Perth . However, the Perth ís crew could have been galvanized by the fact that the ship on fire was an ammunition ship.

The entire Mediterranean theater became known as Bomb Alley, as the RN and RAN had to continuously run the gauntlet from Gibraltar to Suez in the face of intense German and Italian air attacks. Although part of the British force at the Battle of Cape Matapan, Perth was not an active participant for the main action. The Med became distinctly more deadly in the Spring of 1941 as the Wehrmacht rolled through the Balkans and into Greece , accompanied by the Luftwaffe, flying ahead of the panzers like Valkeries. In the battles for Greece and Crete the British army and Royal Navy were savaged. During this time Perth received at least four 20mm Oerlikons, one on the crown of B turret, one on the crown of X turret and two replacing the Vickers MG mounts. On On May 5 she was fitted with a quadruple 40mm pom-pom amidship (from HMS Liverpool) and type 271 radar. On May 22 bombs again missed the Perth but still inflicted damage. A week later on May 30 there was no near miss, as a bomb found Perth ís boiler room. During her time in the Mediterranean she had her catapult landed in order to supplement her antiaircraft armament. As ships were relieved by replacements the ship going home would move the additional AA to her relief ship. When Perth arrived she received 20mm Oerlikons as well as captured Italian Breda 20mm mounts from Sydney and when Perth in turn was relieved by Hobart , all of the additional AA was moved back to Hobart and Perth reacquired her catapult. After repairs Perth participated in little know actions against the Vichy French off the coast of Syria , which was a French colony at the time. On July 15, 1941 HMAS Hobart relieved her and Perth left for Australia three days later but not before the quadruple pom-pom was landed. As mentioned above, the mount was needed for a ship that was staying in the Med where there was no spare ordnance and the aerial threat was high. After all, the Perth was bound for the tranquil waters of the South Pacific and what could happen to her there? 


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The Battle of the Java Sea , February 27, 1942
Perth
reached Australia in August and on August 12, 1941 went into the yard for a refit, which lasted until November 22, 1941. By late November the Pacific was on the verge of war and indeed the Pearl Harbor strike force was already underway, bound for their December 7 target. On February 1, 1942 USN Far East Fleet commander, Admiral Hart set up the ABDA (American-British-Dutch-Australian) Combined Striking Force, which combined the available surface warships of four countries and placed them under the tactical command of Dutch Admiral Doorman. On February 3 Doorman had assembled a large portion of the force and raised his flag on De Ruyter. With De Ruyter near Surabaya were Houston, Marblehead , Tromp, and seven US flush deckers and Dutch destroyers. In an air attack Marblehead was very badly damaged and Houston lost her aft turret. The Striking Force needed reinforcements and on February 14, 1942 Perth was ordered to the Java Sea to become part of the ABDA striking force, along with HMS Exeter and three British destroyers. All had been on convoy duty until being sent to the Java Sea . The Australian and British ships joined the Houston and Dutch cruisers on the afternoon of February 25. That same afternoon news was received that 30 Japanese transports were approaching from the North and they would obviously have a heavy surface escort, initially identified as two cruisers and four destroyers. That evening the allied polyglot force steamed north looking for the Japanese troop convoy.

They steamed through the night but found nothing. After a bombing attack in the morning of February 26, which scored no hits, the allied force turned back towards Surabaya . At 2:30 PM the Striking Force were about to enter harbor when they received news that the Japanese convoy had been found close to the island of Baewan . The force turned around at struck out to intercept the Japanese transports, which were escorted by heavy cruiser Nachi and Haguro, Light cruisers Naka and Jintsu and fifteen destroyers. The crews of the allied ships were physically exhausted from constant steaming and air attacks with no air support. The Japanese were fresh and had overwhelming air support. Doorman formed a line of battle with the three British destroyers in the van, followed by the cruisers De Ruyter, Exeter , Houston, Perth and Java. The American and Dutch destroyers were stationed to the port and rear. The Japanese knew exactly the composition and location of the ABDA force by Doorman and his captains were blind. The commander of the Dutch East Indies , Admiral Helfrich, had used his handful of Brewster Buffaloes and dive bombers to mount a fruitless raid on the Japanese transports and no aircraft left to support Doorman. By 4:00PM the afternoon of February 27 Japanese float planes were circling the allied force. Not long thereafter the British destroyer on point detected the Japanese force crossing the T of the allied force from east to west. 


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Doorman ordered a turn to port to parallel the Japanese column but in the confusion the formation broke and the British destroyers wound up on the unengaged side of the allied force. The Japanese opened fire first but their initial salvo was 2,000 yards short. Although the 8-inch guns of Houston and Exeter could reach the Japanese, all three light cruisers were out of range. Doorman ordered a turn to starboard to close the range and allow his light cruisers to come within the range of their guns. After an hour of gunnery at long range the Exeter , Houston and Java had been hit but there had been no serious damage. There was an hour of light when the Japanese unleashed eight of their destroyers to close and launch a mass torpedo attack with their deadly 24-inch Long Lance torpedoes. As 64 torpedoes sped towards Doormanís force Exeter received a critical 8-inch shell hit from Haguro. It exploded in the machinery spaces and Exeter lost six of her eight boilers. Speed dropped to a crawling 11-knots and Exeter fell out of the column. Communications among the pick-up allied force had been practically non existent. As Exeter turned to port away from the Japanese, the captain of the following Houston thought there had been and order for the column to turn so Houston followed Exeter and in turn Java and the rear Dutch destroyers followed Houston, leaving the van British destroyers and De Ruyter steaming west by themselves for six minutes before Doorman on De Ruyter ordered the van to match the course of the rest of his force.

At 5:15 PM the mass torpedo assault arrived but in part because of the unintended turn to the south none of the torpedoes struck except one, which blew the Dutch destroyer Kortender in half. When Admiral Takagi, the Japanese commander, saw all the allied ships steaming south away from his force, he thought the skeedaddle was on and turned south to charge in pursuit. By 5:20 De Ruyter had caught up with her wandering compatriots and except for Exeter changed course to run to the northeast. Doorman ordered Exeter to continue to withdraw to the south and make for Surabaya . All three British destroyers, Electra, Encounter and Jupiter, headed towards the Japanese in order to give Exeter more time to safely withdraw. Jintsu leading a group of destroyers came charging towards the British and concentrated on Electra, which was soon in sinking condition. It was dusk, which combined with smoke from damage as well as smoke screens laid by both sides, made sighting difficult. Ships were dodging in and out of smoke. After polishing off Electra, Jintsu and her ducklings went on looking for there true quarry, the Exeter . Encounter and Jupiter had been joined by the Dutch destroyer Witte de With in covering the withdrawal of Exeter . Doormanís cruiser went into the smoke screen and when they came out of saw that they were confronting Nachi and Haguro. To make maters worse the Houston was low on ammunition for the forward turrets. There were plenty of 8-inch shells in the inoperable aft turret but that was of no help for Doorman in the fight.

Doorman didnít want to fight the Japanese cruisers and destroyers. He was after the transports crammed with troops. He ordered the destroyers to lay a smoke screen and took his force to the northwest in hope of finding his quarry. The transports were to the northwest but the allies were dogged by the float planes, which started dropping flares as the night descended. At one point these flares illuminated both forces and the Japanese renewed fire. However, the range was too great for the allies. Doorman changed course again to reach the Java coast in order to steam west and locate the transports. At 9:25 PM Jupiter hit a mine and came to a stop. She sank after four hours in a futile effort to save the ship. The American destroyers left to go to Surabaya to refuel and Encounter stopped to pick up the survivors of Kortender, which had sunk four hours earlier. There had not been contact with the Japanese in hours, as the Japanese float planes had departed as they ran short of fuel, so Doorman steamed to the northwest of Surabaya with his four remaining cruisers. As luck would have it, the two forces sighted each other in the bright moonlight around 1:00 AM February 28. The Japanese altered course to close and at 8,000 launched another salvo of torpedoes. Only twelve had been launched but this time they were decisive. One hit De Ruyter, which lost power. As Perth and Houston changed course to avoid the dying De Ruyter, Java at the rear of the line took another of the torpedoes. With both Dutch cruisers dead in the water and burning, Doorman knew he was doomed. His last order was for Perth and Houston to escape and make for Batavia on the western end of Java. Doorman went down with his De Ruyter and the Java.


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The Battle of Sunda Strait , February 28, 1942 Ė March 1, 1942
Perth had been lucky, as she had remained undamaged in the fiasco known as the Battle of the Java Sea . Captain Waller of Perth was now the senior surviving allied officer. The Perth followed by Houston reached Batavia in the morning. As the day progressed Japanese reconnaissance planes were sighted. If Perth and Houston remained in the Java Sea they would be overwhelmed with no hope of escape as the Malay Barrier was to the south. Stretching from the Malayan Peninsula a series of islands ran almost to Australia . It was decided to move the ships to Tjilatjap on the south coast of Java . However, a course to that port had to be chosen. Not far to the west was the Sunda strait, which separated Sumatra and Java. On the east end of Java were two straits separated in the middle by Bali . It was reported that the Sunda Strait was still open. Perth ís sister ship HMAS Hobart and the British light cruisers HMS Danae and HMS Dragon had been guarding it as late as February 26 when those ships slipped through the strait to the freedom of the Indian Ocean . Aerial reconnaissance had come back earlier on the 28th and reported that the path was clear. It seemed to be a simple decision to head west to the Sunda Strait , rather than steam east along the entire length of Java to escape through the straits to the east. At 7:30 PM Perth lead Houston out of the harbor and headed west. What the reconnaissance flight had missed were the sixty troop transports and the Western Attack Force under Admiral Kurita, which were heading for the western end of Java.

At 11:00PM these landings were already under way at the northwest tip of Java, right at the entrance of the Sunda Strait . The destroyer Fubuki sighted the allied cruisers and raised the alarm. Minutes passed before the Japanese ships were sighted. Perth was the first ship to open fire. Fubuki fired torpedoes but Perth and Houston changed course to the north. The torpedoes missed the allied cruisers but continued their run until two Japanese transports unloading troops to the southeast were hit by the Fubukiís torpedoes. Houston fired star shells and only then their crews recognized their true predicament. Troopships were unloading to their south, to the north Japanese forces, including the heavy cruisers Mogami and Mikuma, were closing in and to their northwest another Japanese force lead by the light cruiser Katori blocked their way to the Sunda Strait . Perth and Houston were firing as fast as they could and hitting. The transport Sakura Maru was sunk and three more troopships were damaged so heavily that they had to be beached. For 50 minutes the cruisers continued to fire, damaging a couple of destroyers in addition to the damage to the transports. Then it was time to pay the bill as multiple torpedoes and 8-inch shells found Perth . The Australian light cruiser had no hope of surviving this massive damage and foundered quickly at 00:25 March 1, 1942. Houston managed to fight on for an hour until she too was overwhelmed. The allies never heard of the fate of these cruisers because all of the survivors were picked up by the Japanese and sent to prison camps. Only after they were liberated were the fates of the gallant Perth and Houston revealed. Perth started the fight with a crew of 680 and 321 were rescued. Only 216 survived until liberation. 


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NNT Perth
You may already have the NNT HMAS Sydney. Although the Perth is a sistership, there were significant differences between the two and accordingly there are significant differences between the two NNT models. Just some of these differences are as follows. There is a longer forecastle deck on Perth . With Sydney the forecastle deck ends just in front of the 1st funnel with the funnel mounted atop a narrow deckhouse. With Perth the deck break occurs halfway between the 1st funnel and catapult. There are small deckhouses for secondary guns crew shelter on the Perth not present on Sydney . Sydney had all portholes open while with Perth many of them are plated over. The forward face of the forward superstructure and navigation deck arrangement are very different between the two. Sydney had single 4-inch guns as secondary, while Perth had twin 4-inch secondaries. Oerlikon 20mm guns fitted in tubs atop the crowns of B and X turrets found on Perth not present on Sydney . One of the most unique differences that set Perth apart from not only Sydney but from any cruisers were the range baffles fitted to the funnels of Perth . These throws backs to World War One were fitted during a short refit from March 31 to April 15, 1940 and were carried until she was sunk

Youíll get a very cleanly cast model with no damage and excellent detail, although there is some light sanding needed along the waterline to remove remnants of the casting sheet. There was one defect, which cant be seen from photographs. The forward bottom of the hull had a rather large void. Filling that in with putty on my copy certainly doesnít present a problem. Starting with the deck, the steel forecastle deck really jumps out in its detail. It is a crosshatched deck that looks very nice. The grid pattern is incised, rather than raised, but at 1:700 scale it presents a very detailed and pleasing appearance. Accentuating this detail are the capstans, set of bollards, set of cleats and hawse found on this metal deck. The different textures of the grid deck, smooth fixtures and indentation of the anchor hawses promote a lot of visual interest. For the wooden deck spaces, you still get the well done bollards and cleats but additionally there are plenty of deck hatches, fittings and a crisp breakwater. There are a number of cable reels cast integral to the deck that are adequate but donít excel. This detail is carried over to the plank decking of the superstructure sections. The same types of hatches, fittings and reels are found at these positions.

When looking at the sides of the hull casting, the number one thing that jumps out are the typical British cruiser knuckles found on each side of the bow. The knuckles are very nicely executed and almost shout British Cruiser. NNT has cast the boat booms, abreast of the forward superstructure, as part of the hull casting. These items break up the flatness of the hull sides and add texture and interest. As mentioned the Perth unlike Sydney , has a large number of hull portholes already plated over and the circular cover plates add further to breaking up the flatness of the hull. The armored belt is clearly defined, as are a couple of vertical strakes on each side. The superstructure levels are very interesting, primarily because of their number and shapes, but also because of the square windows of the sides. Only a couple of the structures are rectangular. The rest vary from the circular catapult base to tapering six to eight sided structures. Throw in the platform bases and the superstructure arrangement is very busy. The casting from NNT has faint locator outlines on decks that are to receive additional structures. This should be of material help in placement of these structures but it is still probably best to use a slower drying adhesive than CA, such as white glue, in attaching these parts since they still have to be maneuvered into position. 


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Smaller Parts
The number one item among the smaller resin parts is the forward superstructure/bridge. Upper level windows and side windows are clearly shown in the casting. The upper level splinter shielding is suitably thin but without any damage or voids. Another big item, actually the biggest in terms of physical size, is the resin sheet of platforms and decks. These parts are cast on a thin sheet of resin and the parts are easily separated from the sheet. Only a light sanding is desirable to get them ready for attachment. As a group, the platforms add a great deal to the Perth , as quite a bit of the superstructure is topped by the various platforms. The biggest of these is the aft amidship 4-inch gun platform, which has the gun bases with base plates cast integral to the platform. All you have to do is add the separate barrels. There are four nicely cast gun positions with well done splinter shielding and various ready ammunition lockers. This part also has the base for the aft funnel. Other major platforms include the aft bridge platform for the quad Vickers machine guns, forward funnel platform and aft superstructure deck. Plus there are some smaller platforms that are mounted on photo-etch frames. The six piece Walrus is outstanding. Just remember that Perth had her catapult landed while in the Mediterranean and didnít carry the Walrus until refitted at Sydney in the fall of 1941. Composed of three resin parts; lower hull & wings, upper wings and tail; and three photo-etched parts; two wing supports and propeller; the NNT Walrus with Perth is one of the nicest 1:700 scale Perth are the presence of two flying boat decks or skids, which places some of the shipís boats in the air above the deck. Shipís boats are well done except the two motor launches, which are rather basic. The smaller carley rafts are other excellent pieces with clearly defined hatched bottom designs.

Torpedo tube mounts are well done. The eight-inch and four-inch barrels all come on one runner. There was no warp in the pieces. The stacks are nice but have solid caps with the grate design executed over the solid top. There is certainly nothing wrong with this approach, as it will all be painted black, but my preference would be to have hollow stacks with photo-etched gratings. This is even more true since the Perth will have the throw-back triangular range finding baffles fitted to her funnels, calling even more attention to her funnels. The turrets are nicely shaped but donít have much small detail, other than the gun openings. Holes for the guns are not predrilled, so it is advisable to use a pin vise to add the holes before attaching the gun barrels. NNT provides four turrets with no Oerlikon tubs and two with the tubs, giving you the option of which fit to give Perth . NNT notes that their Perth can be built in any configuration from 1939 to 1942.  NNT includes a small sprue with what appears to be four 20mm Oerlikons. The guns are detailed with shoulder rests included in the castings. 


Brass Parts & Decals
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Photo-Etched Frets
The kit photographed here is the deluxe version of the NNT Perth. Not only do you get everything found in the standard NNT Perth but also you get machined brass barrels for primary guns and additional photo-etch. There are medium and small sized stainless steel photo-etched frets and two brass Tomís Modelworks frets included with the NNT Perth. NNT supplies twelve 6-inch gun machined brass 6-inch barrels for the Perth . These are made for NNT by Schatton Modellbau and come with the traditional hollow muzzles.

As you look at the medium sized stainless steel fret designed just for Perth , youíll find a lot of items that add great detail to the finished model. First is the 53-foot revolving catapult and the large three-piece crane. Photo-etch is the only medium that can adequately portray these parts and NNT has done it well. The triangular range-finding baffles fitted to the funnels of Perth are more items that jump out when examining the fret. Parts for both assemblies have some relief etching, with the catapult piece being supplied with some very nice relief for a three dimensional appearance. One of the very nice aspects in the design of the Perth , is the proliferation of various platforms. The NNT fret provides 16 support pieces for those platforms. After assembly the Perth upper decks will be very pleasing and very busy with all of the platforms and this ironwork to go along with the antiquated funnel baffles.

Other items of special note include a large steam pipe array for the forward edge of the front stack, Walrus propeller and a piece with galley exhaust pipes. Two piece anchors, assorted davits and three one-piece quad Vickers mounts round out the ship specific parts on the fret. The Vickers mounts are rather basic and donít have the detail found on the WEM multiple piece 1:700 scale Vickers mounts but they are more than sufficient to portray this inefficient piece of ordnance. To finish out the fret NNT supplies anchor chain and runs of vertical ladder. Unlike the Sydney fret, the Perth fret includes four inclined ladders.  Have not done a count of inclined ladders but I suspect that youíll have to supplement this number with additional 3rd party inclined ladders. The small stainless steel fret includes four additional platform cross braces. 





Profile Morskie on HMAS Perth

If you wish to add further detail to your NNT HMAS Perth or get the Perth's Admiralty Disruptive camouflage scheme right, Profile Morskie 66 is devoted just to the Australian cruiser. The volume comes with a multitude of photographs of Perth but even more importantly, a vast amount of detailed drawings, allowing for super detailing the model. Also included is a large 1:400 scale color plate, which crucially for the modeler, shows both sides of Perth's Admiralty Disruptive camouflage scheme.

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Two Tomís Modelworks brass photo-etch frets are included in the NNT deluxe version of Perth . One is Tomís set 738 for British radars. Of course not all the radars found on this fret were mounted on Perth but youíll get the mounts that were carried. First thing is to determine the date of Perth ís fit that you wish to portray and then use the appropriate array from the fret. If youíre not familiar with Tomís products, they are very fine and consequentially fiddly in parts as delicate as radar arrays. Youíll probably have to do a little straightening after you attach the radars. The standard NNT Sydney didnít come with deck railing and neither will the standard NNT Perth. With the deluxe NNT Perth Tomís Modelworks set 704 of standard deck railing is included. Six runs of three bar railing with long spacings between stanchions, four runs of three bar with medium spacing and one run of three bar with short spacing is provided. Additionally the fret has one run of two bar railing and four runs of vertical ladders.

Decals & Instructions
NNT provides a small very nice decal sheet with the kit. Eleven decals are included on the sheet. For the ship you receive the White Ensign and four nameplates, two for Perth and two for Hobart . For the Walrus you receive two upper wing roundels, two side roundels and two tail flashes. The centers of the side roundels and the tail flashes were slightly off-register but can be easily corrected with trimming for the flashes or paint touch up for the roundels.

The instructions come in two back-printed sheets. Sheet one has a short history of the Perth written in German on the front side and in English on the reverse. The second sheet has a list of the resin parts in English on the front and German on the back side. Sheet three is much the same but with this page it is a list of photo-etch parts. The front of the 4th sheet has profiles for the 1939 and 1941 fits, which emphasize the optional items for Perth, such as the funnel baffles, which for me it is not an option as the baffles made Perth unique and were fitted very early after the ship was renamed Perth. Another item is a quarterdeck gun tub, which is cast on the hull. If you want the very first fit of Perth , youíll have to remove this tub, which was fitted later in 1939. The B & X turret Oerlikon tubs are a different matter. Fitted in 1941, there are divergent views as to when the tubs were fitted, one mentions they were fitted in the Med when Perth wore her Admiralty disruptive 507A/507C scheme and one mentions they were fitted in fall 1941 after her return to Australia when she was also repainted gray overall. The wartime record keeping at Alexandria was spotty at best, especially when ships would go alongside each other and transfer AA and other equipment from the relieved ship to the relieving ship, as in the case of Perth relieving Sydney and then in turn Hobart relieving Perth. The 1941 profile shows the starboard side with the Admiralty Disruptive scheme. However, the port side of this scheme used a different design, which is not included in the instructions. You can see the port design from the photographs with NNT resin hull atop the Profile Morskie Perth color plans. NNT failed in not providing the port design as most modelers will not have the Profile Morskie volume. The back of the 4th sheet has the assembly drawings with a large aft starboard quarterview and insets for each mast, twin  four-inch mounts and the Walrus. The drawing is fairly basic but does the job intended. I didnít see any pitfalls to be encountered in following the drawing.  


Instructions
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Verdict
The 1:700 scale HMAS Perth, deluxe version produced by NNT, is an excellent model. The castings range from excellent to good. The design of the ship with its numerous platforms with support structures, well executed by NNT in resin and photo-etch, will make for busy and intricate upper works and the range-finding baffles on the funnels make Perth totally unique. The inclusion of brass barrels and additional photo-etch frets in the deluxe Perth make shopping for 3rd party after-market detail nonexistent to minimal. 

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