|HMS Dido was the
first of the distinctive Dido class Royal Navy cruisers. Shipping ten
5.25" guns in five centerline turrets, Dido class vessels utilized a dual
purpose armament that gave them both anti ship and anti-aircraft capability. In concept
they were similar to the US Navy's Atlanta class cruisers, and they suffered from some of
the same shortcomings.
This kit shows the ship after her 1942
Brooklyn refit. HMS Dido was among White Ensign's
earliest 1/700th releases. It has been re-tooled and I obtained this upgraded
version at the July '98 US IPMS Nationals. I am partial to these very attractive
Royal Navy cruisers, especially the unmodified early versions of which this is one, so I
looked forward to this kit with anticipation. I was not disappointed. The
re-tooled Dido is excellent in every way.
The kit is an all resin affair. There is no white metal. Two etched brass
frets are included, one for the various fittings, davits et al and the other for railings
and ladders. The hull casting is simple and clean, utilizing WEM's extraordinarily
fine deck planking. The five detailed resin pieces comprising the deck structures fit atop
the hull. Cleanup is minimal. The guns and fittings, also resin, are uniformly
excellent. The 5.25" barrels are delicately tapered and straight. They don't
have that heavy, out-of-scale look one so often sees in 1/700th scale barrels.
The cast resin quad pom-poms are extraordinary. Click the "penny" photo
for a highly magnified look at this gun (sorry UK readers, but I didn't have any of your
currency against which to compare the pom-poms). The flared flash hiders are especially
Instructions are as comprehensive as one could reasonably ask. The exploded view
diagram and the step-by-step written instructions eliminate any guesswork. Masts are
fabricated from brass rod included with the kit. Again, the clear diagrams remove
the guess work from this step. For the more compulsive among you there is a drawing
showing the steam ductwork layout around the stacks. This is a nice touch.
The colour guide shows Dido in the grey scheme she wore after her 1942
Brooklyn refit. Dido class cruisers wore some of the wildest camo patterns in the
Royal Navy (see the 4-colour HMS Argonaut above), so those of you partial to
challenging paint schemes can go to town with this model. The difficult-to-find
Ensign series Dido volume by Alan Raven has numerous colour plates showing the many dazzle
schemes of the Dido class. And I expect that Mr. Raven's upcoming Royal
Navy camo volume will have even more.
This is an outstanding kit that I recommend highly. Cost when purchased directly
Ensign Models is 38.25 pounds (about US $63) air post included. A
straightforward build, it is suitable for a ship modeler seeking to construct his first
1/700th resin kit.