"In designing the Dreadnought extraordinary steps were taken to ensure that she should embody all requirements on the smallest dimensions and at the lowest cost, so that the anticipated opposition should not be founded on her excessive size and expense. In every way she proved an epoch-making warship. Brilliant in conception: the cynosure of naval interest during construction and of controversy afterwards: a magnificent success in every way structurally and mechanically: and the finest looking fighting ship of her day." (British Battleships, 1971, by Oscar Parkes, at page 478)

Throughout the last half of the 19th century warship design had been a series of adventures in design. Technology was advancing faster than the ability to construct a warship. By the time a warship was launched, new inventions and discoveries had guaranteed that it would already be obsolescent. Battleships stabilized at around 10,000 tons displacement as dockyard facilities imposed a size constraint. Another size constraint was imposed by the attitude of not placing all of one’s eggs in one basket. It was thought to be much better to have more battleships of 10,000-ton size rather than fewer larger battleships. This was true especially in light that larger ships would require more money per ship and an enormous expenditure to enlarge the supporting docks and infrastructure. The result was larger and larger guns being placed on designs with the freeboard with each design being lowered to maintain stability. These low freeboard designs were of questionable value as their barrels could dip into the sea when trained broadside in even moderate weather conditions. The appearance of the torpedo boat further complicated the equation. Small quick-firing (QF) guns had to now be mounted to protect against this new threat.

By the 1880s some design stability appeared in the Royal Navy. The Admirals Class of 1880 introduced the fore and aft twin 12-inch main gun arrangement in barbettes. This arrangement had been used earlier but in heavy iron turrets. To save weight the Admirals had their main guns open inside armored barbettes. However, the Admirals were still hampered by a low freeboard. It was Sir William White’s exceptional Royal Sovereign design of 1889 that created the basic battleship pattern for the next 15 years. This design had four main guns with a secondary 6-inch battery all on a much higher freeboard that allowed the main guns to be fought in any weather, which was the crucial improvement over the Admirals of nine years earlier.

During this time of experimentation and design uncertainty, an idea would occasionally surface that would call for a battleship with much more than four big guns. In 1882 in a design discussion between Phillip Watts and a young RN Captain John (Jackie) Fisher an all big gun battleship was outlined. This sketch design would incorporate the best features of the Devastation of 1874 and Inflexible of 1881 and would feature eight 12-inch guns, in four twin turrets. Two turrets would be mounted on centerline fore and aft and the other two in wing turrets amidships. In the 1880s the Germans built the Brandenburg Class of battleship that mounted six heavy guns all in three centerline twin positions, although the two amidships guns were of smaller caliber. The Russians also designed and built a class of battleships for their Black Seas fleet that had six heavy guns but in their design the three twin positions were laid out in a triangular design so broadside was still only four guns.

By 1900 it was clear to the Admiralty that the standard RN battleship design of four 12-inch and twelve 6-inch guns was no longer adequate. The Italian and American designs were both designing ships that would incorporate 12-inch, 8-inch and 6-inch guns. The USN New Jersey would have eight 8-inch guns in addition to the four 12-inch and twelve 6-inch guns. As a result the White’s last design, the Royal Navy belatedly added mid-caliber 9.2-inch guns with their King Edward VII Class. In 1902 Phillip Watts became Director of Naval Construction from White who retired from illness. The Admiralty seriously reconsidered where they were heading in battleship design and decided that instead of matching foreign naval developments it would be better for them to have a design superior to any know foreign design. Instead of ordering this design in 1903 three more King Edwards were ordered. The design evolved into the two-ship Lord Nelson Class of 1904 that mounted four 12-inch and ten 9.2-inch guns. Also in 1904 one of the most important personnel changes ever made went into effect, as Admiral Jackie Fisher became First Sea Lord.

dred9145.JPG (141760 bytes) dred9156.JPG (82344 bytes) dred9157.JPG (75228 bytes)
dred9154.JPG (76314 bytes) dred9149.JPG (69765 bytes) dred9148.JPG (91109 bytes)
dred9165.JPG (96754 bytes) dred9163.JPG (94825 bytes) dred9158.JPG (84769 bytes) dred9161.JPG (84940 bytes)

In 1902 Fisher had circulated a flyer among his clique of friends, including W.H. Gard Chief Constructor of the Malta Dockyard, about a battleship design involving all big guns. Armstrong had developed a new pattern 10-inch gun that was significantly faster in firing then the standard 12-inch mount. Fisher had always liked the 10-inch gun because of its lighter weight and faster firing ever since he commanded the 10-inch gunned Renown. One design shown to Fisher by Armstrong had eight 10-inch and twenty 6-inch guns on 17,000 tons with a 20-knot speed. It was further figured that if all 6-inch guns were eliminated, the design could mount sixteen 10-inch guns. Fisher liked it! The consensus among his friends was a preference for the heavier 12-inch gun in fewer numbers. However, others were thinking along the same lines.

"There is however, another method of fighting and sending your enemy to the bottom, but it is one that is capable of adoption only by a navy at the same time most potent and very rich. Let us imagine a vessel whose armour is so well distributed and so impervious as to be able to resist all the attacks of an enemy’s artillery with the exception of the projectiles of the 12-inch guns…Further, if this ideal vessel which we have imagined to be so potently armoured is also very swift, and of a speed greater than that of a possible antagonist, she could not only prevent this latter from getting away, but also avail herself of her superiority in this respect for choosing the most convenient position for striking the belt of the enemy in the most advantageous manner….From this it appears that our ideal and intensely powerful ship we must increase the number of pieces of 12-inch so as to be able to get in at least one fatal shot on the enemy’s belt at the water-line before she has a chance of getting a similar fortunate stroke at us from one of the four large pieces now usually carried as the main armament."

"We thus have outlined for us the main features of our absolutely supreme vessel – with medium calibres abolished - so effectively protected as to be able to disregard entirely all the subsidiary armament of an enemy, and armed with only twelve pieces of 12-inch. Such a ship could fight in the second method we have delineated. Without throwing away a single shot, without wasting ammunition, secure in her exuberant protection, with her twelve guns ready, she would swiftly descend on her adversary and pour in a terrible converging fire at the belt. Having disposed of her first antagonist, she would at once proceed to attack another, and, almost untouched, to despatch yet another, not throwing away a single round of her ammunition, by utilizing all for sure and deadly shots."

dred9169.JPG (181398 bytes) dred9170.JPG (158948 bytes) dred9173.JPG (99260 bytes)
dred9175.JPG (112016 bytes) dred9176.JPG (89340 bytes) dred9179.JPG (98168 bytes) dred9181.JPG (90634 bytes)
dred9183.JPG (111143 bytes) dred9185.JPG (113258 bytes) dred9188.JPG (155060 bytes) dred9190.JPG (95277 bytes)

"But when a certain number of such colossi of 17,000 tons – six for an example – had been constructed, it is more than probable that the adversary would do his utmost to prevent their getting near him, and, fearful of the fatal result of so unequal a combat, would seek to betake himself elsewhere immediately on the appearance of the famous ‘invincible’ division." (An Ideal Battleship for the British Fleet by Vittorio Cuniberti; All The World’s Fighting Ships 1903, 1903, Edited by Fred T. Jane, at pages 407 through 409)

Speed, Armor and Armament were the trinity of warship design. All aspects of any new design revolved around balancing these three characteristics in a series of compromises. Certain countries had developed tendencies when it came to the balance of the three factors. When it came to sacrificing one characteristic in order to benefit the other two; Germany would sacrifice armament; the USN would sacrifice speed; and Britain , Italy and Japan would sacrifice armor. When Cuniberti wrote his article in 1903, it ran partially against the experience observed in the latest naval war. At the Battle of Santiago in the Spanish-American War, the 8-inch medium guns of the American battleships and armored cruisers proved to be the most effective guns in the engagement. The slow firing 12-inch and 13-inch guns of the United States battleships did not score many hits. Of course a valid counter argument would point out that the Spanish ships were armored cruisers and not battleships. A further extension of this argument would indicate that the 8-inch ordnance would have been much less effective against heavy battleship armor.

dred9191.JPG (96263 bytes) dred9194.JPG (97385 bytes) dred9195.JPG (113958 bytes) dred9197.JPG (105168 bytes)
dred9200.JPG (112629 bytes) dred9202.JPG (130246 bytes) dred9204.JPG (102655 bytes) dred9206.JPG (91031 bytes)
dred9208.JPG (122897 bytes) dred9210.JPG (174078 bytes) dred9212.JPG (106883 bytes) dred9213.JPG (101462 bytes)

Accordingly, it still was a big leap for Cuniberti to advocate abandonment of all medium caliber guns to only retain an all big gun main armament and very light quick-firing (QF) guns for use in repelling torpedo boats. The most modern British battleship building at the time was of the King Edward VII Class. It is interesting to compare three designs, the King Edward VII, Cuniberti’s "Invincible" and the HMS Dreadnought. The King Edward VII displaced 16,350-tons, normal load, carried four 12-inch, four 9.2-inch and twelve 6-inch guns. She had a speed of 18 to 19 knots and an armor belt of 9-inches. The Cuniberti design was very ambitious. With the advantage of over 100 years of Monday morning quarterbacking, it is clear to see that Cuniberti was over optimistic in what he thought could be accomplished in the design. On a displacement of 17,000-tons he stated that the optimum battleship could mount twelve 12-inch guns, carry a 12-inch armor belt and have a maximum speed of 24-knots. In his designs the guns were mounted with twin 12-inch turrets fore and aft and an odd wing turret arrangement of two single and one twin 12-inch turret on each side. The wing twin turret was between and higher than the single turrets. The broadside would be eight shells and the theoretical ahead or astern fire would be eight shells as well. However, blast damage would have precluded this in reality. I don’t think that anybody would want to be on the bridge of such a ship with three 12-inch shells whizzing by on each side, not to mention the tongues of flame coming from the muzzles. The biggest fallacy of the Cuniberti design was the anticipated speed of 24-knots. No factor remotely comes close in increasing size and accordingly displacement as a requirement for significantly higher speed. A geometrical ratio is encountered in adding speed so the horsepower required for each additional knot is arrived at through multiplication rather than addition.

In 1904 Jackie Fisher could finally do something about his beloved all big gun battleship. As First Sea Lord, he has tremendous power and impact. He quickly had new sketches developed for an all big gun design. A committee was assigned and in early 1905 came up with eight different designs mounting from sixteen to eight 12-inch guns. In a series of trade offs, the designs were whittled down until the final one was presented for procurement. This design became HMS Dreadnought and was evolutionary in armament and revolutionary in propulsion.

dred9216.JPG (110546 bytes) dred9217.JPG (105440 bytes) dred9219.JPG (98180 bytes)
dred9221.JPG (214790 bytes) dred9223.JPG (94433 bytes) dred9226.JPG (159500 bytes) dred9227.JPG (111948 bytes)
dred9229.JPG (97498 bytes) dred9230.JPG (128022 bytes) dred9232.JPG (127175 bytes) dred9234.JPG (127098 bytes)

Within three years a battleship was being built that came very close to the vision of Colonel Cuniberti. "The Dreadnought represents a remarkable development in naval construction, which has been for some time foreshadowed, notably by Colonel Cuniberti, the famous Italian naval constructor. The Russo-Japanese war, more particularly the battle of Tsushima , established the fact that naval engagements can and will be fought at greater distances than were formerly considered possible. Hence the medium armament is held by many authorities to loose much of its value." ." (The Naval Annual 1906, 1906, Edited by John Leyland and T.A. Brassey, at page 2)

HMS Dreadnought displaced 18,120-tons, about a 1,000-tons over Cuniberti’s design. She carried ten 12-inch guns. Like the Cuniberti design an eight gun broadside could be fired. End on fire was a theoretical six guns but again this was illusory as blast damage precluded this. Just as Cuniberti had advocated, the only other guns were light QF anti-torpedo boat guns. With Dreadnought this amounted to 28 12-pounders. The armor belt of Dreadnought was 11-inches, just one inch less than Cuniberti’s design. Dreadnought had a maximum speed of 21-knots, three knots higher than the maximum of other main line battleships. However, all things considered, the Dreadnought was very close to Cuniberti’s ideal.

"Programmes of construction for the British Navy have never been fixed upon abstract principles. We have looked to the construction in hand for other Powers which we must be prepared to meet, and we have tried ‘to go one better.’ This we have certainly done in our latest creation. In dimensions, in armament, in armour, in speed, in coal endurance, the Dreadnought has no rival. The experiences of the Russo-Japanese War have been carefully considered. They may have been anticipated in the design for the Dreadnought." (The Naval Annual 1906, 1906, Edited by John Leyland and T.A. Brassey, Observations on the Statement of Admiralty Policy Lately Laid Before Parliament by T.A. Brassey at page 187 to 188) HMS Dreadnought was a revolutionary design, but not for the reasons most people assume. Her all big gun main armament was evolutionary, not revolutionary. Prior to Dreadnought, battleship secondary guns had been increasing in size with each new design. This made it very difficult to distinguish the splash of a big gun shell from that of secondary armament, a crucial factor in an era of visual range-finding. Adding impetus to the all big gun trend was the Battle of Tsushima during the Russo-Japanese War. Effective firing started far in excess of what was then thought to be effective battle range. And the effects of a single 12" shell hit were observed to be far more devastating than numerous secondary caliber strikes. These developments focused attention on the importance of big gun armament.

dred9236.JPG (197323 bytes) dred9239.JPG (186113 bytes) dred9240.JPG (101724 bytes)
dred9242.JPG (93344 bytes) dred9246.JPG (112834 bytes) dred9249.JPG (113136 bytes)
dred9252.JPG (126100 bytes) dred9251.JPG (130036 bytes) dred9255.JPG (91720 bytes) dred9256.JPG (126259 bytes)

The Royal Navy was not the first navy to gain authorization of an all big gun battleship. The 1905-1906 Jane’s Fighting Ships states in the Progress of Construction section, "To the United States belongs the credit of being the first nation to sanction that battleship with a uniform armament of big guns which ever since Colonel Cuniberti’s article on ‘The Ideal Battleship,’ in the 1903 ‘Fighting Ships’ has hovered on the horizon of the building programmes of most naval powers." The trend to the all big gun battleship was already present and its appearance inevitable.

The real impact of HMS Dreadnought was her propulsion system. Until Dreadnought, major warships of all nations used the triple expansion reciprocating steam engine. It had a limited top end so that the maximum speed for a battleship was around 18 knots. At this speed the huge rods and pistons of the engine caused tremendous vibration throughout the ship. The vibration greatly interfered with accurate spotting from the optical rangefinders then in use. Additionally reciprocating machinery broke down with increased frequency when run near its limits. A high-speed run of any duration was likely to result in the ship sitting in harbor for days or making repairs to damaged parts.

dred9259.JPG (136390 bytes) dred9261.JPG (121600 bytes) dred9263.JPG (116435 bytes) dred9266.JPG (81951 bytes)
dred9268.JPG (99855 bytes) dred9270.JPG (126934 bytes) dred9272.JPG (120107 bytes) dred9273.JPG (118944 bytes)

The Royal Navy, in an inspired leap of faith, adopted the Parsons turbine for Dreadnought, used only in small ships prior to this time. The turbine was an overwhelming success. Its advantages over reciprocating machinery were enormous. The top speed at 21 knots was at least three knots higher than that of previous first class battleships, maintenance time was greatly reduced, and the lack of the vibration allowed for accurate rangefinding at much greater ranges. Dreadnought burst on the world stage, seemingly out of nowhere. She was laid down on October 2, 1905, launched February 10, 1906 and commissioned September 1, 1906. Eleven months from her keel laying to commissioning, a record never since broken by any other big ship. The speed of construction was a deliberate attempt by the Royal Navy to demonstrate its construction and design capabilities to would-be naval powers. The building materials were pre-stocked at the building site, multiple work-shifts labored around the clock, and the First Lord of the Admiralty, the legendary Jackie Fisher, saw to it that nothing interfered with Dreadnought’s construction.

To thoroughly test the new propulsion system, Dreadnought crossed the Atlantic in January 1907 to Trinadad, where the crew undoubtedly preferred the warm Caribbean environment to the cold North Sea in winter. In March she returned to Portsmouth and was made flagship of the Nore Division of the Home Fleet, which had been formerly the Channel Fleet. On March 24, 1909 HMS Dreadnought became flagship of the entire Home Fleet. Within her first five years Dreadnought had hosted King Edward VII twice, King George V and Tsar Nicholas II. By 1911 she was still a young ship with only five years commissioned service but the accelerating pace of battleship design and construction had left her behind. On June 9 she was still a flagship but now instead of fleet flag, she led 1st Division Home Fleet. On July 1, 1913 she was flag for 4th Battle Squadron Home Fleet, with whom she remained throughout most of World War One.

Dreadnought was the naval marvel of the age but her time on center stage was short. In a decade she was obsolescent. She never had the opportunity to fire her guns at German battleships as she missed the Battle of Jutland. Her high point came on March 18, 1915 when she rammed, cut in half and sank U-29, commanded by Otto Weddigen, who had previously sunk the British cruisers, Aboukir, Cressy, Hogue and Hawke. During this she almost collided with Temeraire, which was also trying to ram the U-Boat. Apparently the Dreadnought had developed a taste for ASW for on June 14, 1916 while exercising with the fleet, Dreadnought spotted another U-Boat on the surface. The battleship charged the submarine in order to ram her as well. This time the U-Boat spotted the closing battleship in time to dive out of way of the ram bow. When the war ended in November 1918 there was certainly no reason to keep Dreadnought in service as her design had been far surpassed. In 1920 she was sold for breaking-up.

dred9277.JPG (181223 bytes) dred9278.JPG (95996 bytes) dred9280.JPG (86041 bytes)
dred9283.JPG (133456 bytes) dred9286.JPG (137608 bytes) dred9288.JPG (129543 bytes) dred9290.JPG (124967 bytes)
dred9292.JPG (132640 bytes) dred9294.JPG (130949 bytes) dred9295.JPG (119341 bytes) dred9297.JPG (120367 bytes)

"The most advanced thinkers in the Navy and those having the greatest personal experience of the sea have come to the definite conviction that the battleship is really dead. No one need fight a battleship except with submarine boats or destroyers, and the sole function of battleships in future wars is to be sunk. They can defend nothing day or night with certainty. But this new battleship now proposed will not only be a battleship but a first class cruiser superior to any but the very latest, hence for years to come she will be useful since whether battleships are or are not used in the future her speed will always make her of the greatest value." (British Battleships, 1971, by Oscar Parkes, at page 469, from argument for all big gun battleship design of 21-knots By Captain R.H.S. Bacon, October 1904) The HMS Dreadnought was a shattering design. In a stroke the status quo of the prior twenty years was vaporized and although theoretically all navies started with a blank slate, in reality the Royal Navy started with significant lead because of the development and construction of the ship. Nothing is so fragile as a military edge. Bacon’s argument that a 21-knot speed would always make this fast battleship valuable worked as long as no one else had designs of similar speed. The 21-knot battleship quickly became the standard battle line speed and only a short eight years elapsed before the next fast battleship design of the Queen Elizabeth upped the speed ante.

In 1904 the battleship was far from obsolete. Although destroyers were not be threat to the battleship that the "most advanced thinkers" of the Royal Navy thought, they were more accurate with the threat of the submarine. As the Dreadnought emerged as the final evolution of the ship of the line/ heavy gun surface ship, it was not the submarine that finally doomed the viability of the big gun capital ship but a still humble invention that had first seen success only the year before at Kitty Hawk , North Carolina , the airplane. (An Ideal Battleship for the British Fleet by Vittorio Cuniberti; All The World’s Fighting Ships 1903, 1903, Edited by Fred T. Jane; The Battleship Dreadnought, Anatomy of the Ship, 1992 revised edition 2001,by John Roberts; British Battleships, 1971, by Oscar Parkes; British Battleships of World War One, 1986, by R.A. Burt; The Naval Annual 1906, 1906, Edited by John Leyland and T.A. Brassey)

Zvezda Dreadnought
For some time it has been the Chinese and Japanese companies who have producing new 1:350 scale injected kits frequently. Russian companies have produced 1:350 scale kits in the past but on mostly Russian subjects. Zvezda has jumped back into the 1:350 scale market but instead of choosing a Russian subject, the company picked HMS Dreadnought as their subject. So, how good is the kit? Since this is an in box review and I can’t vouch as to the parts fit, I can say that the components look excellent in detail and accuracy. Included in this review are numerous photographs of the Zvezda part next to the applicable drawing found in Anatomy of the Ship HMS Dreadnought by John Roberts, which is positively the best source for the appearance of Dreadnought to be found outside the National Maritime Museum . Compare the parts versus the drawing and you’ll see what I mean. The kit is not perfect, as there are mistakes, but pluses of the model far outweigh the negatives. The Zvezda Dreadnought does not come with photo-etch and the kit cries out for it. Never fear though because over at White Ensign Models they have locked Mad Pete into the dungeon until he finishes a suitable and undoubtedly magnificent brass photo-etch set for the Zvezda kit. I’m sure it will be the first of many after market products designed for this kit.

dred9298.JPG (237850 bytes) dred9301.JPG (124211 bytes) dred9304.JPG (120894 bytes)
dred9307.JPG (149249 bytes) dred9314.JPG (142994 bytes) dred9309.JPG (148185 bytes) dred9311.JPG (170983 bytes)

With the Zvezda 1:350 scale HMS Dreadnought you get six plastic sprues, a plastic stand, a nameplate decal, a Union Jack and instructions. The box photographs of the completed model are a disservice for the quality of the kit. These photographs remind my of assembled kits that appeared on some Revell releases years ago with a fairly hasty build, rushed to allow the photographs to appear on the box. The photographs that appear on the Zvezda box is of the model hurriedly assembled with a rather mediocre paint job that over-painted a huge amount of detail actually found on the model, such as the numerous coal scuttle plates and over-painting the clear bridge windows. Since the photographs only show the kit built with the parts from the box, there are no railings, rigging or anti-torpedo net. However it only takes a scintilla of imagination to foresee what this model will look like after it is dressed up in photo-etch and rigging.

One sprue contains just the two halves of the hull. The kit comes in full hull format with the two halves being the starboard and port sides joined along the centerline. I for one, am happy with this because I prefer 1:350 scale models in the full hull format. However, many of you prefer waterline format and the Zvezda kit designers cleverly came up with a solution that allows their kit to be easily assembled in waterline format. One of the photographs in the hull section shows how this is done. On the inside of each hull half there is a deep V trench at waterline level. Using a large cutting wheel, you can easily remove the hull below the waterline. Since the kit is plastic cut it slowly so friction doesn’t develop enough heat to melt the plastic. A more prudent but slower approach would be to use a hobby knife. The hull detail, fitting by fitting, feature by feature, matches the detail found in the John Robert’s drawings. Notice at the bow that the anchor hawse are open allowing the anchor chain to run up into the hull. The deck hawse are also open. Also notice the deck edge open chock, which overhangs the hull side. Porthole locations, fitting locations, strake locations all conform to the Robert’s drawings. My only complaint is that there are no porthole rigoles (eyebrows). You’ll notice a series of circular raised fittings on the hull, one line at port hole level and one level at lower strake level. These fitting are for the torpedo net booms, which are included in the kit. If you wish to be Baumannesque, I believe one of the brass photo-etch manufacturers has a set on just rigoles. If you are not familiar with the word Baumannesque, just get a dictionary and look up the word, perfectionist. You’ll see a photograph of Jim Baumann.  You’ll notice that the lower hull has slots to fit the separate bilge keels. By molding these keels separately, they can be thinner than if molded as part of the hull. I noticed that the armor plates outboard of the wing turrets had a slightly convex cross section. I thought that these were flat but when I checked the plan view in the Robert’s volume on page 193, I noticed that the slabs did appear slightly convex. It appears that Zvezda tried to include the anti-torpedo net shelves at the top of the hull but it is too narrow. The careful attachment of very thin plastic strips would correct this. A better solution would be for Mad Pete to include the net shelves on the White Ensign Models photo-etch fret. Also the profile of the ram bow appears more pronounced on the kit than as shown in the Robert’s drawings.

dredR9316.JPG (72962 bytes) dredR9317.JPG (57676 bytes) dredR9320.JPG (55400 bytes) dredR9321.JPG (62127 bytes)
dredR9324.JPG (61795 bytes) dredR9326.JPG (64082 bytes) dredR9328.JPG (60232 bytes) dredR9330.JPG (54636 bytes)

The largest single sprue (B sprue) concentrates on the decks and superstructure. There are two major decks. One is the narrow forecastle deck that runs all the way to aft of the second funnel and the much large main/quarter deck. Both decks have outstanding detail. Zvezda has supplied butt end planking detail, coal scuttle plates, break water gussets and deck fittings. At the tip of the forecastle, you’ll notice the open anchor hawse, allowing you to show the anchor chain actually running through the deck hawse and exiting through the hull hawse. One set on missing details are the anchor chain run plates leading from the windlasses to the deck hawse. You can add them with thin plastic sheet cut to shape. Another puzzle are the deck access coamings. Zvezda put them in the right locations and provided the right shape but didn’t add the access doors or hinges. Hopefully Mad Pete will provide these details in the forthcoming White Ensign Models photo-etch set (don’t forget to add the anchor deck plates Pete).  The main deck runs almost the length of the ship. The detail is excellent. It is littered with the circular coal scuttle plates, access coamings and other deck detail. The large ventilator fitting aft of O turret with its 16 ventilator doors matches the Robert’s plan view. In fact all the fittings match. I did find one error. Zvezda provides four QF base plates on the aft quarterdeck. There were only three. The starboard deck edge gun was not fitted but a flat plate was present at that location. The two 01 bulkhead pieces capture all of the details of the Robert’s drawings. There are openings for the barrels of the QF guns to protrude. The deck piece for the superstructure has finely done boat skids. The centerline leg of the tripod has detail for the boom fittings and another nice touch is to have the other two legs of the tripod joined as a single piece, making it easier to get the tripod just right. Zvezda missed an opportunity with the funnels. The support ribbing on the funnel sides is not present on the plastic funnels. However, the steam pipes are well detailed and the top and bottom aprons are well captured. Other parts on this sprue are the bilge keels, smaller superstructure bulkheads, topmast, bridge platform with underside support detail and propeller shafts.

There is a single C sprue, which provides a variety of parts. One of the five turrets is present. With the turrets Zvezda made a design decision with which I disagree. On the crowns of the main gun turrets there were flat platforms for the turret mounted QF guns. As these platforms extended beyond the centerline portion of the turret there was a support structure underneath the platform supporting the platform on the sloping portion of the turret. For simplicity’s sake Zvezda did not make separate platform wings. Instead, the entire platform is part of the turret crown with no vertical gap at platform edge. If Mad Pete would just throw in the QF platform wings and supports, it is very simple to sand the platform wings of the sloping crowns and to substitute with Mad Pete’s wonders. Of course you can still do that with plastic sheet. The turrets have the three sighting hoods and molded on vertical ladder on the front face between the barrels. The plastic clinker grates for the top of the funnels are very well done for plastic, although photo-etch would be finer. The navigation deck, atop the pilot house has locator holes for all of the navigation equipment but did not include wood planking detail. I like the way Zvezda made the control top integral with the starfish and yardarm but it does make it much more difficult to substitute a brass starfish. The stump mainmast control position is also on the sprue. The control top crowns are separate parts. Another set of notable items on this sprue is the inclusion of separate anchor chains. Most manufacturers mold these to the deck and this defeats the three-dimensional look. Chain links have the three-dimensional look but the link design is not of the pattern used by anchor links. Here you get the link pattern and three-dimensional effect right from the box. There are quite a few additional smaller parts on this spre, including: ship’s boats; conning tower; shaft struts; anchors; platform support struts; various small platforms; boat boom and assorted other parts.

There are two identical D sprues. Each contains two main gun turrets, identical to the one found on the C sprue. There are five 12-inch gun barrels on each sprue. The barrels have the flare at the muzzles but the muzzles are not hollow. The QF guns are very well detailed and fine and even though at 1:350 scale are remarkably close to matching the profile of the 1:24 scale QF profile in the Robert’s volume at page234. It even includes the unique rear slope of the mounting pedestal, which was not a perfect cone. The torpedo net booms have top and bottom fitting detail. Other parts include mushroom ventilators, propellers with opposing blade angles, bridge support, open chocks, more ship’s boats, inclined ladders and others. Ditch the inclined ladders in the kit as they are either solid or too thick and don’t include handrails. For the pilot house and another deckhouse with windows, Zvezda has provided a small clear plastic sprue of the parts, so you’ll have clear windows for these two structures. As for me, I would have better luck hand painting these houses, rather than masking the windows and spray painting. Search light lenses are also included on this spue. A paper Union Jack and nameplate decal are included. Instructions are eight pages in length and are in Russian and English. The assembly is shown as a series of sequential modules and is well done with high production quality and printing. No rigging diagram is included.

dredR9116.jpg (126959 bytes) dredR9123.JPG (124518 bytes) dredR9124.JPG (84270 bytes) dredR9126.JPG (53468 bytes)
dredR9129.JPG (43092 bytes) dredR9130.JPG (75666 bytes) dredR9132.JPG (63849 bytes) dredR9134.JPG (85748 bytes)

The Zvezda 1:350 scale HMS Dreadnought is a very nice kit with outstanding detail, which feature by feature, matches the location and shape as shown in the Anatomy of the Ship Dreadnought. There are some exceptions and omissions, which could be easily corrected with a comprehensive photo-etch set. The Zvezda HMS Dreadnought is now available from Freetime Hobbies.