This MSW "first-look" style review is of Trumpeter Models, French Battleship Richelieu, in 1/350 scale plastic."
Trumpeter Models has now given the shipwright the first Richelieu-class vessel offering in 1/350 scale plastic, a long awaited release by many builders, and has chosen the New York re-fit version as it's initial subject...let's take a closer look at just what this kit has to offer, but first...
...a little history
The Richelieu class battleships were the last and largest of the battleships of the French Navy, staying in service into the 60s. They were derived from the Dunkerque class, and designed to counter the threat of the Italian Navy. Their speed, shielding, armament and overall technology were state of the art (note the unusual 4-gun turret arrangement).
In the context of the Treaty of Washington, the quad arrangement had the advantage of saving weight on turret armoring, compared to four double turrets, while retaining the same firepower. The drawback was that a single lucky shot immobilizing one of the turrets would effectively put half the main artillery out of action. On the other hand, the entirety of the main artillery was able to fire forwards, as the ship closed in to her enemy, in an angle where she made the smallest possible target.
Originally, four units were planned, but only the first two, the Richelieu and the Jean Bart, were fitted at the outbreak of the Second World War.
The third unit, the Clemenceau, was broken up while still under construction. The fourth unit, the planned Gascoigne, was never started. She was planned to bear her second turret on the aft of the ship, bringing back a more traditional design.
The Richelieu and the Jean Bart saw action during the war, initially under Vichy France, and with the Free French Forces after the Allies captured North Africa. Both vessels saw action again during the First Indochina War and the Suez Crisis.
Namesake: Cardinal de Richelieu
Laid down: October 1935
Launched: January 1939
Commissioned: Spring 1940
Class and type: Richelieu class battleship
Displacement: 35,000 tons (standard)
47,548 tons (full load)
Length: 247.90 m
Beam: 35 m
Draught: 9.70 m
Propulsion: four Parsons geared turbines, 150,000 hp
Speed: 30 knots (56 km/h)
Range: 8,500 nautical miles (15,740 km)
Complement: 70 officers, 1,550 men
Aircraft carried: Three flying boats, two catapults
Original Armament: 8 x 380mm/45 Modèle 1935 guns in quadruple mounts at bow
9 × 152 mm AA in 3 triple turrets at the aft
24 × 100 mm AA in 12 twin turrets
8 × 40 mm AA
28 × 57 mm AA in 14 twin turrets
20 × 20 mm AA.
Refit Armament (US, 1943): removed the French 37mm AA armament, replaced with Fifty seven 40mm Bofors. and Fifty 20mm Oerlikons from US stocks.
Amour: belt: 330 mm
upper armored deck: 150 mm
lower armored deck: 40 mm
The box and what's inside...
The kit comes to you in typical Trumpeter fashion, packaged in a very sturdy, open lidded cardboard box, measuring 73×25×7.8 cm, with an interesting and colorful box-art images. Inside, you will find the main hull assembly, and 11 separate bags of kit parts, 326 total, all molded in typical Trumpeter gray plastic. A detailed instruction manual, as well as a full color paint scheme/marking foldout is also provided. Immediately noticeable is good, clean molding throughout of all kit parts, with much detail included, and no flash present.
This kit is being offered in a full hull style only, but a waterline display is not out of the question with a bit of re-furbishing. The hull itself is molded in one piece, very sturdy and clean, with no apparent warping, dimples, or flaws.
Sprue layout is a bit mixed, breakdown as follows:
Sprue A, 30 separate parts total, contains the engine shafts and struts, main bulkheads, and various super-structure decking.
Sprue B, 23 parts total, holds the main superstructure assemblies, and also one of the most distinctive features of the vessel, the funnel, which was incorporated into the second tower and represented one of the first examples, of this kind of naval engineering.
Sprue C, 31 pieces total, holds the various gun tubs of the vessel, as well as the ships boats platform mount.
Sprue D, 33 kit parts in all, holds various tower decking’s, and many smaller deck details such as vents, cowlings, and anchors, as well as the dual breakwaters.
The twin E Sprues, each with 43 parts, containing a wide variety of kit parts, ranging from the 8x38 turret bottoms, main guns and blast bags, to smaller details such as the ships boats, 152mm secondary guns, and screws.
Moving on to the twin F Sprues, here we find each with 137 different pieces, mainly most of the kit's more delicate and smaller moldings, the AA guns, shields, and tub mounts, and life rafts.
The G Sprue contains simply two pieces, the ships 15" main battery gun turrets, very well molded, and nicely detailed.
The balance of the kit [parts are simply the one piece, black molded kit stand, and the kits molded nameplate.
All kit parts are well molded, very clean, very well detailed with clean, crisp lines, with no flash, even on the tiniest of details.
The ships 16 page instruction booklet is very well done, with nice, clear drawings, well labeled, and well drawn, in booklet fashion.
The kit also contains again, a very well done, full color, fold-out paint/marking scheme diagram, Measure 32 camouflage, in Gunze Sangyo references.
The ships enclosed decal markings, quite simply, a pair of French national flags, one of which wind-blown, one not, nice coloring, and scaled well.
Highs: Clear and clean, molding, crisp details, and quality manufacturing overall. Well drawn, detailed instructions, and the full color paint scheme fold-out is an uber addition.Lows: Full hull version only, but a waterline build is not out of the question for this model kit.Verdict: Overall, a fine looking kit for the first 1/350 scale release in plastic of the subject, will make for a great addition to your 1/350 scale showcase...definitely recommended from this modelers point of view.
Our Thanks to Stevens International! This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
About Mark R. Smith (Gunny) FROM: PENNSYLVANIA, UNITED STATES
I have been building models of all sorts all of my life, concentrating mainly on the coolest one's when I was younger, but now I focus directly on all military subjects, from armor to warships. After years of counting rivets, I put away the calipers, dial indicators, and micrometers and now just ha...