Not all David versus Goliath stories end in favor of the underdog and the fate of HMS Glowworm is an example of such an unhappy ending. HMS Glowworm was
launched on July 22, 1935 and was one of the nine members of the
Greyhound or G Class destroyers of the 1933 naval program. The G Class destroyers were
slightly smaller and lighter than the preceding
F Class, displacing 1,350 tons. Other changes were mostly internal with the exception that all ships were fitted with a
tripod mainmast.
HMS Grenville was the leader and was 7 feet longer and 1 ½ feet wider than the other eight. Staff at the Admiralty had been contemplating an
increase in the torpedo load on destroyers and the
G Class was initially selected to have the standard pair of quadruple 21-Inch torpedo mounts with a pair of
quintuple torpedo mounts. However, only
Glowworm was fitted with the quintuple mounts.

HMS Glowworm was part of the destroyer flotilla screening HMS Renown in April 1940. On the night of April 7, 1940 Glowworm turned back to rescue a
crewmember who had fallen overboard. Although only expending half an hour in the fruitless search, the rest of the flotilla raced onward and
Glowworm became
separated from the rest of the British ships. As sea conditions worsened,
Glowworm was forced to slowdown and could not catch up. She was further hampered by
the breakdown of the gyro-compass and had to rely on a less exact magnetic compass for navigation.

On the morning of April 8,
Glowworm spotted the German destroyer Bernd von Arnim coming out of a fog bank. Glowworm drew first blood with a hit from a 4.7-
inch shell which carried away a wing of the German destroyer’s bridge.
Bernd von Arnim turned around to disappear back into the fog bank and Glowworm gave
chase. However,
Bernd von Arnim was not alone and Glowworm accosted the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper and more German destroyers that were screening her.
Hipper fired a broadside and an eight-inch shell hit Glowworm aft. Glowworm attempted to fight back and fired her ten torpedoes but missed. More shells from
Hipper destroyed one of the 4.7-Inch mounts and scored hits below the waterline. The damage was quickly piling up on the British destroyer.
Glowworm made smoke and disappeared into her own smoke screen but she was fast becoming crippled as she was taking on water and her speed was reduced.
She was outmatched in a gunnery duel and she had expended all of her torpedoes. Because of her reduced speed, she could not make a run for it. Lieutenant-
Commander Roope,
Glowworm’s commanding  officer,  realized that he was out of options except for one: to sacrifice Glowworm and attempt to ram Hipper.
Under the cover of the smoke screen, Roope reversed course to intercept the larger ship.
Hipper had been coming on full speed towards the smoke screen and
when
Glowworm emerged from the smoke, she was already too close to the German cruiser for Hipper’s guns to stop her. Glowworm crashed into Hipper’s bow,
opening a gash 130 feet long and ripping the cruiser’s starboard torpedo tubes from their housings. The momentum of the 13,000 ton
Hipper pushed Glowworm
over and capsized her. The destroyer went down immediately taking Commander Roope and 117 crewmen with her. However 31 survivors were rescued by
Hipper. The damage inflicted on Hipper forced her to limp back home and miss the rest of the Norwegian campaign. In London the Admiralty received a short
series of radio transmissions as the short battle ensued. The last report stated “
Am under fire from enemy cruiser, am on fire bridge and amidships….am
sinking.
" Then silence, as Glowworm was never heard from again. The details of the sinking of HMS Glowworm were not learned until the end of the war, when
the survivors of the crew were released from prison camp. Lieutenant-Commander Roope was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. Although David did not
defeat Goliath in this tale, the underdog did go down fighting and took a piece of the giant with her.

The Kit - HMS Glowworm kit was originally a White Ensign Models kit and was recently reissued by Peter Hall under the Atlantic Models label. Peter Hall
was the pattern maker for
White Ensign Models and the kit is his creation, so it only seems appropriate that the kit is available again via Atlantic Models. I must
point out an error with the box label, which says that the kit represents
Glowworm in her 1943 fit. Well, err… the ship was lost in 1940, so technically this is not
possible. That little snafu aside, this is simply a lovely kit. The kit is comprised of resin hull with a waterline/full-hull option, smaller parts that are a mix of resin and
white metal and an extensive photo-etch detail set. No decals are included with the kit, but they are available separately from
Atlantic Models.
The two hull sections are clean castings with very good details. The upper hull has such items as twin bitts, single bollards, a raised double windlass, a small deck
house at the forecastle break, a mushroom vent and portholes cast into the part. The metal tread plates at the forecastle and at the edges and aft section of the main
deck are finely reproduced. The forecastle has fittings for the entrances into the chain locker, anchor hawse with enough depth for some anchor chain to descend
into them and the base plate for the A gun. At the aft end of the forecastle is an indentation for the forward superstructure part. There is a wee bit of excess resin
inside of the spray shields at the forecastle break that shouldn’t be too difficult to remove and clean up.

On the main deck there are raised base plates with slots for the funnels, outlines and locater holes for the anti-aircraft platform and searchlight platform and
indentation and tab to accommodate the aft superstructure. The base plate for the Y gun is also present. The lower hull is also well done and very clean with bilge
keels, propeller shaft skegs and a locater hole for the ASDIC sonar dome. A dry fit of the upper and lower hull sections show that two parts line up rather well and
that some putty will be needed to fill in the relatively minor seam at the joint.
The superstructure parts include the 01 level of the forward superstructure, the bridge, midships anti-aircraft gun platform and the aft superstructure. The part for
the 01 level superstructure has the spray guard in front of B gun with support frames nicely reproduced underneath. There is plenty of detail on the bulkheads with
handrail, watertight doors, pipes, lockers and splinter shielding. The bridge is also very nice with the binnacle and compass on the raised navigation platform, small
observation positions with thin splinter shielding, watertight doors, lockers and pipes. The anti-aircraft platform has splinter shielding, ready ammunition lockers and
the Carley raft storage platform on the aft face. The aft superstructure has the spray guard for X gun with the same support framing underneath, watertight doors,
handrail, junction boxes and lockers. Some of the parts have little bits of excess resin film that needs to be removed and cleaned-up.

The funnels are excellent with steam pipes cast into them. Both funnels have nice caps and second apron a little bit down from the top. The small deck house that is
the base for the searchlight platform is also well detailed, with junction boxes and watertight door on the bulkheads and support bracing underneath the overhanging
open platforms. The deck of the platform has another binnacle and compass and a locater hole for the searchlight. The remaining resin parts include the gun shields,
quintuple torpedo tubes, a pair of whale boats, a motor boat and the range finder. These parts are also well done but the gun shields have some resin film that needs
to be removed.
The rest of the parts are white metal and include the 4.7-inch gun barrels, paravanes, TSDS winches, depth charges and depth charge throwers, searchlight,
foremast pole with crows nest, Carley floats, propellers with shafts, propeller struts, director control tower and ASDIC sonar dome. The white metal parts require a
little more cleanup and are not as refined in my opinion when compared to the small resin parts but they will do. White metal is malleable so be careful when
handling the 4.7-inch gun barrels and foremast as the can be easily bent. There is 3-inch gun among the white metal parts that is not used with this model.

The photo-etch brass is excellent, with wonderful relief etching, and is quite extensive as it was designed to supply brass parts for any destroyer in the
G, H or I
Classes
. As a result, some of the parts are not used with the Glowworm, so I will focus on the relevant parts. The upswept forecastle railings are pre-measured
lengths but the others are standard lengths of railing which need to be measured and cut to size. Two of these lengths have one end shaped to fit the curve of the
spray shields at the forecastle break. In addition to the railings, the brass fret has inclined and vertical ladders, bridge windscreen, optional canvas cover with frame
for the navigation platform, quad Vickers mounts & base plates, TSDS related equipment, signal lamps, signal platform supports, Carley raft rack supports,  bridge
semaphores, funnel cap grills, funnel sirens and platform, boat davits, motor boat details, whaler boat fittings, various equipment handling davits, mast yardarms,
tripod mast frames, anchors, rudder, stove pipes and G Class name plates. Some of the extra photo-etch parts may be used on later fits of some
G Class ships, so
research by the modeler will be required.

The assembly instructions are printed on 7 pages (3 pages are double-sided) and are in the familiar format we have come to appreciate with
White Ensign and
Atlantic Model kits. The instructions are among the best out there and provide numerous illustrations to aide in assembling the model. The first page provides a
brief history of this ship and an inventory of the smaller resin and white metal parts and the reverse side has a keyed image of the photo-etch fret. The following
four pages cover the various assemblies and sub-assemblies with clear and detail illustrations and the last page was a painting guide in color for the paint scheme
worn by Glowworm at the time of her loss with references to
Colourcoats where applicable.
The Atlantic Models HMS Glowworm in 1:350 scale is an outstanding multi-media kit with excellent parts, excellent photo-etch and superb assembly instructions.
The kit will build into a beautiful replica of this tough destroyer and a fine tribute to her valiant crew.
Felix Bustelo
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