The cruiser was essentially a general purpose warship and because of this, they were called upon to be enforcers of a nation’s naval supremacy.  Its
duties included both commerce protection and commerce raiding, scouting for a battle fleet and the ability to steam anywhere and do just about
anything.  Ideally, a cruiser should have the speed, endurance, range, sea-keeping qualities and the right balance of armament and protection to
effectively perform as intended.   

In years leading up to World War I and as far back as the last decade or so of the 19th century, naval architects struggled with developing a cruiser
design that would meet all of these requirements.  As a result, there was a wide range of cruiser types and designs, ranging from scout cruisers, which
were in reality large and expensive destroyers, to the large battlecruisers, which were as large and as armed as battleships but sacrificed protection for
speed.  In between these extremes, there were many varieties of armored and protected cruisers.  Regardless of the type these designs never really met
all of the criteria.  

As the Royal Navy was, at this time, the largest navy in the world and had to guard its far flung empire and interests, it is not a surprise that they were
on the leading edge of cruiser development.   The “
Town” class is considered by many as one of the better and most successful cruisers of that time.
Town” class is really as misnomer and is more accurately a group of light cruiser classes that were all named after British cities and towns.  The
Towns” were comprised of the following classes: Bristol, Weymouth, Chatham, Birmingham and Chester.  HMS Glasgow was a member of the
Bristol class, which was the first British design that had the size necessary to be a true ocean going cruiser and still have the speed required.  The extra
displacement allowed for an armored deck and conning tower but the
Bristol class was considered under armed for a ship of its size.  They were fitted
with two shielded 6-inch guns fore and aft and ten shielded 4-in guns with five on each side of the ship along the waist.  A pair of 18-inch internal
torpedo tubes was fitted in the lower hull on either side of the main mast.  The
Bristols were also subject to quite a bit of rolling.  These issues were
addressed in the subsequent
Weymouth class, which was fitted with eight 6-inch guns and had a longer forecastle which improved sea keeping. The
Bristol class was originally fitted with short funnels but these were immediately made taller to improve draught and to prevent smoke from engulfing the
bridge.

At the outbreak of the First World War,
Glasgow was operating off the coast of South America under Captain John Luce.  The Royal Navy had
initiated a full search for Vizeadmiral Maximillian von Spee’s Ostasiengeschawder (East Asia Squadron) which was on the move in the Pacific and
heading for Atlantic waters to carry out commerce raiding. The principal vessels in the Squadron were the armored cruisers
Scharnhorst and
Gneisenau and the light cruisers Nürnberg, Leipzig and Dresden.  The Dresden’s sister ship Emden had left the Squadron in August of 1914 and for
the next two months was at large. She inflicted heavy damage to merchant shipping on the high seas and destroyed the oil facilities at Madras, before
she was sunk in a battle with
HMAS Sydney on November 9.  That one ship could cause such havoc created great concern for the Admiralty as to
what a squadron of five ships could do.  With that, the Admiralty cobbled together what warships they could to hunt down von Spee.   

Glasgow was one of four ships that comprised the British 4th Cruiser Squadron, under the command of Rear Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock, which
was tasked to search for von Spee’s squadron.  The other ships were the obsolete armored cruisers
Good Hope (flagship) and Monmouth and the
armed liner
Otranto.  On November 1, 1914 Cradock’s ships closed in on the Leipzig, thinking that she was alone, but instead encountered von Spee’s
full squadron.  At the ensuing Battle of Coronel, the
Glasgow narrowly escaped meeting the same fate as Good Hope and Monmouth, which were both
lost with all hands.  The
Otranto also escaped.  The Glasgow was lucky in that she suffered moderate damage from only five hits, although over 600
shells were fired at her by
Dresden and Leipzig.  
Glasgow was part of Vice Admiral Sir Frederick Sturdee’s South Atlantic Squadron at the Battle of the Falkland Islands on December 8, 1914.  The
Royal Navy now had a formidable fleet comprising of the battlecruisers
Invincible and Inflexible, the armored cruisers Kent, Carnarvon and Cornwall
and the light cruiser
Bristol ready to destroy the Ostasiengeschawder.  This is exactly what they did, with all Germans ships sunk with the exception of
Dresden, which managed to escape.  Glasgow and Cornwall sank the Leipzig.  Dresden was later found by Glasgow and Kent, and the German ship was
forced to scuttle after a short battle near Mas a Tierra. After the sinking, a sailor from
Glasgow noticed a pig swimming in the water and after nearly
being drowned by the frightened swine, succeeded in rescuing him. The crew named him”Tirpitz” and served as
Glasgow’s mascot for a year.  The pig
was later transferred to a gunnery school in Portsmouth, where he spent the rest of his life.

After her action in the South Pacific and South Atlantic,
Glasgow operated in the Mediterranean. In 1917 was assigned to the 8th Light Cruiser Squadron
in the Adriatic Sea. Later that year,
Glasgow in company with HMS Amethyst, patrolled the Brazilian coast for German raiders.  After the war Glasgow
served briefly as a stokers' training ship before being paid off in 1922 and sold for scrapping on April 29, 1927.
Combrig expands its catalog of 1/350 scale ships from The Great War with the release of the HMS Glasgow.  This is also their third kit of a combatant
at the Battles of Coronel and The Falkland Islands, the other two being
SMS Scharnhorst and HMS Kent.  The kit is comprised of resin and photo-etch
parts and depicts the
Glasgow as she appeared in 1914, which is also correct for a pre-war fit after her funnels were raised.

The model comes as a two-part hull giving you the option of either a waterline or full hull model (a waterline only version is also available).The upper
hull casting is overall well done with a good amount of detail, such as chocks and mooring bitts, hatches, skylights and portholes.  The bitts have the
more accurate hour glass shape, rather than the straight posts used by most other manufacturers.  Deck detail is also good, with the decks all having
wood planking, however without butt ends. The forecastle deck has flat metal anchor chain run plates, going from the chain locker entrance to the deck
hawse, which add a nice contrast to the wooden decks. The deck hawse could have been cast with deeper openings, so I would drill them out some
more.  The main deck has numerous engraved circles, which are the coal scuttles.  There are also several locator holes for the anchor windlasses and
other deck fittings. Most of the deck houses cast into the upper hull, but curiously the forward-most one on the main deck is a separate part that needs
to be glued to the outlined spot.  The tops of the deckhouses have plenty of detail, such as vents and skylights, but the sides are bare.  Have no fear as
the photo-etch has all of the watertight doors and vertical ladders needed to detail them.

The lower hull is good, with nicely done bilge keels.  However, the submerged torpedo tube doors are missing from this part, though they are visible on
the profile drawings on the first page of the instructions.  These are not present in the photo-etch and scribing them into the hull may be a tad tricky. A
dry fit of the hull parts show that the upper hull is slightly warped and the modeler will have to clamp the two parts together while the glues dries.  Filler
will be needed to hide the joint. A thin resin casting wafer contains the forward deckhouse, the aft portion of the foc’sle deck, the bridge deck, the
charthouse roof, the aft searchlight platform, and the control top housing and crown.  The four raked funnels come in two sizes, thinner and wider,
with two of each size. They have deep openings and good cap aprons but the steam pipes must be made by the modeler using brass or plastic rod.
A total of 10 boats in three different types (cutters, whaleboats and dinghies) are provided. Each boat has thwarts and bottom planking detail. The open
gun shields are nicely cast, but you will need to remove the resin film from the gun openings and gunner ports. The shields for the 4-inch guns look
right but the shields for the 6 inch guns are sadly incorrect. They do not have the open viewing slit that you can see in the photo of the gun fitted on
the
Glasgow. Some very careful surgery will be required to open these up.

The smaller resin parts include the propeller and running gear, the armored conning tower, the 6 inch and 4 inch gun barrels and mounts, the tops of
the larger rectangular vents, anchors, searchlights, boat davits, various styles of vents and sundry deck and bridge fittings. The parts are generally very
well cast, need little, if any, clean and must be carefully removed from the casting runners. One of the propeller shaft struts broke off, but it can be
easily glued back together. The 4 inch gun barrels look good but being resin, some are warped and should be replaced with either brass version or
some tubing. I do not like the resin davits as they are very warped and I think are quite unusable. These should have been done in photo-etch brass;
while they would be flat and two-dimensional they would be sturdier. Making your own with brass wire will be tedious.
Combrig provides a photo-
etch brass fret of ship specific parts. The modeler will have to use after-market photo-etch railing. The larger brass parts are the boat skids found
amidships, the front of the open bridge and the supports for the bridge wings and deck. Other parts include watertight doors, funnel cap grills, vertical
and inclined ladders, accommodation ladders, anchor chain, smaller davits, funnel platform and other smaller fittings. The photo-etch is rather basic
and has no relief etching.

The instructions come on six pages, are in the typical
Combrig format but are slightly improved. The first page has a small plan and profile drawings
which look like the ones printed in Norman Friedman’s
British Cruisers, Two World Wars and After. The drawings are rather small but the profile does
provide a standing rigging diagram.  The ship’s history is written in Cyrillic but the statistics are in English. Page two has the standard resin parts
laydown. Page three has a laydown of photo-etch parts and the first general assembly diagram.  The subsequent pages have additional general assembly
diagrams and all pages have smaller insets which focus on certain sub-assemblies and sections of the ship.  One inset has a template for cutting the
masts, yards and funnel steam pipes. The last page has an illustration of the fully assembled model which has been missing from the assembly
instructions I have seen so far from
Combrig, and I feel should be very helpful.  
Overall this appears to be another good release from Combrig though there are a few minor issues. It is great to see another World War I warship in
1:350 scale and I expect to see more from
Combrig now that we are approaching the centennial of this conflict. You can purchase this kit from Free
Time/Pacific Front Hobbies
, which is the sole source for Combrig kits in the United States or from White Ensign Models in England.
Felix Bustelo
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