The armored cruiser, San Giorgio, had quite a long and varied career. She was the lead ship of a two-ship class (San Marco was her sister-ship) and laid down at the
Regio Cantieri di Castellammare di Stabia on July 4, 1905.
San Giorgio was launched on July 27, 1908 and completed on July 1, 1910. At the time of her
commissioning, she was considered a well-designed ship. She displaced 11,600 tons full load and could achieve a speed in excess of 23 knots thanks to her 18,000hp
machinery. The ships in the class were strongly armed with two twin 10-inch/45 (254mm) gun turrets and a secondary armament of four 7.48-inch/45 (190mm)
twin turrets. Typical for ships of this era, she had four funnels in pairs with a gap in between which gave her an unusual profile.
San Giorgio's career began with a
bit of misfortune when she aground on a reef off Naples-Posillipo a little over a month after commissioning. She was badly damaged with over 4,300 tons of water
flooding into her machinery spaces and magazines. In order to refloat and tow her to the yard for repairs, her guns and turrets, together with her conning tower and
some of her armor had to be removed,  After her repairs were completed in July of 1912,
San Giorgio was able to join the fleet towards the end of the Italo-Turkish
War of 1911/1912. In 1913, on a peacetime cruise,
San Giorgio ran aground again, this time in the Straight of Messina, but suffered only minor damage. During
World War I,
San Giorgio served in the Adriatic and participated in the bombardment of Durazzo on October 2, 1918, which resulted in sinking one merchant ship
and damaging two others. During the 1920s,
San Giorgio was used as a Royal Yacht and made peacetime state visits.

In the mid-1930s, she was converted to serve as a training ship for naval cadets at the Arsenale di La Spezia. The reconstruction resulted in having six boilers
removed and the remaining eight were converted to burn oil, which drastically reduced her speed to 16–17 knots. Each pair of funnels was trunked together and her
obsolete light armament was replaced by eight 4-inch/47 (100mm) guns in four twin mounts abreast the funnels.
San Giorgio’s career as a training ship was short-
lived, when she was sent to Tobruk in May of 1940 to defend the harbor as a floating anti-aircraft battery. Prior to her dispatch,
San Giorgio was fitted with a fifth
twin 4-inch mount on the forecastle and suite of 20mm Breda Model 35 and 13.2mm Breda Model 31 anti-aircraft guns. From May 1940 through the fall of Tobruk
on January 22, 1941,
San Giorgio took part in over 100 anti-aircraft actions and she was credited with downing several Allied aircraft. On the morning of January
22, 1941, her crew scuttled
San Giorgio by detonating charges in her magazines. Unfortunately, the ship did not completely submerge in the shallow waters of the
harbor. In 1952, her hulk was refloated to be towed to breakers in Italy but she sank during a storm after the tow line was severed.
The Kit - San Giorgio is the first Regia Marina cruiser kit from E.V.A., a resin ship model producer from Italy. The kit is comprised of resin and photo-etch parts
and decals and represents
San Giorgio as she appeared in Tobruk. The one-piece full hull is very well done and captures that old armored cruiser profile with a ram
bow. The raised forecastle and main deck housings are integrally cast and on the hull sides the armor belt is clearly delineated. Details, such as the plated over
casemates, water tight doors, portholes, ship’s name, deck hatches and coamings, skylights and mooring bitts are nicely done. On the bow a star and on the stern a
crown are also cast in, which is a fine touch. The wood planking is subtly done but lacks butt ends. There are very shallow recesses where the main and secondary
turrets are to be fitted and slightly raised footprints mark the location for the bridge and another deck housing. The casting is overall very clean with only few spots
where there are either air bubble voids or the casting is not entirely complete. These blemishes should be easy to fix. While it is not clearly shown in the photos,
there are two slots along the bottom of the hull to fit the photo-etch bilge keels. The hull sits atop a substantial casting block will undoubtedly require some filling and
sanding smooth along the keels after it is removed.

There are two resin wafers with some structural and other parts. The larger wafer has the upper deck, two of the secondary 190mm turrets, four life rafts and
some small bulkheads. The latter parts sit on top of a rectangular runner. The smaller wafer has the bridge, a deck housing, the propeller shaft struts and four twin
20mm guns. The details on the parts themselves are well done and the casting is good but the problem is that the wafers are really thick and will require a lot of
work to remove the parts from them. This will especially difficult for the upper deck part which in itself is thin but resting on the wafer and you run the risk of
either breaking or marring it. The upper deck has simulated canvas covered railings which look good but are a little thick; you may wish to replace with photo-etch
versions instead. The 20mm guns need a lot of cleanup. The bridge has recessed windows, doors and wood grate decking effectively represented. The deck housing
has portholes and watertight doors cast into it. The bottoms of bridge and deck housing will have to be sanded down evenly to be flush with the raised footprints on
the hull part. It probably would have been better if those footprints were instead recesses into which you could sink the bottom of those parts.
The other two secondary turrets, the main turrets and the funnels are all cast as separate parts again with very nice detail and clean with the exception of lots of
excess resin along the bottoms which will require removal with probably a razor saw and the sanding. The funnels could have had slightly deeper openings. The
100mm/47 guns shields come on a casting runner, look great and need only a little bit of clean up to remove some resin film on the insides. Another two casting
wafers have a variety of gun tubs, searchlight platforms, the crow’s nest and mast platforms. These wafers are not as thick as the others but still not as thin as I
have some from other resin kit producers.

There are six boats, two larger cutters and four smaller whaleboats, with thwarts cast into them. The boats have a bit of runner along the keel which needs to be
removed and the hulls require a light amount of clean up. The remaining resin parts include the 254mm, 190mm and 100mm gun barrels, the balance of the 20mm
guns, the mounts for the 20mm guns, the 13.2mm guns and mounts, searchlights and their bases, a pair of cowl vents, anchors, the propeller shaft fairings, the cut
down main mast and the foremast. The small parts require more cleanup than the other kit parts. The main mast is tapered and looks good but it is slightly warped.
The foremast is too thin to do in resin and is bound to warp, so it would be better used as a template to scratch build one from brass rod and tubing. A pair of
display stands rounds off the resin parts. Two lengths of plastic rod are provided to use for deck supports and upper foremast parts. A small decal sheet with a pair
of flags is also included.
The photo-etch brass fret provides several lengths of pre-measured railings, inclined and vertical ladders, bilge keels, rudder, propellers, funnel cap grills, boat davits,
perforated gussets, 100mm gun breech details, vent grills, AA gun and searchlight platform supports, mooring chocks and other small detail parts An optional set of
brass lettering to replace the cast in ships name at the stern is included as well as a nameplate for a display stand. The brass is nicely done and a bit thinner than
previous releases, with some good relief etching and part numbers etched into the fret for easier identification.
The eight-page instruction appears to do a fairly good job of showing how to construct the model. The cover page has a brief history of the ship and the
specifications appear at the top of page two. The following pages have a series of assembly illustrations that cover specific sections of the model as well as certain
sub-assemblies. The last page has a painting guide with suggested color references for Lifecolor paints. The last page has a basic rigging diagram.
To date this is E.V.A.’s most ambitious and largest kit release and of a very interesting subject. Overall the casting has improved, but there are still some issues with
the smaller parts and the amount of excess resin along the bottom of some of the parts makes for a lot of work that could be avoided. Yet with some work this will
build into a beautiful model of
San Giorgio in her final days valiantly defending Tobruk against Allied forces. E.V.A. kits are currently available only through eBay.
My thanks to Claudio at E.V.A. for the review sample.
Felix Bustelo
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