At the end of World War Two the Royal Navy had a huge accumulation of warships, many of which were worn out from strenuous war duties. However, many were brand new as part of the massive
wartime construction programs and there were still many on the stocks in an unfinished state. Old ships were quickly consigned to scrap, as the Admiralty pondered on the optimum state of a post war Royal
Navy. The crushing financial burden of war debt meant that little money would find its way into Admiralty coffers for new designs and construction. Large ship designs intended for construction, such as
the large
Malta Class aircraft carriers were cancelled. New designs, assuming they could be funded, would be limited to destroyer size ships or smaller.

At first there were plenty of new destroyer construction to meet the post war needs of the service. The Royal Navy had the large destroyers of the
Battle, Weapons and Daring classes but new technology
and new threats quickly promised to make those designs obsolescent. Jet aircraft, missile technology and new submarine technology quickly revealed the limitations of World War Two designs. The Soviet
Union became a threat to the west, as it was developing new weapon systems using captured German technology and even more formidable systems developed by Russian engineers. At first delayed due to
the massive destruction of Soviet factories during the war, the Soviets overcame these obstacles at an amazing pace and inaugurated large programs of submarine and jet aircraft construction. How would the
Royal Navy cope with these new threats when there was very little money for development of new designs?
At first the response was limited to frigates and smaller ships. The frigate designs were suitable for specialized missions but none had the size or speed for fleet escort work.  The last of the WWII designs,
the
Daring Class, employed all of the lessons learned from the war and although ordered early in 1945, the first two were not layed down until December 1945. The first post war design was based
around a smaller G design that was not built. The capabilities of this design of 1948 were insufficient for fleet needs and the Admiralty realized that any new design that would satisfy requirements would
have to be as large as or larger than the
Daring class. New design work centered around a combination destroyer/cruiser proved to be another dead end. By 1955 it was decided that any new destroyer
would ship the new Seaslug anti-aircraft missile (SAM). This missile was a large, two-ton, complex weapon that required a large hull because of its size and assembly requirements. To further complicate
the design the Seaslug required its Type 901 guidance radar  to be carried high in the superstructure.

In 1956 the design contemplated a ship of 5,980-tons full load, armed with a triple Seaslug mount, two twin 4.5-inch gun mounts, two twin 40mm/L70 close defense AA mounts, eight fixed torpedo tubes
and a Limbo AS mortar. When approved in 1957 one more change was made. The torpedo tubes and Limbo mount were deleted and in their place a Wessex helicopter would be carried since the helicopter
with its dipping sonar and ASW torpedoes was a more formidable ASW system than the ship mounted torpedoes and Limbo mortar. A small flight deck was placed in front of the Seaslug mount and a
hangar was added but had to be placed in front of the Seaslug Type 901 radar. The Wessex would have to be pushed by hand from the flight deck, around the radar to reach the hangar, which was a very
awkward arrangement, especially in rough seas. The design was approved and the ships were called the
County class. During the construction of the first two, Devonshire and Hampshire, the short range
Seacat SAM became available so while under construction the twin 40mm mounts were replaced with quadruple Seacat mounts. Laid down in 1959 the first two ships were completed in 1962 and 1963.
London and Kent were laid down in 1960 and completed in 1963. The next two, Glamorgan and Fife, were not laid down until 1962 and incorporated some improvements with an improved Seaslug and
radars. This pair was completed in 1966. The last two,
Antrim and Norfolk, were laid down in 1966 and completed in 1970.
As the initial two County Class destroyers were ordered, the Admiralty buckled down to the initial requirements for a follow up design of guided missile destroyer. The new design would be further
tailored as an escort for a new fleet carrier design, CVA-01. As with the
County Class, a dual steam and gas turbine power plant COSAG was selected for propulsion. The carrier never came to be but
this new destroyer design was called
Type 82. The Type 82 was an one-off design with only HMS Bristol built. Larger than the County Class, the Bristol was 507-feet overall with a 53-foot beam. She
displaced 6,100-tons standard and 7,100-tons full load. It has a unique three funnel design with the steam plant exhaust through the forward funnel and the gas turbine exhaust through the side-by-side
aft funnels. The steam plant had two Babcock and Wilcox boilers turning geared steam turbines and generated 30,000shp. The two Olympus gas turbines generated 44,000shp and the combined power
plant produced a maximum speed of 30-knots and a range of 5,000nm at 18-knots. Three new weapons systems were mounted on the
Bristol. The Sea Dart SAM, was designed to replace the Seaslug
and was a vast improvement over the first missile. All operational characteristics were much superior, as it was lighter, smaller, faster, and more accurate. The second new weapon system was the
Ikara anti-submarine missile with a ten mile range. The third new system was the Mk 8 automatic 4.5-inch gun. It was thought that missiles had taken over the anti-aircraft role, so the Mk 8 was not
dual purpose. The Limbo anti-submarine mortar was also carried in a well at the stern. No helicopter was carried.

Initial plans called for four
Type 82s with another four to follow as earlier destroyers were retired. However, politics raised its head as in 1966 the new Labour government decided that the Royal Navy,
inventor of the aircraft carrier, would no longer be in the aircraft carrier business. Not only did the government cancel the CVA-01 but also declared it would retire the existing in service carriers. With
design purpose being eliminating, as there would be no carriers to escort, all future plans for further Type 82 destroyers went into the scuppers and only
Bristol was ordered. Bristol was ordered on
October 4, 1966 and laid down on November 15, 1967. It was decided that the
Bristol would be built to test the new weapons systems and electronics. Bristol was launched on June 30, 1969 but not
commissioned until 1973. This was followed by lengthy trials and in November 1974 a fire destroyed her steam plant.
Bristol continued the trials powered by the gas turbines only. She went through a
refit in 1976-1977, during which the steam plant was replaced. It took another two years before
Bristol to operational status. This also marked some changes Corvus chaff launchers were added, as
wall two 20mm single gun mounts on a platform below the bridge and new radar added to the mainmast. The Limbo mortar was landed and the well covered, to allow a flight deck.
Again commissioned in 1980 the size of the Bristol made her a logical flagship and she was frequently employed as such. Bristol was the flagship for Operation Ocean Safari 81and then went to a short
refit in early 1982. With the Falklands War
Bristol joined the Carrier Battle Group as an escort on May 25, 1982. After the war ended and the carriers returned to the UK, Bristol remained behind as
flagship of the remaining British naval force. At the end of 1982
Bristol returned to the UK and received more light AA in the form of two twin Oerlikon 30mm mounts and another two single 20mm
mounts. In early 1984 her steam plant had an explosion and she again had to operate only on the Olympus gas turbines. In July 1984 she went in for a two-year refit. The steam plant was repaired,
new radar added and the Ikara  ASW system landed. When
Bristol again went operational in 1986, she had no anti-submarine capabilities of any type. In September 1987 Bristol was selected to replace
HMS Fife as Dartmouth training ship. On June 14, 1991 Bristol ended her role as Dartmouth training ship and in 1993 became static training ship of HMS Excellent Portsmouth and is permanently
berthed in this capacity in which she serves to the current day.

MT Miniatures HMS Bristol
As far as I know, only MT Miniatures produces a 1:700 scale Type 82 HMS Bristol. If you want this lovely one-off design of the second class of modern British missile destroyer, MT Miniatures
has the product for you. The fit appears to be that which
Bristol carried during the Falklands War and which she had from 1978 to 1984. The Limbo mount is not present and the well plated over,
which was done in the refit of 1976-1977 and yet the Ikara system is still present. The Ikara was landed in the 1984-1985 refit. If you don’t have a model from
MT Miniatures, they follow a common
format. Generally but not always, there is a single resin part, which is the hull and superstructure. Smaller parts are white metal and finer parts provided in brass photo-etch. This is true with the
Bristol.
The MT Miniatures is a mixed bag. Probably the most important factor is that it is the only kit of this ship. For a multi-media model of a fairly large topic, it is reasonably priced (36.95GBP directly
from
MT Miniatures and $69.99 from Pacific Front/ Freetime Hobbies). It is easy to build, as most of the model is the one piece resin hull/superstructure. The model is slightly over-scale. A 1:
700 scale model of a ship of 507-feet would be 8.67-inches long. The
MT Miniatures model measures 8.75-inches, which equates to 510-feet. As the last British large warship with a wooden deck,
MT Miniatures provides wooden planking on the model but it is more stylized than a precise plank pattern. My biggest complaint is the bridge windows. The bridge with its square window pattern is
a very noticeable feature of the
Bristol. I like the fact that the model’s bridge windows are deeply incised but they are over-sized. More to the point, on the actual ship there are three windows on
each of the front face, starboard face and port face of the bridge and the model only has two on each face. These can be filled in, sanded, and the windows replaced by black square decals or painted
but it is a shame that this key feature was missed.

The white metal parts comprise the pylon masts, gun turret, Sea Dart launcher and missiles, main radar base frame, cranes, and missile guidance radar. They are of average casting and require minor
clean-up before attachment. A brass photo-etch fret is included, which includes the main radar array (which fits in front of the white metal frame), nice pylon fittings, ensign & jack staves, flight
deck safety net and deck railing (two bar and with lower scupper). The resin hull comes with cast Aztec inclined ladders. Remove these and use photo-etch inclined ladders from your spares, as
inclined ladders are not on the fret included with the kit. A very nice decal set is included with the D23 side and stern pendant numbers, flight deck markings, and funnel ventilation louver markings.
For assembly a one piece isometric instruction sheet is included. The sheet has a simple drawing but with the minimal parts count of the white metal parts, this dosn’t pose a problem. Two
photograph prints of the finished model are included to further assist the modeler with parts placement.
Although the MT Miniatures HMS Bristol Type 82 destroyer does have some faults, I recommend it as an easy to build, reasonably priced model of this one-off handsome warship.



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