The age of European colonialism began at the end of the 15th Century with the Spanish colonization of the “New World”. It didn’t take long before the other European powers followed suit. In the 17th Century the
Netherlands was at the height of its power and colonized territory in the west and east. By the 20th Century, as colonialism was nearing its end, the most important colony for the Netherlands were the islands of the
Dutch East Indies. Java, Sumatra, Celebes and the numerous other islands that are now Indonesia were a source for valuable natural resources and it wasn’t just the Netherlands that saw their value. To the North the
expanding Japanese Empire also saw their value. Powerful, with an expanding army, navy and industrial might, Japan lacked natural resources and as with Great Britain was dependent on sea commerce. Between
World War One and Two the main duty of the Dutch Navy was to protect the Dutch East Indies, primarily from the Japanese.


The Netherlands were spared from the horrors of World War One and remained neutral. However, the Dutch Navy was in a pitiful state with a few obsolete coast predreadnout battleships. In 1915 it was decided to
build new cruisers, the largest type of warship the Netherlands could afford. They were designed with the aid of Krupp and were supplied with German machinery. They were exceptionally large and powerful when
designed armed with ten 5.9-inch guns and displacing 6,670 tons standard and 8,208 tons full load. Their design reflected the armament placement of German and British cruiser construction of the time with single gun
mounts with gun shields with four centerline guns and six mounted in outboard wing positions. They were primarily designed for service in the Dutch East Indies and the three ships ordered reflected this in their names.
Java was laid down on May 31, 1916, Sumatra on July 15, 1916 but the third ship, Celebes, was never laid down. Java and Sumatra were very slow in building with Sumatra launched December 29, 1920 and
Java on August 9, 1921. There was another long delay before their completion with Java completing on May 1, 1925 and Sumatra a year later on May 26, 1926. Although they were a first line design when
conceived in 1915, their design was obsolete when completed a decade later.
With the cancellation of the Celebes for financial reasons the Dutch naval staff continued to plan and promote a third cruiser for service in the East Indies. By 1930 the time had come to design a third cruiser. The
Netherlands didn’t have the money to build a heavy cruiser but could afford a light cruiser of moderate displacement. The original design was based on a ship with a displacement of 5,250 tons armed with six 6-inch
guns mounted in three twin gun turrets, one turret forward and two placed aft. However, this design was thought too weak and by 1932 had been redesigned to add a seventh 6-inch gun in a super-firing single gun
mount forward. To save weight electric welding was used instead of rivets and some light alloy material was used. The
De Ruyter was laid down on September 16, 1933 and unlike the previous Java class
completed in a fairly short time. She was launched on May 11, 1935 and completed on October 3, 1936. In marked contrast to the
Java Class, the De Ruyter presented a very striking, modern appearance with a
striking tower forward superstructure and a catapult to operate two seaplanes but with no hangar.

De Ruyter was 560-feet 7-inches long (170.92m)(overall), 551-ft, 2-in (168m)(waterline) with a displacement of 6,442 tons standard and 7,548 tons full load. De Ruyter only used two shafts, instead of the three
shaft
Java design with the machinery plant developing 66,000shp for a maximum speed of 32-knots. Armor was light with a 2-inch (50mm) belt extending 405-feet from the forward to aft magazines and 12-feet
deep, so it was not a shallow belt. Turrets, barbettes, conning tower, end bulkheads and main deck received 30mm armor. There was no secondary armament but for the time
De Ruyter was fitted with a very
strong AA fit with five twin gun 40mm MkIII Bofor mounts. The mounts were stabilized and had advanced fire control but were all clustered together, presenting the possibility that all five mounts could be disabled
by one bomb hit. Additionally four twin .50in machine gun mounts were fitted to the forward tower and two Fokker C.XIW floatplanes were carried on the catapult.
After three months in home waters for work up, De Ruyter raised anchor on January 27, 1937 bound for the East Indies. She arrived at Sabang on March 5 and became flagship for the East Indies Squadron on
October 25, 1937. She, along with the other cruisers and destroyers of the squadron patrolled local waters until February 1940 when Germany invaded the Netherlands. At this time the ships were tasked with
missions of hunting down German merchant ships in or near the East Indies. Everything changed on December 1, 1941. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was designed to preempt the  United States Navy,
which the Japanese logically saw as the biggest threat to their ambitions. The Philippines were invaded, as they presented a threat to the seaborn lines of communication to the true prize sought by the Japanese, the
British and Dutch colonies south of the Philippines. These colonies were rich in natural resources that Japan lacked. After confining the Americans to Bataan and Corregidor and eliminating the threat of American
naval or aerial interference, the Japanese juggernaut rolled on to the rubber plantations of Malaya and the oil on the island of Borneo.


With Borneo falling they set their sites on the next major objectives, Sumatra followed by Java. On February 1, 1942 the USN Admiral Hart set up the ABDA (American-British-Dutch-Australian) Combined
Striking Force, which combined the available surface warships of four countries and placed them under the tactical command of Dutch Admiral Doorman. On February 3 Doorman had assembled a large portion of
the force and raised his flag on
De Ruyter. With De Ruyter near Surabaya were Houston, Marblehead , Tromp, and seven US flushdeckers. Doorman received a contact report of a Japanese convoy headed
south and around midnight sortied to intercept with his four cruisers, four of the US destroyers an additional four Dutch destroyers. At 09:49 the force sighted around 37 Japanese Nell bombers headed south.
Doorman signaled his force to scatter on the theory that the Japanese formation would have to break apart with only a few bombers able to concentrate on any one target. This was still before the allies realized that
concentrating their ships together for massed supporting AA fire was the best tactic in face of an air attack.


The Japanese force dropped to 14,000-feet and concentrated on
Houston and Marblehead . The first two attacks missed completely but Marblehead received a near miss from the third wave at 10:19. In
exchange the cruiser shot down one of her attackers. At 10:27 a fourth wave of seven Nells targeted
Marblehead . One stick of bombs was perfectly aimed and straddled the ship. One bomb crashed through the
deck amidships and destroyed the sickbay, wardroom and all adjacent compartments, as well as starting a fire. Another bomb hit the quarterdeck, folded up the armored deck, wrecked the steering compartment,
jammed the rudders hard to port and started a large fire.
Marblehead , who had repaired her balky turbine after Balikpapan , was stuck cutting huge donuts in the ocean at 25-knots. A third bomb was a near miss
that crumpled bow plating and allowed flooding forward.
Marblehead kept churning up the sea in great circles, down by the head with a 10 degree list to starboard and fires amidships and on the quarterdeck.
Fifteen crewmen were killed and 34 seriously injured. Doorman thought the
Marblehead was finished and sent the Tromp in to rescue survivors. However, the old cruiser was far from finished. For Captain
Robinson there were three equally essential priorities to save the
Marblehead. The fires had to be brought under control to prevent their spread and further damage, the leaks especially those at the bow had to be
stopped to stop the settling, and the rudders had to be freed.
Houston had been injured as well as a bomb knocked out her aft 8-inch gun turret, which was never repaired. The powder in the turret exploded and
the entire crew of the turret and handling room below were killed. The last attack came in at 11:11 and went for
De Ruyter but she was lucky and sustained only minor damage from near misses. After offering
Marblehead assistance, which was declined, Houston turned south, bound for the south coast of Java. De Ruyter circled Marblehead in order to intercede with any further attacks on the stricken cruiser.
Although the rudders were still jammed, by noon the
Marblehead took a wobbly course by alternating power to the engines. De Ruyter and the four US destroyers were still with her. She followed the course of
Houston bound for the same port, Tjilatjap on the south coast of Java . By midnight Doorman in De Ruyter felt confident that Marblehead was safe and parted company. De Ruyter picked up speed and
disappeared into the darkness as Doorman hurried ahead Batavia to reorganize his shattered command.
Marblehead was sent back to the United States for repairs.
The Striking Force needed reinforcements and on February 14, 1942 HMAS Perth was ordered to the Java Sea to become part of the ABDA striking force, along with HMS Exeter and three British destroyers.
All had been on convoy duty until being sent to the Java Sea . The Australian and British ships joined the
Houston and Dutch cruisers on the afternoon of February 25. That same afternoon news was received that
30 Japanese transports were approaching from the North and they would obviously have a heavy surface escort, initially identified as two cruisers and four destroyers. That evening the allied polyglot force steamed
north looking for the Japanese troop convoy.


They steamed through the night but found nothing. After a bombing attack in the morning of February 26, which scored no hits, the allied force turned back towards Surabaya . At 2:30 PM the Striking Force were
about to enter harbor when they received news that the Japanese convoy had been found close to the island of Baewan . The force turned around at struck out to intercept the Japanese transports, which were
escorted by heavy cruiser
Nachi and Haguro, Light cruisers Naka and Jintsu and fifteen destroyers. The crews of the allied ships were physically exhausted from constant steaming and air attacks with no air
support. The Japanese were fresh and had overwhelming air support. Doorman formed a line of battle with the three British destroyers in the van, followed by the cruisers
De Ruyter, Exeter , Houston, Perth
and
Java. The American and Dutch destroyers were stationed to the port and rear. The Japanese knew exactly the composition and location of the ABDA force by Doorman and his captains were blind. The
commander of the Dutch East Indies , Admiral Helfrich, had used his handful of Brewster Buffaloes and dive bombers to mount a fruitless raid on the Japanese transports and no aircraft left to support Doorman.
By 4:00PM the afternoon of February 27 Japanese float planes were circling the allied force. Not long thereafter the British destroyer on point detected the Japanese force crossing the T of the allied force from
east to west.


Doorman ordered a turn to port to parallel the Japanese column but in the confusion the formation broke and the British destroyers wound up on the unengaged side of the allied force. The Japanese opened fire
first but their initial salvo was 2,000 yards short. Although the 8-inch guns of
Houston and Exeter could reach the Japanese, all three light cruisers were out of range. Doorman ordered a turn to starboard to close
the range and allow his light cruisers to come within the range of their guns. After an hour of gunnery at long range the
Exeter , Houston and Java had been hit but there had been no serious damage. There was an
hour of light when the Japanese unleashed eight of their destroyers to close and launch a mass torpedo attack with their deadly 24-inch Long Lance torpedoes. As 64 torpedoes sped towards Doorman’s force
Exeter received a critical 8-inch shell hit from Haguro. It exploded in the machinery spaces and Exeter lost six of her eight boilers. Speed dropped to a crawling 11-knots and Exeter fell out of the column.
Communications among the pick-up allied force had been practically non existent. As
Exeter turned to port away from the Japanese, the captain of the following Houston thought there had been and order for the
column to turn so
Houston followed Exeter and in turnPerth,  Java and the rear Dutch destroyers followed Houston, leaving the van British destroyers and De Ruyter steaming west by themselves for six
minutes before Doorman on
De Ruyter ordered the van to match the course of the rest of his force.
At 5:15 PM the mass torpedo assault arrived but in part because of the unintended turn to the south none of the torpedoes struck except one, which blew the Dutch destroyer Kortender in half. When Admiral
Takagi, the Japanese commander, saw all the allied ships steaming south away from his force, he thought the skeedaddle was on and turned south to charge in pursuit. By 5:20
De Ruyter had caught up with her
wandering compatriots and except for
Exeter, changed course to run to the northeast. Doorman ordered Exeter to continue to withdraw to the south and make for Surabaya . All three British destroyers,
Electra, Encounter and Jupiter, headed towards the Japanese in order to give Exeter more time to safely withdraw. Jintsu leading a group of destroyers came charging towards the British and concentrated
on
Electra, which was soon in sinking condition. It was dusk, which combined with smoke from damage as well as smoke screens laid by both sides, made sighting difficult. Ships were dodging in and out of
smoke. After polishing off
Electra, Jintsu and her ducklings went on looking for there true quarry, the Exeter. Encounter and Jupiter had been joined by the Dutch destroyer Witte de With in covering the
withdrawal of
Exeter. Doorman’s cruiser went into the smoke screen and when they came out of saw that they were confronting Nachi and Haguro. To make matters worse the Houston was low on
ammunition for the forward turrets. There were plenty of 8-inch shells in the inoperable aft turret but that was of no help for Doorman in the fight.


Doorman didn’t want to fight the Japanese cruisers and destroyers. He was after the transports crammed with troops. He ordered the destroyers to lay a smoke screen and took his force to the northwest in hope
of finding his quarry. The transports were to the northwest but the allies were dogged by the float planes, which started dropping flares as the night descended. At one point these flares illuminated both forces and
the Japanese renewed fire. However, the range was too great for the allies. Doorman changed course again to reach the Java coast in order to steam west and locate the transports. At 9:25 PM
Jupiter hit a
mine and came to a stop. She sank after four hours in a futile effort to save the ship. The American destroyers left to go to Surabaya to refuel and
Encounter stopped to pick up the survivors of Kortender,
which had sunk four hours earlier. There had not been contact with the Japanese in hours, as the Japanese float planes had departed as they ran short of fuel, so Doorman steamed to the northwest of Surabaya
with his four remaining cruisers. As luck would have it, the two forces sighted each other in the bright moonlight around 1:00 AM February 28. The Japanese altered course to close and at 8,000 launched another
salvo of torpedoes. Only twelve had been launched but this time they were decisive. One hit
De Ruyter, which lost power. As Perth and Houston changed course to avoid the dying De Ruyter, Java at the
rear of the line took another of the torpedoes. With both Dutch cruisers dead in the water and burning, Doorman knew he was doomed. His last order was for
Perth and Houston to escape and make for
Batavia on the western end of Java. Doorman went down with his
De Ruyter and the Java.
The Dutch cruisers and destroyers of East Indies Squadron have been neglected in 1:350 scale until now. Thanks to Boris Mulenko and his Pacific Crossroads Company, these Dutch ships and aircraft are
being produced in 1:350 scale. The
De Ruyter is the largest so far with Admiralen Class destroyers for Series 1 and series 2, as well as Fokker floatplanes and a Dornier Flying Boat used by the Netherlands
available as well. The
Pacific Crossroads De Ruyter  is an impressive kit and just screams that it needs to be built. For those that a stickler for accurate scale, I measured the Pacific Crossroads De Ruyter
and it measured 485mm overall length. The real ship measured 170.92m, which in 1:350 scale would be 487mm. Only a 2 mm difference, which could be in the manner that I measured the hull, is phenomenal.
The casting method is very similar that used by
Combrig with resin being poured into the hull molds along the waterline, creating a resin overpour that needs to removed. Pacific Crossroads has narrowed the
waterline pour vent in and outside the hull castings to ease the removal process. I could be done with a hobby saw but I recommend the wonderful Dremel. The overpour is thicker at the bow and stern but is still
easily removed.
Pacific Crossroads has put in a series of notches going to the waterline along the casting vent to simplify their removal, one strip at a time. I found no castings blemishes on the upper hull. On the
lower hull I found a few minute pinhole voids for filling (a tiny drop of white glue on the tip of a toothpick would be fine) and a couple of equally minute resin pimples to be removed with one swipe of sand paper.
In other words, Pacific Crossroads has excellent resin casting quality. The model is available in a full hull version and a more economical waterline only version. I visited
Pacific Front, ie Freetime Hobbies,
who carries Pacific Crossroads kits in the United States, to check the difference in price between the two versions. As of May 9, 2013
Freetime Hobbies was selling the full hull De Ruyter for $259.95 and the
waterline version for $202.50. I also checked
White Ensign Models who carries the line in the UK and the model was priced at 145.21 sterling for the waterline version and 193.58 sterling for the full hull
version.

The detail on the hull sides amounts to the armor belt, name plate, anchor hawse recesses and fittings and two lines of portholes. The portholes do not have the rigole (eyebrow) fittings but brass 1:350 rigole
fittings are available from several brass after-market companies at economical prices. Is it worth the minimal cost and additional time to add brass rigoles? In my opinion yes! This kit deserves the effort to further
enhance the out of the box impressive appearance. The armor belt is overly thick considering the
De Ruyter only had a 50mm belt but it certainly doesn’t detract the hull’s appearance. Again in my opinion, it is
not worth the effort to thin the belt with sanding. At the stern on each side there is the integral cast
De Ruyter name plate. Pacific Crossroads also includes relief-etch name plates in the included large photo-
etch brass fret and the brass plates are finer than the resin cast-on plates. With these plates, I recommend to sand off the resin name plates and attach the brass ones. The recessed rectangular hull anchor hawse
are fine and certainly don’t need touch up. The deck detail includes incised scribed wooden deck planking, barbettes, superstructure locater outlines, bollard fitting locater outlines, anchor windlasses in two
styles, deck accesses coamings, skylight on the quarterdeck, deck anchor hawse openings, chain locker entrance fittings, and breakwater with baseplate on the forecastle and boat davit locater slots amipships.
The planking detail is finely done but does not include butt end detail. The deck anchor hawse are solid and flat instead of being open, so I recommend drilling out the opening so the anchor chain can descend
from the deck into the openings. The same process can be done but with more care, to the rear facing openings for the chain locker fittings. Since the
Pacific Crossroads process of providing superstructure
outline placement locaters is probably the most common practice among resin manufacturers, care must be used in attaching the superstructure to the deck. Use a slower drying glue, such as white glue, rather
than superglue to give you time to properly align the superstructure parts. The lower hull has cast on bilge keels, lower armor belt, and propeller shaft kegs. Although the bilge keels may be slightly thicker than
prototype, I prefer integral bilge keels over fitting individual, thinner, separate bilge keels.
Pacific Crossroads also employs another common practice in the casting of the smaller parts. Superstructure parts, funnel and turrets are cast as separate parts and the smaller resin fittings and equipment are
cast on runners. The larger parts comprise the lower forward tower, upper forward tower, tower platform, funnel deck house, funnel, aft superstructure and twin gun turrets. The forward superstructure tower is
certainly the attention magnet in this design. Very futuristic for a 1930-32 design, it imparts a huge dose of unique character to the original ship and this model. The tower base has a significant amount of integral
cast detail, such as doors with handle and hinge detail, vertical ladders, equipment boxes, portholes, piping and splinter shielding for a forward platform. The splinter shield had the only damage to the parts of the
kit. It was cracked, undoubtedly during transit but not broken off and hence will be easily repairable. I like the cast on doors and wouldn’t replace them with brass doors but am not so sure with the vertical
ladders. I would probably sand off the easily accessible ladders and replace with generic brass ladders and leave the ones that cannot be easily removed without risking damage to adjacent tower detail. Minor
cleanup is recommended for the bottom of this casting. The upper tower piece has a suitably thin splinter shield around the cast on tower platform, vertical ladder and vision slits. A separate tower platform fits
around the lower tower and simply requires cleanup at the bottom with light sanding. The funnel deck house has the same fine cast on door detail and especially nice ventilation openings with extraordinarily fine
mesh fitting detail. Additionally there is a good skylight/ventilator fitting on the top of the funnel house, right behind the plate for the actual funnel. An open flying deck connects the funnel deck house to the catapult
base aft. The funnel itself is nicely done with ventilation grills at the bottom, vertical ladders on the side and detailed cap detail. As with the other separate parts, sand the bottom of the parts smooth. The three level
aft superstructure with overhanging AA deck is rife with detail, including the detailed doors, square widows with raised edges, loading booms, tower angular ventilators, ready ammunition boxes for the Bofor
mounts and skylights. For the twin gun turrets, the prominent vision/port/widow on the forward face on each side of the twin barrls are missing. I thought that may be separate brass fittings but so far have not
found them on the fret. Instead of resin gun barrels,
Pacific Crossroads provides excellent machined turned brass barrels, not just for the 6-inch guns but also for the 40mm Bofor guns!  


All of the smaller resin parts are on runners. There are three different runners for bollard fittings, which are off three different patterns based on their profile. Five runners are identical with three parts for the Bofor
platforms, Bofor gun block and searchlights. One sprue is a mixed bag with the rudder for the full hull kits and for both versions the gun directors, single 6-inch gun mount, and a separate stand alone ventilator that
is attached just forward on the aft turret. This location was not clear on the instructions and I had to use the drawings from the
De Ruyter Profile Morskie to identify the part and its placement. There are three
searchlight support pillars and six larger binocular mounts for the tower. For a few of the smaller parts, I still have not identified their location from either the instructions or the Profile Morskie drawings. Two
Fokker CXI-W floatplanes are included, each with eight resin parts and seven brass parts. These are really excellent with an open rear cockpit. Eight ships boats are included, three with cabins and five open,
each of which has separate brass detail parts. Thirty carley rafts are included with floater and bottom mesh detail. Full hull version also get two four-bladed propellers and two shaft  support struts.
A very large relief-etched brass is included, as well as a small supplemental fret. The brass parts are very nice with fine raised detail. A large name plate for a base is included. Unlike the resin parts, which have no
numbering system, brass parts are numbered on the fret, making their attachment location easy to find in the instructions. Some parts are alternate parts for resin parts, such as the tower navigation wing platforms
offering even a finer detail than the resin parts. There are a lot of very unique parts on this fret, such as the very strange upper funnel cap shroud, single mount gun shield, as well as more traditional structures such as
the catapult, catapult platform and aircraft cranes. Relief-etching is found not only on the brass hull nameplates, but also on tower clocks, anchors, and catapult. Railing ends in individual stanchions, instead of a
bottom rail also serving a deck scuttle. Individual stanchions are more realistic but at the expense of taking more patience and time to attach to the hull. Inclined ladders have rails and trainable tread platforms. A
nice decal sheet is included concentrating on the markings for the two Fokker seaplanes. The decal sheet provides operational numbers for every Fokker CXI-W ever produced with markings for aircraft W-1
through W-15. However, according to War Planes of the Second World War, Floatplanes, Volume Six by William Green, only fourteen Fokker CXI-W were produced with the last, W-14, still in the Netherlands
when the country was invaded by Germany, primarily for use in the East Indies.
De Ruyter may have carried a number of these at different times but so far I have found photographs showing only W-1, W-4 and
W-8 aboard ship. At some point the fuselage and wing markings changed from roundels to orange triangles but I have only seen photographs of the aircraft of
De Ruyter with the roundel markings.


The weak component in this kit is the instructions. Comprised of four pages, page one has the history, specifications and foremast assembly. I could not help but to see the credits at the bottom, which primarily
include Russian contributors such as
Dmitry Nedogonov who runs Combrig, and Dutch contributors, which is natural considering the subject matter. However, only one is from the USA and to directly quote this
credit, it is none other than
“Felix (The Enforcer) Bustelo - USA”. Pages two and three contain the assembly instructions. These are presented in a series of colored isometric drawings, as well as subassembly
insets. There needs to be more detail for some sub-assemblies and you can’t find the locations for a few of the resin parts, as there are no parts numbering or matrix for the resin parts. It certainly is a far different
story for the brass parts. Since the brass parts are numbered on the fret and those same numbers appear on the instructions, I don’t see any significant problem with locating or attaching the brass parts. Some part
numbers are used in a collective fashion with different parts of the same subassembly sharing the same number. As an example, there is an aircraft platform aft of the catapult for storage of the floatplane that was not
on the catapult. This is presented in the kit in an assembly of five brass parts, a platform, two platform supports and two deck braces. All five parts are collectively number 33. The only glitch that I noticed with
brass part location in the instructions was something that was caught by
Pacific Crossroads before launch. Not only is part 64 used collectively for smaller brass fittings for the twin Bofor mounts but also it is used
for the relief-etch ship clocks on the front and aft sides at the top for the tower. For the clocks, in addition to the number 64, the letter A is included, which shows their position on the tower. Page four has four
color profiles  from a 1939 gray overall scheme to two camouflage patterns both dated 1942 with different patterns and colors.
Pacific Crossroads includes patterns from Profile Morskie and from Dutch
Warships of World War Two. Although it was possible that the cruiser could have used two different patterns with different colors in January and February 1942, it is also unlikely given the deteriorating condition
in the Dutch East Indies. Just by comparing both patterns to the box top photograph of
De Ruyter shows the pattern reflected from Dutch Warships of World War Two. It is a toss when it comes to colors. The
light, mid and dark gray colors of the Profile Morskie profile is more in keeping with traditional colors and the colors used by the Royal Navy. The later source shows a light green-gray and a dark green-gray
pattern. These may have been colors used by the Dutch Navy in the East Indies at the time but I certainly don’t have any proof of either scheme.
I recommend the Pacific Crossroads De Ruyter in 1:350 scale. It might not be for everyone, because the Dutch cruisers of the doomed ABDA Strike Force are off the beaten path. However, the
design is unique and compelling and the execution by
Pacific Crossroads, except for a few minor issues, is excellent.








______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________