It was the HMS Rodney that savaged the Bismarck in the final fight of the German battleship. Sure, Bismarck was doomed before the Rodney and King George V
loomed over the horizon. Crippled by the torpedo hit that jammed her rudder,
Bismarck was an easy target. However, the 16-inch guns of Rodney were far more
effective at demolishing
Bismarck than the 14-inch guns of King George V. Yet Rodney always seems to play second fiddle to King George V. I think it is because of
the
Rodney's ugly duckling looks. Rodney and Nelson were the first of the world's battleships built under the terms of the Washington Treaty of 1922. Basically scaled
down, much slower versions of a battlecruiser design that the Royal Navy had been planning, the Treaty caused a drastic reduction in capability. Much slower, the
Rodney still had the odd arrangement of all three main gun turrets in front of the superstructure in order to minimize the length and accordingly weight of the armor
belt. Compared to the graceful
Hood or Bismarck, the Rodney looked like a naval 18-wheeler.  In the movie Sink the Bismarck, it was the KGV that was featured
with one or maybe to bit scenes of
Rodney. Nonetheless Airfix has had a 1:600 scale Rodney kit out for half a century. With the Trumpeter release of Rodney and
Nelson in 1:200 scale, planned 1:350 scale Trumpeter releases of the pair and Meng 1:700 Rodney forthcoming, the Ugly Ducklings have come back to roost. You can
build a nice, inexpensive
HMS Rodney right now by coupling the Airfix 1:600 kit with a Tom's Model Works brass photo-etch set.
The Tom's Model Works HMS Rodney/Nelson brass photo-etch set has all of the basics and a good deal of the more advanced detail that you need tart-up the old
Airfix kit. There are twelve runs of railing in three different patterns, eight four-bar with widely spaced stanchions, two four-bar with mid-spaced stanchions, one
four-bar with closely spaced stanchions and one run of three-bar railing. The railing is not custom deigned to fit particular locations on the kit. You'll have to cut to fit
the space desired. The two long runs of vertical ladder are more than enough for the kit. The inclined ladders with railing have trainable treads, which is quite
frequently lacking in 1:700 scale brass frets. Big ticket items that make a huge impact over the kit's plastic versions are the crane and catapult. Other significant items
are the anchors with separate cross bars, clinker grate, carley raft bottoms, Walrus parts, and boat davits. This fret also includes an electrical equipment with about
every radar fit ever carried by the ships, including Types 279, 281, 282, 284, 285, 291 and MFDF.
Are you tired of paying a lot more for a photo-etch set  to upgrade a kit than the kit itself? As of October 12, 2016 the Tom's Model Works Rodney/Nelson 1:600
brass fret is only $14.75 on the
Tom's web site. That makes the Airfix kit with Tom's photo-etch less expensive than many 1:72 aircraft kits. Don't leave home with
Rodney without Tom's.
Steve Backer
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