"There straight ahead of us in lovely procession, like elephants walking through a pack…of dogs came Lion, Queen Mary, Princess Royal, Invincible and New Zealand. Great and grim and
uncouth as antediluvian monsters, how solid they looked, how utterly earthquaking. We pointed out our latest aggressor to them…and we went west while they went east…and just a little later we
heard the thunder of their guns.
" (Castles of Steel, 2003, by Robert K. Massie, at page 113)

As Britain and the Royal Navy kept building battleships and battle cruisers in the never ending race with Imperial Germany, no one was quite sure of the true value of the battle cruiser. In June 1912 the
new First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston S. Churchill, wrote, “
At present the British battle cruisers have an immense prestige in themselves; no one really knows their full value, it is undoubtedly
great – it may even be more than we imagine… their speed, their armour, their armament, are all great assets, even their appearance has a sobering effect
.” (Battlecruiser Invincible, The History of
the First Battlecruiser 1909-16
, by V.E. Tarrant, 1986, at page 24)  The battle cruisers fought in every theater other than in Asian waters. They paid a far greater return for their construction price to the
Royal Navy, far greater than the much more numerous battleship classes that for the most part swung at anchor at Scapa Flow, while the battle cruisers fought in the distant South Atlantic, the sunny
Mediterranean or the misty North Sea.
On October 21, 1904 Jackie Fisher was appointed First Sea Lord of the Admiralty and in this position finally had the chance to leave his imprint on new Royal Navy designs. He didn’t wait long to
exercise his guidance. By December the members of the Admiralty were more or less in agreement that a new battleship design should eliminate smaller bore secondary guns in favor of a larger number
of main guns. On December 22, 1904 a Committee on Design was appointed to select the features of new battleship and armored cruiser designs. With both types, the results were spectacular and
broke from the gradual evolution of the types that had preceded these two designs. The first design contemplated was for the battleship and the result was
HMS Dreadnought. Most consider the all big
gun layout of
Dreadnought to be the most novel aspect of Dreadnought. Gone were the mixed gun batteries of the earlier designs with the Dreadnought mounting ten 12-inch guns with a secondary
of light 4-inch quick firing “QF” guns to counteract torpedo boats. However, the propulsion system and jump in speed of the
Dreadnought over previous battleship types more accurately reflects
Fisher’s genius and later obsession. By using turbines instead of reciprocating engines, the
Dreadnought was capable of 21-knots, three full knots faster than the preceding design. Fisher’s emphasis
was always on hitting power and speed and the second type design contemplated by the Committee, emphasized those two aspects of warship construction at the expense of the third aspect, armor.

The Committee was also to consider designs for a new armored cruiser. The Committee from January to March 1905 considered both the battleship and armored cruiser designs at the same time.
Designs came from two sources. One batch were the collaborative efforts of Fisher and Gard, who had been tinkering with new designs since 1902. The second batch came from the Royal Navy
Constructor, Philip Watts (DNC) and his assistant, J.H. Narbeth. Watts was a traditionalist and greatly favored the 9.2-inch gun on armored cruiser. He much preferred the mixed gun arrangement of
predreadnought battleship designs and the 9.2-inch/7.5-inch mixed battery of the
Minotaur class armored cruiser. However, J.H. Narbeth was excited by Fisher’s vision of an all big gun battleship and
matching armored cruiser. Before a design could be selected, the mission for the ship had to be thought out. There were a number of considerations for the new ship. It had to be fast enough and
strong enough to hunt down enemy commerce destruction cruisers/ raiders. The previous classes of armored cruisers were too slow to catch and engage German liners converted to armed merchant
cruisers. It was judged that unprotected scout cruisers would be too small and weak to handle a well-armed merchant cruiser. The
Minotaur had the guns but not the speed. The Committee also had to
consider foreign construction. They already had knowledge of a Japanese cruiser design mounting four 12-inch guns with twelve 6-inch guns. Clearly a revamped
Minotaur could not compete against
that design. The new design had to be capable of acting in conjunction with the main fleet in a number of ways. It had to be able of supporting smaller cruisers and of pushing in an enemy-scouting
screen, thereby providing reconnaissance while removing the eyes of the enemy’s fleet. In a general fleet action it was considered desirable that the new ship should be fast enough to cross the T of the
enemy line and be able to pick off stragglers. In both cases it was not envisioned that the new design would go head to head against enemy battleships on a one to one basis but rather to use their great
speed to concentrate on a small portion of the enemy fleet and overwhelm it.
Narbeth prepared some sketches for a new battleship of 21-knots and a new armored cruiser mounting 12-inch all heavy guns with a speed of 25 knots. This was far too radical for Watts, who had a
very strong preference for the 9.2-inch gun in a cruiser. Several times Watts had vetoed the presentation of Narbeth’s designs to the Committee but one day Watts gave in to humor his assistant. Fisher
fell in love with the Narbeth designs and the battleship design came to be
HMS Dreadnought and the armored cruiser design of HMS Invincible. The Invincible design was an even bigger jump in size
and capability over the preceding
Minotaur design than the Dreadnought design was over the preceding Lord Nelson design. Speed jumped to 25-knots but for the first time the armored cruiser carried
the same guns as the contemporary battleship. This is a much greater increase in power than would have occurred with a cruiser version analogous with the
Dreadnought, which would have been
armed with a uniform 9.2-inch gun armament. That is exactly what Fisher put out. The cover story was that the
Invincible design was armed with all 9.2-inch guns and as a consequence the German
navy developed the
Blucher with a uniform armament of 8.1-inch guns. One aspect of the Invincible stayed the same as the Minotaur, the armor. The new design might be faster, with much greater
striking power, but it still had the same 6-inch armor belt of the earlier armored cruiser designs.

At first the new
Invincibles were called armored cruisers but they were of such greater power that a new type name had to be coined. They were then called Dreadnought-Cruisers and finally the name
Battle Cruisers was selected. The second class of battlecruisers, were little more than a stretched version of the
Invincible. The Indefatigable class had the same armament of eight 12-inch guns but of
50 caliber, with the same 6-inch armor belt. They were only slightly faster than the
Invincible class. In theory the greater space between funnels and wing guns allowed cross deck fire for the turret on
the unengaged side. Only
Indefatigable was funded in the 1908 estimates but the Dominion of New Zealand paid for a ship with no strings attached and the Dominion of Australia paid for a ship with
the provision that it would be part of the Royal Australian Navy and based in Australia. Construction of the
Indefatigable led that of Australia and New Zealand by a year. She was laid down February
23, 1909 at Devonport Dockyard, launched October 28, 1909 and completed in February 1911. Displacement was 18,500-tons (load) and 22,080-tons (full load). Dimensions were 590-feet overall in
length, 80-feet beam and 27-feet draught. The four Parsons turbines produced 44,000hp for a maximum speed of 25-knots.
The German Admiralty had sent one of their newest battle cruisers, SMS Goeben, to the Mediterranean in 1912 with the light cruiser Breslau. They were stationed there as Germany’s counterpoint to
the British Mediterranean Fleet. When the Austrian Arch Duke was assassinated at Serajevo,
Goeben was at Haifa. The force commander was the exceedingly efficient Rear Admiral Wilhelm Souchon
who immediately steamed to the Autrian base of Pola to replace the water tubes in
Goeben’s boilers. On July 29 he raised anchor and steamed south so he wouldn’t be bottled up in the Adriatic Sea. Rear
Admiral Sir Berkely Milne was commander Mediterranean Fleet had battle cruisers
Inflexible, Indomitable and Indefatigable, plus four armored cruisers on that day. Admiral Milne was a favorite of
King Edward VII, as commander of the Royal yacht, and then in turn King George V. Known as Arky-Barky, the King was very pleased when he was named C-in-C Mediterranean. Not a man of keen
intellect, Milne was in the camp of Admiral Charles Beresford, arch-enemy of Jackie Fisher. The fact that Milne offered to testify against Fisher in one hearing did not endear him to the past and future
First Sea Lord. Of course Fisher was in retirement when Milne was appointed to Fisher’s old command. Fisher’s description of Milne included phrases such as “backstairs cad”, “sneak”, “serpent of the
lowest type” and “Sir Berkeley Mean who buys his Times second-hand for a Penny”. On August 3 Milne was ordered to watch the mouth of the Adriatic but that
Goeben was his objective. But Goeben
had already departed the Adriatic for more than two days when Churchill told Milne to watch for the ship. When the British counsel at Taranto had spotted
Goeben and when the Admiralty was
contacted, Churchill suddenly had the fear that the German battle ship was going to break into the Atlantic and attack British merchantmen. Milne was immediately ordered to send two battle cruisers
with Admiral Troubridge in a high-speed run to block
Goeben from passing Gibraltar.

Early in the morning of August 4 the German ships were approaching French African ports when they received a message to steam east to Constantinople. Souchon was not about to put about without
shooting up his target. He continued to the Algerian port of Philippeville and for ten minutes used his 5.9-inch secondary guns to light up some targets. After that he took on the 1,200 mile voyage to
Turkey. Finally Milne knew of the location of
Goeben. Since two of his battle cruisers were already in the area steaming towards Gibraltar, they were vectored to intercept the German ships. On the
morning of the 4th, they made contact. Great Britain was still not at war with Germany so they fell in behind
Goeben and Breslau and followed. Souchon increased speed in an effort to shake the two
British battle cruisers. Stokers and all four ships endured extraordinarily nasty conditions as they raced eastward. Milne informed the Admiralty that
Goeben was being shadowed but forgot to mention
they were traveling eastward away from French transports. Churchill was elated but assumed the Germans were still traveling west to go after the French. He ordered the two battle cruisers to attack
Goeben if she attacked French troopships but when the cabinet disapproved of this order, he had to retract it and tell Milne he could not attack until Britain’s ultimatum to Germany expired at midnight.
Goeben bent on more speed the crews of Indefatigable and Indomitable were sent to afternoon tea. For six hours the British kept in range but finally the Germans drew out of sight of their
followers. At 01:15 on the 5th the word came that Germany and Great Britain were at war. Milne, still under the belief that his primary mission was to prevent
Goeben from attacking French transports,
positioned his battle cruisers to the west of Sicily.
Inflexible with Milne aboard had sailed from Malta and joined Indefatigable, as Indomitable went to get more coal. Milne, aware that Goeben was at
Messina since early on the 6th, was guarding the northern exit of the Straits of Messina but Souchon had gone south. However, a British light cruiser stationed at the southern end of the Strait picked
him up, shadowed and radioed positions to Milne. At midnight it was reported that Souchon had changed course towards the Aegean.
On the 8th Souchon still thought the British battle cruisers were close behind. As stokers were rotated every two hours, four died of heat stroke anyway. Milne was not just behind Goeben. Indefatigable
and the other two battle cruisers were at anchor at Malta until 13:00, when he tardily steamed off to the east at a snail’s pace of 12-knots. Milne was convinced that this was a trick and that the Germans
would turn back to the west. The next day when informed he could start hostilities against Austria, Milne gave up any semblance of a chase of
Goeben. The Admiralty message was in error and after
spending another 24 hours in loitering about, Milne set off again on the long cold trail of the
Goeben. He was very pleased that so far he had kept the Goeben away from the French transports. In the
meantime this gave Souchon all the time he needed to coal again. At 03:00 August 10 Milne and his three battle cruisers finally reached the Aegean Sea. Learning of this Souchon raised anchor and
negotiated the Dardanelles that evening. Milne was recalled and retired at half pay. Fisher not yet back as First Sea Lord wrote, “Personally, I should have shot Sir Berkeley Milne”. Fisher changed his
nickname of Milne from Sir Berkeley Mean to Sir Berkeley Goeben. Milne summed up the fiasco with, “They pay me to be an admiral. They don’t pay me to think.”

After Milne was bundled off for his fiasco, Vice Admiral Sackville Carden was selected to command the force outside the Dardanelles awaiting
Goeben. Originally he had Indefatigable, Indomitable and
two French predreadnoughts. War was not officially declared between Turkey and Great Britain until October 31, 1914. On November 3 Carden bombardment the outer forts to the Dardanelles and then
for the next three months did nothing. In December the battlecruiser
Inflexible was tasked to join Carden’s squadron after her success at the Battle of the Falklands, as Indefatigable and Indomitable
were recalled home.
By 1916 Indefatigable was assigned to the 2nd Battlecruiser Squadron, along with sister ships  New Zealand and Australia. At 17:16 on May 30, 1916 Admiral David Beatty, commander of the
battlecruiser force,  received word that the Germans would be out again on the next day. Admiral Jellicoe directed Hood and the 3rd Battle Cruiser Squadron (the three
Invincible Class battlecruisers),
with two light cruisers and four destroyers, to act as a screen for the Grand Fleet in a position ten miles ahead of the fleet, while Beatty with the 1st and 2nd Battlecruiser Squadrons acted independently.
If nothing happened, the 3rd Squadron would rejoin the rest of the battle cruisers the next day at an appointed rendezvous position 100 miles off of the Jutland Peninsula of Denmark. By 23:00 the Grand
Fleet and all of the battle cruiser force were at sea steaming eastward.

Beatty’s splendid cats along with
Indefatigable and New Zealand were already in action. Beatty’s force of six battle cruisers (Australia was absent) with the support of four Queen Elizabeth Class
battleships, were making the “Run to the South” after the German battle cruisers. By 15:45 the range between the forces had narrowed to 16,500-yards and at that time the British opened fire on order of
Lion’s captain, not Beatty. The British 13.5-inch guns out-ranged the German 12-inch and 11-inch guns but for some reason Beatty did not open fire during the time that the Germans couldn’t
respond. Captain Chatfield of
Lion wanted to open fire earlier but his requests to Beatty went unanswered as Beatty was communicating with Jellicoe. Finally Chatfield, on his own initiative, opened fire
and with
Lion, the rest of the British battle cruisers fired. Likewise the German ships opened up. For the first ten minutes, British gunnery was poor as shells landed beyond the German ships. Beatty
hoisted a signal for
Lion and Princess Royal to double on Lutzow, Queen Mary was to fire at Derfflinger, second in the German line. Queen Mary missed Beatty’s signal and fired on Seydlitz, third in
the German line. As a result
Derfflinger enjoyed target practice gunnery, unhampered by enemy shell splashes.
At 16:05 the last ship in the British line, Indefatigable, was in serious trouble. Engaged by the last ship in the German line, Von der Tann, her steering was apparently damaged by a hit on the aft
superstructure as she didn’t follow the other battle cruisers in a turn to port. Then she was hit by two more shells, one on the forecastle and one on A turret. After 30 seconds
Indefatigable blew up,
leaving only two survivors.
The Combrig HMS Indefatigable in 1:350 Scale - This article is published on May 31, 2016, a century from the Battle of Jutland. Any of the battlecruisers at Jutland, British or German, would be
appropriate for today.
Combrig produces kits of all three ships in the class. Each kit is produced in two versions, one as waterline and one as full hull. The full hull kits give you the lower hull,
propellers, struts, rudder and shafts ut cost more than the waterline kit. This review is n the waterline version of
HMS Indefatigable. The waterline on the Combrig kit measures 20.125-inches.  The
waterline length of the actual ship was 588-feet, which in 1:350 scale measures 20.16-inches. So the model rounds out to 587-feet, one scale foot shorter but this could easily be a measurement error.
Even if one scale foot short, this is .998% accuracy with a 350.6 scale. If you are familiar with the resin
Combrig uses, you’ll already know that it is rather hard and accordingly takes more time to
drill out portholes or clean the waterline. There is a casting rim on the hull that will have to be removed unless the waterline hull is sunk into a foam or putty sea base. Use a Dremel to remove the bulk
and then sandpaper to finish.
To compare the accuracy of the hull casting of the Combrig Indefatigable versus historical reality, I compared the model to the line drawing/profile of R.A. Burt’s British Battleships of World War One.
When I first looked I thought “Oh no, there is a discrepancy in the porthole arrangement pattern. The book drawing was of
HMS New Zealand, not Indefatigable. However, when I started looking at
photographs of the actual ships, I noticed that the
Indefatigable did have a different porthole arrangement pattern from her two sisterships and the pattern of the Combrig Indefatigable did match the
photographs of
Indefatigable in the book. I have not seen the hull castings of the Combrig New Zealand or Australia to see if their porthole arrangement matches drawings or photographs of those
two ships. Other than waterline clean-up, the hull casting is exceptionally clean with no voids, splash, breakage or other blemishes. Side detail includes the armored plates on the hull sides covering the
wing turret locations, the lines of portholes and the anchor hawse fittings. The wells for the anchor hawse would benefit by being opened up with a drill. At the hull and deck edge is the shelf for storage
of the anti-torpedo net originally carried by the
Indefatigable. The battleships and battlecruisers of the Royal Navy no longer carried the nets at the time of the Battle of Jutland but the shelves were still
there. If it is a pre-Jutland fit when the nets were shipped, you’ll have to scratch-build the net rolls, net booms and hull side boom brackets. A photograph of
Indefatigable taken at Genoa, Italy in March
1914 shows the ship without the net or net booms. The box shows it is
HMS Indefatigable 1911 during which time the she actually carried the net defense system. This is my biggest criticism of the
hull casting, the lack of the net boom bracket fittings on the hull sides.

There is abundant detail on the hull casting deck. The wooden plank lines are very finely done but lack butt-end detail. The locations of the deck fittings match the plan drawing of
New Zealand for the
most part but there are some minor variations, such as deck access coamings amidship being arranged fore and aft rather than athwart ship. Coal scuttles are beautifully done but their placement on the
model does have a discrepancy with the
New Zealand plan. I do not have a plan view of Indefatigable but since porthole placement differed between Indefatigable and her sisters, this also could be the
case with the coal scuttle placement. The deck access fittings have dog and hinge detail and skylights have individual window detail. Bollard fittings have the correct high top and slightly hour-glass
shape, rather than just being straight posts. The net shelves placement matches the start and end locations of the Burt plan drawing. Forecastle detail is especially nice with anchor chain run plates and
nice deck hawse. Just as was the case of the hull hawse fittings, the deck hawse fittings need to be drilled out. In fact it is even more important for the deck hawse so the anchor chain will disappear
into the well.
Combrig has locater outlines for superstructure on the hull decks rather than have superstructure cast integral to the hull. When it comes time to attach the superstructure to the hull, I
recommend using a slower drying adhesive than superglue. White glue usually works fine, allowing fine tuning of positioning of the superstructure parts. Just allow the glue to dry before continuing in
Smaller resin parts come in three formats, one piece cast separately, cast on a thin resin film or cast on runners. Those cast separately are the larger pieces. In the case of the Combrig Indefatigable
those separate pieces are forward superstructure, amidship superstructure, aft superstructure, main gun turrets and ship’s stacks. The amidship superstructure part is asymmetrical, which adds a
great deal of interest to the model. I compared the plan view with the Burt plan drawing.  The shapes are correct but there is some variance in fitting locations. The casting of these parts is
exceptionally clean, as they look pre-sanded, I only found three small areas that would require minimal clean-up with a hobby knife. The superstructure bulkheads/ splinter shielding is extremely thin.
Deck access coamings have the inclined ladders leading into the superstructure cast integral to the superstructure parts. Deck fittings have detail such as portholes in skylights and hinge and door
detail for other fittings. More coal scuttle detail can be found on the aft and amidship superstructure parts.
Combrig provides shallow locater holes for the foremast and mainmast as well as the
supporting legs of the tripod. However, the tripod legs are
NOT provided. I don’t think the modeler should have to scratch-build the legs for the tripods. At least the instructions have templates for
the masts and tripod support legs with the diameter and length to be cut from brass or plastic rod. The three stacks are all unique and slab sided. They have base aprons as well as caps but lack steam
pipes. You will need to remove the remnants of the casting flue for all three. The only defect I found in the resin castings was a half-moon void in one stack cap. That is easily remedied by cutting
resin from the scrap resin wafer to shape and then sand. It would probably be better to use a drum sanding wheel on a Dremel for this cleanup. The tops are hollow to about a third of an inch and are
deep enough to create the hollow illusion. The
Combrig turret castings match the profile and plan views in the Burt reference, including the three segmented overlapping crown plates and three
sighting hoods on each turret. There are fourteen parts on the resin wafer. Obviously you’ll need to remove the parts from the wafer and clean them with light sanding. Three of them are additional
levels/platforms of the forward superstructure plus two bridge houses with windows. There are locater lines on platform that supports these deckhouses located immediately to the rear of the bridge
face. At the top of the forward superstructure is a small binnacle tub on a support frame with inclined steps leading down to the navigation platform. Two more parts are for higher levels/platforms
for the aft superstructure. The last five parts are for mast control tops. The parts are the two starfish, two top platforms and top overhead for the foremast control platform.
Combrig made an error
here as
Indefatigable had overheads for both control tops as completed. Incidentally neither Australia nor New Zealand initially had a control top on the main mast.
The smallest parts are on 25 resin runners but this is misleading as ship’s boats are only one per runner. For all intent and purposes the resin runner parts are flash free and very well done. The main gun
barrel castings are free of warp and have hollow muzzles, which is good in any kit. Two runners have the secondary armament, which have a detailed barrel and separate gun mount. One of the barrels
had a slight warp but there are a total of twenty 4-inch guns provided by
Combrig and since only sixteen are needed, there are plenty of spares. Another runner has the anchors with a spare, windlasses,
and binnacles, which all have high detail. The same could be said about the runner with the cable drums, which come in two patterns. Another runner has two piece binocular mounts. One runner has
various thin platforms. All of the small deck ventilators in five different patterns, as well as a small gun director share a runner. Although my kit was the  waterline version, it did include propellers, shaft
supports and rudder, although the last runner was needed because of two small deckhouses on the runner. The numerous ship’s boats (one per runner with three steam launches and eleven boats) are
crisply cast. An exception to the one per runner is the rafts, which have two on the runner. They range from a very large steam launch to a small oared dinghy. Detail abounds with wood plank bottoms
and thwart detail. The steam launches have cabin windows, port holes, deck fittings and separate stacks.

Combrig provides a brass photo-etch set of ship specific parts. In the case of Indefatigable, the largest brass part is the flying boat platform found at the top of the aft superstructure. Smaller flying
boat platforms are for the amidship superstructure. Two ridge faces are provided but the larger one would be for the
New Zealand and Australia. Of course both versions have open windows that can
be glazed in the assembled model. The faces are scored to ease bending to the correct shape. Alternate starfish with separate supports are present so you can have a more accurate starfish appearance
than using the solid one piece starfish resin parts in the kit. Take the time and use the brass starfish. There are support frames for the bridge wings, boat chocks, ship’s wheel, aft superstructure
platform supports, clinker grates for the stack tops, mast brackets, secondary drop down gun ports, boom and winch detail, davits, inclined ladders, small platforms, accommodation ladders, inclined
ladders, vertical ladders, anchor chain and other small parts on the fret. The ladders lack trainable treads and for a 1:350 scale kit, I would like to see that extra detail. Since no railing is provided I
strongly recommend getting and inclined ladders from a third party to use on the
Combrig kit. The instructions are poor. There is only one page for assembly and it is very difficult, especially for the
photo-etch parts to ascertain where everything goes. Templates are provided for steam pipes, yard arms, tripod legs and other items that have to be scratch-built by the modeler. There is a plan and
profile drawing, which provides some help but is not a substitute for good instructions.
The Combrig HMS Indefatigable in 1:350 scale is a striking kit. The resin parts are crisp, detailed and almost error free. However, the kit is marred by the lack of tripod legs although templates are
provided, aft top overhead and poor instructions. With a little work and generic railing, the modeler will have impressive model of this ship that blew up a Jutland on May 31, 1916. I acquired this kit at
Free Time Hobbies store in Blue Ridge, Georgia, the exclusive US distributer for Combrig.