"It was a grey morning when we finally arrived at Clydebank. I shall never forget the first sight of this magnificent ship; although she was covered with the
grime of the dockyard, I felt a catch in my throat as I said, ‘What a wonderful ship!’ I stood gazing at her full length, nearly 700 foot long with a beam of
90ft 6ins. A friend nearby exclaimed, ‘What a Tiger! Long, lean and hungry!
" HMS Tiger at Bay by Victor Hayward at page 45-46.

The Royal Navy Estimates for 1911 called for one battlecruiser design. The last design that had made it through the process was that of the Queen Mary of the
1910 program and the Admiralty requirements for the 1911 ship called for an improved Queen Mary design. Philip Watts, the Director of Naval Construction,
was not happy with mere improvements of the prior design. He thought that he could do better and he was right. His creation for the 1911 program was a
warship of surpassing beauty, the
HMS Tiger.

Some old sailors will tell you that there are ships that are good and some that are bad, and some ships that have souls. Well, this good ship Tiger was a ship
in a thousand and she most certainly had a soul – a ship whose name would live forever. But I must record for all her goodness she was unlucky in some
respects; she was a ship that had many fatal accidents occurring in her and a few suicides.
" HMS Tiger at Bay by Victor Hayward at page 49. Philips was DNC
when the first battlecruiser,
HMS Invincible, was designed and had been responsible for each battlecruiser design of the Royal Navy since then. The HMS Tiger
was to be his last battlecruiser design. In preparation for this design, the DNC prepared three sketch designs based upon the prior
Queen Mary, labeled A, A1 and
C, which were presented on July 31, 1911.
Design C was the most like Queen Mary. With the same length and one foot more beam, the design had the same main (eight 13.5-inch) and secondary (sixteen
4-inch) armament of the previous design on 250 tons more displacement. C Design also had only 135 tons more armor than
Queen Mary, while the other two
designs featured significantly more armor additions. The design had the two aft turrets separated, as in
Queen Mary, but Q turret was aft of the funnels and
masts increasing the arc of fire to 300 degrees from the 240 degrees in
Queen Mary. Design C was soon ruled out. The Royal Navy had already switched to a
6-inch secondary gun with the latest battleship design of the
Iron Duke and the Admiralty did not to retain 4-inch secondary guns for the new battlecruiser

The A and A1 designs both had the forward and aft turrets paired together in an arrangement similar to the later
Queen Elizabeth Class. Both designs called for
6-inch secondary guns with A having 16 and A1 having 12. Both designs had two-feet more beam than
Queen Mary with a displacement of more than a 1,000
tons greater. Besides the number of secondary guns the designs differed in other ways. A was 350 tons heavier than A1 and had an additional 1,000 shp to
achieve the same designed speed of 28 knots. Design A also had 50 tons more armor than A1. The Admiralty was leaning towards the A1 design, when Watts
came forward with a 4th design designated A2.

Design A2 had the guns disposed as in
Queen Mary but with no mast, funnel or superstructure intruding in the aft field of fire, this new design would allow Q
turret to fire directly aft. Side armor was carried all the way up to protect the ten main deck casemate positions. With all four designs, A, A1, A2 and C, the
armor belt ran over 24 feet above and six-feet below waterline, compared to 16-feet above and 3 ½-feet below waterline in
Queen Mary. Design A2 was
selected and approved on August 18, 1911. Work on the design continued throughout the fall December 21, when bids were invited from the shipyards. The last
design change was made on that same day by providing that all available spaces on the double bottom be fitted with oil tanks. This addition marked a half-way
point in the conversion of Royal Navy designs from coal fired to oil fired. Of course the next design out, the
Queen Elizabeth, went completely to oil fired
machinery. It also gave
Tiger a range of 4,500 nm at 20 knots, more than a thousand miles greater than the Lion Class at the same speed. Speed also jumped
from 27.5 knots to 29 knots.
On March 2, 1912 the offer from John Brown Shipyard was accepted for the construction of HMS Tiger, with the contract being signed on April 4. Laid
down on June 20, 1912
Tiger was launched on December 15, 1913. She was ready for trials in August 1914 when World War One erupted. Trials were
expedited and
Tiger was nominally completed in October 1914. In reality the Tiger still had teething problems. "Tiger had not yet joined the squadron, and
was to prove far from ready when she did join.
" With the Battle Cruisers, by Filson Young at page 55. "The Tiger had disappeared in the night, and
reappeared with rather a dissipated air in the course of the morning, alleging, in reply to urgent signals, that she had lost visual touch with the squadron.
Reproof was duly administered. I even remember the wording of it: ’Your extraordinarily bad lookout will cause a disaster." "We were doing target
practice with 4-inch guns, and the Tiger again came in for reproof because she was late and kept us all waiting." "She certainly came in for a good deal
of scolding on her first day with us.
" With the Battle Cruisers, by Filson Young at pages 68-69. However, when she joined the fleet she was without a doubt
one of the most graceful and handsome warships in the world. The beauty of her lines could only be equaled by the subsequent,
Renown, Repulse and Hood.

HMS Tiger received her commission on October 3, 1914 she joined the 1st Battlecruiser Squadron of the Grand Fleet with construction personnel still
aboard, working day and night to finish her. She was still being worked up on January 24, 1915 when she was present at the Battle of Dogger Bank. During
the battle
Tiger engaged Blucher, Seydlitz and Moltke. She was hit seven times with the port gun of B turret being disabled and the ship’s distributing office
being wrecked. One officer and nine seamen were killed. At Dogger Bank Tiger wore an odd camouflage scheme which had a dark gray angled panel
amidships from the waterline up to the bottom of the casemates and four broad white stripes on each of the three funnels. Admiral Beatty, commander of the
battlecruisers, considered
Tiger’s performance during the battle to be less than satisfactory. This was due in part to her green status. "…while the Tiger, who
was second in our line, fired first at their No. 1 and, when interfered with by smoke, at their No. 4. This was unfortunate, as it left the second enemy ship
unfired at, and she concentrated on Lion.
" From Paragraph 11, Vice Admiral Beatty’s Dogger Bank Dispatch of January 26, 1915 to the Admiralty, With the
Battle Cruisers
, by Filson Young, Appendix A, at page 267. "Engage corresponding ship in line.’ On this signal being made and hauled down, the Lion’s
guns were trained on the enemy’s leading ship, leaving the second ship, the Moltke, to the Tiger, while the Princess Royal and New Zealand had the
Derfflinger and Blucher respectively as targets. It was not until afterwards that we discovered that the Tiger had not obeyed this order, but had continued
to fire on the Blucher, thus leaving the Moltke to uninterrupted target practice on the Lion.
" With the Battle Cruisers, by Filson Young at pages 190.
"Their destroyers then showed evident signs of an attempt to attack, and I signalled to the Squadron to that effect. Lion and Tiger opened fire with 4-inch
and 6-inch guns respectively, and caused them to retire and resume their original course. The 6-inch guns of Tiger performed very useful service at a
long range, and certainly succeeded in placing 2 salvoes among them at 12,000 yards.
Paragraph 13, Vice Admiral Beatty’s Dogger Bank Dispatch of
January 26, 1915 to the Admiralty,
With the Battle Cruisers, by Filson Young, Appendix A, at page 267. "Southampton reported that one ship, probably
Tiger, was consistently ‘over.
" From Paragraph 15, Vice Admiral Beatty’s Dogger Bank Dispatch of January 26, 1915 to the Admiralty, With the Battle
, by Filson Young, Appendix A, at page 268. "The Tiger and the Princess Royal apparently did not alter course in answer to either of the Admiral’s
two signals." "There was nothing for it, apparently, but to follow the Tiger’s course in the direction of the unfortunate Blucher…She (Princess Royal)
and the Tiger now proceeded to circle around the Blucher, firing all the time, and the other two ships (New Zealand& Indomitable) fell into line astern
of them. The doomed Blucher, already shot to pieces and in the act of dissolution, might well have been left to the squadron of light cruisers and flotillas
of destroyers which were rapidly closing her; but her actual destruction seems to have been a kind of obsession with the captains of the two British battle
" With the Battle Cruisers, by Filson Young at pages 199-200. "At first firing common shell we changed to the more deadly lyddite of greater
explosive power. Soon our shots were exploding all over the pre-Dreadnought cruiser. So short became the range that we could see our projectiles
exploding on the target. Ben Smyth, our trainer, at this dramatic moment stopped the gun following the target, saying, ‘It’s bloody murder, Bill,’
shouting at the gunlayer who was firing, pressing the trigger by means of a hand grip on the handles.
" HMS Tiger at Bay by Victor Hayward at page 67.

Of course the big test would come on May 31, 1916 at the Battle of Jutland. Tiger was fourth in line, following
Lion, Princess Royal and Queen Mary but
ahead of
New Zealand and Indefatigable. When the six battlecruisers of Beatty sighted the five battlecruisers of Hipper, the Run to the South started. In
somewhat of a repeat of Dogger Bank,
Tiger as well as Queen Mary, missed Beatty’s signal and did not fire on the designated ships, leaving Derfflinger free
to fire with no disturbance.
Tiger targeted Moltke, who was supposed to be her target at Dogger Bank. Within five minutes Tiger was hit. "Gunnery Officer
of Tiger: - "Q" and "X" turrets did not come to the "ready". I had felt the concussion from hits on our armor, though I did not know for some minutes
that both these turrets had been penetrated. "X" turret came in again after missing two or three salvoes, though with only one gun except at long
intervals. I increased the rate of fire as much as possible, firing double salvoes. We received several more hits – In the engine-room of Tiger: - a heavy
thud, followed by a deafening report immediately overhead, intimated that a heavy shell had penetrated the side armour and had burst inboard. The shell
bursting in the ammunition passage killed a dozen men, cut through the fresh and salt water mains, and finally the base of the shell, in penetrating to
the engine-room, severed the H.P. air pressure ring main.
" Jutland by Stuart Legg at page 45. "Suddenly, a few minutes later, the ship seemed to lift
bodily sidewards and we received the worst hit we had had until then. Just one shell only had exploded underneath the warrant officers’ mess, through
the ship-side armoured belt, and into a storeroom below. A great fire raged around the ammunition passages and the port after 6 inch magazine had to
be flooded to save the ship from blowing up. The German 12 inch shell did an immense amount of damage and almost brought the ship to a standstill.
HMS Tiger at Bay by Victor Hayward at page 103.
After Beatty lost Indefatigable and Queen Mary and sighted Scheer’s fleet, the Run to the North started. During this period Seydlitz and then Derfflinger were
the targets of
Tiger. "We received several further hits and our armoured steel split open like pea-pods, but nothing of any consequence. Suddenly however
the ship lurched and we felt the deck heave beneath us, and in our gun casemate the rammer tub slid across the deck, kissed the stacked shells like a
curtsey, and slid back again. Then the Tiger righted herself and steamed on at the speed of the Fleet. Later I remarked to our Battery Officer, ‘Cargo Bill’,
that we must have had a big hit just then. He replied, ‘Nothing much, Hayward, a shell in the after forecastle deck. Go up and get some Woodbines
(cigarettes) out of the dry goods canteen. It’s been knocked out and the Stoker Fire Party will only ruin them with their hoses.’ I ran up to the after
forecastle deck. Complete chaos met my eyes. An 11 inch shell had exploded on the deck and started a small fire, and a huge ghastly hole gaped at me
through which one could have driven a bus. I salvaged a box of Woodbines and then stepped through where the door had previously been, and out on to
the upper deck. Away in the distance I saw the magnificent 5th Battle Squadron.
" HMS Tiger at Bay by Victor Hayward at page 112-113.

Beatty, by putting on speed, had drawn too far ahead and we suddenly found ourselves out of range. We were invited to go on deck for a breather. I went
up with our gunners to have a look at ‘Q’ turret. I could see she had had a very nasty hit and the right gun hanging at a curious angle of depression
which gave the turret a hangdog look, the barrel almost touching the deck.
" HMS Tiger at Bay by Victor Hayward at page 113-114.

HMS Tiger suffered 14 hits, of which at least ten were heavy caliber. Damage included the forecastle being badly damaged. Holed above the waterline, there
was considerable damage internally. A barbette was hit by a 12-inch shell, which did not penetrate. Q turret was hit. One 11-inch shell temporarily disabled the
left gun and both guns and loading gear damaged. Another 11-inch shell penetrated the side and deck armor aft of Q turret, burst inside and caused a bad fire.
Due to this fire the port 6-inch magazine had to be flooded.
Tiger lost 24 killed and 37 wounded from the battle. She rejoined the fleet on July 2 after repairs
and was flagship of the Battle Cruiser Squadron, until the more heavily damaged
Lion was placed back into service.
Tiger along with Repulse, Glorious and Courageous took part in the Helgioland operations. On November 21, 1917 the battlecruisers were sweeping the
Kattegat. German ships were sighted to the south. "
I was able, therefore, to get once again a bird’s eye view through the eyes of our friend up in the 6 inch
gun control tower. This voice pipe commentator started off well: ‘Heavy smoke to the south-east boys.’ Then, a little later, ‘Increasing speed. Repulse
going like a bomb. Got a bone in her gizzard! We are off now! Good Alf Bentick is giving her the big stick.
" HMS Tiger at Bay by Victor Hayward at page
160. The German forces turned south and managed to break off the action. This was the last time
Tiger fired her guns in anger.  

In April 1919
Tiger was the flagship of the Atlantic Fleet until Hood was ready for the duty. In May 1920 Hood and Tiger took off for the Baltic for operations
against Bolshevik Russia. They reached the Baltic before being recalled. The British government had made a change of policy towards the Soviet government.
That fall
Tiger’s bad luck reappeared as Tiger collided with Royal Sovereign, causing damage to the battleship. She became gunnery training ship in February
1924 until June 1926 when she joined the Atlantic fleet in place of
Hood, which went in for a refit. She stayed with the fleet until her end. On April 28, 1931
she was withdrawn from the fleet and on July 26 placed on the disposal list. In spring 1932 she was sold and broken up. "
Look, there’s the old Tiger. I believe
she’s being de-commissioned before being broken up.’ I replied, ‘What a shame! I still think she’s the finest battle cruiser in the world.’ He answered,
‘You’re probably right. The Hood looks very powerful but she is not as good as your old ship.’ How true his words were! The Hood was sunk by Bismarck
in the Denmark Straits in May 1941 – we could have done with the mighty Tiger then…
" HMS Tiger at Bay by Victor Hayward at page 180-181. (History
British Battleships of World War One, by R.A. Burt; HMS Tiger at Bay by Victor Hayward; Jutland by Stuart Legg; With the Battle Cruisers, by Filson
There is a beauty in the howling of the blast,
There is fury in the raging of the gale,
There is a terrific outpouring
When the Lion starts a-roaring,
And the Tiger starts a-lashing of her tail.

Vice Admiral David Beatty to the men of the Battle Cruiser Squadron three days after Dogger Bank. HMS Tiger at Bay by Victor Hayward at page 70-71.
When it comes to the battlecruisers of the Grand Fleet, Lion might be King of the Jungle but Tiger is the Queen of the Seas. Probably the most beautiful capital
ship of World War One, if not for all time, now thanks to
Combrig, you can build it in big bold Beatty beauty in manly 1:350 scale. Your first choice is to decide
if you wish to build the
Tiger in full hull or waterline, as this determines the kit to get and the price thereof, as the full hull kits have the lower hull and running
gear parts not found in the waterline kits. As far as price,
Freetime Hobbies/Pacific Front has the Combrig 1:350 scale HMS Tiger for $259.99 (seen in this
review) or $289.99 for the full hull version.

The small foretop place the
Combrig kit as she appeared at the Battle of Dogger Bank, as that control position was enlarged right after that battle. My first step
with the
Combrig model was to do a quick check for scale fidelity. The hull waterline measured 24 and 1/8-inches and according to the Combrig instructions the
Tiger was 660-feet in length…. Wait 24-inches would be a ship of 700-feet, not to mention the extra 1/8th inch. The scale couldn’t be that far off! I quickly
pulled out a copy of R.A. Burt’s British Battleships of World War One and there it was…
Tiger was 660-feet in length… between perpendiculars (distance
between first and last frame) but her waterline length was 697-feet 9-inches, which according to my calculations amounts to 1:346.5 scale for the hull. So, does
that bother you that it is not smack on 1:350 scale? The
Combrig 1:350 scale HMS Tiger at first appears to be an enlarged version of the Combrig 1:700 scale
Tiger. It is big, beautiful, has crisp castings and good detail. However, with this large of canvas could have had even better detail. One example is the deck
wooden panels. There could have been butt end detail but there is not. The hull waterline has resin casting overpour.
Combrig has a deep indentation at the
waterline but care still must be taken in the removal of the overpour, even with a dremel. You can also anticipate a little sanding to smooth the waterline, after the
removal of the overpour. The anchor hawse fittings could be opened up to run chain as the deck hawse opening is flat. At least open the deck hawse to run chain
into the interior. It is an easy fix and will look a lot better than having the end of the anchor chain sitting atop a flat plate.

The 6-inch gun casemates have sighting ports and an indention where the barrel is placed but I would recommend further drilling of the attachment holes for the
barrels to provide a sturdier attachment. The model has excellent overhang detail along the secondary gun positions, including bracing. When I compared the port
holes on the model with the porthole placement of the R.A. Burt drawing, the
Combrig kit was spot on for quantity and location. My only quibble with hull side
detail is at the very stern. The kit has the sternwalk as built but lacks the hull side access doors, as well as a small square window. This is easily remedied by 3rd
market photo-etch. By comparing the R.A. Burt deck plan details (1924) with the deck plan on the
Combrig kit, Combrig was again spot on in placement of
fittings. All of the coal scuttle plates, deck coamings, bollard plates, open chock fittings, anchor fittings matched in location and shape. The
Combrig detail is
excellent, with hinge detail on side and deck access doors. Now that I think again about detail on this kit, I don’t know how
Combrig could have added greater
detail, short of the aforementioned butt end deck planking detail. I did notice a few minor discrepancies. The Burt plan shows a fitting on each side of the aft
funnel that appears from the profile to be a rectangular ventilator, however that fitting may not have been present in 1914 and early 1915. Also, the Burt plan
shows some minute fittings or small circular plates just aft of the breakwater that is not present on the
Combrig kit. I don’t know what these are because in the
profile drawing they are concealed behind the breakwater. They are too small for ventilators or scuttles, so will remain a mystery. All in all the
Combrig hull is
crisply cast with no casting infirmities and instead of my previously stated good detail, excellent detail, as my opinion evolved upon further review and comparison
with the Burt plan and profile.
After the hull, the next largest part is the shelter deck. A comparison of the Combrig part with Burt profile and plan again showed detail spot on between the two
except that … horrors …
Combrig omitted one port hole on each side. There are three side access doors aft of the 6-inch casemate and the missing door is
located just behind the first of the three doors. It doesn’t take an Einstein to know a drill will fix the omission. The bridge base/conning tower base lacks an access
door on each side at least cast on door. The brass photo-etch fret comes with relief-etched detail doors but the instruction don’t indicate their placement. In any
event use two here. This piece also has crisp and thin shielding. With most of the major resin parts there is a casting vent to remove. The turret castings have the
right shape and overlapping segmented armor plates but lack rivet detail. Gun barrels have hollow muzzles but lack blast bags. The three funnels have crisp top and
bottom aprons and tops incised by about a quarter of an inch to add depth once painted black and with the photo-etch cap/clinker screen in place. Other major
parts are the two level bridge, control top and barbette for B turret.

A sheet of resin provides various decks and platforms. A quick sanding removes sheet debris. There are eleven parts to this sheet and at first glance they are
confusing as there more parts than shown in the instructions. The instructions show construction as completed in October 1914, matching the Burt profile on
pages 210-211 in
British Battleships of World War One. This would include a platform and two additional bridge levels, none of which had open windows and no
tripod platform. However,
Combrig includes a bridge level with an enclosed bridge and bridge windows and a separate open tripod platform, neither of which was
fitted on
Tiger as completed. Both are shown in the profile included in the Tiger instructions. At Dogger Band Tiger appears to have had an enclosed bridge and
no tripod platform as shown on the photograph on page 212 of the Burt volume and later in 1915 through at least 1917 to have been fitted with the additional open
tripod platform, as seen on photographs on pages 211 and 213 in the Burt volume. Another addition is the aft conning tower. Accordingly, the
Combrig kits gives
you parts to build the ship as completed in October 1914 with open bridge, at Dogger Bank with enclosed bridge, no tripod platform and small foretop or at
Jutland with enclosed bridge and extra tripod platform  but with the caveat that you’ll have to add the enlarged foretop. Other parts on the resin sheet are the
sternwalk, as fitted, starfish, two level aft observation platform and raised searchlight platform between the first and second funnels.

Other smaller resin parts are on runners. In addition to the 13.5-inch and 6-inch gun barrels, there are eleven resin runners, plus ship boats.
Combrig provides six
outstanding 3-inch open guns with separate gun and base mount. As completed
Tiger carried two such guns, one on each side of B turret. Subsequently four
more were added during the war, one on each side on the first funnel and two on the aft end of the shelter deck. The runner with the barrels also come with
separate gun sighting mechanisms with the base mounts, equally as detailed on a separate runner. Another crammed with detailed parts has four detailed anchors,
six windlasses in two different styles, pelorises and other fittings. Another runner comes with ten two-piece twin searchlight fittings, with the searchlight design
initially fitted to
Tiger. The Burt profile eight twin searchlights two in aft platform, two in raised platform between the first and second funnel and four in the
bridge. A separate runner has various vertical panels and shields. Two runners provide ventilator fittings in various patterns. The stump mainmast is connected to
another runner. Even with the waterline version, you’ll get two runners with the running gear, rudder, propellers and shaft support struts. Separate ship’s boats
are two excellent stem launches with separate funnels, large whaleboat, fine medium size open boats in two types with bottom plank detail, one small dinghy and
two balsa rafts.

Tiger specific brass photo-etch fret has the most important parts, specific to Tiger but lacks generic parts such as railing. The White Ensign Models 1:350
scale fret for
HMS Dreadnought would be a perfect source for the photo-etch parts absent from the Combrig Tiger set. Major brass parts include the break
water with supports, funnel caps/clinker screens, sternwalk railing, bridge overhang support bracing, platforms’ bracing and pillars, main mast and boat boom
detail parts, and foremast topmast platform. More generic parts are boat chocks, anchor chain, relief - etched doors, cable reels and vertical ladders. You’ll need
inclined ladders at least for the fittings leading down to the quarterdeck at the deck break between X and Y turrets. The six pages of instructions don’t cut for this
kit. It is only after exploring the parts content vis a vis the instructions and noticing the profile differences between the Burt 1914 profile and
Combrig profile that
you even realize additional parts for other fittings are included. The actual bridge construction drawing is for the October 1914 bridge. If you don’t have the Burt
book, get one or three now while they are still back in print, or borrow one, as it will ease assembly of this beauty, as well as location of the included optional
parts. Page one is the profile drawing that is dated 1914 but shows an enclosed bridge, tripod platform and small control top. The drawing is wrong for either
1914 or 1915, as the tripod platform wasn’t present until after the foretop position was enlarged. Fortunately, the
Tiger was never fitted with anti-torpedo nets,
booms or shelves. Page two has a photographic laydown of the resin parts. Page three has assembly sequences for October 1914 bridge, stump mainmast/boat
boom and mast/yards/steam pipe cutting templates. Page four has a small fret laydown drawing and assembly sequences for the shelter deck, raised amidships
searchlight platform, 3-inch guns, main gun turrets and searchlight fittings. Page five shows lower hull assembly, upper hull fittings and additional shelter deck
assembly. Page six has final assembly for everything else. A lot is missing, such as the optional parts, and details for breakwater assembly, which shows the
breakwater but not the associated support gussets.
Bottom line, the Combrig 1:350 scale HMS Tiger is a beautiful kit of this most beautiful of the splendid cats. The detail is crisp and comprehensive, even though
it could have been slightly better. Although no generic brass fittings is included, this is easily remedied by any after-market fret.