violent action flared up in the darkness to the northwest, passed across our wake and died away towards the east. Something tremendous was going on only a few
miles away, but to our astonishment (it surprises me still) the battle fleet continued to steam south.
” Lieutenant William Jameson on HMS Canada at the Battle of
Castles of Steel by Robert K. Massie at pages 648-649.

In the first decade of the 20th Century the weapon that distinguished a major naval power from a wantabee was the battleship. Strength was measured in capital ships
not cruisers. Every country that could build their own battleships, built them as quickly as possible. Russia contracted with yards in France and the USA for additional
battleships, as the Russian yards were already at capacity. If a country did not have the facilities to construct their own battleship, they would go shopping on the
world market. China and originally Japan in the east, Turkey and Greece in the Mediterranean and the richest market of all, the big three of South America, Chile,
Argentina and Brazil.
With the introduction of HMS Dreadnought, the smaller navies also desired their own versions of the all big gun battleship. All of the big shipyards had traveling
designers/salesmen that would go from one smaller country to another selling the newest designs for a battleship. Krupps and Blohm und Voss in Germany, New York
Shipbuilding, Fore River and Cramps from the USA, Ansaldo from Italy and Chanticler de Nantes and La Seyne from France. However, the most experienced
salesmen in this game were those from the great British firms of Vickers and Armstrong. The life of Newcastle was tied with the fortunes of Armstrong, Whitworth
and Co. The yards, gun shops and metal working facilities of this great arms manufacturer extended up and down the river Tyne from Newcastle. When times were
good and the company had contracts in hand for new construction from the Royal Navy and overseas buyers, 30,000 men would be employed in this massive arms
complex in northeastern England. "
The prosperity of this chill, dark city rose and fell with international anxiety. A peace conference spelt depression: a rash of
South American jingoism, a spot of trouble in the Balkans, could put colour in the cheeks of the children playing between the workmen’s dwellings of
Westmorland Road and Bell Terrace.
" The Great Dreadnought, 1966, by Richard Hough, at page 14.

Since 1904 Armstrongs had Eustace Hugh Tennyson d’Eyncourt as one of their chief designers/salesmrn. D’Eyncourt had the pedigree and intelligence to surpass in
this position. With one of his uncles an Admiral in the Royal Navy and Alfred Lord Tennyson as one of his cousins, his background was impeccable. After completion
of his formal education he had his formal introduction to Sir William White DNC. With connections like these Armstrongs quickly took Tennyson d’Eyncourt in as an
apprentice. For the next six years, he learned from personal experience, all of the steps and processes that went into completing the hull, fittings, machinery, armament
and all other items required to produce a warship. This was followed by more formal education in naval architecture at the Royal Naval College, and assignments in the
design departments of Armstrongs-Elswick and Clydeside Shipbuilding. His first foreign assignment came when Armstrongs sent him to Turkey to conduct the formal
handover of three ships built by Armstrongs for Turkey. The Turks were so impressed with Tennyson d’Eyncourt that they kept him over for him to conduct a
complete survey of the Turkish Navy.
Most of the large warship export firms relied upon lavish parties for possible purchasers in their efforts to secure contracts. Tennyson d’Eyncourt was not like that.
He relied upon his tremendous talent and the Armstrong’s reputation to make his sales and he was very successful at it. It is somewhat odd that South America
provided the most fertile ground for large warship sales. The big three of Brazil, Argentina and Chile had some territorial disputes in the past accompanied with minor
wars. However, most of these had been resolved and relationships among the three largest South American powers were at their most friendly state ever. Chile was the
first off of the mark when in 1901 Sir Edward Reed of Armstrongs designed two fast battleships for that nation, who felt that their navy was greatly outgunned by the
navy of Argentina. These two ships,
Constitution and Libertad were ordered from Armstrongs. After tensions eased between Chile and Argentina, Chile put the
unfinished construction up for sale on the international market. To prevent their acquisition by Imperial Russia, the Royal Navy acquired the pair as
Triumph and
Swiftsure. Argentina had also acted as a result of the tensions with Chile and ordered armored cruisers from Italy of the Garibaldi design.

However, now Brazil felt threatened and she wanted a major navy. She didn’t need it as she had no ambitions against her neighbor and was not under any threat. She
certainly couldn’t afford it as modern battleships were extremely expensive propositions not only to manufacturer but continuing costs in maintenance. That didn’t
matter as it was the prestige of possession of modern battleships that was desired by Brazil. To insure her status as the preeminent naval power of South America three
battleships were authorized. Tennyson d’Eyncourt of Armstrongs was quickly at the forefront of the bidders for this new construction. He counseled the Brazilians
towards patience. Something was in the works that was new and different. Brazil’s navy would be better served by waiting for this unknown development. That
development was
HMS Dreadnought and since Brazil had followed the counsel of Tennyson d’Eyncourt and waited, Brazil was first of all other naval powers to order
dreadnought style battleships. Two were ordered, the
Minas Geraes and Sao Paulo, to an Armstrong design which reflected many improvements over the
Dreadnought. As a consequence Brazil had dreadnought battleships in her navy before Germany, Italy, France, Russia or Japan.
Argentina instantly felt threatened and immediately authorized the construction of two of her own dreadnoughts. More than twenty firms jumped into the competition
but here Armstrongs was on the outside looking in. Argentina had not ordered a warship from Armstrongs in 20 years and all indications reflected a favoritism to Italian
companies. For months Argentina played out the competitors, one against the other. Four different waves of designs were invited all to the expense of every
competitor. With each step Tennyson d’Eyncourt duly redesigned the Armstrong tender. Some of the governments of the bidders endeavored to see their native
companies get the bid by sweetening the pot with favorable trade agreements. The US and Italy were especially active in this manner. In the end Fore River of Quincey,
Massachusetts, decided to offer their design at a minimal profit to get the bid. The Argentines accepted the American proposal and the
Rivadavia and Moreno were the

The Argentine purchase triggered another wave of South American acquisitions. Chile decided that now she needed a dreadnought and other smaller South American
powers such as Uruguay, Peru, and Venezuela bought assorted cruisers and gun boats. In Brazil, the government had already approved three dreadnoughts. The first
two were not even delivered from the yards and already been trumped by the more powerful twins just purchased from America by Argentina. Navy Minister Admiral
Alexandrino de Alencar wanted not just another battleship but one that was more powerful than any found in or building for any other navy. He wanted a ship armed
with twelve 14-inch guns, fourteen 6-inch, and fourteen 4-inch guns on a displacement of 31,600-tons. Armstrongs and Tennyson d’Eyncourt were delighted with the
prospect. A new super battleship for Brazil would clearly upset all equilibrium among the navies of the continent and the jump in size and armament couldn’t be ignored
by the other navies of the world. Nothing is more conducive for more sales than an imbalance and the new Brazilian giant would create a huge imbalance in South
America and was calculated to upset any number of apple carts across the road. After some negotiation, Armstrongs, which was always the favorite of the Brazilian
Navy, secured the contract for the third Brazilian dreadnought, designed to the requirements of de Alencar. Brazil was going to name the ship
Rio de Janeiro but along
the Tyne this new windfall to local shipbuilders was called Deign 690 or "
The Big Battleship" but was given the name Rio de Janeiro by Brazil. By 1912 there was
economic uncertainty on the horizon. Brazil had a monopoly on rubber but years earlier a British consortium had smuggled rubber trees out of Brazil and artificially
raised them at Kew Gardens. They were then transferred to a specially prepared plantation in Malaysia, where they flourished. It was not evident in 1912 but the
Brazilian monopoly on rubber had been broken with disastrous consequences for the Brazilian economy. She could no longer afford the
Rio and in December 1913 sold
her to Turkey.
With Brazil having two and building a third battleship and Argentina building two American made battleships, that left Chile out in the cold. She too went to the market to
purchase cutting edge design battleships to protect her enormous coastline and overawe her South American rivals. Chile went straight to Armstrongs for her battleships.
She wanted two Armstrong battleships but only one could be laid down. The second ship would have to wait until the Brazilian
Rio de Janeiro was launched, clearing the
slip. With Brazil and Argentina possessing or building 12-inch gun battleships, Chile wanted to overawe her rivals and with the Armstrong design for Chile, she certainly
did so. The new Armstrong design by J.R. Perret, who had also designed the
Rio de Janeiro, was broadly similar to the current Iron Duke design but mounting 14-inch
guns, instead of the 13.5-inch guns of
Iron Duke. But guns were not the only difference. The design for Chile was larger and faster than the British battleship. She had a
plow bow instead of a ram bow. To be named
Valparaiso, the first Chilean battleship was laid down On November 27, 1911. As mentioned, the second battleship had to
wait until the
Rio de Janeiro was launched and it was not until January 22, 1913 that Almirante Cochrane was laid down. Before being launched the name was changed
Valparaiso to Almirante Latorre.

Almirante Latorre displaced 26,968-tons light, 28,622-tons normal and 32,188-tons deep load. Length was 661-feet (201.5m) overall with a waterline length of 654-
feet 10-inches and a length of 625-feet between perpendicular bulkheads, with a beam of 92-feet (28m) and draught of 29-feet (8.8m). Twenty-one Yarrow boilers
provided steam for four Parsons turbines (Brown-Curtis turbines in
Cochrane), producing 37,000shp and turning the four shafts for a maximum speed of 22.75-knots.
Armament consisted of ten 14-inch/45 (356mm) Mk I in five twin gun turrets, sixteen 6-inch/50 (152mm) Mk XI guns in casemates, two 3-inch/20 (76mm) Mk I
antiaircraft open mount guns, four 3-pdr (47mm) and four submerged 21-inch (533mm) torpedoes mounted on the beam. The armored belt was significantly thinner
than that mounted in the
Iron Duke. With a main belt of only 9-inches, instead of the 12-inch belt in Iron Duke, the Latorre’s belt was of the same thickness as the
British battlecruisers of the
Lion Class and HMS Tiger. From 9-inches (230mm), the belt’s width tapered to 4-inches (100mm) at their ends. When the Canada was in
deep load, the main belt was almost submerged, however she carried a secondary 7-inch belt above the main belt. The heaviest armor was on the conning tower with 11-
inches (280mm). Turrets had faces of 10-inches (250mm), while the barbettes had 10-inch (250mm) to 4-inch (100mm). The armored end bulkheads were 4.5 to 3-
inches (115mm-75mm) in width. Armored decks were 4-inches to 1-inch (100mm-25mm) in thickness.
Latorre was launched on November 27, 1913. Events intervened with the two Chilean battleships with the advent of World War One in August 1914. While Great Britain
seized the two battleships built or building for Turkey, the same treatment could not be meted out to Chile. Chile was a friendly power and the nitrates produced by that
country were necessary for the British munitions industry. Instead of seizing the ships, Great Britain negotiated to purchase them. On September 9, 1914 The
was sold to Great Britain and renamed HMS Canada. There were minor changes made to the original Chilean design. The large bridge and charthouse were
replaced by two open platforms on the tripod, twin derricks for boat handling were removed and a single stump derrick added, director towers for main and secondary
guns were added, and the boat storage arrangement was changed. Work on the
Almirante Cochrane was suspended and she remained on the slip completed up to the
forecastle deck with machinery in place but no armored belt. Her 14-inch guns were completed as spares for the
Canada. The Cochrane was not purchased until
February 28, 1918 and construction began again to a new design, an aircraft carrier. The
Almirante Cochrane would be completed as HMS Eagle. HMS Canada was
completed in September 1915. She was a beautiful ship with a much longer length to beam ratio than the
Iron Dukes. This length, combined with a shorter forecastle,
much longer quarter deck, massive and tall funnels and a very tall tripod forecastle gave the
Canada a majestic appearance. Although of the same freeboard of the Iron
, the Canada appeared lower in the water because of her huge funnels and high tripod.

Canada joined the 4th Battle Squadron in October 1915. At the Battle of Jutland on May 31, 1916 Canada was in the 3rd Division of the 4th Battle Squadron. This
Division of four battleships was led by the fleet flagship,
HMS Iron Duke, which was followed by Royal Oak, Superb and then Canada. When the Grand Fleet saw and
then opened fire on the High Seas Fleet with
HMS Marlborough firing at 19:17, Canada was the last battleship to open fire at 19:40. The other three battleships of the
3rd Division opened fired at:
Superb 19:26, Royal Oak at 19:29 and Iron Duke at 19:30. During the limited time of the first engagement the Canada fired 42 14-inch
shells and 109 6-inch rounds. In the night phase of the battle, observers saw gunfire crossing the rear of the Grand Fleet, which showed the advance of the High Seas
Fleet in breaking the British line to get to the east so it could safely make port (see quotation from a member of
Canada at the top). After the Battle of Jutland she joined
the 1st Battle Squadron. The aft four 6-inch guns in the aft superstructure were landed in 1916 because of deleterious blast effects from the firing of Q turret. Also, at
this time searchlights were fitted on small raised platforms on each side of the bridge, while the aft searchlights were moved to a platform low on the main mast and the
foretop was reduced to a stump. In 1917 the tripod control position was enlarged, a medium size range finder replaced the small range finder on the torpedo control
tower, coffee box search light towers were placed at the rear of the aft funnel replacing the original open position and deflection scales were painted on A and Y turrets.
Range clocks were placed on the aft superstructure.  In 1918 aircraft platforms were added to the crowns of B and X turrets, the tripod control top was given windows
and a range clock was added to the control top.
HMS Canada was placed in reserve in March 1919 and received a refit in 1919-1920 at Devonport. In April 1920 she
was returned to Chile and given her original name as
Almirante Latorre. Of all the battleships that fought at Jutland, the HMS Canada had the longest life and survived
until 1959 when
Almirante Latorre was sold for scrap. (Bulk of History from: Battleships of World War I by Antony Preston, Stackpole Books 1972; British
Battleships of World War One
by R.A. Burt, Naval Institute Press 1986; Castles of Steel by Robert K. Massie, Random House 2003; Conway’s All the World’s
Fighting Ships 1906-1921
, Naval Institute Press 1985;  Skagerrak, The Battle of Jutland Through German Eyes by Gary Staff, Pen & Sword 2016)
Combrig HMS Canada in 1:700 Scale – Although the Combrig Canada is not one of the newest releases by the company, it still is a fairly recent release. In my
comparison of the
Canada kit with the older Combrig Iron Duke, I noticed that there was an increase in fineness with the Canada. There is certainly nothing wrong
with the
Combrig Iron Duke but as an example, on Iron Duke the deck coal scuttle circular plates are easily visible and may be slightly over-scale. When I first looked
Canada to compare it with the plan and profile in R. A. Burt’s British Battleships of World War One, I was shocked by the lack of any coal scuttles on the
Canada’s deck. I was wrong! The coal scuttles were present on Canada’s decks but they were finely done and probably more to scale than those on Iron Duke. The
hull casting is fairly large and is cast in the typical hard gray resin. One thing about the resin
Combrig uses is its hardness. Thank goodness there are locater holes for
the secondary gun barrels in the hull’s casemates because the hard resin makes it difficult to drill a hole. Also typical of
Combrig is the cleanness of the casting. About
the only thing that you have to do is a very light sanding of the waterline. As usual the hull casting is magnificent. Starting with the bow, there is the graceful crescent
shaped plow (or plough) bow, which the casting has to a razor’s edge in thinness. Its clearly no blunt nose freighter bow. The hull casting has three levels, the raised
forecastle leading to a lower quarterdeck at the deck break at the forward superstructure and the higher level one boat deck that is the base of the forward
superstructure. Each side of the bow features two nice anchor hawse with collar fittings. There are three portholes low on the bow and a line of them high on the hull,
leading to the secondary casemates. The quarterdeck level casemates have a very fine, thin overhang of the forecastle deck above them. The casemates have opening
ovals with vertical vision slits on either side, as well as the barrel locater hole. You won’t see much of this detail but it is there. The 01 deck has two more secondary
gun casemates on each side with an equally fine slight overhang of the weather deck above these positions. At the stern the two rows of port holes began again, ending
in a cutaway stern profile.

Deck detail is excellent and accurate. As usual on a World War One British battleship model, I compare the kit detail with the plan and profile drawings of the ship
found in the reference by R. A. Burt. The plan and profile of the
Combrig Canada matched the drawings in the Burt volume. The fittings’ size shape and location
matched between the model and the book drawings. Deck planking is well done but lacks end butt detail. On the forecastle the deck anchor hawse are good but the
openings are too shallow for my taste. Other anchor gear detail on the hull includes the solid plate chain runs and windlass positions, and four chain locker entrance
fittings. Other deck fittings in front of A turret barbette include two deck edge open chocks, three twin bollard fittings (two deck edge and one centerline), two deck
entrance coamings and two skylights. The break water running from A barbette is thin and has walkway passages. Clustered between A barbette and the locater lines
for B barbette are two more twin bollards, two open chocks, five small raised coamings and locater lines for two deck winches. The front face of A barbette has two
vertical strakes. The boat deck has planking until the end of the superstructure location and then smooth decking representing a steel deck. Other detail on the planked
part are coal scuttles, locater lines for two deck winches and two fittings whose purpose I could not identify. On the metal deck aft of the superstructure opening are
more coal scuttles, three deck access coamings, raised platforms for the funnels with rectangular ventilator housings on either side of the first funnel and a great
number of incised lines locating the boat cradles. There is also a sunken outline for a separate deck house. Locater wells are present for the forward superstructure,
both funnels and boat derrick. The long quarterdeck continues with the same type of detail, coal scuttles, deck access coamings, skylights, open chocks, twin bollard
plates, locater lines for deck winches, barbettes for Q and Y turrets and a base for a stern windlass. Wells are present for the aft superstructure, Q and Y turrets with a
locater line for X turret. There were no pin hole voids in the casting but it did have minor shipment damage with three bollard posts broken off.
Smaller parts are cast in three different formats, single castings for larger items, a thin resin sheet with decks, platforms and other thin items and resin runners for the
bulk of the smaller items. There are twelve parts singly cast. The forward superstructure fits in the forward well. It is two levels in height with port holes at both levels
and a locater hole for the tripod center post. The aft superstructure part is larger at three levels. The lowest level has the four aft secondary casemates, which were
plated over after Jutland. This level has plank detail with two locater outlines for deck winches, a locater outline for X barbette, and two more fittings. The highest two
levels are in a roughly triangular block with plank detail on the top deck, a small deck house, a deck access coaming, an outline for the aft conning tower and locater hole
for the small mainmast. Both funnels are singly cast with the aft funnel being significantly larger with slab flat sides. They are moderately hollow at the tops with nice top
and lower aprons. They have casting plugs that need to be removed before they will fit in their wells. Both the B and X barbettes are singly cast with vertical strakes and
fit on the locater lines of the hull or aft superstructure castings. The five turret castings are especially nice. They have horse shoe U-shape gun openings, three sighting
hoods at the forward edge of their crowns, crown rivet detail and range finders at the aft end of their crowns. One small gripe is that the overlapping crown plates are
not present. The last piece is the boat derrick, which also has a casting plug that will have to be removed. The thin casting sheet has fourteen parts. The largest is the top
deck of the forward superstructure and has a charthouse at the rear with locater holes for the tripod with main post on the front and flanked by the other two posts.
Three parts are for the top of the tripod with the starfish base, control top and torpedo control station below the starfish. The mainmast gets a smaller starfish open
position with locater holes for the main mast and top mast. The deck house placed between the funnels is found on the sheet. There are four boat platforms which will
be outboard of the hull sides on either side of the superstructure. The of these have slots in their decks and two do not. These appear to be optional choices because the
instructions show the ones with slots will get ready boats with photo-etch swinging davits and davit post bases. Also, on the sheet are the forward conning tower with
vision slits, and three tripod platforms. These platforms as well as the top decks of the forward and aft superstructure top decks are shown with solid bulkheads, which
represent canvas covered dodgers on railing.

Twenty-five resin runners have most of the smaller parts. The largest two of these parts are the solid deck-edge bulkhead, which flank the rear funnel. Also, of this
runner is the boat boom for the derrick. The next four larger parts are on a runner and include the aft conning tower, searchlight towers, which are on a photo-etch
support frame, main gun director and a small deckhouse.  The searchlight tower is more than just a platform but should not be confused with coffee box towers, which
were not fitted until 1918 and descended to the deck without any support frame. There are four runners with the guns, one for the main guns shared with four davits,
two for the secondary gun barrels and one with the two 3-inch AA guns. The AA guns are each of two pieces, the mount and breach block and barrel piece.  Ten
runners have equipment and fittings. There is a runner of large cable reels and one of small cable reels. One has the anchors and another for the deck windlasses. Eight
searchlights are on a runner. Twelve deck winches are on a runner. Two runners have small signal lamps/small searchlights. Another has numerous small mushroom
ventilators. The last equipment runner has multiple various parts. Included on this runner are triangular positions on either side of B barbette, 3-pdr mounts and barrels,
cable reels, larger mushroom ventilators compass, pylorus, and platform control positions. Nine runners have the ship’s boats. There are three steam launches with
cabins, funnels and open cockpits. There are two large and one medium size launches. For the open boats there is one large whaler, six medium size boats in three
different patterns and two dinghies.
Brass Photo-Etch - The Canada comes with a photo-etch fret. For the most part it has ship specific parts with only a few more generic items. You will need 3rd party
photo-etch for the railings, some inclined ladders and perhaps vertical ladders. I mentioned some inclined ladders because the fret has five of them. Three look ship
specific because two have triangular landings and one has an awning frame. The inclined ladders have rungs instead of trainable tread plates. The fret does have eight
vertical ladders that also look ship specific. Two accommodation ladders with platforms and safety railing are also included. Another more generic item are the three
runs of anchor chain. A good percentage of the fret are boat cradles. The cradles are of different sizes and patterns but each unique pattern is identified by a letter on
the fret with the same letter used in the instructions to indicate its attachment location. The largest items are the swinging boat davits that attach to the platforms
midship. They also come with base supports/pivots. There are many triangular gussets with weight saving voids for the starfish on the foremast and main mast tops, as
well as the numerous mast platforms. Funnel grates/clinker screens are present, as well as twelve relief-etched doors. Six small anchors are also on the fret for stern
and streaming anchors. Also included is a chart table, square window shutters for the sides of the stern hull in the captain’s cabin area, night life buoy racks,
searchlight tower support frame, derrick fittings, ready boat platform support posts, and boat platform support frames.

Instructions – The instructions are in the older style Combrig format. The first page are the plan and profile drawings of HMS Canada in 1915. However, unlike
Combrig profiles, it does not have the rigging. Use the plan and profile to ensure correct attachment points if you are unsure. It is prudent to check it if you are
using superglue or other fast drying cement. Ship’s specifications are in English and ship’s history in Russian. Page two has the resin parts laydown. Page three
(numbered 2 on the instructions) concerns the boat deck. There is an expanded drawing of the various boat cradles and another drawing of their attachment points on
the deck. This drawing also shows the ready boat platforms assembly and forward deck equipment assembly. A third drawing has the ship’s boats attachment. The last
drawing shows the completed boat deck. This page three, 2 in the instructions, was back-printed with page five (4 in the instructions). Page four (3 in the instructions)
is on a separate page. This sheet has the fret laydown and inset enlarged drawings for assembly of the forward superstructure and tripod, aft superstructure and main
mast and 3-inch AA guns. Also included is a template of the plastic rods that you will have to supply for the masts, yards, steam pipes for the funnels and a few other
items. The template shows their length and diameter, as well as if they have tapered ends, such as yardarms. Page five (4 in the instructions) concludes with the
assembly. It shows attachment of the subassemblies, forecastle and quarterdeck fittings attachment. Enlarged inset drawings show assembling the subassemblies for
the boat derrick, funnels, and searchlight tower. Also included is a profile of the mushroom vents with each unique size numbered to show which size goes where.
The Combrig HMS Canada in 1:700 scale is a very good kit. Resin quality is excellent and it comes with a brass photo-etch fret. The kit is only marred by the
instructions but they are still usable with patience and cross referencing the included plan and profile drawings.  
Steve Backer