by Robert Apfelzweig
1/350 HMS Prince of Wales 1941 (Tamiya)
The story of the HMS Prince of Wales is well known, despite her relatively short (barely eight month-long) career. Tamiya issued its venerable kit of this famous ship way back in 1985, but about three or four years ago Pontos released a very extensive upgrade set that includes a wood deck and brass gun barrels, booms, masts, mast platforms, yardarms and flagstaffs. I supplemented this with a simpler set from Eduard (largely but not fully duplicated by Pontos), which has issued three different sets for this model (railings and cranes, small boats, and my set -- doors, radars and fire control directors, 8-barrel pompom mounts, ladders, etc). Eduard provides relatively simple line drawings and it is not always clear exactly where the brass parts attach; Pontos has color photographs of the assemblies but often makes them too small to fully explain how multiple parts go together into large assemblies -- the cranes being a perfect example. The mast assemblies go together fairly easily but in the lower foremast there is a box-shaped housing (probably for radio or radar operation) that attaches to the tripod in a manner that I found very difficult to get correct.
This build was a commission and the gentleman who wanted it built specified that the ship appear as she did when confronting the Bismarck at the Battle of the Denmark Straits in late May 1941. Consequently, painting was relatively simple (no complicated camo pattern that the POW had as part of Force Z in early December 1941), no 20 mm Oerlikons (or their gun tubs on the bridge and quarterdeck), and UP rocket launchers atop the second and third turrets (helpfully provided in the Pontos set). I used Tamiya paints and stretched black sprue for the rigging.