Thanks Mike - great review! I love the counties.
This in-box review conveys my first impressions of Trumpeter’s newly released 1/700 kit of HMS Cornwall, a WWII era Royal Navy County class cruiser. With this kit, Trumpeter has really upped its game, though I would still rate it half a star below Flyhawk, the 1/700 scale industry leader for injection molded plastic ship kits in my opinion.
The kit is molded in a hard, medium-gray plastic produced using slide-mold techniques. It is cleanly cast with no flash.
The hull is spot-on dimensionally (overall length and beam) and proportionally, with hull-plating cast in relief. And while the hull plating is a bit overdone (those who would like to do so can sand it down a bit), it looks very nice, as does the bow knuckle. Portholes are cleanly cast but without eyebrows, which are hard to do in 1/700 scale without being oversize. Plated-over portholes are a bit overdone, and the plating should be sanded down or removed completely.
To their credit, Trumpeter corrected errors present in their 1/350 HMS Cornwall kit: the foc’s’l deck forward of the breakwater is a nice representation of the RN’s non-slip diamond pattern steel decking, while the deckhouse around B turret is wood planking.
The wood planking, as well as deck vents and hatches are nicely done throughout. Fairleads, however, are not as well done as once would have hoped and are best replaced with 3D parts.
The deck fits nicely on the hull with no significant gaps, unlike other Trumpeter kits I have. The hull and waterline baseplate is molded in one piece, with two holes in the baseplate for bolts to mount the model on a wooden base during construction and on a display base when completed—a nice touch.
The deckhouses and hanger are nicely cast, with sharp, straight edges. There is no soft casting here—sharp straight edges and angles are in evidence everywhere, although waterproof doors are shown in outline and not relief, and are thus best replaced with PE brass doors. Remarkably, splinter shields and bulwarks are as thin as any I’ve seen in any other plastic or resin kit, and are of uniform thickness from top to bottom. The bridge is nicely done, and the usual equipment found on the bridge and gun director platform (binnacle, pelorus, and binoculars) are provided.
The main armament is nicely cast, though secondary armament (4” HA guns and pom poms) are just OK and best replaced with resin aftermarket parts.
PE parts including support lattices and ship’s cranes are provided and are very nicely done, though brass PE railing and the RDF rig carried by Cornwall are not included in the fret.
The kit’s main drawbacks? The kit does not include any of the piping found around the three funnels. These parts were included in the 1/350 scale kit, and Trumpeter has demonstrated the ability to mold delicate components such as these. Such an omission is inexplicable. Also, the kit appears to be based on the Profile Morskie plans for HMS Cornwall, which seem reasonably accurate (not all of their products are), though it would be better if Trumpeter were to rely on original builders’ plans for greater accuracy.
In sum, Trumpeter has really upped their game with this kit. I am really impressed with it, and it looks like it will build into a marvelous model. This kit is nicer and sharper (and thanks to the use of slide-mold technology which allowed the deckhouses and hanger to be molded in once piece) and will be much easier to build than Aoshima’s 1/700 kit of HMS Cornwall. I only wish that Trumpeter hadn’t left the piping off the funnels!
I also hope that Trumpeter will continue to release County class cruisers—would it be too much to ask for an HMS Suffolk after they release HMS Kent later this year?
And once Kent is released, I hope an after-market 3D manufacturer might release a conversion kit so that we can use the Kent kit as a basis for an HMAS Australia. Any volunteers?