HMS Warspite, “The Grand Old Lady,” was commissioned in 1915. One of five ships in the Queen Elizabeth class, she fought through World War I and II and was the most-decorated ship in British history. No doddering grande dame, during WWII she scored a 26,000-yard (12.8 nautical miles) hit on an Italian warship. Warspite was designated for scrapping in 1946, but ran aground on her final voyage. After several failed attempts to refloat the hulk, she was eventually broken up offshore.
Academy’s kit is the first injection-molded Warspite in 1/350 scale. While not perfect, it is a solid and well-designed model with good detail. The gun shields and splinter shields are thicker than scale but acceptable. The only photoetched metal is optional for the crane booms.
The two-piece hull in my kit was slightly warped and required bracing and putty. There are faint mold lines on the hull, but few ejector-pin marks, no flash, and not many sink marks. The two-part main deck joins under the bridge, but the join will be noticeable without work. I eliminated the gluing plate on the underside to get a tight fit. The decks fit perfectly.
The photoetched metal is an improvement on the plastic for the crane booms, but that stainless steel is tough to cut and bend — could be difficult for novices. Still, it’s a good project for first-time photoetched-metal modelers; you can always use the plastic parts if things go badly.
There are a few minor problems. The bow is missing the prominent hawse pipes to the chain lockers. Instead, two chains end at a small bump, and the third just dead-ends on the deck. The stack vents are missing, too, and the optical sights on B and X turrets are thin and misshapen. Also, the cranes have no control houses, and the kit needs more rowboats and motorboats. The fore and main masts are simplified; both are missing yardarms, and both should carry radar.
There’s not much cleanup aside from some ejector towers on the admiral’s walk and the bottom of some parts. Parts fit was very good throughout. The crane bases have seams that take work to smooth out.
While the Walrus aircraft provided in the kit are disappointing (they have slabs for wing struts), the planes were not carried in 1944. So, you can leave them off.
The only assembly problem I had was the admiral’s bridge, Part D48. The ridge on Part D53 had to be shaved off to allow the bridge and upper deck to fit properly. I would suggest adding the inclined ladders in Step 9 earlier in the build. Ladders E41 and E42 can be added after the bridge is on the deck.
I reassigned some of the ship’s boats to better reflect the actual layout of the real ship. Two smaller boats were carried on the main deck between the twin 6-pounder turrets, but Academy ignored them. I found two in my spares box to mount there.
The 15" and 6-pounder barrels have open bores and blast bags. The main gun turrets can rotate but can only be built with the guns level. All other guns are static.
The ship needs more photoetched-metal detail (which is already in production). But in the meantime, you have a beautiful, well-detailed kit to start.