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Zvezda 1/350 scale HMS Dreadnought


HMS Dreadnought was the first of a revolutionary type of battleship that would come to bear her name. New theories of design made older types obsolete overnight, starting a new arms race that would see nations throughout the world scramble to build the best ship.

Zvezda’s new Dreadnought is an excellent kit, crisply molded in light gray and clear plastic that is remarkably free of flash. The plastic is a little soft, but that makes trimming and cleaning up the multitude of thin parts easy. 

You get the option of a full-hull or waterline model. The bridge face and cabins are molded in clear plastic. Oddly, there are no jack staffs.

Masts and yards are molded together, but not in the normal fashion. Instead of a simple intersection, the yards are raised away from the mast like the real thing. The anchor chains are separate, which produces a nice three-dimensional look.

The small parts are molded as well as can be expected for an injection-molded kit. Many of the parts have alignment pins that are keyed so they fit only one way. This was a great help while assembling the kit. 

The instructions are well drawn, simple, and logical. Having finished the kit, I would suggest one change: When you are through with Step 15, attach and align Part B23 (bridge deck and wings) to the kit, then continue with the construction of the bridge (steps 16–18). I knocked a number of the small parts off during these steps. 

I did need to use a small amount of putty to fair in the rudder posts, and also parts B4 and B5, to the main hull. Nevertheless, the overall fit was above average.

The painting guide is nice, but you will have to look at the box’s side panels for some of the colors. The guide references Testors Model Master paints. I used Floquil railroad SP lettering gray, SP skylark gray, zinc chromate primer, and engine black. The deck is painted with White Ensign teak.

The decals provided a simple black name, DREADNOUGHT. However, the colors should be brass. There was no carrier film attaching the letters — it was surprising to see all the individual letters floating in the water! I recommend sealing the sheet with liquid decal film before application.

According to my reference, Anatomy of the Ship: The Battleship Dreadnought, by John Roberts (Conway Maritime Press, ISBN 978-1-55750-057-1), the kit measurements are correct.

I spent only 20 hours building the kit; cleanup is just that easy, and the fit is that good. I could see no errors in the parts. If I were to build it again, I would spend more time and invest in a set of photoetched metal.

This is a great build for either beginning builders or hard-core pros. Dreadnought modelers, Zvezda’s kit is an excellent investment!

Note: A version of this review appeared in the January 2012 issue of FineScale Modeler magazine.

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