Trumpeter 1/350
French Battleship Richelieu 1943

Reviewed by Sean Hert

The Richelieu class were the largest battleships ever to be constructed by France. Realizing it would need a new class of ship to counter the growing Italian battleship threat in the Mediterranean, France responded with the Richelieu. Richelieu closely followed the Dunkerque class in design, but with a larger caliber main battery with greater protection and displacement.

Richelieu was in the final stages of completion when Germany invaded. As the front drew closer, Richelieu got closer to operational status, eventually departing France incomplete for Dakar, French West Africa in June of 1940. She was damaged in action against the Royal Navy in the Battle of Dakar. Temporarily repaired after joining the Allies in late 1942, she departed for New York in the United States to make permanent repairs and to be modernized.

This new model kit from Trumpeter is the first time this class of ship has been offered in 1/350. Richelieu is depicted in a post-New York 1943 fit; the aircraft facilities were removed (catapults and hanger), AA guns were added, radars were added or upgraded, and the ship's boats were moved from amidships.


Trumpeter has departed from their usual practice of a multi-part hull with the Richelieu it as full, one piece hull only. Those wanting a waterline version will need to break out their hobby saws or Dremels. The hull has a noticeable seam running down the centerline that will require sanding at minimum to correct. The bilge keels are molded on to the hull, but seem undersize. There is no hull plating.

The closed chocks molded on the hull leave a lot to be desired; they are very thick, with round indentions in the center. However, the portholes, or "scuttles" have a nice brow-ridge molded above them and should be easy to drill out.

The one-piece hull has crisply molded and square; there were no signs of warpage.

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The decks come in three pieces; a main deck part, a deck/superstructure part for amidships, and a stern deck piece. The decks fit into the hull with few gaps.

There are a few plain deck details molded on, with regular wood planking detail. Due to the arrangement of the decks, there won't be any issues with the planking lining up. Molded on chains lead from the capstans to the anchor shanks, molded in the hawsepipes in the bow.

A glaring error leaps out from the bow of the main deck; the anchor capstan locations are reversed- it should be 2 to starboard, with one offset to port. This could be difficult to easily fix.


Sprue A has the shafts, parts to the bridge and armored citadel, and some 20mm splinter shields.


Sprue B continues with more superstructure parts, and also includes the pieces to build Richelieu's distinctive stack. The ship's rudder and directors are also here.


This sprue is primarily of gun tubs for the many 40mm and 20mm guns.


Sprue D has the parts needed to finish the bridge, as well as additional deck detail.


This sprue is loaded with different parts; the bases for the main battery turrets, the screws, ship's boats and the 152mm secondary turrets, as well as searchlights, 100mm AA guns and barrels for guns. Parts for the 2 boat cranes are also on this sprue. There appears to be an option to have the main guns either with or without the rubber blast bags.


Sprue F compliments sprue E with bases for the secondary turrets, liferafts, ammo boxes and the light AA armament added in New York.

The 20mm's are ok, and include shields. Although to be fair, it is difficult to mold a 1/350 20mm Oerlikon in plastic!

The 40mm guns are disappointing. I don't understand why Trumpeter keeps re-designing the same weapons over and over. The quad 40mm's are molded as a block with the barrels sticking out, with a separate base/shield in a single part. I'd much rather have seen the quad's from USS North Carolina or USS Massachusetts/Alabama resued for Richelieu.


The 2 turrets for Richelieu's forward mounted, quad-gun main batteries.

The standard Trumpeter ships base is included with a name plate for Richelieu.

Decal of French ensign, with two options- static and flying. I believe the proportions of the colors is incorrect for the ensign, but correct for the national flag.


A 16 page instruction book is included. 16 pages may seem somewhat short, but this kit does have a one-piece hull, and is not as heavily detailed as some of Trumpeter's other battleship offerings, thus having a lower parts count and fewer steps.

A full color poster showing the painting steps is included, with Gunze colors referenced. However, the camo scheme shown is wrong; it doesn't represent the actual faded system used.


An important omission from this kit is the mast and radars atop main battery director. They were redacted by censors from most wartime pictures, but some references do exist.

While I am always glad to see a new 1/350 kit, especially one of a new subject, Trumpeter's Richelieu is going to need some help to build into an accurate model.

Purchased at Hobbyland , Columbus OH via Stevens International- MSRP: $134.95, but is usually available for less. Stevens is the exclusive importer for Trumpeter kits in the US. If your hobby shop does not carry Trumpeter kits have them contact Stevens International or try their Hobby Shop Locator to find one.