1/700 Richelieu 1943

Reviewed by Timothy Dike
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 kit from Trumpeter represents the Richelieu as rebuilt in 1943 complete with an Americanized armament. This kit was released before the larger 350 version. It looks very nice overall and doesn't seem to have  the problems noted in the larger kit.

The hull is molded waterline style with a separate lower hull or flat waterline plate in red plastic. The fit looks good with the upper and lower parts. The hull features molded on portholes with rain gutters and closed chocks along the edges. The latter has recessed openings that can be drilled out for realism.  Click images
to enlarge
This sprue features various decks located on the upper superstructure. Molding looks good on the range finders. Some of the various walls and shields have a little too much taper on them. This allows the part to be ejected from the mold easier, but give a somewhat unrealistic look to the parts.
The deck has some nice planking detailing and plenty of deck gear molded on. There are mounting holes for many of the separate parts. The anchor detail is molded on unfortunately and simplistic in detail. Most modelers will probably replace this anyway so it is not really a big deal.
The uppers decks are molded with an abundance of mounting holes for the various guns and parts that locate here. Splinter shields here also have excessive taper.
The two main guns are included on this sprue. The molding looks good and slide molding has been used to mold more detail onto the turrets. 
Gun tubs and platforms are featured on this sprue. The splinter shields are fairly thin and the details are pretty good overall. 
Superstructure parts are included on this sprue. Most of the walls are molded separately to allow for more detail without using slides in the mold. Detail is pretty good and the doors are hatches appear consistent
SPRUE M (x 2)
There are two of these sprues with the weapons and other fittings. The gun base for the main turret is also included. Ships boats are also included as well as propellers and other fittings.
SPRUE N (x 2)
There are also two of these sprues with the light anti-aircraft guns included. The 40mm guns are not bad, but the 20mm guns are not very detailed with the whole gun assembly molded as one part.
Two French flags are include in straight and wavy format.
The standard black plastic ship base is included for full hull display.
A nice color profile is included showing the ship camouflage with painting notes. The instructions are an extensive 8 page booklet with all kinds of exploded views. They are step by step and cover all the assembly steps. 

As I mentioned before, this kit is a better rendering of the Richelieu than the 350 version. It also has a waterline option so you don't have to cut the hull down. While I am not an expert on French Navy ship, this kit looks very good and it should be an enjoyable build right out of the box. It can also provide a really nice base for superdetailing. This is kit number #TSM-5750 1/700 French Navy Richelieu Battleship 1943 with a list price of $34.95. Not a bad price for a ship of this size.

Thanks to Stevens International for the review sample. They are 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.