1/700 Australian Heavy Cruiser
HMAS Canberra
Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The HMAS Australia was a Kent Class Heavy Cruiser constructed in 1928 in Glasgow, Scotland. Together with her sister ship the HMAS Canberra they were the pride of the Australian Navy. At 9850 tons these cruisers were built just under the Washington Tritely limits, though later modernization's would push them over. They were armed with eight 8"/50 cal  guns firing in four twin turrets. When war broke out in Europe, Australia operated in the Indian Ocean and South Atlantic protecting convoy routes. Australia even operated in the North Atlantic in 1940 where she was damaged by shells from the French cruisers Georges Leygues and Montcalm during the attack on Dakar. After repairs Australia went back home and operated in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific. When Japan entered the war Australia found herself operating as the flagship of the Australian Navy in the waters in home waters. She was present at Savo Island when her sister ship the Canberra was sunk. She was one of the primary ships involved with the New Guinea battles and fought her way across the South Pacific on the way to the Philippines. At Lingayen Gulf she was struck by five Kamikazes but continued to provide fire support until she was relieved. Australia survived the war and served until 1954 before being sold for scrap the following year.
This kit represents a new direction for Combrig. Previously only Russian Navy subjects were produced but they are now we are seeing some exciting new releases such as this ship. The box states that this ship is in her 1928 configuration, but that is a misprint. This kit represents the ship as of her mid war modernization of 1943.
The hull is well cast with very fine planking detail and no bubbles. The capstans and open chocks have to be seen to be believed. A feature that is missing on most Kent Class Cruiser kits that I am aware of is the flair at the waterline. This featrure is correctly modeled on this kit.
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Superstructure parts are cast on a thin resin wafer. Very little sanding will be required to remove it as it almost falls off when touched. The splinter shields are thin and well formed. Resin aircraft cranes are provided but I think Photo etch replacements would be better.
The main guns are cast on resin runners and attach to the rear of the turret. These will require a little more cleanup to remove, but thankfully they are in a position where it will not be hard to preserve the turret detail and shape. Resin gun barrels are provided.
The secondary and light weapons are really nice for this small scale. The light machine guns are probably the best I have seen in resin. It is nice to see something other than the typical Skywave copy. 
Directors and other ship fittings are virtually flash free and are well defined. Resin masts are provided but I would suggest using these are a template for brass rod replacements.

A Walrus Seaplane is included with plenty of detail cast in resin. The catapult is resin and while it doesn't look bad I think a Photo etch replacement such as the one provided in the White Ensign County Class Cruiser set would be better.

The boat davits are very well done and very thin for this scale. The ships boats are all well cast but some will be a little difficult to remove from the resin sprue as there is very little room for the saw kerf. No photo etch is included with this kit.
Instructions are two pages with plan and elevation on one side and an exploded view and Bill of Materials view on the other. This is the kits biggest weakness and I would like to see more detailed sub assembly views. It would be helpful to label the parts on the B.O.M. and the assembly views to clearly show where the parts go.

This is a terrific subject and I applaud Combrig for releasing a kit like this. This kit is listed for $40.00 in the Pacific Front Update an out standing value considering that most resin cruisers in this scale carry a higher list price. She will make an excellent addition to your South West Pacific Fleet.


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