1/700 Australian Heavy Cruiser
HMAS Canberra
Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The HMAS Canberra was a Kent Class Heavy Cruiser constructed in 1928 in Glasgow, Scotland. Together with her sister ship the HMAS Australia 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, Canberra operated in the Indian Ocean and off Australian waters with her sister ship the HMAS Australia. They protected the vital shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean where Canberra assisted in the sinking German support ship Ketty Brovig in March 1941. When the Japanese entered the war in December 1941, Canberra operated closer to home to protect the vital shipping lanes to Australia. In August of 1942, Canberra sailed with the a several American ships as part of the Guadalcanal Invasion force. Late in the evening of August 9th, Canberra was guarding the south passage to Guadalcanal when she was surprised by a large Japanese Task force and taken under fire in what would come to be called the Battle of Savo Island. Within minutes the Canberra was hit by multiple large caliber shells and was burning from bow to stern, and left dead in the water. She was so badly damaged that no salvage attempts were possible and she was scuttled the next day in what was to become known as Iron Bottom Sound.
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 early war appearance of 1939-42. There are few published photo's of the Canberra so it is hard to judge the accuracy of this kit. The kit does match the dimension of the real ship and her lines match up well to the photo's that are available.
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. A really nice feature is the stairway openings in the decks, these will really look good if inclined stairs are added to your model. The funnels are well cast with a hollowed out top that will save you a lot of drilling.
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. 

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. I had previously considered modifying a HMS Sussex in the manner that Lester Abbey did on the former Navis website. That conversion used a White Ensign HMS Sussex kit as the basis for the conversion.  This kit is listed for $40.00 in the  Pacific Front Update an out standing value. It requires no conversion and you can even add a photo etch set and machined gun barrels from Clipper and still come out ahead.


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