by Martin J Quinn
|HMS Neptune was the only ship of her class,
an improved version of the previous St. Vincent class.
Neptune had additional armor and her armament was revised for greater
efficiency. She was the first Royal Navy dreadnought who's
turret layout different from the pattern set by Dreadnought - her "wing"
turrets were staggered "en echelon", so, in theory, all five turrets could
fire a broadside. However, doing so usually caused blast damage
to the surrounding areas. Additionally, she was the first of
the Royal Navy's dreadnoughts to have super-firing turrets.
Other than participating in the Battle of Jutland, Neptune had a somewhat pedestrian career, and was sold for scrap in 1922.
For more on Neptune, see her Wikipedia page.
Combrig continues to fill in the gaps of missing First Word War Royal Navy dreadnoughts with this release of Neptune. The kit is boxed in a sturdy white box, with a photo of the Neptune on the cover. The contents are (mostly) well packaged, with soft foam filling the box and preventing the contents from shifting. The smaller parts were once again packaged in one bag, resulting in some minor breakage. While Combrig has really improved their packaging with much sturdier boxes and foam to protect the contents, I'd still like to see them partition the smaller parts into separate bags, so the big superstructure parts aren't bumping up against smaller, more delicate parts.
|The hull appears to scale out pretty much perfectly in length and beam. It's sharply cast in light gray resin, with good details. The planking - while there are no butt ends - looks good, as do the subtle coal scuttles. The bollards and chocks are sharply cast, as is the breakwater and anchor handling gear.|
|There are three main parts to the superstructure - forward, center and aft. The latter two drop fit into the hull, while the forward superstructure is attached to the deck just behind A turret. Casting is good, with thin splinter shields and well defined openings for the 4 inch secondary battery. Superstructure platforms and two spotting tops are found on one small wafer, so they will have to be sanded off.|
|FUNNELS AND TURRETS|
|The funnels are also well cast, with
just enough of the inside of the funnel tops cast open to give the illusion
of depth. The forward funnel is two parts, the base being a separate
part. This is to allow the top of the full to pass through a superstructure
deck. The only thing missing are the usual pipes seen running up
the sides of the funnels, but these are part of the "self-made parts" called
out in the instructions (more on that later).
Five sharply cast turrets are included, with recesses to hold the barrels cast into the turret faces. The barrels of the resin main battery are cast with the muzzles open, which is a nice touch, but some modelers may want to replace the barrels with metal versions.
|There are a dozen ships boats included with Neptune. The quality is the usual high standard found in Combrig's kits.|
|There are about a dozen small resin runners with assorted parts for Neptune included in the kit. Parts include the searchlights and mounts, secondary guns and barrels, winches, davits, cable reels, capstans, and a boat boom. This latter part is very well done, with detail at both ends that look like a (much) smaller version of the real thing. Very impressive! Some of the parts are impossibly small and should prove challenging to remove and attach to the ship. All the parts are well cast.|
|Neptune comes with two photo-etch
sets. One large set and one smaller set, that almost looks like an
"oops, we forgot these parts" afterthought. Included are railings,
funnel caps, inclined ladders, accommodation ladders, bases for the spotting
tops and all the parts for the "flying decks" that run between the amidships
superstructure to both the forward and aft superstructures.
This latter part should look impressive when completed and installed.
There are no torpedo net booms or masts included with the kit, though you will find measurements for the torpedo net booms, masts and yards and other "self-made parts" in the instructions.
|The instructions - while typical in layout for Combrig – are much more robust than earlier kits. They are 11 pages long, over six, double sided sheets of paper. There is a parts manifest, instructions on how to make the 'self-made' torpedo net booms, mast and yards, followed by a much more extensive step-by-step build instructions. There are no color callouts or painting instructions, but a nice plan and profile view of Neptune on the first page. Kudos to Combrig for expanding their instructions.|
|This is a terrific looking kit of
one of the Grand Fleets lesser known dreadnoughts. The casting is
up to the usual Combrig standards - which is to say, very good.
There's an extensive photo-etch sheet and expanded instructions.
The packaging of the overall product is very good, though I still wish
Combrig would split the delicate smaller parts into a separate bag from
the larger parts, to prevent breakage. Overall, Neptune
is another winner from Combrig. Highly recommended, especially for
First World War and/or Grand Fleet fans.
This is Combrig’s 1/700 HMS Neptune, kit number 70627. The model lists for $100.00, and is available from many of our fine sponsors. This is an in-box review, your mileage may vary once you commence construction. Thanks to Combrig Models for the review sample.