Reviewed by Martin Quinn
Photos by Timothy Dike
 With the onset of war in August 1914, three additional ships of the Royal Sovereign class (and an additional Queen Elizabeth-class ship) in the 1914 naval building program were canceled.  However, the return of Jackie Fisher to the Admiralty as First Sea Lord in late 1914 transformed what were supposed to be three R-class battleships into two new Battlecruisers - Renown and Repulse.  Ordered just after the Battlecruisers smashing success at the Falklands, the pair were built in a remarkably short period of time.   Renown was built at Fairfield in Govan on the River Clyde, and was completed in just over a year and a half.   Graced with good looks, superb 15 inch guns and great speed, Renown had minimal armor.   When she joined the fleet in late 1916, it was after the Battlecruiser debacle at Jutland, making her and her sister very unpopular ships.

Due to the lack of armor, the sisters ended up shuttling in and out of dockyard hands for improvements, such as raising the forward funnel, re-arranging the searchlight configuration and installing additional deck armor.  These trips to the dockyard earned the sister the nicknames "Refit" and "Repair".   When Renown finally joined the fleet for good in 1917, she joined the 1st Battlecruiser Squadron, where the highlight of her World War I career was the surrender of the German Fleet in November, 1918.

Amongst her duties post war was her role as Royal Yacht,  making two trips to Australia and New Zealand.  Extensively rebuilt in the late 1930's, she served in a variety of theaters during the Second World War, finally succumbing to the scrappers torch in 1948. 

Renown was 794 feet overall, with a beam at her widest point of 90 feet.   In 700 scale, that would equate to an overall length of 13.6 inches and a width of 1.5 inchs.   The NNT Renown scales out pretty much perfectly to the real thing. 
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However, the curve of the bow doesn't look pronounced enough, and the width of the waterline looks too wide, from the bow back to the first barbette, depriving the model of the graceful shape that the real ships have. 

The armored belt looks oversized and a bit out of scale, and I thought the boat cradles are a bit thick.   On a positive note, overall the hull is nicely cast, with fine details and most of the first deck of the superstructure cast in place.   The deep recesses under the 01 deck are finely reproduced, leaving a thin and realistic looking overhang, and the cable reels looks as if they are wound with actual cable. 

These ships were launched without wooden decks, so deck strips (also called 'foot strips') were installed for traction (Battlecruisers, John Roberts, Pg 49).   You'll find these strips all along the deck.  They look convincing, and will be toned down even further with a coat of paint. 

Being a World War I ship, the superstructure is pretty sparse, but what parts are here are generally well done.   Some of the parts are on a wafer, while some are on a 'sprue' (which I prefer).  Some highlights of the superstructure parts include nice recessed vision slits in the armored conning tower and some crisply cast parts, including some of the hatches and other deck fittings. However, some of the portholes are a little shallow and will need to be drilled out further. 
 Renown and Repulse were launched with funnel of an even height, but shortly after entering service, the forward funnel was raised on both ships - similar to what was done to the Invincible class Battlecruisers - to clear smoke from the bridge.   The kit comes with two funnels of even height, which means represents this model 'as built'.   The funnels are well cast, if a little devoid of detail (no external piping is included), though the tubes coming up from the stacks are a nice touch.    The searchlight platforms are also 'as built'. 
The main battery turrets are, in my opinion, the weakest part of the kit.   The width of the turrets appears to be too narrow, with not enough curvature to the forward face.   This gives them the appearance of being decidedly under scale, especially when compared to the turrets in the Tamiya Repulse kit, or the White Ensign Renown (though these may be a different design after the ships 1939 rebuild).  There are both resin and brass barrels included in the kit.   The resin barrels come in two styles - with and without blast bags.   While the resin barrels are serviceable, I prefer the brass barrels.  With a bit of patience, you could probably use the resin blast bags with the brass gun barrels. 
The secondary guns are really well done, especially the triple 4 inch guns.  The guns and the platform are cast as one, made to slide into the very thin and finely cast gun shields.   There are also some other secondary weapons and they are crisply cast as well.   The fidelity of the gun shield is really amazing in this scale. 
The smaller fittings and fixtures are well done, with a minimum of flash.   Among the parts are search and signal lamps, anchors, and gun directors.
Since this an 'as built' model, Renown carried a fair number of boats, many right on the main deck.  The boats are nicely cast, but seem a little soft on details. 
I hesitate to call the decals a "sheet", as they are so small - it only consists of two flags, the White Ensign and the National Flag.   The decals are okay - I'll probably dip into the spares box and see if I have anything better before using these. 
The photo-etch set is good.   It consists of inclined and accommodation ladders, funnel grates, boat cradles, supports for the 01 deck and boat davits.  It even has some what appears to be 3D etching on the photo-etch for the boats.   However, there doesn't seem to be a lot of railing for a ship the size of Renown.  If there is enough, there it probably just enough, so be careful when railing the model. 
The metal parts consist of the brass barrels for the 15 inch main guns.   These are really nice, and as mentioned above, I would use these in place of the resin barrels included with the kit. 
The instructions consist of 3D exploded view of the ship on 3 double sided pieces of paper on landscape format.   On the last page is a profile view of the ship with call outs for which Humbrol color (codes only) to use.   While not extensive, they are better than the instructions that I've seen with other kits, and should be sufficient to build this model.   Still, I would have liked to have seen names to go with the color call outs and a plan view to go with the profile view.

It's great to see so many unique World War I ships being released.   Being a huge "fan" of Battlecruisers, I was eagerly anticipating this model.  On the plus side, it's impressive in size, and compared to the plans in Ensign 8 on Renown & Repulse, it certainly looks like an early Renown.   However, it's not without it's flaws.  While the casting is nice, the issues with the shape of the bow and the gun turrets knock down what could have been a terrific kit into a good but not great model.   I think the choice of as "as built" Renown was odd, since the ship was quickly modified.  That being said, I'd still recommend this model to fans of either World War I ships or fans of Battlecruisers (or both!).   Thanks to NNT for the review sample.