H.M.S. Hood Today - Scale Models & Miniatures of Hood
Review of Heller/Airfix's 1/400 Scale H.M.S. Hood
by Frank Allen
Updated 08-Jan-2018

This is a basic review of Heller's 1/400 scale injection moulded plastic kit of Hood.
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Original 1977 Heller 1/400 scale H.M.S. Hood box art This is one of the earliest large-size injection moulded Hood kits ever released. It was first issued in 1977 (see the upper image to the right). It was reissued in 2002. It is currently the third largest available injection moulded kit of Hood as sunk (a distant third to the much superior 1/350 and 1/200 scale kits by Trumpeter). It is now marketed by Airfix.

This model was initially not received well by model reviewers in the 1970s. The poor reviews were quite justified: though large, this kit is extremely simplistic and very under-detailed for its size. It also pales in comparison to other Heller offerings in this scale. One could easily rate this among the worst kits ever produced by Heller.

The kit was not re-tooled or changed for the 2002 reissue. The only notable difference was new box art (see the lower image to the right). Though panned by critics (for the same old problems), the kit sold well when reissued, simply by the virtue of it being the largest, affordable injection moulded kit of the ship available at that time.

Important Note: Normally, we try to point out major errors and offer solutions for fixing them. This is not meant to berate model kits or manufacturers, but to help modellers know what needs to be changed, should they wish to do so. In this particular case however, the model is so incredibly incorrect, that it simply doesn't warrant a complete blow by blow description of errors and recommendations. We will therefore only review the basics.

2002 reissue Heller 1/400 scale H.M.S. Hood box art Hull
The two piece hull is correct in shape and size for the most part. The only notable problem is the bow. When viewed from the side profile, it is overly angular. It fails to capture the elegant curve of the actual ship's bow. Fortunately, this can be corrected with sanding and putty. The armour belt detailing is adequate. The stern appears to be quite close.

The kit's real problems start at the deck. The enclosed focsle deck (the locations of the former port and starboard batteries) is entirely wrong. It does not have the structures present on the actual ship. This entire area will need to be scratch-built. Above this is an extremely flawed shelter deck/boat deck. This deck is far too slim in width. This needs to be scratch-built or somehow extended to reach the hull.

The forward superstructure is very crude. It is "roughly" the correct shape, but features in some areas too much and in other areas too little moulded-in splinter shielding! It also lacks portholes, viewing slits and windows. This is a major problem for the spotting top and the conning tower. Both are far too plain and under-detailed. These parts need significant modification.

Heller 1/400 scale H.M.S. Hood box contentsThe funnels are roughly correct, but the funnel bases are not. The forward funnel is completely lacking a base. The second funnel base is present, but needs some modifications to be accurate (the disinfector house, motor boat workshop and searchlight platforms need much work. Moving aft, the main mast starfish is way too small. The after superstructure is incorrectly shaped, but can be fixed.

These are extremely poor. The main 15" gun turrets are a too flat in profile and a too angular when viewed from above. The secondary guns are a bit plain but otherwise decent.

Boats & Bits
The boats are probably the best pieces of the kit. They are not precise copies of the real boats, but they are acceptable.

Overall, it is quite apparant that if built straight from the box with no modifications, this model is one of the worst kits of Hood (second to the Lindberg kit of course - Lindberg, by far, holds the distinction of "worst Hood kit"). However, we know from experience that with MUCH work, the Heller kit does have promise. We have seen a number of examples that have been transformed into very acceptable renditions of Hood as sunk. It can be done! For proof, just see "Photos of Completed Kits" near the bottom of this page! Nevertheless, we simply cannot recommend this model. If you want a nice large scale Hood, buy the Trumpeter 1/350 model. It too needs work, but nowhere near as much as the Heller kit.

After-Market Accessories
White Ensign Models- WEM PE 4004 photoetch set

Assorted Photos
Shown below are various photos of the kit's contents (sample shown is an original release. 2002 example is identical except that the plastic is light blue in colour).

  Heller 1/400 scale H.M.S. Hood box contents    Heller 1/400 scale H.M.S. Hood box contents   Heller 1/400 scale H.M.S. Hood box contents

Photos of Completed Kits
Here are links to excellent examples of what can be done with this kit