H.M.S. Hood Today - Scale Models & Miniatures of Hood
Models of H.M.S. Hood in 1/1200 & 1/1250 Scale
by Ingo Hohm
Updated 07-May-2014

Special thanks to our miniature specialist and friend the late Ingo Hohm of Hamburg, Deutschland for the following review and photos (except where indicated). This review covers 1/1200 & 1/1250 Hoods made by the following producers: Wiking, Superior, Airfix, Navis, Neptun, Argonaut and Bassett-Lowke.  Models in this scale were originally produced to aid in recognition training of naval observers. Please check with the manufacturers or a local/online hobby retailer of your choice for latest prices and availability.

Chainbar divider

Various 1/1200 and 1/1250 scale models of Hood
Above (L-R): Airfix, Neptun (old), Argonaut 1210A, and Navis Hoods.


Bassett-Lowke 1/1200 scale Hood
Bassett-Lowke Hood.
Click to enlarge

Bassett-Lowke
Bassett-Lowke produced one of the first 1/1200 scale models. In fact, this is the company that built the actual builder's model of Hood. We can't say much about this one because we've never seen any Basset-Lowke models in person...but we do have a picture (right).

The purpose behind this miniature was naval recognition training. It was produced in the late 1930's to early 1940's. Models of this series were handmade from wood, so the making of such a model was not much different from scratch-building.


Wiking
In the 1920s Wiking started to make and sell models in 1/1250 scale on a large scale. Still today some people say "Wiking ships" if they mean "waterline model in 1/1250". They were made by spin-casting using an alloy with a high content of lead. (So another frequent but wrong name for 1/1250 ship models is "Bleischiffe").

Wiking Hood
Wiking's Hood.
Click to enlarge (both)
Wiking Hood

Pre-war Wiking are still quite often to be found wherever second hand models are sold, but mostly they are heavily played with. In good condition they are valuable collectors items. After the War, Wiking made a revival and re-released several of the pre-war models and several new ones. They stopped the production of ship models completely in the 1970's because they concentrated on their famous line of 1/87 model cars. I have seen a photo of the Hood from Wiking in Peter Schönfelder's "Wiking-Modelle. Die Schiffe und Flugzeuge" (Koehler , Herford 1998, ISBN 3782207319). It is a simple and sturdy model giving more or less accurate the overall shape of hull and superstructure. I shows some 1930s configuration. I had the Impression that something with the proportions was wrong. Pre-war Wiking models (and those reissued from the old moulds) tend to have rounded edges everywhere giving a somewhat softened appearance. One should expect no more detail than on a modern day 1/2400 war gamer's kit.


 

Tremo Hood
Tremo's Hood. Click to enlarge.

Tremo
A lead copy of the pre-war Wiking Hood. We have heard from John at Santa Rosa Ships that Tremo was formed by a German man seeking asylum in Britain in the days before World War II. He set up his business and copied Wiking miniatures he brought with him from Germany. The factory was lost after the war, and as a result, Tremo miniatures are no longer produced. They are rare and very valuable. No additional information available.

 


 

Superior Models 1930s era Hood  Superior Models hypothetical post 1942 refit  Hood
Left- 1930s era Hood; Right- Hypothetical 1942 Hood.
Click to enlarge. Photos courtesy of Bob Weymouth.

Superior Models 
The post-war brand Superior (available from Alnavco) is mostly based on the moulds of the US wartime producers. Some Superior models were still available (but strangely no Royal Navy) although availability was spotty. Now Alnavco owns Superior and the line is reworked and enlarged (the recent lists include Royal Navy again) and the availability will improve. Their product line includes different versions of Hood.

 


Airfix

Airfix 1/1200 scale Hood
Airfix 1/1200 Hood. Click to enlarge.
Usually models in this scale are cast in metal, often readily assembled and painted. The plastic kit from Airfix is one of the rare exceptions. It is somewhat more delicate than a typical Superior model. It gives a quite good 1940/41 appearance of the Hood except the wrong shape of the boat deck (it had no such straight edge), the missing UP rocket launcher/projector on the "B" turret and the front mast. The torpedo lookout would be okay for Hood prior to the last changes in 1941, but (as Steve Richards pointed out to me) the searchlight platform definitely is wrong (see detailed review by Steve Richards).

The Airfix kit (long since out of production, but probably still available from shops specializing in old kits) had an unbeatable low price for this scale and gives a good result.


Neptun
Neptun has set the standard for quality. As most other modern producers they use rubber moulds for casting, which allows much finer details than the spin-casting used by older companies like Superior. Ships in this scale are usually rated as "poor quality" or "like Neptun." Today there is even a third category: "better than Neptun," and the latest releases of Neptun (and Navis) also belong to this.

Old Neptun 1/1250 Hood
Old Neptun 1/1250 Hood
Above- Old Neptun Hood
Below- New Neptun Hood
Click to enlarge.
New Neptun 1/1250 Hood
New Neptun 1/1250 Hood

The Neptun model is the best detailed Hood in 1/1250 currently available. It shows her appearance as she was when sunk in 1941.

The Hood from Neptun belongs to the first generation of their high quality models. It has a lot of detail and is quite accurate, although not as marvelous as the latest releases.

When I prepared this review I had a thorough look at the Neptun Hood in my collection (right) and had a bad surprise. While the one to be found today in the shops is an accurate and correct model of the 1941 Hood the one in my collection definitely is not. I bought it second hand about 15 years ago and it may well be more than 20 years old.

At first look I thought that it was not 1941 but 1930s, and indeed this nice model was sadly wrong: it is wild mix of pre 1939 and after 1940 features. It has the foremast without torpedo lookout (correct after Mar 40), it has all the anti-aircraft artillery (AA) that were installed in 1940, but it also has the secondary artillery on the broadside and a large rectangular gap in the boat deck above it (like it was in the 1920s). The bridge also is without the 1939 changes.

This wrong model is based on a wrong drawing in Siegfried Breyer's "Schlachtschiffe und Schlachtkreuzer 1905-70." Obviously this drawing was created by taking a correct look from 1920s or 1930s and adding the later changes of the AA armament without pictorial references that would have shown how that rectangular gap was partly closed with extensions to the deck where the AA was placed.

That could not be seen from drawings showing the side view or photos showing the whole ship from the side. This error is enlarged by the remark, that the 14 cm were later removed in 1941 (in fact they were removed at the same time the UP rocket launchers were installed: during the 29 March - 27 May 1940 refit at Devonport). Interestingly, a downscaled version of this wrong drawing is still used on the list of models that Neptun issues.

But these errors have been corrected several years ago. The model now sold by Neptun is of correct 1941 configuration as she was when she met the Bismarck. I can really recommend the Neptun model - its the best available today, sold at $90US. If you buy a Neptun Hood second hand, be careful to avoid the totally wrong old version I have. The Neptun model comes in quite acceptable dark grey (Home Fleet colour) with some details (black stack top, boats, muzzles) highlighted in appropriate other colours. The waterline is accurately painted black. The deck is (as in nearly all such models) not painted in a different colour. Older versions (as mine) of this model are in very dark grey suitable for Japanese ships, but wrong for the Hood. You can see the Neptun Hood miniatures at the following URL- http://www.navis-neptun.de/produkte/datenbank/1110.html.

The Hood is also available from Neptun in their "Special Edition" Version (1110S). For a accordingly higher price this series offers a painted deck, full rigging and a showcase. The showcase is a must as the complete rigging is somewhat delicate and needs this kind of protection against dust and clumsy fingers.


Navis 1/1250 scale Hood 
Navis 1/1250 scale Hood
Navis 1/1250 scale Hood
Navis Hood.
Click to enlarge.

Navis
Navis, a kind of sister company to Neptun, was originally produced by the brother of the manufacturer of Neptun. They stuck a long time to a simpler and less detailed style of model than Neptun to maintain a consistent look of their whole line. Now they are reissuing their models in the same quality as Neptun.

The Hood as it is available today belongs to the "old" Navis quality. It is a well done model with accurate measures and sharp edges, but less detailed than Neptun. Especially the boats which are simple flat-topped boat shapes and the hull has no bulls eyes at all. The upper part of the masts are made of plastic and are to be fitted by the customer.

As Navis produces WW1-era models, the Hood is shown as she appeared shortly after commissioning. I really recommend it if you want a 1920s appearance (and it costs at $45 US half the price of the Neptun). Sometime in the future it will surely be replaced by a new model in the actual "better than Neptun standard" quality, but that may take a few years. What I said about the colour of the Neptun model applies also to Navis. Navis and Neptun are producing regularly. Usually all their models are available. You can see the reworked/updated Navis Hood miniatures (indicated by "N") at the following URL- http://www.navis-neptun.de/produkte/datenbank/1110.html

 


Argonaut
Argonaut is another producer of 1/1250 ships. As with all the others, their quality has improved over the time and the newer releases by Argonaut are nearly comparable to older Neptun models like the Hood. Sometimes they look a bit less "crisp" than Neptun, but that is due to the thick paint used by Argonaut. I was told that good improvements are to be achieved by removing the original paint with nitro thinner and repainting the model.

Argonaut 1/1250 scale 1930s Hood
Argonaut 1/1250 scale 1930s Hood
Argonaut 1/1250 scale 1930s Hood
Argonaut 1930s Hood.
Click to enlarge.
Argonaut 1/1250 scale 1941 Hood
Argonaut 1/1250 scale 1941 Hood
Argonaut 1/1250 scale 1941 Hood
Argonaut 1941 Hood.
Click to enlarge.

Argonaut has two versions of the Hood: #1210 in 1941 appearance and #1210a stated as 1938 in lists, but actually in 1936/37 appearance. The #1210a shows the Hood after the removal of catapults and prior to the installation of the aft pom-pom. A closer inspection (and comparison to the books) shows that it is the 1936/37 configuration, it has the searchlight platform removed and some small stuff (footings of antennas?) added to the front mast. This model has a historical error: the bridge is as after 1939. I would not have noticed this if I hadn't had a thorough look to find out which version between 1932 and 1937 this model exactly represents. The wrong bridge probably found its way to this model because it was derived from the #1210 in 1941s appearance and the producers were not aware of the minor changes to the bridge made in 1939.

This model is fairly detailed and looks good - even in direct comparison to the Neptun. Only closer inspection shows a little sink here and a little sprue there, that is why Argonaut is generally rated as "a little less then Neptun." As with the other models in this scale a grey colour is applied overall. The waterline is black and the top of the stacks are painted black, but no other details are highlighted with colour. The grey Argonaut uses is not only to thick but also much too light. The Argonaut-models are a little bit cheaper than the Neptun.

I don't know the #1210/1941 model, but it is probably of comparable quality to the other one and hopefully historically correct. I have made arrangements to get one and will include it in this review in the future.


Conclusions
It is hard to tell which buy is the best, each has its flaws and advantages:

The Neptun is the best in detail, but also the most expensive.

The Argonaut 1210a gives a good late 1930s Hood, nearly but not exactly as good and not as expensive as the Neptun, but with minor historical errors.

The Navis gives a less detailed, but quite exact 1920s Hood for a reasonable price.

The Airfix kit gives a 1940/41 Hood at the lowest price available with minor errors.

At the moment I can't say anything about the Argonaut #1210, but there is a chance that this may be a correct 1941 Hood like the Neptun-model. So it is a little cheaper alternative to Neptun in little less quality.

The ultimate Hood in details (and probably correctness) will be the Hood from Navis when it is reissued in "new" Quality. Based on their newest releases we can guess that it even might exceed the Neptun in quality. But for that we will have to wait an unknown number of years and almost certain we will have to pay more for it than for today's Neptun model.

There were further models proposed but never realised by Hansa (a WW2 version) and Leviathan (a 1920s version).

Although not in the scope this review, the possibility of scratchbuilding has to be mentioned. In the "Scratch-built" section of this web site's H.M.S. Hood Model Gallery, a very fine 1/1200 scratch-built Hood by John Youngerman is shown (this and further scratchbuild models by John Youngerman in 1/1200 by are also to be seen in the Reader gallery at 1250home)


Alternative Reviews/Additional Resources
More about the history of this scale can be found at http://steelnavy.com/1250home.htm