by: Todd Michalak [ ]
The Roberts Class Monitors weighted in fully loaded at just over 9000 tons. With a beam of 89 feet and an overall length of 373 feet, these two Monitors were certainly not the biggest fish in the sea but each ship packed the punch 4x2 4 inch guns, 16x2 pdr Pom Pom’s, 20x20mm guns all topped off with the main armament being the 2x15/42 MK 1 guns in a single turret. This main gun certainly enforced the ugly duckling look to these new ships. The ships were designed with a higher placement of the observation platform to give a better shot on target view.
Master, Reality in Scale, has been providing fine aftermarket armament upgrades for scale models to the modelling community for many years now. As part of their Sea Masters Line of barrel upgrades, Master releases their latest creation; HMS Roberts Armament SM-350-080. This 10 barrel set is comprises of:
2 Aluminium 15/42 MK 1 Turned Barrels
8 Brass 4 inch Turned Barrels
Anyone who has done any sort of plastic ship modelling before, knows all too well about the shortcomings to most kits tends to be the barrels on many warships. We often find these barrels to be bent, riddled with flash, having the obligatory seam lines and of course then there is the lack of the hollowed out muzzles. Obviously one of the most valued ways to counteract these issues is to purchase an aftermarket barrel set. Replacement barrels, the way I see it, fall into the same category as railings; these details can make or break a kit!
In looking at the 15/42 MK 1 barrel first, Master has done a fine job in reproducing the barrels in aluminium and to scale. They have honed in the correct taper as well as the slight flair to the muzzle as seen on the Robert’s original barrel, one of which is on display at the Imperial War Museum in London. In 1/350th scale, the bore is close enough to give the impression of a real set of Big Guns on this ugly duckling of a ship. There is no riffling present inside the barrel.
Moving on to the 4 inch barrels included in this set, Master has created these from brass. The configuration of these barrels appears to be that as seen on the original and even come with the hollowed out muzzles which I am sure is no easy task in t 1/350th scaling.
In both cases a simple cutting off of the styrene barrel as seen on the kit supplied gun barrels, drill the appropriate size hole to receive the new barrel and glue into place with super glue. All there is left to do is lay down some primer and paint!
Along with the HMS Roberts Armament barrel replacement set from Master, I also received another set of theirs listed as “Bofors 40mm Air-cooled” Model No. SM-350-081. These were sent along with the Roberts set as Master has “(HMS Roberts and Many More)” located on the label. Since there were no 40mm Bofors installed on the HMS Roberts, this would either be a typo or just a little slip in the researching department. In either case, these barrels are not needed for the construction of the 1/350th Scale HSM Roberts from Trumpeter. If you are interested in the 40mm Bofors just the same, please check the review section here on Model Shipwrights as I will put together a review for these barrels just the same…because as barrel replacement go, these are pretty nice!!
In light of slight mix-up in the printing of the 40mm Bofors, I can tell you that Master does in fact carry two additional barrel replacements that will work with this kit as well as many other WII era ships; SM-350-050 Oerlikon 20mm USN type and SM-350-015 British 2-pdr-40mm/39 (1.575in) Mark VIII (POM-POM) Barrels.
Not listed in the usual researching haunts, the HMS Roberts looks to be equipped with MKV duel 20mm/70 guns. These are basically a ride-on duel Oerlikon if you will. I managed to mock up some sets for my build recently using the SM-350-050 Oerlikon 20mm USN type set from Master. Eliminating the pedestal I only needed to install two of the guns on the kit provided mounts and then scratched built a little seat and the deed was done. Far better looking than the kit supplied version. Since the set comes with 20 single Oerlikon guns, there is plenty enough left over to make up the proscribed amount of single 20mm mounts the ship had. There is not much difference between the British and US version of the 20mm Oerlikon’s as they all came from the same manufacturer for the most part and secondly, if anything was different, it would probably be the mounts and in this scaling I felt the differences were negligible.
The other set that can be used on a HMS Roberts build is the SM-350-015 British 2-pdr-40mm/39 (1.575in) Mark VIII (POM-POM) Barrels set. The kit supplied POM_POM is real soft on the detailing of this part. Snip the barrels off and glue the new ones in place and the detailing elevates exponentially. The ship was equipped with one 1x8 and two 2x4 POM-POMS resulting in only 16 barrels needed for the construction…leaving 4 spares in case you lose one or two.
I honestly feel the HMS Roberts Armament set # SM-350-080 is a must have when building the HMS Roberts. The realism gained by replacing the two 15 inch main guns as well as the eight 4 inch guns is well worth the effort and expenditure. The quality of the barrels is exceptional and the dimensions are spot on. I highly recommend this set to anyone building Trumpeter’s 1/350th HMS Roberts.
I also feel after I purchased the SM-350-050 Oerlikon 20mm USN type and SM-350-015 British 2-pdr-40mm/39 (1.575in) Mark VIII (POM-POM) Barrel sets for my build, I have to recommend these as well. A cost efficient way to enhance the model improving the final result!