Trumpeter 1/200 HMS Nelson
Pontos 1/200 HMS Nelson aftermarket set
North Star Models 1/200 figures (A & B)
Brass pedestals & teak base.
Time spent- July 2019 – November 2020
This kit was a massive project. Over 1,700 parts, the addition of the aftermarket PE set and the camouflage paint job ensured this project would span well over a year to complete.
Quick summary; A challenging build, but a satisfactory one. Plenty of hurdles to overcome, but once you make inroads, it became easier as time progressed.
Should you attempt one? Many people have said over the course of the build they felt intimidated by the amount of parts and the complexity of them and therefore would never try it. I would honestly say, if you even were mildly interested in trying one of these one day, and had a basic knowledge of using brass & photo etch- do it. A lot of the build was much easier than it looked, and the daunting aspects of the build were not as tough as originally expected. A builder with limited experience can make this whole Pontos kit shine, and you can use as little or as much of it as you want.
If you want to build the kit only, then even basic modelling skills will make this look good. If you want to try the Pontos set on top, then it’s recommended you have at least a small amount of PE & brass experience.
The Trumpeter kit
The kit itself was typical Trumpeter. No flash, good fit on the parts with good detail, though with some of their traditional inaccuracies. Nice of them to supply some PE for it, though this is replaced with the Pontos offering.
The one piece hull design is a great idea, and the deck fit on top reasonably well. Interestingly, the main gun barrels were much shorter than the Pontos replacements. Even without the aftermarket kit, these ships carry enough detail to warrant their big size, and make up a good looking build just on their own.
The colourcoats enamel paints came out looking great. The colours feel very accurate, and the blues & greys are subtle enough without being too bright. The paint required decanting and thinning, though the paint did not last long in the bottles before drying out- which I found odd since they were proper paint bottles. If there was a ready to airbrush version of these colours, or an acrylic range it would be much more popular, and would really cement itself as the be all and end all when it comes to Royal Navy colours.
The Northstar Models figures were highly details and carried multiple interesting poses with a good selection of different types of sailors & officers. In terms of 200 scale naval figures, these 3D printed figures are right up there.
There were two let downs with these figures. One was that they were moulded to the casting block way too close together, so cutting one off often took another off at the knees- this was especially difficult when cutting really thin parts as they are very fragile figures.
The other issue was that dealing with Northsar themselves wasn’t easy. It took about 3 months to get the product. I was told the item had shipped and was given a tracking number which didn’t exist. Then I sent about 8 unanswered emails over a space of 6 weeks with no response. Finally I did get a response saying it was on the way, with the same tracking number- which now worked.
Pontos aftermarket set
Finally the Pontos set. Loads of PE, resin and brass. I loved this set- to a point. It amplified everything so much. 8 barrelled pom poms with 10 parts in the kit, carried over 30 in this one! The detail was amazing across the board.
Even for a newbie like me, it wasn’t difficult to use this set- challenging yes, but a set like this can be used competently by someone with intermediate skills. It’s not reserved for the exclusively advanced.
As fantastic as this aftermarket set is, it was let down greatly by one aspect, and this had a knock on effect which ultimately made this set harder than it needed to be- and that was the instructions.
The images were not clear enough- especially smaller images like the jack staffs or smaller parts.
There were no instructions on how to make many of these components- just an end picture, so I had to rebuild segments of things from time to time when it came to fitting them on the ship.
More than once it called for using the wrong part or wrong railing which was in fact a different number, there were not arrows or diagrams or a process of which parts to use first.
There are also many different parts & accessories which come in the set which are clearly meant to be used for something, but there is no reference to them anywhere in the instructions- text or images. It’s like you’re expected to know where they go, which for a ship could be anyone’s guess.
The pieces which are required to do the main battery were very hard to fit correctly. A lot more detail in the instructions were required for this part especially. This was compounded by the brass barrels which made the front of the turrets very heavy making construction harder still. The ammo boxes for the pom poms were also difficult to use so I used the kit ones instead.
Trumpeter 1/200 HMS Nelson