Saturday, 15 February 2014

HMS Thunderer ... again!

I have managed to find a somewhat better drawing of the Lion-class battleship than the one I used when making my (very) approximate model of HMS Thunderer. The following drawing shows the 1939 version of the original design:

She designs particulars were:
  • Displacement: 42,550 tons
  • Length: 793'
  • Beam: 108'
  • Draught: 34' 3"
  • Propulsion: 4 Parsons steam turbine sets driving 4 shafts (130,000 shp); steam provided by 8 Admiralty 3-drum water-tube boilers
  • Speed: 28.25 knots
  • Range: 16,500 nautical miles
  • Complement: 1,750
  • Armament:
    • 3 × 3 16-inch BL Mk II guns
    • 8 × 2 5.25-inch QF Mk I dual purpose guns
    • 9 × 8 and 1 × 4 2-pounder QF anti-aircraft guns
  • Armour:
    • Belt: 6 to 15 inches
    • Deck: 2.5 to 6 inches
    • Barbettes: 12 to 15 inches
    • Gun turrets: 7 to 15 inches
    • Conning tower: 3 to 4.5 inches
    • Bulkheads: 4 to 12 inches
During the Second World War the design was modified several times, and there was even a proposal to convert the design into a hybrid battleship/aircraft carrier. Had this been done the design would have sacrificed rearmost of the triple 16-inch gun turrets and the superstructure would have been redesigned to provide space for the hangers and flight deck. All this to carry twelve fighters and two torpedo bombers!

My model of HMS Thunderer is supposed to represent her as designed in 1939, but with the addition of two extra 2 x 8 2-pounder anti-aircraft gun mountings, one atop two of the 16-inch turrets. I have also added a couple of extra ship's boats and some wire masts.

The model is now ready to paint, and I hope to do that sometime next week.

There is one unasked question that I need to answer. Why did I choose to model HMS Thunderer and not the name ship of the class, HMS Lion?

The answer is – in fact – very simple. The previous HMS Thunderer (which was a member of the 1911 Orion-class of battleships) was the last battleship built on the River Thames. She was constructed by Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company at Learmouth Wharf, Blackwall and fitted out at a specially-built wharf close to Barking Reach Power Station on the River Thames near Dagenham. To this day the wharf is still called Thunderer Jetty.

My family have been long-term supporters of West Ham United Football Club, which was originally set up as Thames Ironworks Football Club. My paternal grandfather was born in Dagenham, and my father's family lived and worked not far from Blackwall. It therefore follows that building a model of the later HMS Thunderer was the natural choice for me to make.


  1. Look forward to seeing her at COW and/or Holborn.

  2. Nigel Drury,

    I hope to use her during the next Fletcher Pratt battle ... but I will need to paint her first!

    All the best,