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Project Notes

#614 HMS Prince Of Wales

Remembering Force Z with a build of the HMS Prince Of Wales from the Tamiya 1:700 waterline series. No electronics for this one.



As we approached the 80th anniversary of the sinking of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, I noticed that Tamiya have a representation of all the vessels in their 1:700 waterline series.

Will I make them all? Perhaps! I completed the Australian destroyer HMAS Vampire and have now added HMS Prince Of Wales to the collection. Perhaps I’ll keep HMS Repulse for next year?

Force Z

Force Z sailed from Singapore at 1710 on 8 December 1941 after receiving word of a Japanese convoy bound for Malaya. It consisted of the battleship HMS Prince of Wales, battlecruiser HMS Repulse, with destroyer escorts HMS Electra, HMS Express, HMAS Vampire and HMS Tenedos.

On 9 December 1941, Japanese submarine and reconnaissance aircraft reported on Force Z without their knowledge. HMS Tenedos was also detected to return to Singapore as she was running low on fuel. Overnight, flares dropped by Japanese aircraft alerted Force Z to their discovery. Having lost the element of surprise, the force was ordered to return to Singapore.

On the return voyage, the force was intercepted by land-based bombers and torpedo bombers of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Prince of Wales and Repulse were sunk by Japanese aircraft on 10 December 1941. Destroyers Electra and Vampire moved in to rescue survivors of Repulse, while Express rescued those from the Prince of Wales.

Occurring just a few days after the Pearl Harbor attacks, this was Britain’s turn to learn how vulnerable capital ships were to air power. There was no attempt to alert or scramble RAF air cover for Force Z, though it is likely to have made little difference as the number and vintage of the planes on hand were totally outclassed by the Japanese forces in play.

HMS Prince Of Wales

HMS Prince Of Wales was the second of the King George V-class battleships. She was commissioned on 19 January 1941 and had a short but storied career.

In May 1941, she accompanied HMS Hood in the hunt for the Bismarck. She scored three hits against the German battleship, forcing it to return to port for repairs and abandon the attempt to break out into the Atlantic.

In October Prince of Wales and a destroyer escort left home waters bound for Singapore, arriving 2 December. Force Z was her first action out of Singapore. The wreck in the South China Sea about 260km NNE from Singapore

The wreck lies upside down in 223 feet (68 m) of water at 3°33′36″N 104°28′42″E (about 260km NNE of Singapore). The wreck site was designated a Protected Place in 2001 under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986.

The Kit

The Tamiya kit No. 31615 is a in 1:700 waterline rendition of the HMS Prince of Wales. Thi sis an old tooling from 1975 but it still stands up to scrutiny. Later boxings I think included the extra detail sprues.


Photo-etch Customization

While the Tamiya kit is a reasonably well detailed, I think it needs some PE to bring it to life, even if just for the railings.

I’m using a pretty wonderful photo-etch set from White Ensign Models (PE 738, 1:700) that caters for all ships in the King George V Class.

Here are my notes on how the PE was applied:

PE Name Used
1 20mm Single Oerlikon 3x stern, 4x midships
2 8 barrel pom-pom replace A25+A26 4x midships
3 4 barrel pom-pom replace A25+A26 on 2nd and 3rd turret
4 20mm twin-barrels for Mk5 n/a
5 KGV degaussing cable n/a
6 Foremast top (later fit) n/a
7 32’ cutter davits replace A4 (not used in the end)
8 Waffle pattern doors replace molded detail and add doors where missing
9 assorted hatches added over hatches
10 27’ whaler oars and rudder add to A20,C22
11 32’ cutter oars and rudder add to A24
12 27’ whaler cradles not used
13 forward ER vent grilles added to B30
14 aft ER vent grilles wrap around under B11 x2
15 vertical and inclined rails 2nd turret
16 Mainmast aerials (Anson/Howe) n/a
17 Crane top cables add to crane
18 crane jib replace B16, B17
19 284 gunnery radar added to C1
20 bridge front DF aerial added to front B7
21 crane cab replaces B18
22 crane jib a-frame replace B14
23 ESM aerials (late fit) n/a
24 Walrus fittings added to Walrus
25 279 radar & platform added to fore and main mastheads, replacing top part of molding
26 281 radar aerials n/a
27 Jack staff added to bow
28 Ensign staff replace B44 at stern
29 catapults cradle added below walrus
30 FH3 HF/DF aerial added to mainmast
31 25’ motor boat cradles not used
32 45’ motor launch cradles not used
33 45’ motor boat cradles not used
34 Foremast starfish added to foremast
35 mainmast starfish (post refit) n/a
36 91 TBS aerial n/a
37 277 surface radar n/a
38 mainmast starfish (early) added to mainmast
39 funnel cap grilles replace top of B33, B41
40 headache aerials (Anson/Howe) n/a
41 Foremast IFF aerials n/a
42 Foremast yards replace part on foremast
43 Top 86 TBS aerial n/a
44 Headache aerials (KG5/DOY) n/a
45 Type 285 yagi aerials add to B3 x 4
46 Type 282 yagi aerials add to B2 x 2 and C8
47 16’ motor dinghy cradles not used
48 IFF interrogator aerial n/a
49 modified aft funnel platform (DOY) n/a
50 fwd funnel siren platform n/a
51 sirens n/a
52 IFF aerials (Anson/Howe) n/a
53 accommodation ladders added to turrets
54 mainmast IFF aerial (Anson/Howe) n/a
55 Main HACs tower platforms n/a
56 85/86 TBS aerials added to fore and main masts
57 32’ cutter cradles not used
58 anchor cable not used
59 2 bar rails turret and platform railings
60 3 bar rails gunnel rails
feature recommended used
  X-11 Chrome Silver  
  X-14 Sky Blue  
  XF-1 Flat Black  
  XF-2 Flat White 70.951 white
  XF-7 Flat Red  
  XF-8 Flat Blue  
Plane camo XF-11 IJN Green 70.897 Bronze Green
  XF-12 IJN Grey  
  XF-20 Medium Grey  
  XF-21 Sky  
  XF-24 Dark Grey  
  XF-53 Neutral Grey  
  XF-54 Dark Sea Grey  
deck XF-55 Deck Tan 70.843 Cork Brown
  XF-56 Metallic Grey  
Plane camo XF-64 Red Brown  
  XF-66 Light Grey 70.990 Light Grey
Camo A: Dark Ultramarine Blue XF-1:1 + XF-8:4 70.839 ultramarine + 70.950 black (8:1)
Camo B: Dark Grey Green XF-24:2 + XF-55:1 70.868 Dark Sea Green + 70.893 US Dark Green (6:1)
Camo C: Medium Grey XF-2:1 + XF-54:2 70.992 Neutral Grey + 70.963 Medium Blue (8:1)
Camo D: Medium Blue X-14:1 + XF-2:2 + XF-7:smidgeon 70.963 Medium Blue + 70.989 Sky Grey (1:1)
Camo E: Light Grey Green XF-2:1 + XF-21:2 70.870 Medium Sea Grey + 70.893 US Dark Green (6:1)
Camo F: Light Grey XF-2:1 + XF-12:1 70.990 Light Grey
life rafts XF-2 70.993 White Grey

Adding some figures brings the deck to life. I’m using a set from ION Model: Royal Navy - Chilling on deck No. R700-001 1:700

They publish a useful guide to preparing and painting


Making a start on the Tamiya 1:700 HMS Prince of Wales. This White Ensign PE will keep me busy for a bit! #scalemodel



Yeah just for scale: that’s how big my glass of wine had to be to deal with all that PE



In progress - HMS Prince of Wales (Tamiya 1:700). Doing the PE rails after the dazzle camo and deck turned out to be a good choice. Final stretch now.

build01e build01f build01g build01h build01i build01j

Still (always) more to do, but pottering away on my HMS Prince of Wales makes for a quiet meditation on the events of 80 years ago, just a few hundred miles north of my QTH

build01k build01l

Rigging and antenna fixups


build02b build02c build02d

Itsy bitsy crew from @ionmodel that will be perfect on my 1:700 builds. Painting will be like 1 molecule of flesh tone to 3 molecules of navy;-) Got these after seeing @r.o.hobbypasion post, maybe these were used on his jaw-dropping Juan Carlos I L-61 diorama?


OK finally discovered something more finicky than hand-soldering 0603 SMT LEDs: painting 1:700 figures


Srsly, was the Walrus really worth all the trouble😎!!?… creating a few dramas on deck with these beaut little @ionmodel 1:700 RN crew (on the still-more-to-go HMS Prince of Wales)


Planning a seascape base, the foam on photo-frame technique ($2 from Daiso)…


Planning my seascape for HMS Prince of Wales aka “Time Tunnel 1941”


Making waves today😊 .. HMS Prince of Wales (Tamiya 1:700, White Ensign PE and crewed by #ionmodel)

build05a build05b build05c build05d build05e build05f

Oh, I like this stern shot


HMS Prince of Wales (Tamiya 1:700). Faux Movietone News version;-)


Credits and References

Project Source on GitHub Project Gallery Return to the LEAP Catalog

This page is a web-friendly rendering of my project notes shared in the LEAP GitHub repository.

LEAP is just my personal collection of projects. Two main themes have emerged in recent years, sometimes combined:

  • electronics - usually involving an Arduino or other microprocessor in one way or another. Some are full-blown projects, while many are trivial breadboard experiments, intended to learn and explore something interesting
  • scale modelling - I caught the bug after deciding to build a Harrier during covid to demonstrate an electronic jet engine simulation. Let the fun begin..
To be honest, I haven't quite figured out if these two interests belong in the same GitHub repo or not. But for now - they are all here!

Projects are often inspired by things found wild on the net, or ideas from the many great electronics and scale modelling podcasts and YouTube channels. Feel free to borrow liberally, and if you spot any issues do let me know (or send a PR!). See the individual projects for credits where due.