The armored cruiser concept came about in response to the need for ships to protect the far-flung possessions of the British Empire. HMS Cressy began construction in 1899, as the lead ship of her class. Armed with two 9.1 inch guns in single mount turrets, she and her sisters made approximately 20 knots, with a maximum armor thickness of 6 inches. While not fast enough, or heavily armed or armored enough for battle line duty, at the time of their construction they were more than adequate for protecting overseas interests, and combatting commerce raiders and the armored cruisers of other navies. HMS Cressy was commissioned in 1901, then deployed to protect the British Empire's overseas interests. She spent the first and largest part of her active career on the China Station, followed by a two year stint off of North America and West Indies. With Naval technology advancing at a quick pace, she was decommissioned and laid-up in 1909, but was re-activated at the beginning of World War 1. Assigned to a squadron tasked with protecting the English Channel against surface force raids, she and several other older armored cruisers were on station during the Battle of Heligoland Bight, but remained as reserve and thus saw no action in the battle. Shortly thereafter, on September 22nd, 1914, Cressy, along with her two sisters HMS Aboukir and HMS Hogue, were sunk in a quick action with the German submarine U-9. The loss of three capital ships to a single submarine, over the course of mere hours, lead to a complete restructuring to the British tactics of defense against enemy submarines, and saw the removal of all older and less-capable capital ships from forward deployed and high threat areas.
The biggest part of the kit is of course the hull. Waterline only, the hull is perfectly flat, straight, and true. All corners and details are sharp. Combrig continues to be without equal in casting quality of resin ship hulls.
Deck-edge line chocks are suitably hollow, details on the sides of the hull are sharp, and the portholes are straight and aligned. Those that regularly drill out portholes will likely find these deep enough, with possibly the only thing needed being a few turns of a drill bit to sharpen the edges. Deck planking detail is sharp and consistent, with details amongst it, such as skylights, capstans, barbettes, etc., integrated seamlessly. A very nice feature are the outlines of the forward superstructure to aid in placement, and shallow lines molded into the midship's decks to precisely locate the boat cradle photo etch pieces.
The remainder of the resin components are supplied on a single cast wafer for bridge decks, stack bases, and a couple of deck structures; a plastic bag holds the remainder of the parts, including the stacks, more deck structures, boats, vents, and the like.
The flat cast wafer is thin enough that a little work with a sharp blade and flush sanding should release the pieces easily. The bridge decks exhibit the same fine planking detail as the hull, while the door details on the deck structures and stack bases are sharp and clearly defined. The stacks are perfectly cylindrical and have decent recesses. All vent structures likewise feature nice recesses, but are not fully hollow; they'll likely look just fine in this scale once a dark wash is applied to their interior.