Pola. Part 2.
The Pola was the last of the four Zara-class cruisers. She was laid down in Livorno/Leghorn in March 1931, launched in December 1931 and commissioned in December 1932. The Zara class cruisers were considered to be successful ships, having a good balance between speed, armament and protection. Actually, with their 150 mm thick side armor and with armored decks 70 mm thick, they were the best protected cruisers of their time.
During the Spanish civil war, she was a part of the Italian force that intervened on the side of the Nationalists.
During WWII she took part in a number of sorties against the British and escorted convoys to North Africa. During the battle of Punta Stilo in June 1940 she traded salvoes with British cruisers without being hit, nor hitting the enemy. She was anchored in Taranto during the British attack, but was not hit.
During the Battle of Cape Teluada in November 1940, she hit the HMS Berwick, putting one of that ships main turrets out of action.
She took part in the Battle of Cape Matapan, where she on 28 March 1941 was hit by an aerial torpedo, that caused her to loose all power. She lay adrift, and during the night her sisters Zara and Fiume were sunk by British battleships while coming to her assistance. Later, the British destroyers HMS Jervis and HMS Nubian closed in on the Pola and sunk her with torpedoes in the early hours of 29 March.
The loss of the three Zara class cruisers can largely be attributed to their lack of radar. In naval history, the Battle of Cape Matapan is considered to be the first ”radar battle”.
The paintjob on the model wasn’t nearly as demanding as the build. I basically used the same techniques that I’ve used on my previous models, that is half transparent layers of different shades of the basic colors.
The red and white stripes on the did pose a challenge though. First, it’s practically impossible to mask the stripes over a foredeck studded with hatches, ventilator capstans etc. This was another reason why I cut the foredeck details away at an early stage in the build. Secondly, you cannot use pure white or red when painting the strips, or the foredeck will look like the wrapping of a candy bar. I had to do quite a bit of mixing and experimenting, to find suitably bleached and dirty red and white nuances. The red is actually some eight parts yellow, two parts red and one part green. The white is more beige than white, that is, a very light grey into which some brown was mixed.
The last picture shows the Pola next to my Roma.
These two kits are the only injection moulded kits of Italian ships in 1:350. If you want to build more ships of the mighty Italian Navy, that played such an important part in the Mediterranean War, you have to scratchbuild.
More about that later….
23 additional images. Click to enlarge.