There exist two high quality 1/1250 models of HMS Repulse, the one from Neptun (#1106a) and another one from Argonaut (#1065). The model from Argonaut is an improved reissue of their older model (#65) and was available for some time before the (long awaited) model from Neptun was released.Both models show a late configuration of the Repulse, so a few remarks about the history of the original may be useful.
From April 1933 to May 1936 the Repulse was rebuilt at Portsmouth yard. This rebuilding was more extensive than on the previous rebuilt battleships. Both models show the Repulse in some post 1936 configuration. (If you want her appearance as in WW I: there is a 1916 Renown available from Navis, recently reissued in "new" Quality). In 1938 she went again to Portsmouth yard to convert her for use as royal yacht. The proposed changes were mainly for creating accommodation space for the royal family (and those officers who had to move because their quarters were converted), including replacing the upper aft 4" triple mount AA by a sundeck. Due to rising political tensions this plan was dropped (the King traveled on a civilian ship to Canada) and when she left the yard in April 1939 only a small portion of the proposed changes had been made. The most visible were a minor change in AA armament: As was proposed with the changes in connection with the creation of suitable living space for the King the aft pair of 4"AA twin mounts had been replaced by single mounts and on the 4"AA director platform two 50 cal. quadruple AA machine guns had been added.
In the short time between the outbreak of the war and the sinking of the Repulse only few changes were made, the main change was to replace one of the aft 4" triple mounts by a pom pom. None of the two models shows the Repulse as she was when sunk.
The most obvious difference is the least important: the color. Neptun uses a very reasonable shade of grey. The grey of Argonaut is much too light. Additionally the Argonaut paint tends to be quite thick, so details may look less crisp than they are.
The main difference between the Neptun and the Argonaut model lies in the 1938/39 changes: Neptun shows the Repulse as she was between 1936 and 1938 (i.e. with the aft twin 4" mounts) and Argonaut shows her as she was after April 1939 (with single 20 mm AA and the quadruple AA machine guns on the director platform). The twin gun mounts on the Neptun model are actually the experimental twin 4" mounts which were the forerunners of the twin 4.5" turrets mounted on RENOWN , VALIANT and QUEEN ELIZABETH in their refits.
The next obvious differences between the two models is with the mast. The mast of the Argonaut model has two quite broad yards, whereas the mast of the Neptun model has only one considerably shorter yard and an upper crosstree. Comparison with pictures in the books reveals that the Neptun mast is correct.
Another obvious difference is with the boats. Number and position of the boats are identical, but whereas Argonaut has no paint other than the overall-grey applied to the boats, Neptun has a dark brown over the upper side of the boats plus a few additional details highlighted. Due to their color and superior details the Neptun boats look much better. The types of boats also differs, but I had no historical source available to decide which model has the "correct" types of boats.
All other differences are small and not to be seen at first glimpse. Mostly these are more a matter of style than a question of right or wrong, so the rest this review is dedicated to what may be called "rivet-counting".
Although the details are identical the impression from the stacks is different: Argonaut's stack tops are broader, thus their stacks look larger (although height and other dimensions are seemingly identical). I had no pictures showing the stack from above, so I can't judge on what is more correct.
Both models show the windows of the bridge. Neptun has three broad windows on each side, Argonaut has five smaller ones. Here clearly Neptun is quite close to the real thing.
The breakwater is clearly molded on both models, but Neptun also shows the supports for it.
The Aircraft-cranes have framework to be seen on both models from the side, but viewed from above the Argonaut one is solid and only Neptun shows details too.
There is a mysterious difference with the aft stairs leading down to the main deck. On the Neptun-model these stairs are attached to a special protruding part of the deck (thus leaving a triangular gap between the stairs and the deck) whereas on the Argonaut-model the deck is lengthened to these stairs. I could not find out which style is the correct one - I assume the way it is done on the Neptun model. It might even be a subtle difference from the 1938/39 refit.
As both models are fine detailed and well done it is difficult to draw a conclusion. The Neptun is superior in details, but it is also more expensive. If you want the best detailed you could buy - then Neptun is THE choice. If you need a post April 1939 configuration or prefer to save some money on sacrificing the last tiny detail, Argonaut has to be sincerely considered.
But most probably you won't have the choice: Neptun produces regularly and is available also from several retailers outside Germany - so getting a certain Neptun model usually is no problem. Argonaut models are much more difficult to get. Usually only the new releases are available, reordering older models is seldom successful (all retailers are complaining about it). So with luck you may find a retailer who has a Argonaut Repulse available, but if he has none in his stock the chances to get one are not good.
Since the release of the Neptun Repulse the chances to get a pre-owned Argonaut may have increased - but that is a matter of luck too. If you have a chance to get a pre-owned Argonaut-Repulse you should be aware that my recommendation of the Argonaut Repulse applies only to the reissued (and most probably improved) #1065, not to the older #65. I don't know the original Argonaut Repulse and can't say anything about the degree of improvement. Generally old Argonaut are considerably lesser detailed than the new ones.
Editors note: As I have the earlier Argonaut Repulse, and have compared it to the reissue, I found that there is very little difference between the two. As with most older Argonauts, I have re-masted and stripped and repainted the model, which I recommend as it considerably improves the appearance of the ship. PJ