Dido(, Cleopatra, Naiad, etc.) class AntiAircraft Light Cruiser

Possibly the most beautiful warships of the entire Second World War, the Didos were meant to be the equivalent of our U.S. Navy Atlanta/Juneau class antiaircraft light cruisers. The Royal Navy developed yet another light gun system in the 5.25" twin gun turret, which was also the secondary armament on the King George V(, Prince of Wales, etc.) class battleships.

Unfortunately, as was often the case for the Royal Navy, the gun system was disappointing both in the elevation of the guns and their rate of fire. Nonetheless, with their torpedoes they were potent ships who held off an Italian modern battleship, heavy cruiser, and assorted light cruisers and destroyers in the 2nd Battle of Sirte.

Since the 5.25" gun turrets were slow to manufacture, there were variations of the class. A quadruple 2 pounder pom pom antiaircraft gun was sometimes substituted for the third bow gun turret. And in the case of the Charybdis and Scylla, four open twin 4.5" gun turrets were mounted instead, incurring their nickname "The Toothless Terrors." (Both of these ships were sunk in action.)

The ships began service in 1940 and were produced throughout the war. A second version of the Didos dispensed with the third gun turret altogether and had vertical instead of (dashingly) raked smoke stacks. New Zealand's Black Prince was one of the most famous of these.

Sadly, there are at this point no injection molded plastic kits of the Didos, although there are kits in plastic resin and (I believe) paper. (You'd think there would have been: the 5.25" gun turrets were already on the many models of the KGV battleships, and models of this popular class thus would have been simple to design and produce.) I myself have designed a relatively simple cardstock model of both the Dido and Charybdis classes.
The class is well represented in most naval wargaming miniature lines, both 1:1200 and 1:2400 -- and I believe that even one of the minute CinC 1:4800s is a Dido also.
And I have done here "2-sided models" at 1:700,1:1200, and 1:1800 scales as well. Oddly, the Didos aren't yet among the Hasbro/Avalon Hill War At Sea Naval Miniatures (game) 1:1800 model warships.


Here is Charybdis and Scylla:

Here is the Dido class from ONI 200 (1950):

And here is the Dido II class from ONI 200 (1950):

And here are some of my (3-D) cardstock models from the starboard quarter at 1:700 scale, with a Dido in the foresea and a Norfolk and then London behind:

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