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Paul A H

Waterline Sink the Bismarck

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Paul A H    2,073

Waterline Sink the Bismarck

1:1200 Airfix

sinkbisboxtop.jpg

The legendary Bismarck was one of the largest and most powerful battleships to see action during the Second World War. Laid down in July 1936 by Blohm and Voss of Hamburg, she, along with her sister ship Tirpitz, represented the epitome of German warship technology. Weighing in at 50,900 tons deep load, the Bismarck was the heaviest battleship ever built by a European nation. Her design prioritised stability and protection over firepower, with her broad beam making her a very stable gun platform.

On 21 May 1941, Bismarck left the Kjorsfjord in Norway to embark on her first raiding sortie, Operation Rheinübung. She was accompanied by the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen and three destroyers. Three days later, she sighted and engaged the Royal Navy warships HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales. Her guns quickly found their range and a 38cm shell plunged through the Hood’s thin deck armour and exploded in her magazine, breaking the mighty battlecruiser in half and sinking her with the loss of all but three men. The Prince of Wales was also damaged. Having suffered damage herself in the engagement, Bismark disengaged and attempted to make for St Nazaire. Eventually spotted by a Catalina flying boat, her rudder was then jammed by torpedoes launched from the Swordfish aircraft of HMS Ark Royal. Left unable to manoeuvre, she was engaged by the battleships HMS Rodney and HMS King George V and was soon reduced to a burning hulk by their heavy guns. She finally slipped beneath the waves at 10.40am on 27 May, although whether she was sunk by torpedoes from HMS Dorsetshire or scuttled by her own crew is still debated.

kmsbismarck.jpg

KMS Bismarck

kmsprinzeugen.jpg

KMS Priz Eugen

It’s been a while since Airfix’s 1:1200 ships last saw the light of day, but here they are back in a neat little collection that brings together some of the ships involved in the famous action described above. Included in the set are the German protagonists Bismark and Prinz Eugen and the British ships Hood, Suffolk, Ark Royal and two Tribal Class destroyers. The ships are all moulded in waterline configuration, which makes them suitable for dioramas or wargaming. Each model is sealed in its own bag, which helps prevent the parts getting mixed up. This is handy as some of the parts had become detached from the sprues by the time my sample arrived.

hmshood.jpg

HMS Hood

hmssuffolk.jpg

HMS Suffolk

hmsarkroyal.jpg

HMS Ark Royal

tribals.jpg

Tribal Class Destroyers

The quality of mouldings is pretty much what you would expect of a kit of this vintage; the basic shapes and components for each ship are all there, but details are fairly soft. Owing to the small scale, the guns of all ships included are moulded in one piece with the turrets and finer details such as port holes are missing. That said, the smaller details that are included such as secondary armament, boats and launches, aircraft and cranes are fairly good and all add to the busy appearance of the larger vessels. A small, basic decal sheet is included for Ark Royal’s flight deck, and it seems nicely printed.

Conclusion

This is a fun little set and a nice way to acquire an instant collection of 1:1200 warships. Those familiar with the Bismarck’s final voyage will no doubt have noticed that some important ships are missing from the set. HMS King George V and HMS Prince of Wales can be substituted by Revell’s Duke of York kit in the same scale. So far as I am aware HMS Rodney is not available as a mainstream kit in this scale, so a little more imagination will be needed to bridge that particular gap. Overall though this is a welcome return for a classic set of kits and I’m sure it will do well.

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Review sample courtesy of logo.gif

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JosephLalor    222

Nice to see these back. I don't think I've clapped eyes on them since the 1970s. I remember the Tribal Class destroyers being retailed in pairs in the blister pack.

Joseph

Edited by JosephLalor

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cruiserguy    90

Hi Everyone,

It's a great set, I have just built two of the Tribals and Suffolk - Ark Royal is next. Watch though, I ruined one of the Tribals by stripping a poor paint job with Di-o-sol stripper. I've used it before with no problems. However, I left the kit soaking a little longer than usual, and the plastic melted. Grrrr.

Best Wishes,

Will.

Edited by cruiserguy

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JosephLalor    222

Rodney and Nelson are available in 1/1250th scale from Mountford as resin castings with white metal detail parts. They would be 96% of the size of these ships in 1/1200th. Antics carry the range.

Joseph

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Antoine    1,215

Nice set, thanks for the review.

It's a bit difficult to assess the size of those differents models on your pics, though.

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KaptinK    0

just bought this kit yesterday from my local modelling vendor. ( Going to Mother Outlaws so need something to keep me sane, (I hope she's not on this site!!)) Anyway it looks simple enough with I hope little filing and filling to be done. I've done a few Airgix kits of this vintage and you can end up putting so much fuller in that you become a sculptor not a modeller. I'll let you know how I get on as I will be doing it basic. (I have a basic mobile model making kit!)

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