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DKM Battleship Tirpitz, 1:350 Academy


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DKM Battleship Tirpitz

Academy 1:350

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History
Tirpitz was the second of two Bismarck-class battleships built for the German Kriegsmarine (War Navy) during World War II. Named after Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, the architect of the Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy), the ship was laid down at the Kriegsmarinewerft Wilhelmshaven in November 1936 and her hull was launched two and a half years later. Work was completed in February 1941, when she was commissioned into the German fleet. Like her sister ship Bismarck, Tirpitz was armed with a main battery of eight 38-centimeter (15 in) guns in four twin turrets. After a series of wartime modifications she was 2,000 metric tons heavier than Bismarck.

After completing sea trials in early 1941, Tirpitz briefly served as the centrepiece of the Baltic Fleet, which was intended to prevent a possible break-out attempt by the Soviet Baltic Fleet. In early 1942, the ship sailed to Norway to act as a deterrent against an Allied invasion. While stationed in Norway, Tirpitz was also intended to be used to intercept Allied convoys to the Soviet Union, and two such missions were attempted in 1942. Tirpitz acted as a fleet in being, forcing the British Royal Navy to retain significant naval forces in the area to contain the battleship.

In September 1943, Tirpitz, along with the battlecruiser Scharnhorst, bombarded Allied positions on the island of Spitzbergen, the only time the ship used her main battery in anger. Shortly thereafter, the ship was damaged in an attack by British X Craft, and subsequently subjected to a series of large-scale air raids. On 12 November 1944, British Lancaster bombers equipped with 12,000 pound (5,400 kg) "Tallboy" bombs destroyed the ship; two direct hits and a near miss caused the ship to capsize rapidly. A deck fire spread to the ammunition magazine for one of the main battery turrets, which caused a large explosion. Figures for the number of men killed in the attack range from 950 to 1,204. Between 1948 and 1957 the wreck was broken up by a joint Norwegian and German salvage operation.

The Model
The kit comes in a suitably long box with an artists impression of the Tirpitz at sea strangely with a King George V class battleship. Artistic licence at its best, particularly with the KGV turrets turned to towards the Tirpitz whilst she has her turrets trained fore and aft, but it is just the boxart. More importantly, inside, the box is split lengthways into two halves, with one half taken up with the single piece hull and the eight sprues and three deck parts all in a bluey-grey styrene. There is also one sprue of black styrene for part of the stands and one in a very shiny gold for the other parts of the stands. This kit supersedes an earlier release and whilst the differences between kits is unknown the moulding of this kits parts appears to be pretty good, with no signs of flash and only a few moulding pips. There are however, quite a few sink marks, particularly on the main and secondary turret roofs. There is also a large seam running from stem to stern on the large single piece hull part which will need to be removed. Detail is pretty sparse overall and it does appear to a pretty simplified kit. The centre main deck is moulded to the centre superstructure which initially looks like it has none of the paraphernalia associated with this class of ship such as portholes, hatches, watertight doors etc, which is rather disappointing. The light AA weapons are very basic and look slightly out of scale. These would be better replaced with aftermarket items. This kit does remind me a little of the old Revell example, before they re-jigged the whole thing into the much better kit that it is now. It also looks like the original kit was motorised as there are tell tale marks inside the hull showing where the battery box, gearbox and motor housings have been filled in on the original mould.

The construction sequence begins with the assembly of the stands, the black parts of which would be better painted in say matt black to contrast well with the very bright gold parts. On the ship itself the rear of the propeller shaft fairings are applied and fitted with the propeller shafts themselves, along with the A frames and propellers. The centre propeller is fitted directly to the centre keel fairing moulded into the hull. The rudder post holes need to be drilled out before the rudders are attached.

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Assembly is then accomplished in the following order, foredeck, quarterdeck then the centre section. The foredeck is fitted out with the main anchor capstains, anchors, cable reels, Jack staff and two 20mm cannon. Anton turrets two 15” guns are attached to a centre spindle and slid into the apertures with the spindle glued to a slot just behind the front face. The turret is then fitted to its position and a retaining fixture glued to it from underneath, thus allowing the turret to rotate. It may be better to leave the turrets off until final assembly to aid painting, particularly if rotating parts aren’t essential to the build. With all the parts fitted the foredeck can be glued and taped to the bow of the hull.
The quarter deck assembly is very similar to the foredeck, with the fitting of the cable reels, Dora turret, (made up the same way as Anton), Ensign Staff and stern anchor. In addition to the two single 20mm mounts, there are also two quad 20mm mounts fitted just foreward of the main turret. The completed deck is then glued and taped to the rear of the hull. On the hull sides the rear boat booms and the propeller guards are attached.

The centre section of deck and the superstructure is fitted out with Bruno turret foreward and Caesar turret aft. The secondary armament, consisting of six 5.9”, (150mm) twin turrets each made up of the turret and the single piece twin guns which again are slid into the apertures and clicked into place. The fore and aft 150mm turrets are the same with the two middle turrets each having rangefinders, so ensure you have them fitted into correct positions. These are fitted to the deck in the same way as the main turrets. There are separate deck sections onto which the tertiary armaments of eight twin 105mm mounts are fitted. These sections are then fitted to the centre superstructure deck, along with the rather basic catapult, port and starboard boat cradles, forward 37mm platform with two mounts fitted, aft pair of 37mm cannon. Fore and aft on either side of the superstructure a number of paravanes are fitted and the torpedo tubes are fitted amidships. The nature of the basis of this model being motorised is seen in the way the centre deck section is fitted to the hull. Two poly caps are inserted in wells in the foredeck and quarterdeck sections and the centre deck push fits into the caps. Since the deck no longer needs to be removable the modeller really should glue and tape this section to the hull.

Several sub assemblies are put together. These include more 20mm and 37mm cannon, the rangefinder towers, searchlights, ships boats and ships cranes. Construction can then start on the superstructure, starting with the forepart, bridge, and bridge tower. Each section is made up of separate sides, deck, platforms and detailed with the various cannon, small rangefinders, and the like. The folding bridge wings are fitted to the lower section onto which the forward control tower with the 7.5m rangefinder and gunnery control radar, (FuMO-23), is fitted. The mid section also has two more platforms fitted out with 20mm and 37mm cannon, forward searchlight and armoured tower. The top section has the distinctive yardarms fitted aft, four small rangefinders, and finally, right at the top the forward 10.5m rangefinder and associated radar arrays. The foremast and yardarms are assembled and added to the rear of the forward superstructure. The completed section is then fitted to its position on the forward section of the centre deck.

Moving aft the large single funnel is assembled out of the two halves and separate funnel cap, which has a solid funnel grille. To this assembly the side mounted searchlights are mounted along with their distinctive covers which can be posed either open or closed. To the rear of the funnel there is a large platform fitted, on which two searchlights and two quad 20mm cannon are attached. A smaller platform is fitted lower down the funnel and between the two platforms the boat handling cranes are sandwiched. The funnel is then fitted to the upper deck along with the aircraft hangers on both sides of it, and the main ships cranes aft. The ships boats are then fitted to their respective cradles on the hangers and on the cradles fitted earlier in the build.

Aft of the catapult there is a small structure which not only has more of the ships boats sited on top, but also carries and observation platform and small main mast with its unusual yard arm arrangement. Aft of this structure is the two story rear superstructure, housing two more rangefinder towers, searchlights, single, twin and quad 20mm cannon and the aft 10.5m rangefinder and gunnery control radar. With the fitting of these two structures the build is complete apart from the adding of the two Arado 196 aircraft should the modeller wish, each of which are made up of the complete aircraft moulded as one piece and two separate floats.

Decals
There are two sheets included in the kit, one carrying waterslide type decals providing the identification and national markings for the aircraft, whilst the second is self adhesive and covers the ships ensigns and national flag, (without swastikas in the top left corner. The self adhesive flags are not pre-cut, so care will need to be taken when cutting around the flags, probably with a sharp scalpel blade. The decals are not printed that well and if viewed close up are rather poor; looking like the ink has run, making them look fuzzy. It’ll probably be best to replace them with aftermarket items.

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Conclusion
From the box this looked like it would be a nice model, but unfortunately it really is showing its age and its provenance. It will take a lot of work to bring up to even a good standard, using plenty of aftermarket items and scratchbuilding the rest. If you’re that way inclined then the kit appears to be pretty well done shape wise, and thus would be a good base, although I have to say there are easier ways of creating an accurate Tirpitz. Someone new to maritime modelling may find it a useful starting build as it’s fairly simple and would certainly be a useful painting exercise.



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Nice review, and a sound conclusion. I don't know how much you need to pay for this kit in the UK, but around here it is about two thirds of what you have to pay for the much newer and superior Revell offering. To bring the Academy up to the same level as the Revell kit out of the box will cost a lot both in money and work, and with even a small investment in aftermarket parts for the Revell, I'm doubtful the Academy would ever be its equal.

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