by: Todd Michalak [ ]
Before the outset of World War One, the German Empire’s Kaiserliche Marine launched the SMS Lützow, this was the second ship in the Derfflinger Class of Battlecruisers. The ship was named for a Prussian Lieutenant-general from the Napoleonic Wars, Ludwig Adolf Wilhelm von Lützow. The Lützow was launched in 1913 but would not be fully commissioned until March of 1916 due to damage to here engine during her sea trials.
The Lützow was 690 feet long with a displacement just over 29,000 short tons fully loaded. Her armament consisted of eight 12 inch SK L/50 guns configured in four twin Drh.L C/1912 turrets, 14 x 15cm SK L/45 guns in single casemates, Four 8.8cm SK L/45 (1916), eight 8cm Flak L/45 anti-aircraft guns MPL C/13 mountings and four 60cm submerged torpedo tubes. The Lützow’s crew compliment topped off around 1200 sailors and officers upon her commissioning.
The SMS Lützow did not have a very long career in the German Empire’s Kaiserliche Marine. After being assigned to the I Scouting Group in March of 1916 she took part in the bombardment of Yarmouth along with her sister ship the Derfflinger. Shortly after, the SMS Lützow was transferred to Admiral Hipper’s flagship after the Admiral’s flagship was damaged prior to the bombardment.
Upon the commencement of the Battle of Jutland, the SMS Lützow lead the way as the first ship in the German line. She took fire from the HMS Lion receiving damage to her hull but was able to fight on to heavily damage the Lion knocking out one of here turrets. Soon after, the Lützow sustained four hits form 12 inch fire from her British counterparts. These hits severely damaged the bow of the ship and she began to falter at the head. The damage was not enough to keep the Lützow from the fight as her and her sister ship, the Defflinger opened fire on the HMS Invincible setting off a chain reaction of explosions sinking her. During the fight, she received five more hits damaging two of her turrets. Having been badly injured, the SMS Lützow headed for port but would not make it. After taking on enough water to pull her bow below the surface and effective raising her rudders form the water, the order to abandon ship was given and the SMS Lützow was scuttled with the help of the torpedo boat, G38. 116 men of her crew were killed in the battle and the remainder of the crew was brought to safety through the use of escorting torpedo boats.
SMS Lützow 1916 – Limited Version
The SMS Lützow 1916 Model No. FH1301S from Flyhawk Models is a 1/700 scale model kit containing styrene and photo etch parts to construct a scaled representation of the German Empire’s SMS Lützow. The kit is sold in the standard top opening box provided by Flyhawk with and artist’s rendition of the Battlecruiser. This kit is labeled as a ”Limited Version” as well as ”Bonus” due to the fact that the kit comes with a second model included within; a 1/700 scale G-37 Class Großes Torpedoboot.
- 204 grey styrene parts
- 1 sheet of photo etch parts
- 1 metal weight
- 1 decal sheet
- 1 set of instructions
Of the 204 styrene parts included in this kit, 182 of them actually get used in the construction of the ship. This kit is the second offering from Flyhawk within the Defflinger Class of ships. A handful of parts on the B Sprue are specifically regulated to the SMS Defflinger kit (the previous version) as this was a slightly different ship than the two later ship versions in the class. The E Sprue is specific to the SMS Lützow and alludes to the possibility for a soon to come SMS Hindenburg kit with the additional funnel configuration.
Looking the parts over carefully, I found all of the parts to be cleanly molded and virtually free from flash. There are some minor mold seams that will need to be dealt with but this is fairly typical for the styrene molding process. This SMS Lützow Kit is a Water Line version from Flyhawk so there is no lower hull included with this kit. The upper hull section of the kit comes in two pieces with the obligatory waterline base plate. Each have is well representative of the original ship in respects to portholes and design. There are no raised or sunken hull plate demarcation lines. There are two long segmented rods attached to the sprue containing the upper hull halves; these are the main supports for the torpedo netting rails that run along the top edge of the hull. The main deck of the ship is in a one-piece configuration front to back. The wooden deck lines are molded into the surface as are the deck lockers and hatchways. All of the details on the surface are crisp in appearance.
The upper deck which houses the ship’s 15cm guns is comprised of two large sections and the top having the same molded decking to it exterior. The boat deck and bridge tower look to be configured as the original ship was and is enhanced in detail through the use of some of the photo etching supplied with the kit. The forward bridge deck has raised panel lines that are to simulate the steel decking on this deck portion. The raised lines of this plating appear to be a little strong in nature; but a quick sanding would tone it down some. The funnels are nicely molded and the chines that encircle the funnels well defined. There is a full complement of ship’s launches included with this set and all appear close to what is indicative on the real ship.
Moving onto the main armament, the four twin 12 inch turrets a molded very nice and have rivet placements on the roof of the turrets themselves. The molded barrels for the kit look to be the same size and shape of the original barrels of the ship but do have seam lines that will need to be removed on both side of each barrel. In addition, hollowing of the barrels would be suggested if suitable barrel replacements are not added by the builder. The fore and aft masts to the Lützow are somewhat plane in nature and with a little clean up to the attachment points and seam lines would do just fine once installed. A small jig is included to aid the builder in aligning the yard arms.
Included in this kit is a small photo etch sheet of parts. As part of this sheet there is a full complement of ships railings, ladders and stair, torpedo net support arms as well as lengths of photo etch ship chain to replicate the anchor chains.
There is a small decal sheet included in this kit. This sheet supplies 3 WWI German Empire flags, ship’s name plates and emblems as well as the two white recognition circles which were placed on top of two of the turrets.
The instructions are printed on heavy weight paper and are essentially a two-page fold out in six easy to follow steps. The instructions are in the standard black and white exploded view format with color coding for photo etch placement as well as location as seen with the ship’s boat placement. The painting guide is printed in these instructions and well done in color with listings for Mr. Hobby, Tamiya and WEM. In addition to the main instruction sheet, there is a small amendment to the photo etch installation instruction slid into the clear plastic bag which contains the photo etch. This corrects the improper part numbering located on the instruction sheet which possibly comes from the previously release Defflinger kit.
Großes Torpedoboot 1913 Class
Included as a Bonus in the SMS Lützow kit from Flyhawk is a kit of the German torpedo boat; G-37. This kit is a 1/700 scale version of the G-37 Torpedo Boat packaged separately within the The SMS Lützow 1916 Model No. FH1301S kit.
The G-37 was a 260 foot long torpedo boat of the Großes Torpedoboot 1913 Class launched in December of 1914. These Großes boats were the largest type of the classes of torpedo boats included in the High Seas Fleet of the German Empire. These boats were used extensively in the North and Baltic Sea during WWI subsequently taking part in the Battle of Jutland. Their strong usage throughout the war directly attributed to their high loss rate.
The G-37 Großes torpedo boat assisted in the safe removal of sailors from the SMS Lützow when the orders were given to scuttle the ship as she was sinking by the head and would not make it to port after the Battle of Jutland. It would be the G-38 Großes torpedo boat that would strike the final blow sending the Lützow to the bottom of the North Sea.
Contents of the G-37 Bonus Kit
- 45 grey colored styrene parts
- 1 sheet of photo etch parts
- 1 decal sheet
- 1 instruction manual
This kit is a water line version of the G-37 torpedo boat. The upper hull is comprised of two parts, the upper hull section and a bottom water line hull plate. The main deck of the boat is one full piece and is detailed with the surface features similar to the original boat. The single sprue tree to this kit contains the majority of the remaining parts to construct the boat including nicely detailed smoke stacks, torpedo tubes, to life boats, three 8.8cm deck guns and the fore and aft masts of the boat. Each of the parts have been molded cleanly and with the exception of some seam lines that need cleanup, there is very little involved in the construction of this kit.
There is a small sheet of photo etch supplied with this mini inserted kit of the G-37. This covers the various railings plus for the boat. Also included is a small decal sheet containing two German Empire ensigns.
There is a separate set of instruction included with the G-37 torpedo boat. These instruction are similar to the ones supplied for the Lützow kit whereas they are printed on thick weight paper, black and white exploded views of the construction supplying colored marking to show where the photo etch is to be installed. Additionally, there is a colored painting guide supplied in the instructions.
As 1/700 scale ship models go, I feel the SMS Lützow 1916 (Limited Version) from Flyhawk Models is an excellent little kit. The detailing is crisp and the molds are clean making for a nicely rendered model of the WWI Battlecruiser. There is some light cleanup of small delicate parts that will need to be done but this is not out of the scope of what is seen in just about every kit on the market today. I will suggest thinning or removing and scribing of steel plating lines on the bridge deck of the ship as the molded demarcation lines are a bit heavy. In addition, the purchasing of aftermarket barrels for the main armament might not be a bad idea as well. While the kit supplied barrels appear to be correct in size and shape, the muzzles will need to be hollowed out and often the low cost of new barrels outweighs the arduous battle in drilling out 1/700 scale barrels.
I really like the fact that Flyhawk decided to add the German G-37 Class Großes Torpedoboot as a bonus with the SMS Lützow kit. Despite the name indicating the “G-37” part as being the class of boat instead of the individual boat designation, the tooling on this little mini add-on I felt was excellent. Even better when a separate sheet of photo etch railings are included to enhance the look. I could see someone making a nice diorama of the G-37 escorting the SMS Lützow into or out of the Battle of Jutland.
I feel Flyhawk Models has hit the mark with the release of the SMS Lützow 1916 (Limited Version) kit an have to recommend this kit to anyone looking to add a German battlecruiser to their display feet. Some experience working within the 1/700 scaling as well as with the photo etch might be suggested due to the small delicate pieces but with a little patience this kit is sure to be a fun one for anyone to build!