Back in December 2010 I wrote a review of Trumpeters 1/200th Arizona
. At the time I was very impressed by the size, detailing and fit of the model (I also wrote a blog
of the Arizona on this site).
Now two years on Trumpeter have released another 1/200 gargantuan offering, the DKM Bismarck in all her glory.
Frank Brechmann at “Der Sockelshop” in Germany drew my attention with the pre-order in July of this year. The price was very reasonable, 219 Euros including shipping of the 6 kilo model, so I placed my order and proceeded to wait patiently for delivery. The Bismarck arrived in stock at Der Sockelshop last Thursday and Frank Brechmann and team made sure the pre-orders were dispatched on Friday ensuring a delivery today, November 5th 2012, by UPS. As always magnificent service so a big thank you to Frank and team.
The arrival at houses all over Europe must have led to happy grins on the faces of the model freaks that ordered the Bismarck and very dismayed looks by the wives of these modelers who are now scratching their heads wondering which child will have to leave home to make room for the Bismarck. If the Arizona caused parking problems the Bismarck clocks in at a very healthy 1.26 meters of length.
I really won’t try and bore you with an explanation of what and why the Bismarck was an important chapter in World War II. If you are buying this model you probably have a very good knowledge of the ship’s history and valiant last battle, going down with guns firing and to this day there still being dispute on the question of if the Bismarck was sunk by the British warships that ran her to ground or if she was scuttled by her engine room crew. We do have a good idea of what the horrendous damage to the ship was thanks to Robert Ballard and his excellent books on the discovery and exploration of the Bismarck wreck. There is also a magnificent set of DVD’s available showing the exploration of the wreck. The colours portrayed on the paint scheme in the box are not the colours worn by the Bismarck during her final hours, the exact paint scheme is another can of worms to open and discuss on line, (and I haven’t even mentioned the yellow turret tops that were supposed to have been painted at sea during the beginnings of a gale; go figure that one out).
The model kit...
On opening the box you are confronted with Trumpeter’s immaculate view on packaging a model so that damage is avoided during transit: a total of six smaller boxes protecting the parts, several bags of smaller parts safely sandwiched between two boxes and in a final full box-length compartment the single piece hull and the single piece main deck. Where necessary foam is wrapped around the more delicate moldings. On top of the boxes the instruction book, paint scheme and decal sheet.
The model is molded in the usual Trumpeter light grey plastic.
Included as a bonus is a stand alone model of one of the main gun batteries, fully detailed and housed in transparent plastic turret and decks. Included for this little gem are a set of metal barrels. This turret also has its own instruction sheet and PE set. A really interesting model to set beside the finished Bismarck.
A quick first look at the sprues shows that all the moldings are crisp and clear and there is no significant flash on the parts or sprues, (well, there shouldn't be should there?).
The deckhouses have ventilators, scuttles fuse boxes, wiring and life belts molded on in absolutely gorgeous detail, ( Warren Inmann did a magnificent job of adding Eduard's PE set to the 1/350th Bismarck, all he added though is already molded on here), just waiting to be brought out by judicious painting, washing and weathering. Myriad other details like the optical equipment on the observation deck, detailing around the aircraft catapults and hangars just wet your appetite to begin this build. The main, secondary, and anti-aircraft batteries are all beautifully detailed and will be improved by the add-on set (hasn’t arrived yet).
The included PE set looks as if it contains all the necessary railings, radar scanners. Jack-stays, etc to do a straight OOB build but I do not for a single second doubt that the big PE manufacturers will bring out some impressive sets to super detail this model.
I haven’t at this moment in time checked the historical accuracy of armament and other equipment. I am sure that there will be some “riveting” conversations on line about the accuracy of this model. I have already found a blooper that astounded me:
The huge metal semi-circular anchor chain guides on the focsle are not included, not a huge problem but a big omission on a model of this size. In the end the sheer size gives you a lot of room to scratch build any “eye-pokingly bad” omissions. Nobody is going to mistake this model for the Titanic or Queen Elizabeth 2. No mistaking the lines even if the most die hard rivet counter finds out the turret Anton is 0.0005 mm too wide at the base. Other things that raise questions is the inclusion of four Arado Ar 196 spotters but no folded wing options to fit them in the hangers, (like Revell did), the lack of a decent stand to place the model on when finished (what seemed to be a stand is internal bracing for the hull and support for the main deck).
Please be aware of the fact that this is a snap-shot rapid-fire review. I’ll give some feed back in the next few weeks as I have time to have a good snuffle around in the box. All in all though it remains a very impressive model of a fabled ship, a build I am looking forward to.