German Z-38 Destroyer Smart Kit
Series: Modern Sea Power
Media: Injection styrene; photo-etched
Dragon offers Zerstörer
(Dsetroyer) Z 38 in both 1/350 and 1/700, the subject of this review. For those unfamiliar with Smart Kits
, Dragon advertises these for modelers who prefer OOB (Out Of the Box) yet highly detailed plastic kits using high-tech molding to create impressive components without too many parts, as well as usually including metal and photo-etched parts for pieces that molding just can't create yet.
Z 38 was one of seven 1936A class Zerstörer which came to be called Narvik
class by the Allies. Z 38 was laid down by Germaniawerft Kiel in 1940, launched 5 August 1941, and commissioned 20 March 1943.
Germany produced a total of 15 Zerstörer 1936A-class destroyers, which the Allies referred to as the Narvik class. They were actually closer in size to a light cruiser than a destroyer, and they were known only by their hull numbers and didn’t receive any name. They sported powerful 5.9-inch guns, with the last three destroyers constructed by F. Krupp Germaniawerft AG in Kiel. Z38 was the penultimate destroyer of the class after being commissioned on 20 March 1943. One of its first combat missions was to escort the Scharnhorst battleship, and near the end of the war it operated in the Baltic Sea as German forces retreated. Z38 had a combat displacement of 3,691 tons and required a crew of 330 sailors. After WWII it was seized by the UK and used as a test ship under the name Nonsuch before being scrapped in 1950. -Dragon
Class & type: Zerstörer 1936A (Mob)
Displacement: 3,700 long tons (3,800 t) maximum
Length: 127 m (416 ft 8 in)
Beam: 12 m (39 ft 4 in)
Draught: 4.62 m (15 ft 2 in)
Propulsion: 2 × Wagner geared turbines, 70,000 shp, 2 shafts
Speed: 37.5 knots (43.2 mph; 69.5 km/h)
Range: 2,240 nmi (4,150 km) at 19 kn (35 km/h)
Armament: • 5 × 150 mm (5.9 in) guns
• 4 (later 14) × 37 mm guns
• 12 (later 18) × 20 mm guns
• 8 × 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes
• 60 mines
• 4 × depth charge launchers
In the slipway
This model is packaged in a lid-tray box with nice box art of Z 38 escorting Scharnhorst
with a Kette
of Focke-Wulfs overhead. The sides show CAD images of model components or profiles of the ship. Inside the box are five sealed bags containing 10 sprues and hulls of gray styrene, a card backed bag with a P/E (Photo-Etch) fret and a bag of decals, and the instructions. Three of Sprue K are included, these holding gun houses, torpedo launchers, life rafts, motor launches, and a host of other fittings. While the box advertises 250 parts the instructions shade out many of them, presumably weapons and fittings used on different Zerstörer or at different times.
: full hull and waterline hull.
holds the deck, shafts, screws, davits, rudders, stacks, platforms, and mast parts.
holds superstructure parts, masts, yardarms, anchors, other fittings.
: main and aft mast parts.
- three of these. Attached are 15cm twin turrets, single turrets, boats, 53.3cm torpedo launchers, life rafts, flak guns, searchlights, and other fittings.
: the photo-etched fret with radar, railings, ladders, stack tops, davits, and more!
: pylons to mount the full-hull model upon, plus an unattached base.
The parts are highly impressive, molded sharp and crisp with possibly no flash, sink marks, mold seam lines, or visible ejector circles. I write 'possibly no flash' because I did not detect any until viewing my greatly magnified photos and honestly, I can't say that it is flash. The finesse with which the thin gun tubes and masts and such are molded is amazing! The thought of snipping them from the sprue is intimidating!
This kit contains a great deal of plastic and P/E parts, too many to try to impress you with although here are the highlights.
First, Dragon provides hulls for waterline or a full-hull version. A base with faux milled brass stands is included for the latter.
Dragon tooled the funnels with hollow tops and to accept photo-etched funnel cap grills. Superstructures are molded with overhanging decks - a feature traditionally obtained by sandwiching layers of decks over bulkheads atop decks. One other bit of detail is that you are to carve away a portion of the aft superstructure.
Two types of radar are provided: photo-etched FuMO (Funkmess-Ortung
) active ranging direction finder and "Sumatra" passive radar detection antennae. To top the main mast is an eight-signal yardarm piece; a crow's nest goes atop it as does a tiny P/E anemometer!
Dragon also created hollow end gun barrels for the main armament. A quad-2cm flak mount is assembled with four parts. In fact, several small sub-assemblies are made with multiple pieces. These ships bristled with many calibers of AAA and they are reproduced here: 3.7cm twin AA; quadruple "Hell's 20" 2cm; 12.mm machine guns. Then there are the rangefinders. All of these parts are as close to scale as is probably possible with styrene.
P/E parts include railing and ladders, davits for boats, and miniscule parts resembling spoke wheels that I can not identify. Unfortunately, no crew members are included.
Assembly, decals and paint instructions
Dragon guides us through assembly with an accordion fold sheet with 13 steps. It is illustrated with black-and-white line art, important items emphasized with blue. Dragon includes no history of the ship.
Painting and marking detail is provided for three versions of Z 38:
1. Z 38, Kriegsmarine, 1944
2. HMS Nonsuch, 1946
3. HMS Nonsuch, 1948
Colors are keyed with multi-tone colors, grey, black, blue, light blue. Eight colors are keyed for brands Aqueous Hobby Colour, GSI Creos Mr. Colour and Model Master.
A small decal sheet contains numbers and letters, plus war flags for both Kriegsmarine
and Royal Navy. Those flags are printed both rigid straight and 'wavy.' The Kriegsmarine
flags lack swastikas but Dragon has printed them in pieces for you to assemble on the flag. Get your magnifier ready because those decals are lilliputian! Otherwise the decals appear thin, opaque, and sharply printed in register.
This is my first Smart Kit and it greatly impresses me. The molding is exceptional. I appreciate the P/E fret and the full or waterline hull options. The stand is a nice touch, too.
There really isn't a problem with this kit except that the tiny parts will be hard to handle. I would like to see rigging guidance. The Kriegsmarine
flag is incomplete.
This is an inspiring model and I look forward to getting underway with it. I happily recommend this kit!
Please tell vendors and retailers that you saw this model here - on Modelshipwrights.
Wikipedia. Type 1936A-class destroyer.
[Web.] 4 July 2013.
Navy.mil. U.S. Navy Style Guide.