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Revell Germany 1/350 scale battleship Bismarck

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Kit: No. 05040 Scale: 1/350
Manufacturer: Revell Germany, 49-05-223-965-0,
Price: $111.25
Comments: Injection-molded, 650 parts, decals
Pros: New mold; plastic railings; movable parts and optional pieces
Cons: Flash; fit issues; thick parts; confusing decal instructions; complex build
Issue Published: March 2009
Revell Germany's latest ship kit is the World War II German battleship Bismarck. It features movable main armament, plastic hand railings, a one-piece main deck, detailed lifeboats, and two aircraft with optional wing folds. A two-page painting guide provides two different paint schemes.

The hull required filling and sanding to blend the gaps around the openings for the starboard and port propeller shafts. Down the keel of the hull, the strip on both sides didn't line up; I sanded both sides down and used Evergreen .080" styrene strip over the seam. Test-fitting the base to the hull bottom confirmed that it would be a poor glue joint. Instead, I drilled out the locations and used No. 6 flathead screws and nuts for a positive join.

I painted the hull bottom Floquil red oxide. For the propellers, I used Hawkeye SnJ bronze.

I taped and glued the main deck in place, let it cure, then clamped the next deck level, which was warped, in place while it dried.

The aircraft hangar door can be posed open or closed, so the seaplane can be parked inside with the wings folded or on the catapult ready for action. I had to cut off the underhang on Part B183 in order to get the motor launches onto their cradles.

Following the directions, I built up the superstructure subassemblies and painted them. Test-fitting the front superstructure parts G56, G57, and G59, I found gaps on both sides. I glued the assembly together, then filled gaps with super glue.

All the assemblies were glued in place without any difficulties. I painted the turrets and anti-aircraft guns, then installed them.

The plastic handrails look a bit thick for scale. Some modelers may not like the thick plastic rails, but they can serve as bending forms for aftermarket brass photoetched-metal parts.

Because I don't have access to Revell paint, I used a cross-reference chart to find Testors equivalents. I substituted for certain colors with Model Master enamels.

I used Floquil old concrete (505210) on the wood deck, painted the display base Testors aircraft interior black (2040) and SNJ bronze, and flat-coated overall with Testors Dullcote.

For the markings, I chose the scheme of May 27, 1941, the day Bismarck was sunk, with most of the previous Baltic scheme painted out. Instructions for the hull decals were unclear on which way the anti-fouling black decals faced. For the earlier, autumn 1940 scheme, you'll have to paint the black and white angular stripes on the superstructure.

My reference for this review was Warship Pictorial No. 19, Kreigsmarine Bismarck, by Steve Wiper (Classic Warships).

It took me 100 hours to complete this comprehensive kit. It's a challenging build, but that's not likely to lessen interest in modeling this legendary ship.

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