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Dragon 1/700 scale Battleship Bismarck

Kit: No. 7043
Scale: 1/700
Manufacturer: Dragon, imported by Dragon Models USA, 1315 John Reed Court, City of Industry, CA 91745, 626-968-0322,
Price: $24.95
Comments: Injection-molded, 259 parts, decals
Pros: Nice detail and optional photoetched metal parts
Cons: Lower hull undersized, insufficient photoetched parts for the railings
Dragon has added the famous Bismarck to its 1/700 scale line of ships. The box includes 259 parts molded in light-gray styrene, clear styrene, and soft vinyl. A brass photoetched fret is also included. The kit can be modeled in either water-line or the full-hull configuration. Decals include national insignias, flags, and markings for the two floatplanes. A one-page folded instruction sheet and a single-page instruction sheet for the photoetched parts complete the package.

I decided to build the full-hull version of the ship. Test-fitting the lower and upper hulls together, I found that the lower half was smaller by .010" all the way around. Gap-filling super glue and sanding blended the ridge. Two propeller shafts (part nos. C26 and, C27) do not fit deeply enough into the hull, but more super glue and sanding solved the problem. Shaft support D11 is shown backward on the plans.

The superstructures include soft-vinyl parts, and that created some unique problems. The seams and sprue-attachment points were difficult to clean up. The roof of part number F3 sagged slightly to starboard.

The superstructures have photoetched railings, but you'll need to raid your spares box for the main deck railings. I painted my model using Testor Model Master and Floquil paints. The camouflage pattern I used was taken from a May 21, 1941, photograph shot in Grimstadfjord, Norway. I used swastika decals from my spares box because the kit-supplied ones were too hard to line up.

The finished model scales closely to the measurements in German Battleships 1939-'45 by Gordon Williamson. I spent 34 hours completing this model, and probably a third of that time was spent fixing the hull.

- Tom Foti
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