Sister ship of Germany’s legendary battleship Bismarck
, the Tirpitz
was launched in the spring of 1939. Although she was about three meters longer than Bismarck
— making her Germany’s biggest battleship — she was largely held from action for fear of her being sunk as Bismarck
was in May 1941. Tirpitz
spent most of the war moored in Norway, where she was attacked several times before finally being sunk by Royal Air Force Lancasters in November 1944.
Revell Germany’s new kit is differentiated from its earlier Bismarck
by three sprues that provide the subtle differences between the sister ships. The light gray plastic features excellent molded detail on the deck and superstructure. In fact, the level of detail is extraordinary for a 1/700 scale ship. Main turrets rotate, and the guns and cranes elevate. There are even options for searchlight housings on the stack platform. Some of the gun shields look thick, but most of the tiny parts are more to scale than on most 1/700 scale warships.
The 20-page instruction booklet includes a symbols key, paint color guide, parts list, and directions for two camouflage schemes. Decals are provided for camouflage panels in one of those schemes, which is useful for very fine points and the boot stripe. (The paint guide is in black and white; it would have been more helpful printed in color.) The directions are clear and present a logical building sequence in 53 assembly steps. However, I left steps 19 and 20 (boat spars) and Step 27 (floatplanes) until the end to make the model easier to handle.
The parts fit is generally excellent, but there are large horizontal seams between major superstructure deck levels. I had to use styrene strips and rods to fill and cover those seams. I filled minor gaps at the bow and between superstructure pieces with gap-filling super glue.
In addition to gaps in prominent places, the kit has a few other shortcomings. Although turrets turn and their guns elevate, no blast bags are provided for the main and secondary turrets. The floatplanes look crude compared with other finely detailed pieces. And there is no option for a waterline version.
Then there are the decals. They were thick and unresponsive to Solvaset decal-setting solution. I was left with some “orange peel” effects, and adhesion was poor. I would advise skipping the camouflage decals and painting instead, or replacing them with aftermarket decals. And you’ll need to shop the aftermarket if you want swastikas — none are in Revell Germany’s kits, as they are forbidden by law.
Still, I think the kit is as good as or better than any other in this scale. Revell Germany has really done its homework in producing an accurate model of the Tirpitz
. Its dimensions varied less than 1 percent from my references, which included websites here
, as well as Siegfried Breyer’s book Battleship
Tirpitz (Schiffer, ISBN 978-0-88740-184-8).
This kit is definitely not for beginners, and even experienced ship modelers will have a hard time with the complicated build and large number of small pieces. The parts count and intricate paint job made this build more than 50 hours. Adding aftermarket decals and photoetched-metal railings, AA guns, radars, and other fittings could make this a contender in any contest.