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Takom 1/350 scale Zeppelin Q-class airship plastic model kit review

Superfine photo-etched metal parts essential for a terrific replica
Kit:6003 // Scale:1/350 // Price:$50
Takom (Sample courtesy of mfr.)
Good fits for plastic parts
Extremely fine photo-etched metal is easily deformed during handling
Injection-molded plastic (gray, clear); 88 parts (48 photo-etched metal); decals
Takom deserves credit for releasing a kit that is both different and important in the history of World War I aerial warfare. Germany made extensive use of Zeppelin rigid airships for bombing and reconnaissance throughout the war, and Takom has kitted two of the most common classes, the P and slightly larger Q. I built the latter.

When I opened the box and saw just 40 plastic parts, I thought I was in for a quick build. But the photo-etched metal parts (PE) — all 48 of them — snapped me out of that delusion. They are extremely fine, and most are critical for the build. The instructions are pretty clear and the plastic parts well molded, but you’ll need a good magnifier to see the tiny, recessed locators for the PE.

Deviating from the instructions, I assembled major body sections as seen in steps 1, 7, and 13, but left off the upper gun platform; why will be obvious later. I lightly sanded the seams between the hull segments.

The center units that extend the hull for the Q-class ship were slightly larger in diameter than the other sections, so they needed more sanding. Fortunately, paint demarcation lines fall on the edges of the sections and help hide the disparity. That’s the easy part of the build done.

The challenging part of the build began while fitting the gondolas and the rear engines. First, I rolled two hand towels and placed them on either side of the hull to keep it steady while adding these delicate parts.

I assembled both gondolas as seen in steps 2 and 10 and added the PE supports to the hull underside inserts (parts E1 and E2). Carefully, I attached the gondolas. Despite my gentleness, I lost or broke a couple of tiny PE parts for the front gondola and replaced them with .020-inch styrene rod. After I glued the inserts into the hull with all of these structures in place, I used extreme care to attach the PE rear propeller supports.

Using the locator holes for the still omitted gun platform, I inserted a sturdy wire hooked at one end and suspended the model from my workshop ceiling for easy painting. I airbrushed the envelope with mixes of Tamiya Buff (No. XF-57) and Desert Yellow (No. XF-59). When the paint had dried, then the gun platform went on without any trouble.

The decals laid down well over a layer of Pledge Floor Gloss.

I spent about 20 hours building Takom’s Zeppelin, most of it working with the delicate PE parts, and it is a real eye-catcher on my shelf with other WWI aircraft. All in all, it’s a nice kit and recommend it to modelers with experience working with fine PE.
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