Scharnhorst was a German capital ship, alternatively described as a battleship or battlecruiser, of Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine. She was the lead ship of her class, which included one other ship, Gneisenau. The ship was built at the Kriegsmarinewerft dockyard in Wilhelmshaven; she was laid down on 15 June 1935 and launched a year and four months later on 3 October 1936. Completed in January 1939, the ship was armed with a main battery of nine 28 cm (11 in) C/34 guns in three triple turrets. Plans to replace these weapons with six 38 cm (15 in) SK C/34 guns in twin turrets were never carried out.
Scharnhorst and Gneisenau operated together for much of the early portion of World War II, including sorties into the Atlantic to raid British merchant shipping. During her first operation, Scharnhorst sank the auxiliary cruiser HMS Rawalpindi in a short engagement (November 1939). Scharnhorst and Gneisenau participated in Operation Weserübung (April–June 1940), the German invasion of Norway. During operations off Norway, the two ships engaged the battlecruiser HMS Renown and sank the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious as well as her escort destroyers Acasta and Ardent. In that engagement, Scharnhorst achieved one of the longest-range naval gunfire hits in history.
In early 1942, after repeated British bombing raids, the two ships made a daylight dash up the English Channel from occupied France to Germany. In early 1943, Scharnhorst joined the Bismarck-class battleship Tirpitz in Norway to interdict Allied convoys to the Soviet Union. Scharnhorst and several destroyers sortied from Norway to attack a convoy, but British naval patrols intercepted the German force. During the Battle of the North Cape (26 December 1943), the Royal Navy battleship HMS Duke of York and her escorts sank Scharnhorst. Only 36 men were rescued, out of a crew of 1,968.
There haven’t been many kits of the Scharnhorst in 1/700 – fewer than I was expecting to be honest. All we really have is the Tamiya kit that dates back to 1975 and has been reboxed a couple of times.
The box is a top opening box, with the parts securely packaged inside. There isn’t much space in the box so everything is held in place and the hull parts are wrapped in foam.
So, inside the boxes we have:
- 650 plastic parts on 37 frets (approx)
- 14 separate parts.
- 2 small PE sheets with 14 parts
- 1 decal sheet
- 1 metal plate
- 1 masking sheet
- 2 instruction sheets
- 1 image of the box top and brief ship history.
The level of detail in this kit is up to Flyhawk’s usual exceptional standards. I can see on the superstructure parts that the level of detail is better than most other kits in this scale. There are doors, vents and bolts on the various parts. The ship’s boats have rowlocks and other fine details. Overall this kit has all the exceptional detail that you would expect from a Flyhawk kit.
The instructions are mostly black and white on 2 long sheets of glossy paper. Parts are coloured in places to clarify the instructions.
The build is done in 16 steps:
- The build starts with drilling out a few holes in the upper hull.
- Step 2 sees the assembly of the secondary armament and drilling a few holes out on the deck before putting the deck onto the upper hull. You have the option of doing a full hull or waterline build. If you’re doing the full hull then you add the propellors and shafts at this stage too.
- In this step, we assemble the forward main turret and place it on the ship along with some small parts on the focsle. Since Scharnhorst and her sister were supposed to have their turrets replaced with twin 15″ turrets I wonder if anyone will produce an upgrade set for this.
- This step makes a start on the upper superstructure adding searchlights and a rangefinder.
- In this step we’re putting together the top of the main superstructure and the part we made in the previous step will end up sitting on top of this.
- Here we start assembling the biggest superstructure part and adding details to it.
- now we a second main turret along with searchlight housings and put together the bulk of the main superstructure.
- In step 8 we start on the ship’s boats and the funnel.
- now we assemble the after part of the main superstructure that includes the funnel and several AA guns. They have a note about a ‘verification dispute’ and a choice of fitting part DE14-5 of DE14-8. I think basically there’s not a consensus on what was fitted here so they give you both options.
- Step 10 adds the ship’s boats around the funnel. The ship’s boats are nicely detailed.
- In this step, we just add the main forward superstructure that we build in earlier steps.
- Here’s we’re building the aft rangefinder and the superstructure it sits on.
- Here we’re assembling the rear superstructure including life rafts. There is a correction in this step to watch out for but it’s noted in the step.
- This step puts the aft mast together with the rear turret and the crane.
- Add rear superstructure to the main full.
- Add the rear turret and some small details and the stern of the ship.
- You also get 2 Ar 196 and you can build hem with wings folded or extended.
The paints are called out by name and in the Mr. Hobby, Tamiya and WEM colour ranges. The painting guide is in colour and shows port, starboard, and above views. You also get a couple of paint masks to mask off the deck to paint the red background and white circle for the fore and aft swastikas on the main deck.
The decal sheet gives you the air recognition bads on the main deck fore and aft but the swastikas are separated into a few parts. There are 4 Kriegsmarine ensigns and again the swastikas are in 2 parts. The rest of the decals are for the aircraft and again the swastikas are in 2 parts and some of them are extremely small.
This kit is currently available at HobbyEasy for $42.55.
Overall it’s an excellent kit of the Scharnhorst with the usual high level of detail we come to expect from Flyhawk. It’s several years since we’ve had a new tool Scharnhorst and this one is now probably the most detailed kit on the market.
Many thanks to Flyhawk for sending along the kit for review.