Review: AJM Models 1/700 Bockenheim Sperrbrecher 14

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We have this kit for sale in our shop. We keep our pricing as competitive as we can.
https://shop.hobbylinkinternational.com/product/ajm-models-1-700-bockenheim-sperrbrecher-14-ajm700-032/

History

This ship started as a cargo ship, built in 1929, she operated as Tai Ping for the Norwegian shipping company ‘Wilh. Wilhelmsen’ until 1940 . She was confiscated by the German Wehrmacht in May 1940. After it was briefly assigned to the Unterweser shipping company as Bockenheim, the Navy requisitioned the ship and used it as a barrier breaker – until it was decommissioned after mine damage in 1942.

The conversion to Sperrbrecher 14 took place from August 2 to October 15, 1940 at the Seebeck shipyard in Bremerhaven. The ship was equipped with a protective stowage mainly made of sand and empty barrels, a VES system and armament consisting of two 105-mm guns, four 37-mm and five 20-mm anti-aircraft guns. The commissioning took place on November 30, 1940 in Wesermünde as barrier breaker 14 for the 2nd barrier breaker flotilla founded in July.

The operational area of ​​the flotilla was on the French coast between Brest and the Spanish border, after the formation of the 6th barrier breaker flotilla on July 1, 1941, between the Loire estuary and the Spanish border. The main base of the flotilla was Royan , and the ports of operations were Saint-Nazaire , La Rochelle , La Pallice and Bordeaux . The tasks included keeping the access routes to the ports free for the German submarines, blockade breakers and suppliers.

In 1942 the ships of the 2nd barrier breaker flotilla were in constant use. On their last deployment, Sperrbrecher 14 scored three clearing successes off Royan on June 22, 1942, one of which was a direct mine hit under the engine room. This hit damaged the machinery so badly that it should have been replaced. The ship was first brought to Bordeaux. It received additional damage there when a British Commando unit attacked during Operation Frankton in December 1942. The Commandos launched from the British submarine HMS Tuna and reached the port of Bordeaux by canoe on the Gironde at night. There, on December 12, 1942, they installed mines on several ships. Blockade breaker 14 suffered further damage as a result, and the blockade breakers Alabama, Tannenfels, Portland and Dresden were also damaged. On the same day, the Navy put the Bockenheim out of service due to the damage.

The ship initially remained in Bordeaux and was sunk on August 25, 1944, in the Gironde estuary near Bassens as a blockship to prevent the Allies from using the port of Bordeaux. In March 1945 the ship was lifted and a year later towed to Pasajes in Spain, where it was scrapped until February 1949.

Kit History

I’m not aware of anyone doing a kit of this ship in plastic or resin before.

Inside the box:

  • approx 230 resin parts plus a solid resin hull
  • 1 PE sheet with approx 160+ parts
  • 1 small decal sheet
  • assorted brass rods of various diameters
  • 4 sheets of double-sided paper giving
    • 2 pages of painting guide
    • 6 pages of the parts layout and build instructions over 21 steps

The box is a top opening cardboard box and all the parts inside are bagged and wrapped in bubble wrap. The smaller resin parts are tightly packed in a small resealable bag so they can’t be damaged. The packaging is good.

The resin parts are very nicely detailed and some of the smaller parts are just that, very small. Care will be needed when removing the smaller parts from the pour stubs.

The PE fret is made from very thin PE and again, some of the parts are very fine and will need care. The level of detail made possible by the PE is very high and will make for an excellent model.

Instructions

The instructions are good and lay things out well. The first page of the 8 pages is a parts layout so you can find the parts you need. It’s handily laid out starting with 1 at the top left to the highest numbered parts at the bottom right. In the numbering system, numbers in round boxes are resin and numbers in square boxes are PE.

Page 1 of the instructions covers steps 1 to 3. These steps have you making the ship’s guns.

Page 2 has steps 4 to 8. This page continues slowly working backwards on the ship adding parts. Step 4 has you adding small parts to the very front of the ship while steps 5 and 6 each add a gun platform.

Page 3 has steps 7 to 11. This page has you working amidships mostly on the bridge. Step 7 assembles the main bridge structure from 2 parts of resin. Sep 8 is out of place since it shows a front view of the completed bridge, yet step 9 is where the small parts and gun platforms are added to the bridge. Step 10 shows you what diameter brass rod to use to make the mainmast but unfortunately, it doesn’t show you the lengths. Step 11 shows you a rear view of the completed bridge.

Page 4 has steps 12 to 14. This page works amidships and adds a few small parts along with the ventilation ducts amidships.

Page 5 has steps 15 to 17. This page has us working at the aft end of the ship again adding resin photo-etch parts to various places on the deck.

Page 6 completes the build with the last steps, 18 to 21. We add assorted small parts, the last 2 gun platforms and the last of the ship’s railings.

Paint & Decals

The colours are called out in Life Colour and also named. There are 3 colour images of the ship from port, starboard and from above. There are also part views showing you the fwd and aft views of the bridge and midships superstructure so you can get the painting correct on those faces.

There is a decal sheet for the ship that contains Kriegsmarine ensign, deck swastika and draft marks. However, I can’t see the deck swastika shown on the painting isntructions.

Conclusion
This kit is not for beginners because as it’s a resin kit and you need to take care to avoid inhaling the dust. The kit has many small parts and a high PE part count for a ship of this size. However, this is a nicely detailed kit and you will end up with a spectacular model that you will not see anywhere else.

The kit is available from our online store here.

Paul Tosney – Editor
HobbyLink International
Hoblylink International Shop
eBay Store
Inextension

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