Trumpeter 1/350 Narvik Class Destroyer 36B Z-43 (1944)
MSRP $45.99 $32.19 from Squadron Mail Order
Images and text Copyright © 2014 by Matt Swan
At the end of WW1 Germany had no Destroyers in its inventory. By 1934 they had begun design and construction of modern destroyers and issues them general classification based on the year of design such as 34 or in the case of this kit, 36 with letter codes for major changes within the design series. Additionally they were not named but simply numbered with a preceding Z designation for destroyer (Zerstorer in German). At the beginning of WW2 Germany had 22 Destroyers within three classes; 34, 34A and 36 with 19 more joining them over the course of the war. This does not include acquisitions for other Navies. The 36 series began with Z-17 launched in 1937. The 36B series began with Z-35 and Z-43 was launched in late 1943 with commissioning in 1944. Its service life was very short being scuttled in 1945.
Generally I try to give you, the reader, as comprehensive a view of the kit as possible however some days as a modeler you find yourself overcome with the compulsion to just start cutting plastic and building the kit. It's just not worth fighting these urges so today I'm just going to give you a quick review of what is in the box, what I added to it and jump right into a gallery review of this kit.
This is a Trumpeter kit and as with most of their kits it arrives in a nice, solid top opening box. The full hull is contained within a small side pocket and all the plastic trees are grouped together and bagged in sub-groups. The kit includes two frets of photo-etch, the first covering the basic ladders, doors and gun shields with the second containing all railing. A small sheet of decals is included with a very straight flag and one flapping in the breeze. Each flag comes with a deconstructed swastika which is a real pain to assemble at 1/350. Overall the box offerings look real nice with good surface detail, no flash and minimal sprue connections. There are a few injector pin marks on some interior surfaces which for the most part do not present a problem. Do pay attention to them though as a few will have to be cleaned up.
Those two frets of photo-etch that came with the kit would most likely be adequate for the average (read that 'moderately advanced') builder but for me, I need a little more. I went ahead and added the Eduard #53065 photo-etch set which gave me replacement crew stations on both torpedo launchers along with additional gun station details, improved main radar equipment and many other little extras as well as duplicates of many of the basic PE parts just in case I screwed something up or lost a piece (yeah, like that could happen). I also added a set of Aber brass barrels #AB350L55 and the Artwox wooden deck laminate #AW10018. Finally from North Star Models I included a set of Kriegsmarine resin figures-in-action #NSA350509. Photo-etch and brass barrels I've done before so nothing really new there, wooden deck laminates and 1/350 crew figures are new to me so let's see how this works out.
I see I have my big oily fingerprints all over the Tamiya hull red up there, will have to clean that off at the end of the build. No point in doing it now as there is plenty of handling yet to come. New anchor chain came with the Aber brass barrels which I went right ahead and installed. Once that was done I thought it looked hugely over-scale. The Eduard PE set includes anchor chain as well which looked more size appropriate so that will get changed by the end of the build. To the right you can see the Artwox wooden deck laminate. It went right in place with only a little trim work around the ladder access points and seems to stick down very well. I have read mixed reviews about this stuff adding thickness to the deck and lifting after installation. I have found no problems with it at all, while there is indeed a little additional thickness to the deck it does not seem to impact any of the other assembly pieces and even two months after putting it down there has been no indication of lifting anywhere. I do have to admit this is a small deck section so that may come into play with a larger build.
See my little guys inside the torpedo crew housing? They look pretty neat and do not seem out of scale. Also note the life rafts on the gun turret; these are from the Eduard set. There are plenty of them included and they look much better than the plastic ones included with the kit.
Check out those little lift raft holders around the bridge wings, those come with the Eduard PE set and while they are extremely fine and delicate they add a great level of detail to the build. One aspect of this build that I'm really enjoying is how each sub-assembly is virtually a kit unto itself. I'm able to focus in on one structure or gun emplacement and just do everything I want to with little concern about the next sub-assembly. One thing I would do differently is not mount the main guns in-line with the ship hull but rather would angle them all about 20 degrees to one side. I think it would look better.
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