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In-Box Review
SMS Derfflinger 1916
SMS Derfflinger 1916 First Commemorative Edition
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
Model Shipwrights

Flyhawk of China has been producing highly acclaimed photo-etch and other detail items since 2008. We will examine the 1/700 First World War battlecruiser, SMS Derfflinger, their freshman injection molded full kit.

Laid down in 1912, SMS Derfflinger was a complementary design to the battleship SMS König. Both mounted their main battery in twin turrets on the centerline and both classes were outfitted with a partially oil-fired boiler arrangement. Derfflinger was the first German capital ship to have a flush deck design, while the lack of secondary casements mounts in the hull itself presaged the turn naval design would take in the 1930's.

SMS Derfflinger and her newly commissioned sister-ship, SMS Lützow, were active at Jutland, and between them they are credited with sinking and/or assisting in the sinking of HMS Invincible and HMS Queen Mary. Lützow took over 24 hits, including four 15" shells, but still made it all the way back to the entrance of the Kiel Canal only to find that, with 7,500 tons of water in her she could not get over the sandbar at the entrance to the estuary, so she was abandoned and sunk by an escorting torpedo boat, G38. Derfflinger, with 17 heavy and 4 medium hits plus 3,000 tons of water aboard, limped home while trying not to foul her propellers on the loosened anti-torpedo nets trailing along her side.

Originally fitted with straight pole masts, during repairs following Jutland Derfflinger (and Hindenburg while whe was being built) was fitted with a tripod mast in place of her foremast, and had several 8.8cm guns removed. Also, as a result of the Jutland experience, anti-torpedo nets were removed from all combatants.

Delayed by other construction priorities and built to a modified Derfflinger design, SMS Hindenburg commissioned too late to see Jutland. She was the fastest of the three, coming in at 26.6 knots (combat load), but never saw combat. She holds two distinctions:
1) Last battlecruiser completed for the Imperial German Navy
2) Last ship to sink during the Grand Scuttle at Scapa Flow.

Derfflinger and Hindenburg survived the war to be interned at Scapa Flow, where they both were scuttled on June 21, 1919. Though they were the last battlecruisers completed by the German navy, they were not the last built - that claim belongs to the Mackensen class.

Laid down: Jan 1912 Completed: Sept 1914
Length: 689' oa Beam: 95' Draft: 27' 6"
Displacement: 26,180 tons (normal) 30,700 tons (full load)
Armament: eight 12" (4x2), twelve 5.9" (12x1)
four 3.4" (4x1), eight 8.8cm Flak L/45 (8x1)
Torpedo Tubes: four 60cm submerged tubes
Performance: 63,000 shp, 26.5 knots
Range: 5,600nm @ 14 knots
Complement: 1,112 -1,182
Notes: Three ships in class: Derfflinger, Lutzow and Hindenburg
Derfflinger severely damaged at Jutland after taking 17 large caliber hits.
Made it back to port. Tripod mast fitted during repairs*

SMS Derfflinger
Flyhawk packs this model in a sturdy conventional lid-tray box. It features beautiful and dynamic box art of Derfflinger releasing a broadside downrange. Inside are at least 10 zip lock bags of 11 light gray injection-molded sprues, a wrapped weight, a clear plastic box of special parts, superb instructions, photo-etch frets, and decals. Those sprues are:
    A. Left and right hull halves and torpedo net booms.
    B. 2 x main battery turrets and 30.5cm L/50 naval rifles, 15cm casement gun components, launches, searchlights, cranes, superstructure components, piping, 8.8cm Flak guns with shields, vents and housings.
    C. Torpedo net booms
    E. Superstructure and forecastle parts, masts, fore and aft stacks, crow's nests, light platforms and towers.
    F. Superstructure parts
    G. Superstructure part
    H. Stack foundation
    J. Waterline base
    K. Main deck
    L. Stack foundation

Additional packages are a ballast weight wrapped in an interesting thin wood sheath, a small plastic box holding a resin aircraft with a photo-etch fret, brass gun barrels and Derfflinger bow crest, and the ship’s photo-etch fret.

I admit I did not watch much of the video review of this model. When I opened the box, my first impression was This is an intriguing kit – look at all of these items! Then I started digging the bags out and I was even more impressed. Why? The quality of molding is sharp, crisp, and full of detail. I found no flash, sink marks, visible ejector marks, nor noticeable mold seam lines. The only parts that seem to have texture are the hull halves. Those hull halves are cleverly molded to display the complex compound curves of the ship. The parts are molded with finesse, masts and other parts quite thin. One searchlight did suffer an incomplete shot with a partial mount. Attachments holding those parts to a sprue are fairly small although will require a gentle touch with sharp cutters to safely separate the parts. Test-fitting indicates this should be an easily assembled and fun model. Flyhawk must be considering releasing Derfflinger’s sister ships, or earlier or later versions, as there is no sprue D or I, and a few individual pieces are their own sprue.

One flaw in packaging is the waterline and deck in a bag that seems to be too short; they fit diagonally yet the waterline’s bow broke off.
The ship
I showed these photographs to a devoted ship modeler. His eyes went wide with amazed appreciation for the detail of this model. First, look at the surfaces of the decks. Individual planking hatches and ports, capstans and cleaves, and dozens of small flush round objects. Fine hatches and ladders are molded onto the bulkheads. What I would describe as thin cooling baffles are molded around superstructure components supporting the stacks. Davit mounts for the launches populate an upper deck. The searchlights are molded with open trunnion arms around the drum (in which the lamp is installed). Launches feature crisp thwarts. Turrets have fine structure detail.

One of the most impressive detail features is that both funnels are molded a single, hollow stacks, including caps! Flyhawk did not settle with that, they molded tiny piping clusters and platforms to attach to those stacks.

Further extra detail consists of eight turned brass barrels for the main battery, the brass bow crest, and nice p/e fret: ladders; railing; masts; cranes; hatches; anchor chains. The aforementioned devoted ship modeler’s eyes again went wide with delight that Flyhawk etched end stanchions onto lengths of railing. Impressive!

The aircraft
Derfflinger carried a Friedrickshafen FF.33 floatplane. Flyhawk includes it as a model unto itself:
    -Resin fuselage with lower wing
    -Separate upper wing
    -Separate floats
    -36 individual photo-etched parts including a propeller, interplane struts, float struts, empennage, and engine manifold - incredible!

Such a small aircraft is cast with oversized rib ridges on the very thin wings and, unfortunately, the right lower wing broke about half-span.
Instructions, painting, decals
Flyhawk created clearly illustrated assembly instructions on smooth paper that unfolds accordion-style. Crowned with the full color box art it also includes the sprues and basic model components. Separate inserts guide the modeler to assemble the special Commemorative Edition items.

Each step of crisp line art depicts the model, pieces clearly keyed by part number. Symbols indicate multiple acts with several parts. A few inserts and vignettes bring the eye to subassemblies. Again, Flyhawk ascends beyond their peers – yet again to the glee of the naval modeler – with color-coding. Color makes clear where and in what order to mount launches, Flak guns, searchlights, capstans, and more. Further, color is used to show where to mount photo-etch parts. Another sheet shows how to assemble the aircraft. Finally, a small sheet with a revision is included to clarify numbers of a couple of parts.

Flyhawk flies higher! Painting is directed with a full-color planform and profile of Derfflinger. Ten colors are shown (With printed paint chips!) and identified for Mr.Hobby, Tamiya, WEM Colourcoats, and a brand printed in Japanese. (As an aside, Mr. Snyder of White Ensign Models sent me a list of colors for this ship, and the WEM Colourcoats that match them. These are listed at the end of this review.) Interestingly, all colors in the painting guide are keyed to Tamiya paint numbers.

Decals are high-quality, too. Thin and opaque, sharp and precisely registered, minimal carrier film, two different sheets are included. One, for the ship, includes two types of three styles of ensigns – straight and simulated wavy. Crests and heralds and aerial identification symbols for the ship are included, yet a fourth item that brought amazed joy to my ship modeler friend.

The second sheet includes over 20 decals for the Friedrickshafen FF.33 floatplane, including miniscule serial numbers!

Flyhawk has released an amazing first kit! It is expertly molded and packed with sharp, fine detail. Lack of cleanup will enhance enjoyment of building it. The instruction sheets are some of the best I’ve seen: clear, uncluttered, color-coded. Decals are also top-notch with thin, opaque, sharply registered and printed markings. This is a special edition model and the photo-etch and multi-media floatplane greatly enhances the value for the modeler.

I really have nothing to complain about this model except perhaps some platform bulkheads are a bit overscale, as is the ribbing detail of the aircraft, and perhaps the airplane may be fragile to assemble. Perhaps the waterline base should be packed in a larger bag because the tip was broken off. One wing of the aircraft was broken, too.

Regardless, I think this is a fantastic first model for Flyhawk! It has so many high points and really no lows. I definitely recommend this model, whether this First Commemorative Edition or a standard issue.

We thank Flyhawk for providing this model for review! Please tell vendors and retailers that you saw this model here – on Model Shipwrights.

Painting the Imperial German Navy

Battleships, Armoured and Small Cruisers (North Sea and Baltic Sea):
- Superstructures, Light Grey, RAL 7035—use Colourcoats RN 03;
- Hull, Agate Grey, RAL 7038—use Colourcoats KM 13 (exact match);
- Boot-topping, Slate Grey, RAL 7015—use Colourcoats KM 06;
- Underwater Hull, Brownish-Red, RAL 3011— use Colourcoats US 14.

Ships’ Boats:
- Exterior, Pure White, RAL 9010—use Colourcoats C 03;
- Interior, Bright Wood—use Colourcoats US 15;
- Captain's Gig, Dark Blue to Black—use Colourcoats KM 07 for Dark Blue, or C 02 for Black;
- Motor Boats, Light Grey, RAL 7035— use Colourcoats RN 03;
- Steam Boats, Mahogany—use Colourcoats US 15;
Deck/Linoleum, Red-Brown, RAL 8012—use Colourcoats ACSM 11;
- Deck/Wood, Birch or Maple Veneer—use Colourcoats IJN 09 or C 01.

* Thomas L. Tanner, Jr. (2000.) GROßE KRUEZER The Big Three - SMS Derfflinger, Lützow, and Hindenburg [http://www.sms-navy.com/bc/sms_bc_derfflinger.htm]
Highs: Expertly molded and packed with sharp, fine detail with some of the best instruction sheets I’ve seen, and quality decals. Photo-etched frets and turned brass gun barrels, and a resin and photo-etch aircraft.
Lows: I really have nothing to complain about this model except perhaps some platform bulkheads are a bit overscale, as is the ribbing detail of the aircraft, and perhaps the airplane may be fragile to assemble.
Verdict: I think this is a fantastic first model for Flyhawk! It has so many high points and really no lows.
  Scale: 1:700
  Mfg. ID: 1300
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jun 24, 2014

Our Thanks to Flyhawk Model!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. All rights reserved.


The only downside as far as I'm concerned is there is no lower hull, like what Trumpeter gives.
JUN 24, 2014 - 03:06 AM

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