DKM Scharnhorst. German Battleship, Dragon, 1/350th Scale

DragonScharnhorst_001Description: High quality injected model
Scale: 1/350
Price: $129.95 from FreeTime Hobbies
Contents & Media: Over 1300 parts, including photo-etch, lower and upper hulls, multi-piece deck, display stand.
Advantages:
-Amazing detail that was not possible on a few years ago with styrene technology
-Initial test fitting if components shows a very tight tolerance of kit pieces
-Detail under platforms, and other small details, add to overall detail of kit
Disadvantages:
-Deck planking could have more detail; it isn’t bad, but compared to the rest of the kit it is lackin
-Multiple small tab on most parts, required for molding, but the modeler will have to remove them
Recommendation: Highly  Recommended!!

The long awaited (by me, at least) Dragon Scharnhorst has arrived, and I had a chance to sit down and look through the kit.  If you have any of the Benson/Gleaves class or Gearing kits, there are no real surprises in regards to the overall quality – the parts are all very crisp.

While I’ll probably build mine waterline, the upper and lower hull clicked together and looks like very little filler will be needed, if at all. Contrast that with the Trumpeter 1/350 Prinz Eugen – when I tried to dry fit those hull halves together, there were differences of at least 1mm in some places.

What really struck me about this kit – besides the sheer size and number of parts (it’s nearly as long as the Bismarck) – is the level of molded on detail. The most remarkable place was on the midships gun deck – it has to be seen to be believed. Dragon did a nice job of adding detail underneath all the platforms, which are usually barren on ship models. These types of things really add another dimension to the kit. Also, the DS (Dragon Styrene) blast bags are just flat out awesome.

I have only a few nit picks:

1) The deck planking, compared to the rest of the kit, is unremarkable. The planking on the anchor chain “washboard” has individual planks, but the rest of the deck does not.
2) The plethora of small tabs attached to all the parts. I know WHY this is done (helps during the molding process) but they are annoying to nip off and clean up, especially on a model of this size and scope.
3) I’ll never finish the Tamiya 1/700 Scharnhorst I have 85% done!

The directions are typical Dragon, which is to say read them carefully! And why these companies have you add the lower hull AFTER the model is basically done still defies logic!

Is it the best injection molded ship model ever? I’m not ready to say that -the Hasegawa Yahagi and Tamiya Mikuma in 1/350 are both exceptional kits – but this is a very, very good model. It’s, in my opinion, an excellent value for the price.  I picked up mine for $129 from FreeTime Hobbies.

For more information on the Scharnhorst, check out the excellent Scharnhorst class website at http://www.scharnhorst-class.dk/

~Martin J. Quinn, 2010