Paul has been hard at it with his seaman skills recently as he got FlyHawk model’s new kit of the Lutzow ship shape and tip top – let’s see what he thought about this intricate but neat looking new kit…
Build Review: SMS Lutzow
Manufacturer: Flyhawk Model
Type: Multimedia kit
Price: USD $45.52; €36.56
Available from Skyhawk distributors worldwide
The SMS Lutzow was the second of three Derfflinger class battlecruisers which served in the Imperial German Navy during the First World War. Considered by some to be the finest warships of it's time, the SMS Lutzow had the distinction of serving as Admiral Hipper's flagship during the Battle of Jutland, where it suffered heavy damage and was eventually scuttled just short of home port, but not before she was able to take part in the destruction of several Royal Navy ships.
Flyhawk is a manufacturer that usually produces photo etch sets for plastic kits and this is one of their first forays into the world of plastic kit manufacture. Now before I go any further, I must admit that ships are not on my usual build list and this is the first ship I have done before so there will be a few elements of the ship that I have no idea about.
On opening the box, you will find five sprues of plastic, the top and bottom of the hull, five assorted parts of the superstructure, one sheet of photo etch and a small sheet of decals.
These are the sides of the hull as well as these parts that go on either side which some smaller bits attach to later on. I'm not sure what that is.
You get two B sprues, and these include some very nicely detailed life boats, as well as the main and secondary guns, as well as the AA guns. The ends of the barrels for the main armament come pre-drilled, although they are not very noticeable. I imagine PE barrels may enhance the appearance even more, but at 1/700 scale, I think these are quite acceptable. Some parts are highlighted as not being used, which presumably are for specific details for the other ships of the class.
I'm not sure what these are for, but they go on the side of the hull and attach to the bits mentioned on the first sprue.
The E sprue gives you some parts of the superstructure as well as three funnels, one of which is not used. There are some other parts on this sprue that are highlighted as not being used as well so take note.
A very nicely moulded part of the superstructure.
These are the top and bottom of the hull. As you can see from the bottom plate that this is a waterline model, and there is no option for a full hull.
Not surprising that a photo etch manufacturer would give you a fret of photo etch, and this will finish off the model very nicely with some very nice fine details. A metal weight is also provided in the box.
A small sheet of decals is provided, which includes some flags, and aerial recognition markings which go on the main turrets.
The instruction sheet is a small vertical pamphlet with line drawings. The instructions are clearly laid out. One aspect of the instructions that I really appreciated was that the layout of the lifeboats and PE railings were colour coded which made their placement much easier than trying to decipher them through a maze of arrows.
Obviously, only one marking scheme is provided in the box, and is provided in colour.
Construction starts with the hull, and the first layer of the superstructure along with the secondary guns. The instructions tell you to insert the barrels into the gun mounts but I left them off until the very end. There are no issues with the fit with only very minor seams at the front and back of the hull where the sides meet. I did get a strange problem with the lower plate bowing so that the model doesn't sit flat on the surface.
The wooden upper deck is very nicely engraved and will come up very well with a panel line wash later on.
The next few steps involve various parts of the superstructure and present no fit issues since they mainly consist of flat panels and shallow tubs. You do get PE options for the cranes on the sides, as well as some towers, and really, there is no comparing the PE and plastic options since the PE is streets ahead in terms of detail.
However there are some PE parts that are compulsory so you will not be able to finish the model using only plastic parts, but the end result is that you will get a very nice looking model. I did find that part PE-45 fitted better when I didn't fold the two sides down as indicated by the instructions. The instructions for the railings also don't mention that PE-21 goes on both sides of the rear section of piece E36.
The life boats are also very nicely detailed, especially the open topped ones which have some very nice ribbing detail inside.
The fit of the PE appears to be very good, although can be very hard to bend into shape around some of the round and very narrow sections that you need to wrap around. As you can see there is one section that has snapped off, and one of the support stilts snapped so I replaced it with a slightly thicker staple.
The second funnel is next and has some very fine lattice detail on the base structure. The PE stand also adds a nice bit of refinement.
The construction of the guns is very straight forward and had no issues at all. As mentioned earlier, the barrels for the main guns have the barrels drilled out but hardly noticeable. One thing to note is that there are eight 88mm AA guns provided in this kit. My basic research on Wiki tells me that the Lutzow only had four so more research may be required. I lost one of them after they flew off the tweezers so my seven guns may actually be a bit more accurate than the eight provided.
There is a detail that goes onto the second main turret stand that is listed as E7, however E7 appears to be backwards and should be E2 if appearances are correct.
Bringing all the structures together and attaching them to the hull presented no problems at all, although there is a very small bit of wiggle room where the structures join to the deck. PE chains are also provided for the anchors.
I chose to paint the ship before I added the sections of PE railing on the main decks. The instructions give you paint options for Mr Hobby, Tamiya, and WEM paints. I painted my ship with a mixture of Tamiya and Mr Hobby colours according to the instructions. Interestingly enough the instructions say to paint the second funnel red. I'm not sure where they got this information from but I couldn't bring myself to do it and painted mine the same colour as the rest of the upper hull.
I then added the PE railings. The colour coded instructions made their placement a simple task although some careful bending is required around the first level of the superstructure above the secondary guns, but the end result looks great.
No rigging instructions are provided, so I added some basic but far from comprehensive rigging following the box art using some Uschi elastic rigging which worked a treat.
Whilst ships are not my cup of tea, this kit builds up into a very impressive model. The plastic parts are as simple as it gets, but it is the photo etch that is the real star of the show, and really adds a high level of refinement to this model. The gun barrels could possibly be replaced with brass but the kit ones are good enough for me. This is definitely one for the experts with all the photo etch but still highly recommended.
Thanks to FlyHawk Model for sending this kit to review and build