Monday, March 28

Construction Review: SMS Lützow 1916 in 1/700th scale from Takom

Paul Lee is not a rookie when it comes to the SMS Lützow 1916. Having made the Flyhawk kit a few years ago. He now examines & builds the Takom kit of the same ship in the same scale. See what he found out about this kit in his build review...

Construction Review: SMS Lützow 1916 in 1/700th scale from Takom
Manufacturer: Takom
Name: SMS Lützow  1916
1/700th scale
Type: Polystyrene, photo-etch and waterslide decals multimedia Kit
Available from Takom distributors worldwide

The Subject: SMS Lützow 
SMS Lützow was the second Derfflinger-class battlecruiser built by the German Kaiserliche Marine (English: Imperial Navy) before World War I. Ordered as a replacement for the old protected cruiser Kaiserin Augusta, Lützow was launched on 29 November 1913, but not completed until 1916. Lützow was a sister ship to Derfflinger from which she differed slightly in that she was armed with an additional pair of 15 cm (5.9 inches) secondary guns and had an additional watertight compartment in her hull. She was named in honour of the Prussian general Ludwig Adolf Wilhelm von Lützow who fought in the Napoleonic Wars.
Lützow was commissioned on 8 August 1915, but did not join I Scouting Group until 20 March due to engine damage during trials. This was after most of the major actions conducted by the German battlecruiser force had taken place. As a result, Lützow saw very little action during the war. She took part in only one bombardment operation: the Bombardment of Yarmouth and Lowestoft on 24–25 April 1916, after which she became Admiral Franz von Hipper's flagship. One month later, the ship was heavily engaged during the Battle of Jutland, on 31 May–1 June. During the battle, Lützow sank the British battlecruiser HMS Invincible and is sometimes given credit for sinking the armoured cruiser HMS Defence. However, she was heavily damaged by an estimated 24 heavy-calibre shell hits. With her bow thoroughly flooded, the ship was unable to make the return voyage to Germany; her crew was evacuated and she was sunk by torpedoes fired by one of her escorts, the torpedo boat G38. 

This kit from Takom:
Takom came onto the modelling scene with a slew of slightly left of field armour releases and was celebrated by many jaded armour modellers who were sick and tired of saying “not another such and such kit”. So Takom’s decision to release the German WWI Battlecruiser SMS Lutzow in 1/700 scale came as quite a surprise, and not that great a surprise at the same time given Takom’s history of slightly left-field releases.

This boxing is a full hulled release which I believe is a first for the Lutzow, although upon opening the box and having a quick glance at the sprues and then going through the instructions, there was most definitely a familiar feel about the kit. A quick internet search would reveal that this was not an all-new kit by Takom, but a re-box of the Flyhawk. For those in the know on 1/700 scale ship kits, Flyhawk is often considered the best, or most certainly up there amongst the best for 1/700 scale ships so this is not a bad kit to re-box. I believe Flyhawk only released the Lutzow as a waterline kit, so Takom’s introduction of the full hull is a welcome release for those who prefer modelling ships out of the water.

For this reason, I will not be doing a full review of this kit since I reviewed the Flyhawk kit a few years ago, and is available here:

The build up of that kit is relevant to this one we are looking at today...
However, what I will do is highlight the differences between the kit, of which the biggest difference is the lower hull by Snowman Model which comes in one piece. The fit to the lower hull is very good, although the seam did need some putty, but nothing really better or worse than other full hull kits out on the market.
There is one new sprue which is a small one with parts for the propeller shafts and propellers. The mouldings look nice and equivalent to the Flyhawk parts, but they’re not really going to garner much attention when looking at the model.
The one major downfall of the re-box by Takom is the complete lack of colour callouts for the model, so all you get is a colour image of the right side of the ship and an upper view but no suggestions on what paints to use. The colour profiles show the Lutzow with one red, and one black funnel, which I always found strange, but I’ve read that they were painted that way at sea to assist in the identification, and were the same colour as the rest of the ship while at port, which is what I have chosen to do here.
The other change is the Photo-etched fret which Takom has abbreviated, and not provided the railings as Flyhawk did, but otherwise appears to be the same, except that it is manufactured by Takom. While it is an unfortunate omission, but at 1/700 scale, whether the railings should be visible is debatable, but that is a decision for you to make.

So...what do we think? 
While it’s not an all-new kit, but Takom has chosen a great kit to re-box if you want to build a Lutzow, The missing railings are an unfortunate omission, but not fatal to me, and like the original Flyhawk kit, some pieces are only provided in PE with no plastic substitutes so if PE is not your thing then maybe this kit is not for you, but like the first time around, this is a beautiful kit.
This Takom Lutzow in closer detail...
Highly recommended

Paul Lee

Thank you to Takom for sending this kit to build and review.
You can see more about Takom's kits on their website or on their Facebook page