Z-31 IN 1:350 FROM DRAGON
It cannot with the best of will be said, that the german destroyers of WW2 were successful designs. Their sleek hulls had far too little volume in the foreship to carry the artillery.
It was bad enough with the single 15 cm gun on the foredeck and it got far worse when the double 15 cm turrets of the original design were fitted. When there was a sea running, the ships would dive straight into the seas taking the water green over their bows all the way up to the turret. Of course it was impossible to keep the water out of the turret and sometimes important equipment in the turret would be put out of action.
Fitting the destroyers with 15 cm guns instead of the for destroyers usual 12 cm guns, seems logical when you read about the design process. The germans knew that they would always be inferior in numbers and therefore tried to give each individual ship more firepower than its potential opponent.
A 15 cm shell however, weighs some 45 kg, twice as much as a 12 cm shell. These heavy shells had to be manhandled by the gun crews aboard a ship that rolled and pitched much livelier than a cruiser, the type of ship that usually carries 15 cm guns.
The inevitable result was that the rate of fire went down drastically.
The machinery caused constant troubles. To reach high speeds, the germans fitted their destroyers with advanced high pressure turbines. When five destroyers were sent out on a mission, one usually had to turn back because of engine trouble. Not only was the technology new and untested, the engineers qualified to repair them were too few. This caused the destroyers to spend long periods in shipyards being repaired and overhauled.
On top of that, there were always to few destroyers and other small ships. The german navy was completely unprepared for the fact that they would have to keep the coastline from North Cape to Spain under surveillance. The loss of ten destroyers during the Narvik campaign didn’t exactly make things better.
Dragons kit is very good. Even the waterline joint went together without any trouble worth mentioning. The PE set that comes with the kit is very fine, but it was quite tricky to fit the ventilator gratings around the base of the funnels. Building the mainmast and getting the crossed yardarms level, although the mast is inclined aft, was also a challenge. I did it by drilling an inclined hole through a piece of particle board and put the mast into it. The mast rested in the hole while I glued the yardarms to it.
The paravanes came from l’Arsenal and railings and other PE came from Eduard.
I finished the model in December 2014.
Even though the waterline joint of this kit went together without problems, I maintain that waterline joints should be prohibited.
16 additional images. Click to enlarge.