Trumpeters Admiral Hipper, that I built in the spring of 2012, is typical of their ship kits. It's basically a good kit but nothing extraordinary.
The build began, as usual, with the tedious and time consuming job of filling and sanding the waterline joint. The struts for the propeller shafts were then sanded to a more streamlined shape, the original parts being square and clumsy.
After priming, I painted the wooden decks using the traditional "Plank on plank" method. I mixed four different shades of wood colour, sprayed the darkest one over the entire deck and then masked about a fourth of the planks in a random pattern. Then I sprayed the second darkest wood colour and masked another fourth of the planks. This procedure was then repeated once more, before the last coat was sprayed. When all the tiny masking tape strips have been removed, you get a surface that varies subtly in four shades of wood colour.
To make it come alive a bit more, I then sprayed a thin brown mist along the edges of the superstructure, the barbettes and other places where the deck was likely to have been less worn. Later I brought out the seamlines with a black wash.
Then I went on to paint the dark grey surfaces, that I livened up with lighter nuances of the basic dark grey, where it was most worn, for example along the waterline.
The dark grey surfaces were then masked off, and the light grey was then sprayed on. It received a similar treatment as the dark grey.
Having painted the hull, I started building the superstructure. Here I faced the traditional problem, that there is a difficult joint between the bulkheads and the decks. When your fill and sand the joint, you will inevitably ruin some of the surface detail on the bulkheads. I solved the problem, by sanding most of the surface details away and replaced them with PE and scratchbuilt details.
On this build I relied on the spares box for PE parts, which went OK, but it would have been better to get a PE set dedicated to the Hipper.
The superstructure was then painted dark grey and I started to mask the splint camouflage. Careful sighting and small pieces of Tamiya tape did the job.
I cut a template for the swastikas from double masking tape. It took a few attempts before I got it right. I then sprayed the circular base for it in a dirty white shade and the swastika in a bleached black tone.
Curiously and ridiculously, I have to sensor the model when I exhibit it here in Germany, where I live. I cover the swastikas with small pieces of brown paper, since the swastika is a forbidden symbol here.
The model has fared very differently at different contests. In Oslo 2013 she placed best of the models I exhibited, beaten only by an excellent HMS Kent built by David Griffith. In Helsinki, two months later, she came last of the eleven ships I exhibited.
She won a Gold Medal at the Swedish Championship in 2013 and a Bronze Medal at Telford this year. The Telford medal may sound impressive, but it really isn't worth that much. Four of the six models in the 1:350 class were built by me.
Furthermore I think that waterline joints should be prohibited.