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Marcello Rosa
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Oldie but Goldie: Tamiya 1/350 Bismarck

January 8, 2022 · in Ships · · 9 · 2.4K

Here are some photos of my first ship built after >30 years: the classical . The only upgrades added to the kit were the decking and some generic DKM railing. Other departures from the kit were home made improvisations.

Everything just fitted. There was little filling and sanding involved - mostly to remove seam lines in the bridge assembly. One place that caused me a little bit of trouble was the part of the superstructure near the fore secondary turrets. This part bulges in to make room for the turret to rotate, creating an alcove. I installed the secondary battery according to instructions. When the upper levels of the superstructure were installed, there was a visible seam line running horizontally in this alcove, which was nearly impossible to get rid of due to the lack of access. It took me a lot of improvisation involving pieces of sand paper attached to sticks, Vallejo putty, and hand-painting to mask this problem a bit. The final touches were done with a lot of Tamiya weathering master soot from their set B. Fortunately this was a place that would get very dirty anyway from the guns firing very close by.

I made blast bags for the primary and secondary guns by sculpting some blu-tack into the right shapes, and then sealing them with hand-painted clear gloss. Some soot was applied as part of weathering the turrets.

A jackstaff was not provided in the kit, so I made one from a sawed and sanded hypodermic needle, and glued in place with cyanoacrylate glue. Rigging was done with human hair. The model out of the box does not represent the portholes in the superstructure. I drilled them using a pin vise, according to reference photos I found online.

I improved the Arado planes a bit by making propellers from Evergreen strips. The kit does not come with decals for the plane so the markings you see in the photos were hand-painted.

The least satisfactory part of this model is the trapeze used to hold the planes in the catapult. The real trapezes looked like cages, but the model comes with a very simple solid piece of plastic. This is where the photo etch upgrades really would make a difference.

This was a trouble-free build. I highly recommend the Tamiya Bismarck if you are planning to build your first ship. For additional photos, feel free to visit

Reader reactions:
13  Awesome

15 additional images. Click to enlarge.

9 responses

  1. Fantastic build, Marcello!
    Great improvements, too!

  2. Even after 30 years you did not forgot how to build a beautiful ship, Marcello @marcellorosa1
    Very nice Bismarck.

  3. In modeling popularity I would guess that the Bismarck is the naval equivalent of the BF109, you’ve made a great job on this one.

  4. That looks really nice Marcello.
    I am noting your build and recommendations for the Tamiya kit if ever will build a Bismarck.
    As a kid when adults talked about WW2, the first 3 names we learned were :
    Bismarck !
    The stuff of legends that are real. Thanks for showing.

  5. Great job! looks great.

  6. That is a stunning build mate!
    I actually work on a Blohm+Voss yacht, and I meet some of the contractors who come down from the boat yard in Hamburg regularly for a beer.
    We are all quite sad it was sank... 🙂

  7. That was a big yacht but the owner p****d off many people, so it had to go.

  8. Yes, MY Bismark was a lovely yacht, but the boss was a bit of a d**k... lol

  9. fabulous work! I've built this kit before and had a positive experience too. I love the innovative upgrades you made

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