Bayern forecastle.jpg (10919 bytes)
German Battleship
SMS Baden

WSW 1:700 Waterline Kit

In-the-Box Review
Rob Mackie

The SMS Baden and her sister ship Bayern were the were the last and best German battleships of the World War I era. The 32,000 ton Bayern class battleships were the first German vessels to mount 15" guns, shipping eight of them in four twin turrets and were also the only German battleships with tripod masts.  They are often compared to the British Queen Elizabeth class, which also displaced 32,000 tons and carried eight 15" guns. The Bayerns had a profile similar to the QE, but the QE class ships were longer (645' vs 591'), narrower (90' vs 98') and faster (25 knots vs 22 knots).  Launched in 1916, the Bayern and Baden missed Jutland and saw little action thereafter.  Bayern was scuttled at Scapa Flow in 1919 while Baden survived only to be expended as a Royal Navy gunnery target in 1921.

Baden Scapa 1918.jpg (12216 bytes)
SMS Baden at Scapa Flow 1918

The WSW (formerly "Doc Modell") kit depicts Bayern in her 1917/18 fit.  The hull casting is crisp,detailed and flawless. We've come to expect this from WSW and the Baden does not disappoint. It is comparable in detail and quality to the Viribus Unitis hull (click here for the Warship review).  The hull teems with exquisitely rendered detail.  My photos do not do it justice but trust me, 1/700 hull castings do not get any better.

With simple, spare lines and a minimum of clutter, German capital ships were exercises in purposeful simplicity.  The Baden was no exception and this means an easy build.  There are not many parts and it is no exaggeration to say that one could complete this model in a long evening.  The deck levels and main turret castings are embedded in paper thin resin wafers, a Doc Modell trademark.  As expected they are very sharp and require minimal cleanup.

15" barrels, secondary guns, miscellaneous fittings and masts are white metal.   This is a first for Doc Modell, though he has used white metal in his B-Resina line. They require cleanup and straightening but in general are quite useable.  They lack the jewel-like sharpness of the white metal castings in the Waveline and Hi Mold kits.  The Japanese seem to have perfected casting in this medium. European and American white metal parts have been steadily improving, but are still not up to Japanese standards.  I strongly suggest the modeler use the white metal masts as templates for fabricating brass rod replacements.  This is an easy step that will avoid bent or wobbly tripod legs.

This US $85 kit includes neither photo-etch nor brass rod for the casement gun barrels.  The clear easy-to-follow instructions include an illustrated and numbered parts list.  This appears to be an accurate kit, and of course the hull is without equal. Smaller parts aren't quite up to the level of WSW's Viribus Unitis kit.  Nevertheless, World War 1 modelers should get this very good kit.  They will not be disappointed.  But WSW's competition is rapidly improving.  Two years ago this model would have defined state-of-the-art, but in some respects WSW/Doc Modell has been eclipsed by the likes of Regia Marina, White Ensign and Hi Mold/Waveline.

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