For half a century before World War One, the shipyards of the major European naval powers had built warships under contract for other powers. The prototypical such firm was Armstrong of Great Britain. With the advent of the 20th Century, the United States had also joined the ranks of shipbuilders to the world but on a much smaller scale than Britain, France or Germany. The start of World War One in August 1914 found the shipyards of the belligerents in possession of warships that were being built for other countries.
These ships were most often seized by the home authorities and placed into service with the countryís navy. The most notable of such acquisitions was the British seizure of two battleships purchased by Turkey, which were being built in British Yards. These two became HMS Agincourt and HMS Erin. However, Britain was not alone in seizing foreign purchased warships. A number of warships were building in Germany. Greece was building the battlecruiser Salamis, which was never brought into service in part because the fourteen-inch guns were contracted with an American firm and were not delivered before the war erupted. The German cruisers, Elbing and Pillau were originally being built for the Russian Navy. These, along with four large destroyers being built for Russia, were seized by Germany upon the war with Russia.
The Netherlands had also contracted for warships to be built in Germany. At A.G. Vulcan in Stettin four destroyers were being built for the Dutch. They were to have been named Z 1 through Z 4. On August 10, 1914 these four were taken over by the German government. They were rerated as torpedo boats in part because they were significantly smaller than the average German destroyer. They were renamed as V 105 through V 108.
The ships 205 feet in length, overall, and displaced 340 tons standard (421 tons full load). Except for V 106, they mounted two 3.4-inch (88mm) guns and two 17.7-inch (450mm) torpedo tubes. With V 106 gun power was reduced to two 52mm to mount a third torpedo tube. Only one of the four was lost during the war when V 107 was lost to a mine in the Eastern Baltic on May 8, 1915. After the war V 106 was scrapped in 1920. V 105 and V 108 were originally awarded to Brazil but became part of the new Polish Navy. V 108, renamed Kaszub, was sunk at Gdansk (Danzig) on July 20, 1925 due to a boiler explosion. V 105, renamed Mazur, remained with the Polish Navy until the first day of World War Two. On September 1, 1939 she was bombed and sunk by the Luftwaffe, achieving the ironic distinction of being a warship that served in the German Navy and that was sunk by the German air force.
One very nice feature of this kit is the inclusion of extra parts for some of the smaller resin pieces. You need three torpedo tubes and H-P gives you four. Only two guns are needed but you get six. There are also extra parts for the large ventilator cowling, small ventilator cowlings and search light platform. I really appreciated these bonus parts because one of the first things that I did was lose one of the torpedo tubes.
With no photo-etched fret, some parts are missing and must be added with third party PE or through scratch building. The bridge wing platforms have two panels of cross-bracing support under each wing. I rummaged through my PE frets until I found PE parts that would replicate these supports. They came from a GMM IJN Carrier fret (thanks Akagi). When you first look at the hull, you notice an absence of anchors on the side. I thought they were missing until I noticed that they were cast on the focísle. These ships stored their anchors on the deck and not on the side of the hull. They had a small crane to hoist them overboard. This crane is not present in the parts and will have to be scratch-built. No masts are provided. I used .025 Evergreen plastic rod but I believe a smaller size would be more appropriate for this model. The .025 rod looked oversize after I finished the kit.
Because of the easy clean up and the fairly small number of parts, the model assembles quickly. You will find that you spend much more time attaching railing and rigging than you do with the basic assembly. In addition to the support braces, I used GMM railing, vertical ladder and one inclined ladder on the starboard side of the bridge.
Pacific Front Hobbies (Phone: 541-464-8579, Fax: 541-957-5477, E-Mail Shipguy@internetcds.com) is the exclusive distributor in the United States for the V 106 as well as the rest of the extensive H-P Models line of 1:700 waterline kits.