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SMS Lutzow

German High Seas Fleet

1913 - 1916

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1:700 Scale
Waterline Resin Model

Rob Mackie

SMS Lutzow and her sister ships Derfflinger and Hindenburg were generally regarded as the finest of the WW1 era German battlecruisers. Excellent sea boats, their four 12" turrets were located in fore and aft superfiring pairs along the center line. In profile Lutzow had a decidedly more modern look than Seydlitz. Her flush deck, long forecastle and lack of midship main armament resulted in sleeker, more visually appealing lines than Seydlitz. At Jutland Lutzow was hammered by 24 heavy shells (4-15", 12-13.5", and 8-12"), but her own gunnery blew up HMS Invincible and possibly Defence. But the many Royal Navy shell hits took their toll. Thousands of tons of water poured into her breached hull. When the water line reached the top of Lutzow's B barbette, the situation was hopeless and the Germans finished her off with a destroyer-launched torpedo. She was the largest and most important of the German ships lost at Jutland.

Vital Statistics
SMS Lutzow
Laid down: May 1912 Completed: March 1916
Length: 690' 3" oa  Beam: 95'' 2" Draft: 27' mean, 31' at deep load
Displacement: 26,318 tons (normal)  30,700 tons (deep load)
Armament: eight 12" (4x2), fourteen 5.9" (12x1)
fourteen 3.4" (14x1), eight 8.8cm Flak L/45 (8x1)

Torpedo Tubes: four 60cm submerged tubes
Performance: 63,000 shp, 26.5 knots

Range: 5,600nm @ 14 knots
Complement: 1,112 (1,391 at Jutland)

The WSW (formerly Doc Modell) SMS Lutzow is a gem. This producer has solved the mysteries of resin casting. The Lutzow's detail laden hull is glass-smooth and its edges razor sharp. The more one examines this casting, the more impressive it gets. Little details like the fore and aft anchors are exquisite. No etched brass two-dimensional anchors on this battlecruiser. The horizontal deck vents, a prominent feature on German capital ships, are in-scale and cutting-edge sharp, unmarred by air bubbles or warpage. Even the torpedo net shelving and nets have been cast integral with the hull and are most convincing.

Lutzow 14.jpg (35588 bytes)Smaller parts are cast into paper thin resin wafers. Parts removal and preparation was easy. The 12" barrels are cast integral with the four gun turrets. Besides being ramrod straight, eliminates alignment headaches and is a nice touch.  The command bridge and wheel house are especially noteworthy. They are multi-part affairs engineered so that the interior is visible through the window frames. No solid representations here, so the hard core among you will have some fun detailing  interiors. Engineering of all above deck structures is uniformly excellent. Everything goes together with minimal fitting and sanding. German battlecruisers eschewed deck clutter. Combine this purposeful design approach with WSW's well engineered parts and you have a rather easy buildup - for a capital ship. Pole masts, open boats, cranes, searchlights and 8.8cm guns are white metal. Casting quality is good, though not up to the remarkable standards of Japanese producers like Waveline and Hi-Mold. I generally dislike white metal masts. They bend too easily and tend to look heavy and out of scale. But the Lutzow's masts are quite acceptable and I may not fabricate brass replacements after all.

Lutzow 13.jpg (13789 bytes)Shortcomings? No etched brass railing included. This won't matter to the majority of modelers who don't bother with PE. And there is so much cast-in detail that its absence doesn't detract from the kit's excellence. The model more than  stands on its own. Nevertheless I couldn't leave well enough alone. I affixed Tom's Modelworks 4-bar railing to my buildup (in-progress photos are part of this review). I like the look of railing, especially on a ship with the broad deck expanses of Lutzow. And the struts holding up the three prominent searchlight platforms abutting the two funnels look better in brass or stretched sprue. Note that the two forward platforms are supported by etched brass (actually scraps cut from unused 350 scale brass frets). The aft platform is supported by the kit provided resin part. It's acceptable but brass and/or stretched sprue looks more in-scale. It should also be noted that instructions are minimal, but adequate to the task. They include an exploded view and a numbered parts list. I had no problem identifying parts or placement on my Lutzow. You won't either, but don't expect any handholding or explanations from these instructions. There is none.

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SMS Lutzow is yet another excellent release from one of the world's best producers of 1/700 resin kits. I find Jutland era ships particularly appealing and was delighted with this fine kit, both by the subject matter and WSW's beautiful and accurate 1/700 scale depiction. I highly recommend the Lutzow. See the WSW/B-Resina product page for availability.

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Midship plan view
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Note torpedo net detail
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Note casement and net detail
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Plan view
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Smaller resin parts cast into thin "wafer"
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Launches and splinter shields
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White metal parts
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12" guns and funnels
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Instructions 1 of 3
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Instructions 2 of 3
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Instructions 3 of 3
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The above 4 photos show my Lutzow in progress.

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