I first became aware and interested in Radetzky many years ago when I came across the book SCALE MODEL WARSHIPS by John Bowen which contained within it a scaled down 1;200 scale drawing by F Prasky of SMS RADETZKY as of 1911. The ship appealed to me because of her near symmetrical layout and her unusual boat stowage. When WSW released their kit I was overjoyed and bought mine and stowed it away to 'mature'....

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In February this year having completed HMS ROYAL OAK, I felt the urge for Radetzky! I wanted to use the plan I had and present her in the gray/green colour scheme. The WSW kit had the anti-torpedo nets cast on the hull. As far as I am aware she did not carry nets in peacetime, so they had to go. Needless to say the delicate net shelves went with them. These were lovingly and labouriously replaced with thin brass strips cut from PE sprue scrap. It was at this stage as I had the model sitting atop the plan in the book, that I noticed a problem with the stern shape. It was rather too pointed in plan view and not fully round as shown in the drawing. AHHHHHH!!!

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I realized this was not an easy or satisfactory retro-fix and that this hull was going to be scrapped. I recalled having read Steve Backerís review of the NNT kit of the same ship model here on STEELNAVY. Within seconds I established that I needed to order the NNT kit, which arrived shortly thereafter. This had the right fullness in the stern and as a bonus the net was supplied as a separate item. The NNT hull carried all the nice mushroom vents which I had wondered how to scratch-build. However, the armoured bulkhead astern of the forward turret was represented as a solid lump, unlike the WSW copy, which was correct. I wanted to achieve the same light undercut look so got out a drum sander bit in a minidrill and started carving.

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Bridges and wheelhouses were very lightweight structures on vessels of this era, and Radetzky was no exception. The WSW boatdeck/lower bridgedeck was made to fit the NNT hull by recessing. The wheelhouse support columns were now drilled similar to WSW but with nearer scale rods. The wheelhouse supplied by WSW was hollow and had the correct number of window partitions but was way too heavy. The large windows are a distinctive feature and I wanted to represent them correctly. The NNT wheelhouse had the windows represented as raised bumps, easy to paint neatly and crisply but not flush glazing! So I scratch-built the wheelhouse using 1/192 ladder stock, which was more to my personal liking.

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I used the nice WSW crane masts in conjunction with the very nice photo-etch crane booms from NNT. The WSW turrets were used with the integrally cast barrels but I cut the Q/F gun mounts off of the NNT turrets and used them in conjunction with the photo-etch guns supplied. The dark gray circles around the turret barbettes were drawn with a geometry compass and then filled in with soft lead pencil . Anchors and chain came from the NNT photo-etched set. At the outset I knew that I wanted to replace the funnels from the WSW kit with my own squashed alloy tubing variety with handrails of very fine speaker wire. The NNT funnels had the handrails represented as a groove, neat but the funnel is still solid!

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Shipís boats are a mixture of WEM, WSW and NNT. The oars are brown plastic sprue with the ends flattened. The difference before and after is huge! The boat cradles were scratch-built according to the drawing. The canvas covered railing on the forward face of the bridge really was higher and 3-bar as opposed to the remainder of the ship which was exclusively 2-bar/chain/cable, except at the sides of the boat deck which were single chain. The rails were mainly GMM Gold Plus coloured with a permanent marker and washed over with gray. The torpedo net brailing davits were Model Railway photo-etch carriage door handles cut in half. The Ensign is cartridge paper coloured with Caran'Dache pencils. The crest is yellow enamel. The ship was finished all over in the Austro-Hungarian Olive green colour known as Montecoccolin after the admiral who invented it, which according to Falk Pletcher in Dan Jones's Plastic Ship Modeler Magazine 1997/2 is best matched with Humbrol 31. This article along with many others from PSM can be read on SMML. Falk describes the Boot top colour as being pink which is certainly correct, however it was just too strong for my tastes!! I went with an alternative bright red as seen on a nice model displayed in the Museum in Vienna of SMS Erzherzog Karl, which I found on www.kuk.kriegsmarine.at , a site dealing exclusively with the Austro-Hungarian navy, great research site! The seascape is textured artists watercolour paper laid over balsa scraps and soaked in CA.

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I used as my references:

1/200 Plan (in Book) by F Prasky
KuK Flotte 1900-1918 by Wladimir Aichelberg
Vol2 Die Schiffe der KuK Kriegsmarine im Biild 1896-1918 By Lothar Baumgartner and Erwin Sieche, along with many other Radetzky pictures in a variety of books

Jim Baumann