By World War One the Imperial German Navy had 100's of torpedo boats. Of course destroyer size warships were also listed as torpedo boats. However, the Imperial German Navy was a fairly new creation. A unified Germany was only created at the conclusion of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. Neither of the prime components, the Kingdoms of Prussia and Bavaria had any significant naval tradition, which in the case of Bavaria was quite understandable. When the new country started building a fleet, by and large the designs were conservative. However, in the field of torpedo boats, the German Navy showed a great deal of originality. The first torpedo boats were equipped with spar torpedoes and built at the start of the Germany in 1871 to 1872. The first true torpedo boats built from the keel up were the seven members of the Schutze Class. The boats were constructed by AG Weser at Bremen and were built as First Class Torpedo Boats between 1882 and 1883. They were given names and numbers as listed: Schutze (V), Flink (VI), Scharf (VII), Tapfer (VIII), Kuhn (IX), Worwarts (X), and Sicher (XI). 

The boats were 103 feet 5 inches (31.5m) in length, 12 feet 11 inches (3.93m) in beam, and 6 feet 9 inches (2.05m) in draught and a displacement of 55 tons. They were armed with two 350mm torpedo tubes in the bow, two spar torpedoes (Conway lists them as spar torpedoes but they actually seem to be reloads) and one 37mm Hotchkiss QF gun. The ships had a vertical two cylinder double expansion compound engine (except Scharf), which produced 590ihp and turned one shaft. Maximum speed was 19.5 knots (Conway), 17.9 knots (Groner). The crew was composed of one officer and 12 ratings. The Schutze was launched May 1, 1882 and commissioned September 14,, 1883 as a training boat for the torpedo boat flotilla. She had a fairly short life, as on October 19, 1891 was was removed from the navy list and converted as a guard ship at Wilhelmshavaen. In 1900 she was sold and broken up. The other units had about the same history, except Flink served as a supply boat after 1891 and Tapfer served as a target boat after 1891. Although the boats of the Schutze class had undistinguished careers, they were historic vessels. They were the first German vessels whose primary weapon was the self-propelled torpedo. 

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NNT has now produced a model, really models, of this historic design. Two identical models of the Schutze class are provided in the box. It is hard to get simpler in resin construction. Each of the two boats only has one resin part, the hull. The very low freeboard models are distinguished by a torpedo tube exit on each side of the bow and a turtle back forecastle ending in a low conning tower. Behind this, you'll see the two torpedo reloads stored on the deck. Side by side twin stacks are found at the aft ends of the reloads and empty torpedo skids. The aft half of the deck plan includes details for coal scuttles, sky light, access hatches, bollards and other fittings. Since the hulls are cast on a thin resin sheet, you'll need to clean up their waterlines after removing the hulls from the sheet. 

A full stainless steel photo-etch set accompanies the resin hulls. Although there is only one resin part for each boat, each one will receive seven metal parts. These consist of two forward railings, two aft railings, one torpedo davit, one anchor, and one Hotchkiss gun. Flag staff and pole mast must be made with rod or stretched sprue. Instructions are equally simple. Page one has a nice plan and inboard profile drawing. Below this is a simple assembly diagram. The other page includes history and specifications of the boats written in German. 

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If you are looking for a quick build of a historic warship design, look no further than the NNT Schutze class torpedo boats in 1:700 scale. These boats were the first German torpedo boats to be equipped with self-propelled torpedoes. You get two of the small models, each constructed with one resin hull and seven photo-etched parts. 

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