From time to time, discussions on this Board have noted the fact that Neptun issues new versions of existing models under the same number—and does so without advertising the fact. Indeed, I have noticed that the Neptun website sometimes shows a picture of an older version that is somewhat different from the model that is currently produced. The changes presumably happen when the master is re-done, and the opportunity is taken to upgrade detail or make substantive changes based on new information. Prominent examples that have been discussed on the Board include Neptun 1306 Arizona, which was re-issued with a "birdbath" machine gun platform on its after fighting top and new directors, and the Neptun 1162 and 1162a O-P Class DDs, which switched armament suites to yield four different (and equally accurate) depictions of the class. I have always thought that it would be useful if we could document these variations more fully, so that collectors would know that they could re-acquire a particular model with substantive changes. I’d like to offer this article as a first step toward doing so, with eventual goal of compiling a "living list" that can be updated on the Board. Many colleagues have already sent me examples and pictures and I would welcome more. There appear to be three basic kinds of Neptun variations: "Alt Models," "Re-Issues," and "Changes."

"Alt" Models. "Alt" means "old" in German and these models were produced in Neptun’s early days when the line was emerging from Navis. With help from the Board, I have identified a total of 26 such models so far, and there are probably more. Neptun’s Tribal Class DD (N1161) serves as a good first illustration. Rumor has it that this first edition was based on a Framburg casting, enhanced with additional detail. The "Alt" version of the model is shown in the back of the picture and the current version (in lighter grey) is in the front. As is apparent, the "Alt" version is very Navis-like, while the current version shows fully the "Neptun look." My copy of the "Alt" version is labeled Zulu and still has the Navis logo molded under the hull, although it also shows the 1161 Neptun number.

A second illustration is provided by Neptun 1231 Mogami. This model was first issued as NE0021 under an old numbering scheme that was quickly superseded by the current 4-digit system. It then came out as Neptun 1231, and has not since been reissued. There are apparently two versions, shown below. The earlier version has black plastic topmasts as in the original Navis models. The later version of 1231 has metal masts. As is apparent, these are very clean castings, just like their old Navis counterparts, but lack the detail typical of a contemporary Neptun model.

N1161 Variations Pair.jpg (98197 bytes) N1231AltVersion1.jpg (109840 bytes) N1231AltVersion2.jpg (102303 bytes)

One of the most interesting "Alt" variations is Neptun 1201 Yamato pictured below. This model is also very Navis-like and is portrayed with the ship’s original secondary battery of four triple 6.1" turrets and the original AA fit. The secondary turrets swivel—a feature shared by several other "Alt" models such as Neptun 1261 Shimakaze. Greater use of wire in masting and additional separately-cast parts are also characteristic of these early examples. For example, the "Alt" Neptun 1366 Mahan had separately cast torpedo tubes (that I discovered by accident when I was converting the model). Finally, Ingo Holm has supplied this picture of two alternative versions of Neptun’s early portrayal of T-22—apparently before the numbering system settled down. Ingo’s "Alt" examples of T-22 are numbered NE91 and 1091, while the current Neptun issue of T-22 is numbered 1067. "Alt" models are certainly of historical interest even if their detail is below the current Neptun standard and I hope this increasing documentation will make them more collectable.

N1201Alt.jpg (36403 bytes) N1067Alt.jpg (57335 bytes)

Re-Issues. "Re-issues" occur when a new master is needed and no substantive changes are made in the model’s equipment or physical arrangements. But the "re-issued" version may be much sharper in detail, may have different sized masts, or may differ in other subtle ways. In particular, boats may change from solid molding to show more interior detail, companionways and stairs are often added, 20mm mounts acquire shields, and there is more intricate undercutting in superstructures. This kind of variation can be illustrated nicely by the Neptun 1160a L-M Class DD, where numerous small details have been added in the newer version and the molding is crisper. The comparative pictures below are close-ups of mount B and bridge detail, and the differences should be apparent. I acquired these two models more than thirty years apart, the first in the early 1970s and the second only last year. Some of these minor changes in re-issuing a model affect large numbers of ships and can help date the model. A good example is provided by a detailed look at the twin 5" mounts in B position in an early version of Neptun 1360 Sumner and its later counterpart shown in the pictures below. The earlier boxy depiction of these mounts occurs throughout my collection of US models acquired in the late 1960s and early 1970s including such examples as Neptun’s 1310a Franklin, 1301c Massachusetts, 1302 North Carolina, and 1340b Vincennes. More recently acquired models have the rounded-back version. While they are certainly interesting to observe, we are for the most part not tracking these kinds of variations in the current project. 

N1160a Old.jpg (59919 bytes) N1160a New.jpg (56211 bytes) N1360 Old.jpg (56115 bytes) N1360 New.jpg (63847 bytes)

Changes. "Changes" are more than "re-issues" because there has been a substantive and deliberate alteration made in some aspect of the model. Some of the most prominent examples involve changing the armament suite. The already-mentioned Neptun 1162a O-P Class DD provides a good example with the earlier version mounting five 4" guns, while the later version carries four 4.7" guns with a 4" AA amidships. These two versions are illustrated in the pictures below, again concentrating on B mount to show the differences. Neptun 1162 swapped the armament pattern in reverse between the older and newer version, with the older version carrying four 4.7" and two sets of torpedo tubes, while the newer version mounts the four 4" and two sets of tubes characteristic of the P Class as built. The result is four acceptable models of different ships in the class. Another good example is provided by Neptun 1342 Brooklyn, which was first issued as built with no light AA, then offered with an early-war AA fit consisting of two quad 1.1" mounts and a few 20mms. Pictures of the two versions are shown below.

N1162aOld.jpg (81737 bytes) N1162aNew.jpg (82910 bytes) N1342 Old.jpg (82076 bytes) N1342 New.jpg (104988 bytes)

Sometimes Neptun makes such changes after collectors have pointed out inaccuracies. An excellent example is provided by Neptun 1307 Oklahoma, which was originally issued with a birdbath AA platform oriented squarely on the after fighting top. After a collector mentioned that this was correct for Nevada but not for Oklahoma, Neptun re-issued the model with the correct configuration: the birdbath set at a 45-degree angle on the fighting top. Here again, the modification added value for collectors because if one kept the older version, one would have both BBs in their 1941 configurations. 

N1307 Old.jpg (55010 bytes) N1307 New.jpg (59751 bytes)

Other noteworthy examples of substantive changes include Neptun 1351 Buckley and 1352 Cannon, where a quad 1.1" mount was substituted in the new version for the twin 40mm mount on the models as originally issued. Similarly, Neptun 1367 Porter added a twin 40mm mount forward in the newer version, a feature not included in the model as originally issued. In both cases, the change added value, because the newer version could be used to represent another member of the class. But in both cases as well, ironically, the actual named ship did not carry the new version’s armament (Porter herself, in fact, was lost before either armament suite depicted was shipped!). The accompanying list documents all of the "Alt" and "Changes" versions that I have been able to identify (with your help) so far. Pictures accompany many entries in the list to document each version and more will be added as we can assemble them. We also welcome additions and corrections to this "living list" because there are sure to be more variations out there that we have not yet found—or that Neptun has not yet issued, as the company is constantly improving and updating its line. Please send any new information to me at peter@nchems.org.

[In undertaking this project, I want to especially acknowledge the assistance of Paul Jacobs, Chris Daley, Norm Johnston, Ingo Holm, and John Olson who supplied pictures and brought additional variations to light. Thanks also to Oliver Maertens of Olivers Welt for permission to use images from his Stocklists.]

Peter Ewell


Alt Variations Table Photographic References
N0006Alt.jpg (54961 bytes) N1101 Alt.jpg (109436 bytes) N1140Alt1.jpg (43669 bytes)
N1140Alt2.jpg (91420 bytes) N1161Alt.jpg (80349 bytes) N1210Alt.jpg (41473 bytes) N1211 Alt.jpg (70154 bytes)
N1222 Alt.jpg (100715 bytes) N1260Alt.jpg (92139 bytes) N1306 Old.jpg (45139 bytes) N1306 New.jpg (41732 bytes)
N1351 Old.jpg (63455 bytes) N1351 New.jpg (58875 bytes) N1362AAlt.jpg (54061 bytes) N1366Alt.jpg (47067 bytes)
N1367 Old.jpg (64253 bytes) N1367 New.jpg (48811 bytes) N1380Alt.jpg (74791 bytes) N1381Alt.jpg (90787 bytes)
N1382Alt.jpg (45156 bytes) N1383Alt.jpg (46600 bytes) N1384Alt.jpg (52085 bytes) N1462Alt.jpg (96687 bytes)

"ALT" Variations

Number

Name

Prior Number

Description

Photo Reference

 

 

 

 

 

N 1067

T 22

[NE 91] [1091]

at least two versions, one with plastic masts

N1067Alt

N 1101

King George

 

same config but Navis-like, plastic masts

N1101Alt

N 1110

Hood

 

Incorrect mix of 5.5" and full 1941 AA armament

 

N 1140

Nigeria

Issued as Fiji

2 versions, early with 2 cranes; later like Nigeria

N1140Alt1; N1140Alt2

N 1145

Perth

[N0011]

 

 

N 1161

Tribal

 

Navis-like casting, less detail

N1161Alt

N 1201

Yamato

[N0007]

Navis-like casting with 4 6" triples, movable

N1201Alt

N 1210

Shinano

[0017]

 

N1210Alt

N 1211

Unryu

[N0020]

 

N1211Alt

N 1222

Chiyoda

 

2 versions, Navis-like casting--one sharper

N1222Alt

N 1231

Mogami

[N0021]

2 versions: 1) plastic mast +radar, 2) cast masts

N1231Alt1;N1231Alt2

N 1260

Matsu

[N0022]

Navis-like casting, less detail

N1260Alt

N 1261

Shimakaze

 

moveable gun mounts

 

N 1264

Kagero

 

moveable gun mounts

 

N 1362

Livermore

[N0023]

Navis-like casting, less detail

 

N 1362A

Benson

[N0016]

Navis-like casting, less detail

N1362AAlt

N 1366

Mahan

 

Navis-like casting, less detail

N1366Alt

N 1369

Peary

[N0013]

Navis-like casting, less detail

 

N 1369A

Breckinridge

[N0010]

Navis-like casting, less detail

N 1370

Gato

[N0018]

same as current version

 

N 1380

Hambleton

[N0024]

Navis-like casting, less detail

N1380Alt

N 1381

Hogan

[N0012]

Navis-like casting, less detail

N1381Alt

N 1382

Raven

[N0014]

Navis-like casting, less detail

N1382Alt

N 1383

Scout

[N0015]

Navis-like casting, less detail

N1383Alt

N 1384

Avocet

[N0019]

Navis-like casting, less detail

N1384Alt

N 1462

Guepard

 

Navis-like casting, less detail

N1462Alt

N 0006

Aigle

[N0006]

Navis-like casting, less detail

N0006Alt

Substantive Changes

N 1160

L and M Class

No 20mm in bridge wings

 

Shielded 20mm in all 4 positions

 

N 1160A

L and M Class

No 20mm in bridge wings

N1161A New

Shielded 20mm in all 4 positions

N1161A Old

N 1162

O and P Class

four 4.7" guns

 

five 4" guns

 

N 1162A

O and P Class

five 4" guns

N1162A New

four 4.7" guns, one 4" AA

N1162A Old

N 1306

Arizona

No birdbath AA mounts

N1306 New

Birdbath AA platform on aft mast, new directors

N1306 Old

N 1307

Oklahoma

Birdbath aligned fore and aft

N1307 New

Birdbath at 45 deg angle; different rangefinders

N1307 Old

N 1310

Essex

solid cast below decks

 

Open hanger deck with separate flight deck

 

N 1342

Brooklyn

No AA

N 1342 New

two 1.1 mounts and 20mm added aft amidships

N1342 Old

N 1351

Buckley

twin 40mm AA mount

N1351 New

quad 1.1 AA mount

N1351 Old

N 1352

Cannon

twin 40mm AA mount

 

quad 1.1 AA mount

 

N 1367

Porter

two twin 40mm AA only

N1367 New

additional twin 40mm added forward

N1367 Old

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