some build up and post completion photos of my 1:700 scale Tamiya Prinz Eugen.
I choose to model Der Prinz, the
famous Kriegsmarine Schwere Kreuzer,
not to mention bane of the Royal Navy,
as per the Denmark Straits battle of May 24th 1941 where she played
an important role in the destruction of the HMS
Hood. As such the camouflage and general fit of the model are
specific to this date. I needed
no motivation in choosing to build this particular ship. I did however, need
plenty of motivation to actually finish it. I bought the Tamiya kit shortly after seeing Melvin Tung’s astounding and
awe-inspiring build of the model in late-war fit on PrinzEugen.com and
Melvin’s work was actually my inspiration for this earlier version.
Notwithstanding though, in my opinion the DKM Prinz Eugen was perhaps the most
handsome warship ever built. The ships of the Admiral
Hipper class were
actually very advanced, powerful and heavily armed designs for their day. But
the single factor that made Prinz Eugen the most
attractive of the class of three to build was her illustrious WWII career.
I used the Tamiya model as the base for my build, as it is in my opinion the best model available anywhere of this ship. The Tamiya kit is nothing short of superb even out of the box – frankly telling how other 1/700th plastic kit manufacturers really have a lot of catching up to do. I fitted my Prinz mainly with photo-etch parts from White Ensign Models and some scratch built bits and pieces to fill in the shortfalls of the WEM fret. The WEM Admiral Hipper class and WWII KM AA frets were the guts of what I had to do to make this model into what it is now. I should add that I did also add crew figures and cable reels that came from Gold Medal Models.
Other than these changes, the remainder of the numerous alterations to the model I made were a lot subtler and perhaps harder to notice. I scratch-built the optical apparatus placed around the bridge decks from stretched sprue and plastruct-plasticard. I used WEM 1-bar handrails to create the horizontal railing around the funnel and bridge decks. I drilled extra portholes and made covers from a thick piece of stretched sprue. I added extra scuttles and deck fittings from brass border scrap and plastic off cuts etc. The searchlights I eventually patterned with the three horizontal spars by painting them black, then affixed stretched sprue using Gunze-Sanjo matt acrylic varnish. Rigging is stretched-sprue… but to be honest, given the length of time it took me to build this model – I can’t actually remember everything else that I have done to it.
As for guns, guns always mean a lot to
me – especially when they needed to be accurate for the
Further armament detail specific to the Denmark Straits battle included the quarterdeck depth charge rack. Several photos taken aboard Prinz Eugen, looking aft across the deck clearly show that the rack was used, and that charges were either dropped into the water – or taken off the rack, disarmed and stowed. From my research I could come to no conclusions as to what the Prinz Eugen was doing with her depth charges. It is almost inconceivable that the ship had spotted a hostile submarine, being that such an attack would have been a very daring undertaking for any sub skipper; the ships were traveling at speed with destroyer screen in clear visibility and frequently altering their courses to evade incoming British salvoes. It did occur to me however, that perhaps the Prinz Eugen was dropping charges in the water just to confuse the British gunners; as a charge explosion in shallow water would look just like a shell splash – and would have fooled the British gunners into thinking that their ordinance was landing much closer than it really was. That possibility was certainly the most vivid and exciting; I always knew das Kriegsmariners were really cunning sailors! Of course I may have this wrong but this was the theory behind the depth charge rack. I was only having some fun with it after all.
I tried to be realistic with the placing of my crew figures, from what I have read about the Kriegsmarine, during any surface engagement there would be very few crew standing about aimlessly on the decks. I do know however, that the ship would have had “intensified lookouts” and crew manning every other gun position. You will notice a photo of a signalman in the bridge-wing basket with two orange flags, again I was really just having a little fun with this one as well, there is a well known photo taken from Prinz, where the signalman is waving to the Bismarck – I know that there were escorting destroyers that were off to the starboard side of this ship, so I am assuming that they are being signalled to, to warn of a course change – or perhaps an imminent torpedo run. I painted the model with airbrushed coats of WEM colours; Hellgrau 50, Teak etc, and then weathered these with thin hand-brushed washes of Tamiya and Citadel acrylics.
As for the photography, I hope these
shots will suffice. I don’t put my models into sea-bases because the big kid
in me still likes to sail them across the living room floor and into battle. I
photographed my model with my Cannon A300 digi-cam, together with my
ever-expanding collection of interesting Kriegsmarine junk. I have varied
lighting in the photos, it is mostly natural – only two of the close ups were
taken under artificial light and flash. The cap tally is from the daughter of a
former crewmember. I am told that these “Kreuzer Prinz Eugen” tallys were
only issued for the last time the ship ever sailed, to be handed over to the
Americans. It should have been handed over to
As an honest confession, this model has
taken me two and a half years to build – but this is really because I am a
full time student, and I do have other, mostly less moral, hobbies as well. I am
currently under serious pressure from my friends to build
I would like to thank the following friends and acknowledge their help in this project; that included research materials and their kind words of encouragement:
Helmut Hager –