|The German battleship Tirpitz was
built at Wilhelmshaven and completed February 1941. She and her more famous sister Bismarck were the largest German capital ships of the WW2
era. Normal displacement was 45,200 tons, and 50,100 tons full load. Her main armament was
8x15 in, 12x5.9in, 16x37mm AA,12x29mm AA. Tirpitz differed from Bismarck
principally in greater power and range, and was later fitted with 8 triple 21in torpedo
tubes and a light AA armament of 58x20mm guns. Tirpitz spent much of the war in Norwegian
fiords, a one ship "fleet-in-being" that tied down many Royal Navy ships. The
Royal Navy repeatedly tried to eliminate this threat. A midget submarine attack almost
succeeded, and Tirpitz was finally sunk shortly thereafter by RAF bombers on 12 November
Bismarck and Tirpitz are among the most popular ship-modeling subjects. Theyve been produced in every possible scale up to 1:4800. So it is no surprise to see yet another release, this time in 1:700 waterline, of these important and beautiful capital ships. Samek of the Czeck Republic released Bismarck several months back and not surprisingly followed up with Tirpitiz. Previous 1:700 Matchbox and Aoshima releases of these two ships were old and not up to current standards. Ive built these older Tirpitz/Bismarck models. In fact, the Matchbox Bismarck was my first waterline model and got me hooked on 1:700 waterline modeling for good. Samek started releasing 1/700 scale models several years ago, focusing on destroyer and light cruiser subjects. It has steadily established a reputation for quality kits and finally nailed its spot in the modeling world with their excellent USS Alaska.
The Samek Tirpitz is a resin cast 1:700th waterline model. It scales out perfectly and the delicately cast parts are most impressive. The breakwater and gun shields are paper thin castings, and there was no breakage whatsoever. The detail on the hull casting was also perfect. There were no air bubbles anywhere. The scribed wood deck appears very much in scale with vertical and horizontal lines. The rest of the model was of similar quality, though there was some minor damage to the very delicately cast parts. The ships boats are highly detailed and even include portholes, leaving very little detail for the modeler add. The only problem I noticed was the gap between the level one deck and the first level of the bridgework. This gap requires some filling and sanding, a minor problem given all this model has to offer.
The Tirpitz kit includes an Eduard photoetch fret. Having GMM's German WW2 warship set in hand, I had a chance to compare both sets. The Eduard fret is of much thicker material than the GMM set. It lacks railings and does not have enough detailing parts, making the GMM set a must if you want to super detail your Tirpitz.
Samek's instructions are clear and should enable the modeler to complete the model without getting into trouble. A page is devoted to the Tirpitz March 1944 paint scheme, among the most striking ever to adorn a capital ship. Both sides are shown, but there is no color guide. The camo scheme shows only two colors. I believe it consisted of three colors, though I am not positive.
Overall, the Samek Tirpitz captures the look of the real ship and to me this is the most important attribute in producing a high quality model. This is unquestionably the definitive 1:700th Tirpitz. Sameks quality, combined with an attractive price, makes the Tirpitz a must buy for modelers of WW2 era capital ships. I give it my highest recommendation, and wish to thank Michael Samek and Rob Mackie for the review sample.