I just got an invitation through the mails:
"Your presence requested this evening,
It's formal, a top hat, a white tie and tails."
Nothing now could take the wind out of my sails.
Because I'm invited to step out this evening
With top hat and white tie and tails.

I'm putting on my top hat, Tying up my white tie, Brushing off my tails.
I'm duding up my shirtfront, Putting in the shirt studs, Polishing my nails,

I'm stepping out, my dear,
To breathe an atmosphere
That simply reeks with class;
And I trust that you'll excuse my dust
When I step on the gas,
For I'll be there,

Putting down my top hat, Mussing up my white tie, Dancing in my tails.

In the 1930s Fred Astaire was the Hollywood male epitome of grace and elegance. In movies he would be dressed in his tuxedo and singing Top Hat, White Tie and Tails or Putting on the Ritz, both written by Irving Berlin. It was pure escapism for most theater patrons and that time of the Great Depression, as such finery was well beyond their means. However, for the upper class to dress to perfection was expected, if they intended to drop in to a club of the highest stature. Every major city of the world had a street upon which the most fashionable clubs were found. In New York City it might be Park Avenue, in Paris the Champs díElysťes or in Berlin Unter der Linden.

Another phrase signifying an individual dressed to perfection is, Dressed to the Nines. Its origin is rather murky and first appeared in print in 1793 in the poetry of Robert Burns. One theory as to its origin states that as the highest single digit number and as such equates to the highest level of perfection. There were shops that catered to the highest rung of society in the production of the requisite finery. In London they may be found on Saville Row, where the most exclusive clothiers for the English nobility or landed gentry could be found. In the present day world of scale warship finery, the Saville Row equivalent is Preening Peter Hall, gentlemenís clothier of scale warships. Whatever your model, if it is a warship, odds are that Preening Peter has the metal finery that will Dress it to the Nines. One of the most elegant examples of his craft is brass photo-etch set for the 1:350 scale Bismarck. Unlike movie patrons of the 1930s, who could not afford to emulate the glittering grace of Mr. Astaire, modelerís of today do have access to finest accoutrements in scale finery.

It is all over cyber space! Trumpeter is releasing a 1:350 scale HMS Hood. As modelers eagerly wait for this release, Mad Pete is busily preparing Top Hat, White Tie and Tails for that symbol of the might of the Royal Navy. Well, what about the other bookend, the 1:350 scale Tamiya Bismarck. In an ironic reversal of history, your Tamiya Bismarck might be 20 years older than a new Trumpeter Hood but there certainly is no reason to hide your head in shame, for the gentlemenís warship clothier has already prepared finery of the utmost elegance for the Bismarck. White Ensign Models 1:350 scale Bismarck brass photo-etch set WEM 3529, is a new standard in magnificent detail. Two large frets come with set and each one is crammed with detailed relief-etched parts to outfit your Bismarck as if it was just through trials in the Baltic and fresh for a sortie into the Atlantic.


Fret A
Bis2618fretA.JPG (37345 bytes) Bis2621det.JPG (25869 bytes) Bis2622det.JPG (26685 bytes) Bis2623det.JPG (25490 bytes)
Bis2624det.JPG (27455 bytes) Bis2625det.JPG (31477 bytes) Bis2626det.JPG (32346 bytes) Bis2646det.JPG (27819 bytes)

Fret A
This is the larger of the two frets in the set. This fret, measuring 11-inches by 7-inches contains all of the more delicate fittings. It is composed of brass parts of a finer gauge than the heavier superstructure parts found on Fret B. Almost all of the parts are applicable to both ships of the class but there are some parts that are for Tirpitz alone. Some of the most impressive parts are the large ventilation louvers. These louvers are open between their individual slats and the slats can be turned to replicate their slanting angle on the ship. These parts alone will make a tremendous difference on the Tamiya kits. Since there are 22 of these louvers on the ship, they will be very noticeable. There is an extensive selection of radars on this fret. Of course the Bismarck has hers/his presented with a FuMo 21 but the variety comes into play with Tirpitz. WEM includes all of the different types of radar fitted to that Queen of the North in her long term of service, at least as compared to Bismarckís term of service. Radar arrays for Tirpitz include: FuMb 4 Sumatra Antennas, FuMb 7 Antenna, FuMo 26 Antenna late fit, FuMo 27 Antenna, and FuMo 213 Antenna late fit. Other Tirpitz only parts include additional AA fittings and the Forward Superstructure Gun Tubs & Forward Gun Tub Splinter Shields. Bismarck also has a couple of items unique to her with the Aft Hangar Aft Vents and Bismarck style Aircraft Handling Crane (Fret B).


Fret A
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Bis2630rad.JPG (37158 bytes) Bis2631rad.JPG (32953 bytes) Bis2619sig.JPG (32487 bytes)
Bis2620fit.JPG (29927 bytes) Bis2637arado.JPG (31399 bytes) Bis2638arado.JPG (22812 bytes) Bis2632fit.JPG (24012 bytes)

There are also a wide variety of platforms and associated gear found in Frets A and B, which will add great variety to the model. These include: Barbette Vent Platforms, Aft Searchlight Platform Decking, Searchlight Platform Supports, Fore Top Searchlight Platform, Funnel Searchlight Platforms, Maneuvering Platforms & Supports, Admiralís Flying Bridge Extension Platforms, Admiralís Bridge Roof Side Platforms, Admiralís Bridge Roof Front Platform, Kartoffelraum Deck Railings & Platforms and more. The Arado 196 floatplanes get a substantial dash of detail with pontoon supports, propellers, rear seat machine guns and more. There are a huge quantity of relief-etched doors, hatches and portholes of every description and purpose. Normally these are rather humble items but WEM makes them drop-dead knockouts. There are innumerable individual portholes, each of which has an eyebrow and open hinged cover in different styles, swinging to the side or to the bottom. These alone provide unparalleled detail but there is so much more. There are double doors in different styles, single doors in different styles, single doors with open portholes, rectangular windows with frame and relief-etched cover swung to an open position to the side or bottom. The turrets both main and secondary are not forgotten. Main gun turrets have face windows and the secondary turrets get face windows and sight arm windows. There is extra detail for the 105mm heavy AA mounts. Ultra thin solid bulkheads are provided for some positions and handrails provided for other solid bulkheads. Cable/hose reels come in three different styles and sizes. There are lens fittings for open searchlights. Masts are fully adorned with various yardarms and fittings.


Fret A
Bis2647signal.JPG (22317 bytes) Bis2639doors.JPG (37646 bytes) Bis2634reel.JPG (28865 bytes)
Bis2635reel.JPG (23887 bytes) Bis2636reel.JPG (27282 bytes) Bis2633inclad.JPG (26704 bytes)
Bis2640rail.JPG (20304 bytes) Bis2641rail.JPG (30040 bytes) Bis2642rail.JPG (33918 bytes) Bis2644rail.JPG (19132 bytes)

Ladders are in abundance with inclined ladders in short and long lengths, each of which has perforated side runners and individual foot treads to be bent parallel to the deck. Three long runs of vertical ladder give you all you need in that department. About 40-45% of Fret A is in the form of railing and handrails. Each length runs 10 Ĺ -inches a provides all the railing you will need and more. There are eight runs of three-bar rail, four runs of three-bar rail with angle stanchions, two runs of two-bar rail with wide spaced stanchions, one run of two-bar rail with narrow spaced stanchions, two runs of half-height railing for low solid shielding and six runs of hand rails in two different styles.


Fret B
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Bis2668hang.JPG (22434 bytes) Bis2669cat.JPG (36376 bytes) Bis2670cat.JPG (34762 bytes)
Bis2671cat.JPG (26437 bytes) Bis2658jib.JPG (27133 bytes) Bis2655sup.JPG (19706 bytes)
Bis2654mastpos.JPG (24034 bytes) Bis2651wing.JPG (27329 bytes) Bis2665wings.JPG (25215 bytes) Bis2653plat.JPG (21528 bytes)

Fret B
This fret measures 10 7/8-inches by 4 7/8-inches and is made from thicker gauge brass than Fret A. This is because it contains the heavier superstructure features and fittings. The stars of this fret are items for the hangars and catapult. The hangar ends with relief-etched frames and paneling and open doors are fantastic. Just as you get through marveling at the detail for the hangars you are struck dumb by the detail of the catapult. Relief-etched? Of course! It is a large, prominent and most importantly, beautifully done assembly of multiple brass parts. The girders with their open voids, top cover plating, wheels & pulleys will transform the Tamiya catapult as fully as Henry Higgins transformed Eliza Doolittle for the Embassy Ball. WEM provides a six-piece funnel grate for the stack of the Bismarck. Of course the aircraft handling cranes are present on this fret. Each of the German twins has itís own style of aircraft crane, plus there are crane jib mechanisms. Some of the heavier platforms & platform supports, such as the funnel platform and bridge wing platform supports are found on this fret. The shipís boats will receive a good measure of extra detail from the relief-etched thwarts, cradles and swinging davit fittings. Two three-piece accommodation ladders are included for those modelers who wish to add them to the ship. The German navy had itís own version of the Carley float. This square piece of life-saving equipment was smaller than a Carley but had a unique design. Called the Marx float, WEM includes 21 of these items on Fret B. Each float is comprised of two pieces, the bottom piece with open grid deck and a top level of the flotation collar. Twenty-two circular life rings, relief-etched, are also included, as well as two long runs of anchor chain.


Fret B
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Bis2657skid.JPG (28644 bytes) Bis2660det.JPG (30688 bytes) Bis2656chock.JPG (29626 bytes)
Bis2661det.JPG (29026 bytes) Bis2662det.JPG (27608 bytes) Bis2663fit.JPG (26056 bytes)
Bis2659thwarts.JPG (34983 bytes) Bis2673anch.JPG (31586 bytes) Bis2674det.JPG (29290 bytes) Bis2672acc.JPG (32038 bytes)

Verdict
Through application of the finery of White Ensign Models Bismarck Brass Photo-Etched Set in 1:350 Scale WEM 3529, you can hold your head high in any soiree at the most fashionable cabaret on Unter der Linden with your 1:350 scale Bismarck. Dressed to the nines with the White Ensign Models equivalent to Top Hat, White Tie & Tails with this brass photo-etch set, your Beau Brummell Bismarck is sure to make a splash among the posh. HMS Hood will be a mere flash in the pan, next to the Bismarck so attired. Peacock Pete has crafted a set "That simply reeks with class." Even the Iron Chancellor himself, Prinz Otto von Bismarck, could not of wished for better attire for a scale replica of his name sake.

Have you seen the well-to-do up and down Park Avenue?
On that famous thoroughfare with their noses in the air,
High hats and Arrow collars, white spats and lots of dollars.
Spending every dime for a wonderful time.

If you're blue and you don't know where to go to.
Why don't you go where fashion sits?
Putting on the Ritz.

Different types who wear a day coat, pants with stripes,
And cutaway coat, perfect fits,
Putting on the Ritz.

Come let's mix where Rockefellers walk with sticks,
Or umbrellas in their mitts,
Putting on the Ritz.

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