The Ship
Perhaps the most famous of Germany's WWI battlecruisers, SMS Seydlitz was an improved variant of the preceding Moltke class. Her armament was identical, but she was 46' longer and 3'3" narrower. This gave Seydlitz slightly more turn of speed. More importantly, protection was much enhanced and the forecastle one deck higher. All capital ships are a tradeoff between speed, armour and armament. German shipbuilders were generally willing to sacrifice some gun size and speed in order to get more - and better arranged - protection than their English counterparts. The prevailing wisdom in Germany was that it was easier to repair a damaged ship than build a new one, so survivability was paramount.

SMS Seydlitz
German High Seas Fleet
1913 - 1919
Laid down: 4 Feb 1911 Completed: May 1913
Length: 656'  Beam: 93'6" Draft: 27"
Displacement: 24,610 tons (normal)  28,550 tons (full load)
Armament: ten 11"/50 cal (5x2), twelve 5.9" (12x1)
fourteen 3.4" (14x1) replaced by two 8.8cm AA in 1916
Torpedo Tubes: four 50cm submerged tubes, 1 bow, 1 stern, 2 beam
Performance: 67,000 shp, 26.5 knots
Complement: 1,068 officers and men

These attributes saved Seydlitz at the May 1916 Battle of Jutland, the largest ship-to-ship gun duel of all time. She was hit more times than any other surviving ship, being struck by 21 heavy shells (12", 13.5", and 15"),  two medium caliber hits and one torpedo. Ablaze and decks awash as she took on 5,000 tons of water, Seydlitz somehow made it back to Wilhelmshaven, where she was repaired and made seaworthy. It is debatable whether any other ship of this era could have survived such punishment. Alas, Seydlitz met her end when she was scuttled at Scapa Flow in 1919.

Photos from the US Navy Historical Center

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Seydlitz at Wilhelmshaven after Jutland
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Seydlitz after Jutland, guns removed to prevent sinking. Note huge hole starboard side forward
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Seydlitz_TorpDamage.jpg (143064 bytes)
Torpedo damage incurred at Jutland
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In port circa 1913-16
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Underway 1913
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Underway to Scapa Flow
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Underway to Scapa Flow internment, 21 Nov 1918
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Heavily damaged Seydlitz heads for port after Battle of Jutland
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Seydlitz leading the High Seas Fleet into internment at Scap Flow, 21 Nov 1918
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Capsized Seydlitz after scuttling at Scapa Flow

The Model
Where, I asked myself, are the parts? There must be more to the WSW 1:700th scale SMS Seydlitz than this. Perhaps they’re missing, but I’ve never found any parts omitted from a WSW model over the many years I’ve been reviewing their waterline kits. So that’s not likely. Checking parts against the instructions indicated all present and accounted for, though the Seydlitz kit did not include any etched brass. This was surprising as most recent WSW models have included photo-etched brass.  But the kit itself, like the ship it represents, is the essence of purposeful simplicity. Aside from the resin-cast navigation bridge and aft ventilator housing, the hull is complete…and very impressive. Torpedo nets (Seydlitz carried them in 1916, the year of her Jutland encounter and the fit depicted by the WSW kit) are molded into the hull casting, as are anchors, chains and deck fittings. You’ll need to attach some searchlight/lookout platforms, all of which are cast into paper-thin resin wafers. And both the fore and aft pole masts are resin castings. They’re detailed and have a nice, scale appearance. Nevertheless, use them as templates to fabricate replacements from brass rod. Nothing detracts from the appearance of a ship model like crooked masts, and resin versions seldom remain straight. Place the ship’s boats into their cradles, affix the five, twin 11” main gun turrets to the hull, and you’re nearly done with the construction phase.  

Casting quality is, as usual with WSW, superb throughout. Edges of breakwaters, ventilator intakes, and torpedo net shelves are razor-thin.  Speaking of torpedo nets, you’ll want to use thin brass rod (not included) or stretched sprue to represent the torpedo net booms. The 5.9” casement-mounted guns are resin-cast and have the right in-scale appearance. Recognition circle decals, placed atop the forward and aft turrets, are included. Instructions, like the kit itself, are minimalist. There is a plan/profile drawing that’s reproduced at slightly less than 1:700th scale, painting guidelines, a parts list, and photos (not very well reproduced) of an in-progress model with callouts indicating parts location. Fortunately, the model is so simple that more complex instructions are unnecessary. This simplicity is not indicative of missing detail or shortcuts. It’s all there on the WSW kit. In addition to my earlier suggestions for embellishing this excellent model, you’ll want to affix photo-etched railing from one of the usual suppliers and fabricate funnel caps. German capital ships of this era eschewed clutter, and that broad deck expanse looks bare without railing.  

This accurate model is the definitive 1:700th Seydlitz. It’s also a good choice for newcomers to resin ship models. Its simplicity and lack of cleanup assure even the beginner of a trouble-free and satisfying buildup of one of the most famous Jutland participants.
Rob Mackie
20 July 2003

WSW Seydlitz Resin Parts
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