SMS Viribus Unitis
WSW (formerly Doc Modell)
1/700 Waterline Kit
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Reviewed by Rob Mackie

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Forward Hull


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Hull Aft


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Port Side


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Small Parts


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Quarterdeck Detail


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Forecastle Detail


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Closeup of Small Parts


This kit sells for US $67 at Pacific Front Hobbies

The 21,000-ton battleship SMS Viribus Unitis was the flagship of the Austro-Hungarian fleet. Launched in 1911 at Trieste, she was the name ship of her class, the other members being the Tegethoff, Prinz Eugen, and Sant Istvan. These were thoroughly modern and satisfactory warships, mounting a dozen 12" guns in four triple turrets superimposed fore and aft. None of the ships saw significant action in World War I. However their existence upset the balance of power in the Mediterranean, so they comprised a formidable "fleet-in-being" that tied down portions of the French and Italian fleets from 1914 – 1918. The met her end in November 1918. Ceded to Yugoslavia at the cessation of hostilities, Italian commandos affixed mines to her side prior to the hand-over at Pola. The subsequent explosion sank the Viribus Unitis, killing 400 of her crew.

The Model
WSW, a German concern formerly known as Doc Modell, produces this 1/700 scale kit. All of the parts are cast in grey resin, there being no etched brass or white metal components. The brass rod necessary for fabricating masts and torpedo net booms is included. The kit also includes a braided wire material for simulating the rolled-up torpedo nets, a nice touch.

The casting quality of the hull is, to say the least, spectacular. It is the best I have ever seen. All the many deck details-air intakes, vents, hatch covers et al are cast integral with the hull. They are fully three dimensional and not just flat representations. Flash and air bubbles are nowhere to be found. The torpedo net shelving is delicate and in scale. The same can be said for every detail of the hull casting, which is so beautiful I am hesitant to tamper with it. How can one improve upon perfection? Needless to say both length and beam scale out very close to published dimensions.

The fixtures display the same great quality as the hull. Most of the small parts are embedded in a thin resin film. I believe this is known as "squash casting". You will need to remove the resin carrier and gently sand away the remaining flash. The detail is uniformly jewel-like and crisp. An example: the steam powered launches, two of which were shipped, sport rudders, prominent air intakes, porthole and searchlight detail etc. Bear in mind that these launches are 2 cm long. But Doc Modell went to the trouble of painstakingly fabricating these tiny vessels, and then expertly duplicated them with his superb casting technique.

The four triple turrets are finely wrought castings covered with surface detail. The 12" barrels are separate, ramrod-straight resin pieces. The 150mm casement guns are fabricated from included brass rod. The eighteen 11 pdr guns, intended for defense against torpedo boats, are more of the same delicate resin casting.

The masts are resin cast. The builder must fabricate the yardarms from brass. Detailed dimensional instructions make this a straightforward step. Resin masts make me a bit nervous because of their tendency to warp. These resin masts looked straight however. Consider using the resin part as a template to build your own masts from brass rod.

The instructions are excellent. There are three exploded view diagrams, an illustrated parts list and 1/700 starboard and plan views.

The WSW Viribus Unitis is an outstanding kit. Add etched brass railing and you have a stunning model of a World War I battleship. Even if you are not a dreadnought aficionado, buy the kit anyway and contemplate the state-of-the-art resin casting. 1/700-scale ships do not get any better than this.

Highly Recommended