Full Build Review of TAKOM's Scharnhorst Turret B Kit
To read the first look review of this kit go here https://www.amps-armor.org/SiteReviews/ShowReview.aspx?id=14997
This kit is another in the TAKOM series of navel turrets from famous battleships. The Scharnhorst turret B kit is a well detailed, yet simple to build kit that produces an attractive display item. A great kit for the naval historian, or anyone who appreciates large caliber weapons. These new subjects are refreshing additions to the range of kits that all too frequently recycle old ideas.
The build. The kit consists of 8 steps and relatively low part count resulting in a quick build. I spent 8 hours over a weekend building the kit. Painting and weather took far longer.
Steps 1 – 3 builds the turret housing and the base. Connecting the two halves of the turret housing was the most time-consuming part of this step. The two halves produced a clean fit and went together well, but the seam was noticeable. I used Mr. Surfacer 500 to fill and sand the seam until it was virtually invisible. While that dried, I moved on and completed the rest of steps 2 and 3.
Builders Note: In step 1, I recommend the builder not glue the elevated turret housing to the base. It seats securely in the base without glue. Plus, painting the housing and the duct work and wood decking on the base is simpler with the housing removed.
Step 4 assembles the turret. The instructions call for a 1mm drill bit to create the placement holes on the lower and upper turret hull. Checking the placement pins on the parts for these holes, I found the upper hull pins were smaller than 1mm. I used a .8mm drill bit instead with great results.
The lower and upper turret fit together extremely well. However, the rear plate left a gap along the top and both sides. I filled this gap with Mr. Surfacer 500 and set aside to dry.
Step 5 added surface details to the turret. These parts included a few items that were not identified – what are they? I miss the days of parts being labeled in a kits instruction. This little bit of information aids in understanding what you are building and potentially in painting it later.
- There are two rectangular boxes (parts F4) that sit atop of the turret towards the rear. Are these inflatable life rafts (were those common in 1943)?
- There are a pair of long tube runs along the sides of the turret base with what appear to be removable end caps. (Parts F8 and F9). Could these be the bore cleaning rods and brushes?
- A set of mirrored appendages protruding off the turret (parts H4, H6, H8 and H12). What are these? My best guess is they house either the spent shell ejection equipment; or the targeting and range finding equipment for the turret. Perhaps both.
Instructions Error. In steps 5 and 6, the instruction errantly labeled the front panel for the doors. The part numbers are flipped – part H13 in step 5 should be part H12, and in step 6, the correct part is H13 (not H12 as listed). The other part numbers in these steps are correct. This is why we test fit parts before gluing.
Steps 7 and 8 build out the guns. The kit gives the builder the option of building plastic barrels or using the “Bonus” metal gun barrels. I chose the latter, thus eliminating a step in the instructions. (And the need to work barrel seams.)
Step 7 connects the guns to the turret. The guns mount to the turret through the “gun bags” (like a tank gun mantlet ). TAKOM gives the builder the option to have the guns installed horizontally or elevated. The kit includes six gun bag assemblies (3 horizontal and 3 elevated) allowing the builder to mix and match the guns in any configuration desired. The gun bags are nicely textured to depict the heavy weather resistant canvas that surrounds the guns. Connecting the gun bag halves together result in a minor seam that I filled with Mr. Surfacer 500 and sanded them smooth. The metal gun barrels anchor into the “gun bags” snugly without fear of sag or movement. I did add a drop of CA glue inside the gun bag where the metal barrel sits as insurance. Step 8 attaches the guns to the turret. The gun bags fit nicely into the turret with no gaps or fit issues. The gun bags snap into place and did not require glue. Check the barrel alignment once in place – adjust as needed.
Builders Note: In step 8, I recommend the builder not glue the turret to the circular housing (built in step 1). The turret seats securely into the housing without glue. Plus, this gives the builder the ability to rotate the turret and removal for painting (and transport to a future show).
Painting. While reading about the Scharnhorst, I learned that her final paint scheme worn in December 1943 is in debate. One of the predominant beliefs is the Scharnhorst wore the Norwegian Blue-Grey camouflage. That scheme offered an attractive range of colors Schiffsbodenfarbe III Grau 1, Blaugrau Hell and Blaugrau Mittel along with a yellow “Identify Friend or Foe” recognition marking on the turret rooftop. Her wooden deck was Teak brown.
I separated the build into 4 groups for painting – the base, the elevated housing, the turret, and the guns. All were primed with light grey. Separating the components allowed me to paint otherwise hard to reach areas such as the ductwork, decking and the turret housing walls. I painted base color in Polly S Scale Light Grey (RLM 76) and the camouflage in Polly S Scale Light Blue (RLM 65). For the recognition marker, I used Vallejo’s Flat Yellow (70.953) with a touch of Desert Sand (70.847) mixed in. Since the Scharnhorst was still young (commissioned in 1939) and repainted less than a year before, I went light on the fading and weathering. After sealing the base colors with a clear satin varnish, I applied multiple oil based filters using Payne’s Grey and Burnt Umber colors, then top coated with an ultra flat varnish.
Highly Recommended for modelers of all skill levels. I thoroughly enjoyed building this kit, especially as a change pace build that introduced me the Scharnhorst and it’s armaments.
Thanks goes out to Takom for this review kit.
Reviewed by Brian Eberle
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