The SMS Baden
and her sister ship Bayern were the were the
last and best German battleships of the World War I era. The 32,000 ton Bayern
class battleships were the first German vessels to mount 15" guns, shipping
eight of them in four twin turrets and were also the only German battleships with tripod
masts. They are often compared to the British Queen Elizabeth class, which
also displaced 32,000 tons and carried eight 15" guns. The Bayerns had a
profile similar to the QE, but the QE class ships were longer (645' vs 591'), narrower
(90' vs 98') and faster (25 knots vs 22 knots). Launched in 1916, the Bayern
and Baden missed Jutland and saw little action thereafter. Bayern
was scuttled at Scapa Flow in 1919 while Baden survived only to be expended as a
Royal Navy gunnery target in 1921.
SMS Baden at Scapa Flow 1918
The WSW (formerly "Doc Modell")
kit depicts Bayern in her 1917/18 fit. The hull casting is crisp,detailed and
flawless. We've come to expect this from WSW and the Baden does not disappoint.
It is comparable in detail and quality to the Viribus Unitis hull (click here for the Warship review). The hull teems with
exquisitely rendered detail. My photos do not do it justice but trust me, 1/700 hull
castings do not get any better.
With simple, spare lines and a minimum of clutter, German capital ships were exercises in
purposeful simplicity. The Baden was no exception and this means an easy
build. There are not many parts and it is no exaggeration to say that one could
complete this model in a long evening. The deck levels and main turret castings are
embedded in paper thin resin wafers, a Doc Modell trademark. As expected they are
very sharp and require minimal cleanup.
15" barrels, secondary guns, miscellaneous fittings and masts are white metal.
This is a first for Doc Modell, though he has used white metal in his B-Resina line. They
require cleanup and straightening but in general are quite useable. They lack the
jewel-like sharpness of the white metal castings in the Waveline and Hi Mold kits.
The Japanese seem to have perfected casting in this medium. European and American white
metal parts have been steadily improving, but are still not up to Japanese
standards. I strongly suggest the modeler use the white metal masts as templates for
fabricating brass rod replacements. This is an easy step that will avoid bent or
wobbly tripod legs.
This US $85 kit includes neither photo-etch nor brass rod for the casement
gun barrels. The clear easy-to-follow instructions include an illustrated and
numbered parts list. This appears to be an accurate kit, and of course the hull is
without equal. Smaller parts aren't quite up to the level of WSW's Viribus Unitis
kit. Nevertheless, World War 1 modelers should get this very good kit. They
will not be disappointed. But WSW's competition is rapidly improving. Two
years ago this model would have defined state-of-the-art, but in some respects WSW/Doc
Modell has been eclipsed by the likes of Regia Marina, White Ensign and Hi Mold/Waveline.
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