Tamiya doesn't release a new warship kit everyday. Like most injected plastic model companies, Tamiya caters more to the armor and aircraft modelers than the ship modelers. Accordingly, when Tamiya gets around to releasing a kit, it is eagerly gobbled up by warship modelers. This was true with the Tamiya 1:700 scale model of the Kriegsmarine heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. If you have a Tamiya Prinz Eugen kit, perhaps you have pondered adding photo-etch details to further enhance the elegant lines of the cruiser. Now there is another option, as the first release of a new photo-etch company is dedicated to detailing the Tamiya Prinz Eugen. Flyhawk Model of China has produced a three fret set of brass photo-etch details for the kit, FH 700001..
The A fret caters more to generic details than to Prinz Eugen specific fittings. It is important to note that none of the frets come with deck railing, so you will still need that for complete coverage. However, other generic items are covered. First of all, there are enough accommodation ladders to accommodate Admiral Raeder's entire staff. four are included in two designs, one for port and one for starboard. Each of the accommodation ladders is a two-piece affair with platforms at top, at bottom and in the middle. There are twelve inclined ladders, six each of two different styles, one with high railing and one with low railing. With both types there are individually bendable treads and perforated base rail. On this fret are thirteen cable reels, each of which is comprised of three parts, the mount and two end caps. Eight each of small and large boat chocks are present. Twenty-four rafts are provided. This unique square German design is duplicated by Flyhawk. Each raft has two parts, the bottom layer with the bottom platform and an upper level for the top of the flotation collar. There is an assortment of relief-etched doors and hatches of different designs. Anchors, searchlight shutters and boat/davit rig further decorate the fret. Some ship specific parts found on this fret include bow crest shields, secondary mount fittings, AA platforms and main turret detail, such as vision ports. Either the fret designs ran out of space on A fret, or they forgot to add enough items, because also included with the three frets are to small strips of details, also found on A fret. These are labeled A16 and A17, both of which are secondary gun mount details.
Now we come down to the entree. B Fret is loaded down with ship specific details. There are numerous delicious details on this fret. As I always like see -through bridge windows that can be glazed with Micro-Klear, I like the alternate bridge with those open windows. If you don't like swapping bridges, maybe your favorite will be the beautifully relief-etched lower bridge deck. Or your favorites may be the two relief-etched hangar tops. The catapult and the cranes with block & tackle are here. For lattice work, detail is everywhere you look. Whether it is the stack grate, boat skids, shelter deck safety rail, a number of platforms, platform supports, yardarms, and yard supports. There is a replacement breakwater with support gussets, a specific bridge inclined ladder, windlass caps and seaplane detail. Seaplane detail doesn't really adequately describe this. Of course there is the obligatory pontoon support detail, aircraft cradles and propellers but then Flyhawk provides a real mind-blower - a canopy frame for your 1:700 scale Arado! (part B-40)
This fret continues with the ships specific parts. The detail on this fret are predominantly radar details. All of the search and director arrays are provided. Some of these will be rather complex in assembly as there are individual dipoles provided. After you worked your way through half a fret of electronic, you can then address the topic of crew safety because the other half of the fret is devoted to parts connected with that topic. First of all are the row after row of safety rails on the funnel. Then there are the very low safety rails on the bridge levels. There are a few other items found here, such as flag staff, jack staff and stern eagle.
There are three sheets of instructions, front printed only. Each page is composed of various modules laid out in a particular order. Page one has five modules. These are (1) forecastle detail; (2) shelter deck detail; (3) bridge detail; (4) well "4" seems to be missing off the instructions but apparently this module deals with range finders; and (5) is stack and bridge tower. Page two has only two modules but could have been better organized. Module (6) covers almost the entire page and spans a wide variety of unrelated topics. These include radars, inclined ladder, more stack detail, mast details, catapult details and aircraft details. Module (7) is simply vision ports for the main gun turrets. Page three has only module (8). As with module (6) it is a hodge-podge of different details. Part includes additional details for the main gun turrets, including the complex AA gun platforms on B and C turrets. You'll probably need photographs of Prinz Eugen to help you with these, as the instructions are not sufficiently clear for these two assemblies. Other areas covered are block and tackle, cranes and hull detail. Although there is a minimal use of English, most text is in Chinese. Mostly this poses no problem, as assembly is shown through drawings but there is a series of icons but the text describing each in icon is in Chinese. Flyhawk uses the drawings and parts number to show assembly. Parts are numbered on the frets such as A9 for the bow crests. The instructions show the photo-etch parts designation in a circle and the Tamiya plastic parts number in a box. I may have missed it but it appears that a few items failed to make it to the instructions. I could not find the assembly instructions for brass parts A20 through A23, which appears to be davits and rigging for ship's boats.
If you like options in photo-etch, your horizon has suddenly expanded. Not only do you have another source for relief-etched details for warship kits with Flyhawk Model, but also their first product, FH 700001. This three fret brass detail set for the 1:700 scale Tamiya Prinz Eugen, is very impressive and finely done. Compared to the excellent quantity and quality of parts provided, the slight problem with the instructions and the lack of railings are only minor defects.