Airfix A04204 Bismarck 1:600 Scale Series 4 Plastic Model Kit
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- 1:600 scale plastic scale model kit
- Construction and painting required: yes, glue and paints need to be purchased separately
- Skill level: 3 (where 1 is for the beginner and 4 is for the more experienced modeller)
- Dimensions: length: 415mm x width: 60mm
- Number of parts: 170
Product Safety Warning: Use under adult supervision
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Bismarck conducted only one offensive operation, codenamed Rheinübung, in May 1941. The ship, along with the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, was to break out into the North Atlantic and raid Allied shipping. At the Battle of Denmark Strait, Bismarck engaged and destroyed HMS Hood, the pride of the Royal Navy, and forced the battleship HMS Prince of Wales to retreat with heavy damage, although Bismarck herself had been hit three times and suffered an oil leak from a ruptured tank.The destruction of HMS Hood spurred a relentless pursuit by the Royal Navy with dozens of warships involved. Two days later, while steaming for the relative safety of occupied France, Bismarck was attacked by Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers from the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal; one hit jamming the battleship's steering gear rendering her unmanoeuvrable. The following morning, Bismarck was destroyed by a pair of British battleships.
The most powerful battleship in the world in 1941 when she sailed to raid Allied shipping in the North Atlantic with the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. After being spotted by the Royal Navy she was shadowed and then engaged. In this engagement the Bismarck sank HMS Hood. She was then damaged by at least one torpedo from attacking Swordfish, slowing her down. She was eventually sunk by torpedoes fired from Royal Naval ships with the loss of almost 1,900 crew.See all Product description
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Sadly this kit shows its age and has many flaws not apparent to me when I first built it as a child. It is hard for me to completely dismiss this kit, since I am a dedicated 1/600-scale Airfix fan. Unfortunately, of all of the 1/600-scale Airfix kits in my closet, this one is the least accurate.
. The kit comes with 170 gray parts and the molded details, which may have been state of the art in their time, rate only as fair to weak by today’s standards of technology.
The hull comes in two halves, has some light detail on it . The propellers are too far forward on the hull of this ship and the rudders are way too oversize for this scale (almost double). The main deck comes in two sections, is improperly shaped and is 3/8 of an inch too narrow, robbing the ship of its massive beam. There is a minimum of light molded details such as anchors and storage boxes. The forward section of the ship is lacking the correctly pointed shape of the Atlantic bow. The superstructure and fo'c'sle decks need work and will require some major correction in areas.
The main gun turrets are too long in length. The turret range finder housings are a bit too thin and require some putty below them to fill in the molding depressions. The forward turret Anton will need the turret range finder housings removed. The gun barrels are a little to long and slightly too big around but the barrels can be set in different positions, which is a plus. The Bruno and Caesar turret barbettes for Bismarck lack any details, like the air ventilator shafts. They will require scratch building with evergreen scale model strips.
The funnel has very little if any detail and the grill is way oversized. The funnel cap is generally the correct shape. None of the two funnel cranes comes with the kit and will need to be scratch built. Many of the smaller parts such as the boats, rafts and smaller anti aircraft armament are okay. The 150 mm secondary armament turrets need correction. The heavy 105 mm anti-aircraft guns are really bad. The Arado 196 aircraft is poor at best and needs correction or replacement. The forward gun directors are weak and the radar range finders are crude. The main mast is incomplete and needs some additions. The rear anti-aircraft directors are armoured, which is incorrect for Bismarck.
If you are looking for a challenge and in need of a Bismarck for your 1/600-1/700 -scale fleet, I would advise you to just take the plunge and buy a new-tool Tamiya 1/350 Scale Bismarck and all the trimmings of wood decks , brass barrels and photo-etch , as with model warships -
bigger IS FAR BETTER !
This model was designed about fifty years ago, when model production was in it's infancy. Back then, plastic kits weren't available in their thousands as they are now, Airfix were forging ahead, making good kits of historically important vehicles, but accuracy was something they were poor at. Some kits were better than others, in my opinion, this was one of the weakest, simply because it was one of the first.
Bismarck, Hood, Nelson, Warspite, Scharnhorst. All very famous ships, even more so in the 1960s, and all in the first few years of producing small scale models. This had never been done before, and it wasn't easy back then. So, there are gaps between pieces, it needs filling, it's not the most accurate. It's fifty years old, what do you expect?
However, I do have a problem with Airfix charging so much for very old kits which are clearly showing their age. Kits like this should be marketed as vintage or classic, which I've said for quite some time, and which other firms, Revell and Italeri, have done. As a result, they should cost less. Essentially, they are kits to start off with, and if you get kids hooked on building kits like that, they'll move on to better ones.
In terms of being constructed by a small person, it was quite difficult and adult assistance was needed, especially with gluing the two halves of the hull and inserting the deck. However, this was only because these were large pieces and it was essential that they were made to fit perfectly to ensure a good overall appearance. From then on, my son spent many happy hours fitting every last tiny piece in position by himself.
On the subject of durability, how many Airfix models are meant to be played with? Most, like this one, are best left in a safe place to be looked at.
In my son's own words, this is what he thought of the product:
"The Airfix Bismarck is the best model I've ever made but it was rather fiddly when it came to putting on the second-to-biggest gun turrets at the front and the model is very time consuming but all in all I would give it a 9 out of 10. The guns swivel, the detail is very good and it was very satisfying to make."
Overall, a very poor product. A lot of patience is required. Be prepared to use your initative because it won't work as you want it to. Only buy if you really have to.
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