Trumpeter 1/350 Prinz Eugen 1945 Kit First Look
|Date of Review||September 2009||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Subject||Prinz Eugen 1945||Scale||1/350|
|Kit Number||5313||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Nice details, waterline or full-hull construction; S-100 Schnellboot included||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$139.95|
In the early days of World War II, the German navy built a third ship in the Hipper cruiser class named after a famous military commander, Francois Eugen, prince of Savoy-Carignan, which in German is Prinz Eugen. Launched in 1938 and commissioned in 1940, the Prinz Eugen was an enlarged version of the Hipper class, armed with 8 x 203mm main guns, 12 x 105mm, 17 x 40mm, 8 x 37mm, and 28 x 20mm guns. In addition, the cruiser was also armed with 12 x 533mm torpedoes.
The Prinz Eugen didn't see many actions during World War II. It did fight alongside Bismarck in the Battle of the Denmark Strait and reportedly scored direct hits upon HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales. After the loss of Bismarck, Hitler ordered the repositioning of his capital ships to defend against an invasion in Norway. Prinz Eugen joined Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in that defensive patrol. After being struck by a torpedo in the stern by HMS Trident, Prinz Eugen was laid up in Kiel for a new stern.
In the latter days of the war, Prinz Eugen was engaged in shelling Soviet positions along the Baltic and evacuating German refugees from the advancing Red Army forces. She returned to Copenhagen in April 1945, unable to leave port again due to the lack of fuel. At the end of the war, Prinz Eugen and Nurnberg were surrendered to the Royal Navy and Prinz Eugen was escorted back to Wilhelmshaven for storage in dry dock until the beginning of 1946. In January 1946, the Nurnberg and Prinz Eugen were handed over to the US Navy. USS Prinz Eugen was examined and tested and eventually sailed into the south Pacific to become the first German warship to be sunk by a nuclear explosion. Actually the USS Prinz Eugen was the furthest vessel in the Baker shot target array and remained afloat five months after the nuclear blast, but was too radioactive to permit crews to repair hull leaks sustained in the blast and eventually the cruiser sank.
Trumpeter has released its first installment of the Hipper-class heavy cruisers, the Prinz Eugen. The kit is just as impressive as the other releases that precede this, consisting of 595 parts molded in gray styrene and presented 14 parts trees, plus the standard waterline or full-hull parts molded in red styrene, and two clear trees molded in clear for the new Ar 196 seaplanes. The upper hull, main and upper deck sections are also molded in gray styrene and separately packaged. Actually, one of the 14 parts trees is not for the Prinz Eugen, it is actually a complete kit of a 1/350 S-100 Schnellboot. In addition to the styrene parts, two frets of ship railings and one fret of other details round out the kit.
Assembly begins with the installation of the three main deck sections onto the upper hull along with the first two turrets for the main guns. These are installed on the main deck along with the torpedo launchers and a variety of other gun mounts.
The superstructure is next and this kit uses an interesting way to build up the superstructure in such a way as to make it easier to paint the deck and superstructure sections separately. As each deck builds up, again the design of the kit is going to make it easy to keep the colors separate without much masking required.
As you might expect with the above parts count, this kit is highly detailed and will require experience and patience to do this model justice. The layout of these assemblies are straightforward and, as mentioned above, lend themselves to ease of painting as well. You will have to pay attention to the instructions and get acquainted with them prior to assembly as there are a few spots that might cause a moment or two of confusion. For example, the instructions show photo-etch part PE10 simply laid out, but it isn't until you look closer that you find the notation where that unique railing section goes around the crows nest aft of the catapult.
You do have several options in the kit including your choice of full-hull or waterline display. A stand is included for the full-hull option. A number of the ships ladders are provided in both styrene and photo-etch, so you can try your hand at photo-etched details and if it doesn't work out for you, you can revert back to the styrene parts.
The S-100 kit is a simple build with only a full-hull option and no provisions for a display stand.
The Arado Ar 196s are molded in clear styrene and provide you the option to display the wings folded or in flight-ready position. The detailed structure for the float mounts is nicely done in styrene.
Markings are provided for the Prinz Eugen, the S-100, and one Ar 196. The markings and color profile provided for the Prinz Eugen reflect its Baltic colors circa 1945.
This kit adds another installment in the growing series of 1/350 scale combatants and I would not be surprised to see this released in the future in 1/700 scale as well. This is a beautiful model, just like the other releases from Trumpeter in this scale. If you're an AMS modeler, you'll have a jump-start with this release given the photo-etched details included in the kit - you won't have to wait for the aftermarket folks to catch-up.
My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!