Flugzeugträger Graf Zeppelin

This page (and the ship) still under construction,
and will be updated periodically

The Ship, (a brief history)
The lead ship of his class, The Graf Zepplin was to be part of the Kriegsmarine Z_Plan fleet.

The ship was launched in December 1938 with a projected completion Date of Mid 1940
At the outbreak of World War II, the the ship was 85% complete. In April 1940, work on the ship was halted, the 15 cm guns removed and transferred to Norway and the heavy flak armament of twelve 10.5 cm guns had already been shipped elsewhere.

Graf Zeppelin was towed from Kiel to Gotenhafen in July 1940 and then to Stettin in June 1941 after the invasion of the Soviet Union to Protect the Ship from Soviet air attack.In November 1941, once the risk of Russian air attacks had ended the ship was returned to Gotenhafen.

Work was resumed on the ship in May 1942 after the usefulness of Aircraft Carriers was demonstrated by the attacks on Taranto Italy and Pearl Harbor, and the critical damage done to the Bismarck by British Fleet Air Arm that eventually contributed his loss.
With numerous changes throughout the ship, naval staff had hoped to have the ship completed by April 1943, sea trials in August and ready for combat by the end of 1943

In late January 1943, in a fit of rage over his percieved incompetence of the Kriegsmarine, Hitler replaced Admiral Eric Raeder ordered all Capitol ships Broken up. Raeder's Successor, Admiral Karl Dönitz eventually persuaded Hitler to void most of the order, work on all new surface ships and even those nearing completion was halted, including Graf Zeppelin. All work on the ship was again stopped.

In April 1943 Graf Zeppelin was again towed eastward, first to Gotenhafen, then to Swinemünde and finally to a wharf in the Parnitz River where it remained until the End of the war. In April 1945, as the Soviet forces approached, the small crew scuttled the ship into the shallow water of the river to render the ship inoperable to the Soviets.

The Ship was later re-floated by the Soviet Union and eventually sunk as a target ship in the Baltic
The wreck was discovered in 2006

Laid down: Dec.28 1936
Launched: Dec. 8 1938
Displacement: 34,000 tons
Length: 861 ft
Beam: 119 ft
Draft: 28 ft
Speed: 33.8 knots
Range: 8,000 nmi at 19 knots
Complement: 1,700+
Armament: 16 × 15 cm C/28 guns
12 × 10.5 cm C/33 guns
22 × 3.7 cm C/30 guns
28 × 2 cm FlaK guns
 
Aircraft 42
Fighter BF109-T
Dive Bomber JU87 C Stuka
Torpedo Bomber Arado Ar 195
Reconnaissance Fieseler Fi 167


The Kit
I've always been fascinated by this ship, and I jumped all over it when it became available in 1/350th

The first thing I notice upon opening the box is the Hull. Unlike Trumpeter's usual practice, the hull is split vertically down the keel instead of at the Waterline. Next was how few pieces there are.
Also the size of the ship. I never expected this ship to be equal in length to an Essex Class carrier (870 ft) which made me wonder why it had half the aircraft until I saw just how narrow the beam is, and the poor use of space on the hangar deck

The flight deck in the kit is depicted as Steel, with no features other than faint lines depicting the track rails and some plates in the deck. The ship, based on a soviet photo taken after the war shows a wooden flight deck
There is also no arresting gear on the deck. Both the 109-T and the JU87C had tail hooks but I can't find any reference photos or plans that depict this equipment so again... I'll make it up as I go. Most Carriers had 5 wires


The Plan
The Plan...
Lots of portholes to drill out (I hate painting them) a cavernous hull and a hangar deck...
I had considered lighting the thing up with fiberoptics, but the way the hull goes together made the idea difficult.

Paint...
Since this ship never actually became operational, it was painted the standard Kriegsmarine gray (Hellgrau RAL7001 K50?).
The kit comes with a paint scheme based on the Norwegian blue-grey camouflage colors. I might use a variation of that or go with the black and white Baltic recognition stripes it might have had during his sea trials.

   
(modified from original drawings on shipbucket.com)

Hangar Deck
I have blueprints of the sprinkler system that shows locations of those fixtures, as for the rest I'm probabaly going to make it up as I go. I'm sure there are hatches leading into the Life boat storage galleries, ladders in various locations etc....


Build Notes
Hull

Drilling out the portholes, 425 or so on each side of the hull and then painted the inside of the hull with 2 coats of black to keep the LED's from lighting up the entire hull.
I've decided to go with the Baltic camouflage stripes. I originally went with 3/4" but they looked too wide so I masked them at 1/2" and they seem about right.
 

With the lighting plan scrapped I assembled the two halves of the hull and hangar deck.
I dry fit the assembly to see where the issues around the Lifeboat galleries would occur. As I suspected there were a couple minor annoyances but easily resolved


Masked off
 

Ready for Bottom Paint
 

Hangar deck installed, parked next to the incomplete Prinz Eugen
(pardon the messy work table)


Underside of the Stern

Underside of the Bow
 

Decked over, and mounted on it's base
 
 
Life boats & Galleries

Pretty straight forward, PE for the Launch rails and hand rails.
I would recommend putting in the outer handrails first then the Launch rails and finally the center rail.
I had to reset a couple launch rails to fit the outer hand rails
 

   
 
Armament

15cm SK C/28 main guns
The Master Model barrels are a tad longer than the barrels included in the kit
Takes a #73 drill bit and I drill the hole for the new barrel before I cut off the Plastic one

       


10.5 cm SK C/33 secondary Guns
Veteran Models, pretty straight forward

   


37mm SK C/30 guns
I only have 1 set of the veteran models 37mm aa so I'm using the kit set with Master Model barrels, until the others become available again
These barrels require a #83 Drill which I've needed to order.
I tried a #80 but it was too large and might have damaged the piece I was using it on
 
 

       


20mm FlaK guns
My first thought when I opened the box was "What was I thinking?"
The veteran kit for these is a little intimidating when you open it. The parts are insanely small and the instructions could be a little better but they actually go together quite nicely (with the help of a good strong pair of +3 readers AND and magnifying light)
I did need to drill out the barrel sockets a little so I made a drill bit from a sharpened piece of a guitar string

       

 
Flight Deck/Island
 
Masts and Yard Arms,
The parts in the kit were a tad flimsy to say the least, making it difficult to add rigging so these were scratch built with tapered brass rods and plastic details removed from the original kit parts
The rigging done with #100 silk, it slowly takes on a natural sag

Arresting Wires
Again, I'll need to guess. Several models show four wires, one just aft of the elevator and the rest in front, a some show five wires, two aft and three forward.

       

 
Aircraft

Four types included in the kit, five of each type. each has a PE arresting hook
Painted in standard Luftwaffe RLM colors, the decals are tiny and the Swastikas for the tails are split into the politically correct 2 halves which makes life a little difficult lining them up

   


 

Final Presentation
 
I hope you like it....
I'm still waiting for the veteran 37MM antiaircraft which seem to be on backorder everywhere but otherwise I've finished
As usual I'll touch up a few spots I see in the photos such as canopies and exhausts on the aircraft.

       


Products used in construction

Master Model Gun Barrels
SM-350-002 German 15cm (5.9in) SK C/28 Barrels
SM-350-045 German 37mm/83 SKC/Barrels for 1930-1943 Warships

Veteran Models Flack Guns
VT35057 Kriegsmarine 20mm Flak-Vierling C35
VT35051 Kriegsmarine 37MM Flak Doppel C30
VT35091 Kriegsmarine 10.5cm SK C/31 mount D model Shield

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Last Updated August 29, 2017