DKM Scharnhorst

The Ship
A Brief History

 

Designed in mid-1930s The Scharnhost and sister ship Gneisenau were the first German ships to be built outside of the limitations of the Versailles treaty
Launched in 1936 and commissioned in 1939, The Scharnhosrt participated in most of the major German fleet actions in World War II. His first operation was in late November 1939 along with sister ship Gneisenau, a Light Cruiser and nine Destroyers to patrol an area between Iceland and the Faeroe Islands. During this operation, the German flotilla intercepted and sank the British auxiliary cruiser Rawalpindi.

Operation Nordmark,
February 18-20, 1940

Scharnhorst, accompanied by Gneisenau, the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper and three destroyers made an unsuccessful foray as far as the Shetland Islands to intercept British convoys between Bergen in Norway and Britain but no ships was sighted. They returned to Wilhelmshaven on February 20th 1940.



Operation Weserübung,
April 7th - June 10th, 1940

Germany's invasion of Denmark and Norway.
Scharnhorst and Gneisenau along with the Cruiser Admiral Hipper formed the primary covering force for the invasions of Trondheim and Narvik. The Hipper detached on the 8th to support and reinforce the destroyers in the Narvik operation
On April 9th, the two ships were engages by HMS Renown and several destroyers. After a two hour engagement the two battle cruisers used their speed advantage distance themselves from the Renown and her escorts. The two Battle Cruisers then steamed for several days making temporary repairs before heading south and rejoining the Adm. Hipper on April 12th. and returned to Germany for repairs.

The two ships left Germany on June 4th and upon their return to Norwegian waters were joined by Admiral Hipper and four destroyers. On the 8th, after sinking a British Corvette, Hipper and the Destroyers were detached to refuel in Trondheim. That evening, the German battleships located and Sank the British aircraft carrier Glorious and two escorting destroyers, Ardent and Acasta. All three British ships were sunk but during the engagement Acasta managed to hit Scharnhorst with a torpedo causing serious damage. He put into Trondheim for repairs and while there was attacked several times. Temporary repairs were completed by June 20th which allowed the ship to return to Germany. En route, the damaged ship was forced to turn into Stavanger by British froces sent to intercept him. Shcarnhorst Left Stavanger the next day and arived safely in Kiel



Builder: Kriegsmarinewerft Wilhelmshaven
Laid down: 15 June 1935
Launched: 3 October 1936
Commissioned: 7 January 1939
Motto: Scharnhorst immer voran[2]
Fate: Sunk on 26 December 1943 during the Battle of North Cape
General characteristics
Class & type: Scharnhorst-class battleship
Displacement: Standard: 32,100 long tons (32,600 t)
Full load: 38,100 long tons (38,700 t)
Length: 234.9 m (771 ft)
Beam: 30 m (98 ft)
Draft: 9.9 m (32 ft)
Installed power: 151,893 shp (113,267 kW)
Propulsion: 3 Brown, Boveri & Co geared steam turbines
Speed: 31 knots (57 km/h)
Range: 7,100 nmi (13,100 km) at 19 kn (35 km/h)
Complement: 56 officers
1,613 enlisted
Armament: 9 × 28 cm/54.5 (11 inch) SK C/34
12 × 15 cm/55 (5.9") SK C/28
14 × 10.5 cm/65 (4.1 inch) SK C/33
16 × 3.7 cm/L83 (1.5") SK C/30
16 × 2 cm/65 (0.79") C/30 or C/38
6 × 533 mm torpedo tubes

Operation Berlin
January 22nd through March 22 1941.

Originally scheduled for December 1940, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau finally sailed on January 22. In order to avoid a large British surface force sent to intercept him, Admiral Lütjens took his flotilla through the Denmark Strait into the Atlantic shipping lanes. The attack on first convoy sighted was aborted due to the presence of the HMS Ramilles. They two ships finally located a west bound convoy and manages to sink 5 Merchant ships. After heading south towards the Azores, the ships spotted another convoy but the attack was again aborted due to the presence of the HMS Malaya. Adm. Lutjens then took his ships back to the western Atlantic where he sank a lone freighter. The ships then located two convoys and sank or captured 16 Merchant ships. At the appearance of the HMS Rodney the two ships headed away from the convoys and were ordered to Brest where they arrived on March 22nd.



Operation Cerberus
February 11 – 13, 1942 - "The Channel Dash"

After almost a year in Brest, and under frequent air attack from the British, the Scharnhorst along with Gneisenau and the heavy cruise Prinz Eugen, which had arrived June 1, 1941 were ordered to return to Germany.
11 February 1942, the ships left Brest and proceeded undetected for more than 12 hours, approaching the Straits of Dover without discovery. When they were finally discovered by the British there was little they could do. Attacks from coastal batteries, The RAF, and caused no damage. During the trip, Scharnhorst hit two mines, but arrived safely at 10:00 on 13 February at Wilhelmshaven. The damage from the mines kept him out of action for over three months. Gneisenau arrived at Kiel but two weeks later on the night of February 26–27 he was heavily damaged and was never to see active service again, ending his career blocking the entrance to Gotenhafen


Deployment to Norway

Operation Sizilien
September 6-8, 1943

Scharnhorst along with Tirpitz and nine destroyers left Altafjord on September 6th bound for Spitzbergen In September 1943 a task force was assembled, comprising the battleships Tirpitz, Scharnhorst and nine destroyers. On September 8th a battalion of German troops was landed, and supported by naval gunfire, seized facilities and forced Norwegian garrison to withdraw. After destroying the coal depots and other facilities, the German forces withdrew and the ships returned to Altafjord and anchors in Langfjord.



Operation Ostfront
Battle of the North Cape
December 25-26, 1943

On Christmas day 1943 Scharnhorst and the 4th Destroyers Flotilla were ordered to attack Convoy JW55. The British Admiralty, alerted by Norwegian resistance set out a trap for the elusive battleship. On the 26th, Admiral Bey, in command of the German forces detached his Destroyers to scout to the south. Shortly after 9:00 AM, the Scharnhorst encountered a pair of cruiser and was struck twice. One shell destroyed the radar controls and leaving Scharnhorst virtually blind in with visibility rapidly deteriorating. Bey then turned south in an attempt to distance himself from the pursuers. Once he had shaken them he attempted to circle around them to attack the convoy again. Once again he ran into the British cruisers and after a brief encounter in which hits on the HMS Norfolk disabled her radar and a turret, Bey decided to return to port with The British cruisers in pursuit. HMS Duke of York along with four escorting destroyers picked up Scharnhost ar 4.15 P.M. Half an hour later, As Duke of York closed, HMS Belfast illuminated Scharnhorst with star shells. Duke of York's first salvo caught the ship unprepared and disabled the two forward turrets. Three hours later, after a barrage of torpedo and gun hits, the Scharnhorst capsized and sank with a loss of over 1,900 men

 

A full career timeline can be found at www.kbismarck.com
or more information at http://www.scharnhorst-class.dk

 

 

Building the Scharnhorst

1/350th Scale, Dragon Models
Keel Laid November 6, 2013

As I was doing research into the ship and trying to decide which color scheme to use, I came across an obscure photo of the ship that showed a splinter paint scheme similar to the one used on Tirpitz during Operation Sizilien.
An elderly gentleman I know who served on a destroyer in Norway told me he "seems to remember" the Scharnhorst be painted in such a pattern similar to the Tirpitz for a short period of time. The photgraph I used as a basis was taken in Langfjord in 1943
So since I had never seen him modeled in this camouflage scheme I decided that was the one I'd use.
With luck, My masking and airbrushing skills are up to the challenge

I found it a little difficult to pick out the details as to location of the pattern so I modified one of Toller/Bonomi's oustanding drawing off the kbismark.org website to assist in the painting

340 windows to drill out then the base coat of floquil SP lettering grey. I'm using Floquil Lark Dark Gray for the darker color. I've painted the hull and now I'm kicking myself for being lazy and not doing a color test first. It's a little on the light side so the options are re-mask and repaint, or Mask of the bow and stern and use the sizilein scheme. I went with the remask and have painted the ship in the charcoal gray.
(Original splnter patern of lark dark gray. Ship in behind is the recently launched (and discontinued) Tamiya USS Missouri in her 1945 Configuration)

Looking at all the subassemblies, I've decided that rather than have dozens of small assemblies laying around and possible getting lost, I'll build them as I need them.

Forward Superstructure, Conning Tower & Range Finder

11/12/2013
Range finder and radars completed. I replaced the plastic yardarms with .020 Brass rod but it seems a little soft and flexable for tying off the rigging so I might pull them and replace them with Stainless Steel.
In my impatience to try out these wooden decks and against my better judgement, I've painted an assembly and then added the deck. After which I began to wonder.... Would the insides of the splinter shields along with whatever deck equipment installed have been painted the same as the outside of would they have retained the neutral gray color?

11/14/2013
First glitch, (but a minor one)... The Instructions from KA say to use C-02 but when you look at the fret, there's only two of the four needed and they're used under the stack searchlight platform. So comparing braces on the fret to the instruction I found that there are four of the C-07 braces that are not listed in the instructions.

Second glitch, again a minor one ... The instuctions for the crane refer to parts B34 and 35, but in acuality are A-34 and A-5

11/25/2013. I've been building and painting the sub assemblies for the conning tower and most of the larger sub asseblies of the forward superstructure and conning tower have been assembled, masked off and painted. Now it's time to add small details such as railings, platforms and ladders. These are being hand painted since it would be impossible to mask off the ship with them attached

12/01/2013 I've finished the forward Conning tower so now I'm going to rig the flag halyards and antenna cables This is Substantially easier to do at this stage. There's a fife rail between the the ship's cranes on the original ship for tieing off the halyards, it's not in the kit so I added a bar made fron .015 brass rod to tie on to. once I have the rigging completed I'll cover and dress it up with some strip styrene
Since I suck at using strwtched sprue and don't like the look anyway, I'm using #100 tan Silk thread for the signal halyards tied off at the yard arm then triple slip knotted. I'm then coating the knot with caa and painting the knot to simulate a block. For the antenna cables I'm using #80 and #100 Black silk.

12/05/2013 Again I'm kicking myself for not planning ahead and drilling holes where the antenna cables enter the superstructure. I've had to drill into the side of the upper deck of the forward superstructure to install the forestay braces and will need to replace or re-inforce the ones on the front of the conning tower. They're a little out of scale but the dark color of the ship helps to make the a little more subtle

Center Superstructure
Stack & Boat Decks

12/10/2013
Been a few days since I updated. Built the stack. Pretty straight forward. The PE bracing under the stack is really nice, but hindsight being 20-20, I recommend removing the molded on braces and attaching the platform parts to the stack before adding the photo etch parts.
The dividers inside the stack were snug, but didn't require trimming as I had read in another build. The one problem I did find was the center and aft cross pieces were reversed in the directions. The PE Boat racks fit perfectly.
I saw some wooden beams in a photo, stacked between the stack and a launch, So I'm going to need some small bass wood from the local craft store

12/11/2013
Drilled out the portholes on the cabin walls and added them to the spar deck. Painted the deck gray overall and let dry. Painted the light gray then masked off the camo pattern. Added the porthole hatches to the areas not masked off and airbrushed the dark gray.

12/27/2013
Time for some sub assemblies I'll be talking about below. This section of the ship has 6 of the 105mm AA guns, a couple practice loaders so time to get out the really big magnifying glass and the +3 readers

12/29/2013
Railings on the AA Deck... What a nightmare. I had great difficulty getting them to adhere to the deck. I assume it's due to the diamond plate details on the deck. Definately recommend prebending these before adding anything to the deck. Finally succeeded but will need to retouch the paint where all the excess CA I couldn't remove.
Next comes the ship's boats... Lots of small parts here. Wood decks are a geat touch.

Center Superstructure
Hangars

01/02/2014
Drilled out the portholes and airbrushed the the lighter color of the Camo pattern. Then I masked off the lighter areas and prepared to paint the darker color. I added all the PE railings and the catapult to the top of the hangar roof and other details where the assembly hadn't been masked off. The KA Photo etch went together well with perfectly placed tabs where they replaced their plastic counterparts.

In order to compensate for the thickness of the wood deck I had to shave a small amount from the A.A. platform support legs

 

Aft Superstructure

Hoping to not make the rookie mistakes of the Forward Superstructure, I've tried to locate all the entry points for the Radio aerials,the Fife Rail for the Halyards and the connetion points for various other stays and cables. I've masked off and painter the cabin

01/09/2014 I've drilled out the Portholes and installed the PE, Next I'm adding the larger windows and and the doors. Once those have dried I'll paint the insides of the frames black and the inside of the hatches white

Tripod Mainmast
01-13-2014
After examining all the parts, I've decided that trying to rig this would be tough due to the flimsiness of the parts, so I'm going to replace the upper section with Brass or Stainless steel parts. I've Built up to the top of the tripod, trimmed off the the section above then drilled a .033 hole to accept the new upper mast assembly. The new upper section of the mainmast is made from .32 brass rod with a .02 brass upper spar and .03 steel lower spar. I've filed a small notch where the assemblies intersect and then Glued with CA. once this is dried, I added some Gorilla Glue which acts almost like an Epoxy that can be filed to remove excess, I'll also use the gorilla glue as a filler and to taper the lower half where the Brass meets the plastice lower assembly. I also replaced the flag staff from the PE set with a piece of .015 SS rod. There's another flag staff on the back of the aft superstructure I'll need to fabricate.
   

01-19-2014
Added the ship's boats and racks to the aft superstructure but forgot the oars.
Finished the mainmast and attached it to the aft superstructure.

01/22-2014
Added the signal halyards, radio aerials and support wires to the main mast. Re-re-re-attached the railing on the AA gun deck. Hopefully it will hold once and for all

01/23/2013
Added the railings and some small details to the rear range finder/radar and began to mount the assembly to the main deck then.....
Disaster strikes.... While mounting the aft section of the superstructure I managed to break off the foremast's upper platform. While trying to re-attach the upper platform I took out a 20mm mount but managed to get it re-attached. I then hit it again and snapped off the lower platform, followed by the range finder and radar assembly a twin 105 mount and that one piece railing that's bee causing me so much grief. I fianally dismounted the entire assembly, cut away the halyards and braces and re-attached the foremast. Tomorrow I'll be doing the one thing I was trying to avoid.. rigging the foremast while attached to the hull after re-painting the assembly to hide the shine from the CA.

01/25/2014
Finally repaired all the damage and added a few backstays and radio aerials I'd missed the first time. Attached the aft superstructure to the ship and prepared to rig the radio aerials. In order to make the split aerials I've created a jig from the "D" sprue. After several failed attempts I gave up and went to single lines.

Main Deck

01-06-2014
Glued the main deck the hull and began fitting the KA Wooden deck over it. There are a couple hatches that are now flush with the deck. I filed off the details and will add PE hatches and some strip styrene to bring them to the correct height. The same will be done on most of the other fittings to bring them to the proper height above the deck. The one thing I have noticed is that there will probabl be a little trimming here there

01-15-2014
I've added the forward superstructure and stack section to the superstructure

Base and Hull

Oak Base with wooden pedestals sized to the ship. I almost forgot to include the clipper bow when I measured the length. The hull comes with mounting points for the standard Dragon base so those were used to base the . The base, pedestals and hull were drilled out for the 1/4" mounting bolts and the inner "keel" was trimmed away around the hole. The entire assembly was bolted together, then the nuts were epoxied to the inside of the hull

 
Sub Assemblies

20mm Machine guns
I used PE from both the kit and the KA set and came up with the following method... Cut the gun, attach the base then bend. Don't try to bend in advance.

Practice Loaders
Tiny little suckers. Enough plastic parts to make four, but only enough PE to do the two under the boat racks

37mm Antiarcraft Guns
6 plastic and 9 Photoetch parts all assemble on the end of a pair of tweezers. I laid all the parts out and decided on this order,
Gun mount to base then seat support to Base and mount.
I then added the center seat followed by the handwheels and then the outer seats.
Once the PE dried, I adde the Upper support and the outer Hand wheels.
Finally, once all the PE and CA seemed to be cured, I added the Barrels. My only regret is not ordering the Brass versions after seeing how nice they looked on the 105's


105mm Antiaircraft Guns
Two different styles. Used the MM brass barrels. I cut off the molded barrels and filed the end smooth. Then I drilled using a #77 drill bit but it was a little tight so I went to a #76 to give me a little play to adjust and align. I then used a gap filling CA to secure the barrels to the breech blocks. One note, the breech blocks are keyed, so I discovered I needed to glue them toghther before adding the rest of the barrel assembly.
The difference between the Brass and molded barrels is amazing.


15cm Single Turrets
Disappointing. Open back So I'll be adding the canvas cover that was prevelant on this turrets. No PE and I was hoping the breech block of the gun would be detailed enough to be seen through the opening. I'll be looking at some photos to see if any details can be added


15cm Twin Turrets
Two different styles.


28cm Turrets
I have two options, since I bought both sets of brass barrels I can either use the blast bags that cane with this kit or make my own blast bags from nylon stockings. Since I have 4 turrets I'm going to try both and see what looks better. Decided on the kit blast bags because I couldn't get the custom bacs to fit in properly, (and I'd be stuck with barels I couldn't use on another ship.)
Photo etch is a combination of KA and Kit supplied. Each Turret has a different configuration so I marked then A,B and C underneath and set them off to the side

Ships Boats
Lots of them. Including Boats for the Davits on either side of the Hull. The only problem is that there are no davits in the kit
02/21/2014
I've started final assembly, The Ship's railings fit really well, but I screwed up on the starboard side I installed the railing backwards so the gate section for the forward accomodation ladder is in the wrong place, I tried to repair, but wouldn't you know it's the one time I can't break the bond on the crazy glue without risking damage to the railing or the wooden deck. (I doubt anyone but me will notice anyway) Working from bow to stern, I installed back the torpedo storage lockers. The KA wood deck wasn't marked with a location the lockers or the tubes so I had to wing it. Once I installed the lockers I continued on the the stern. I then added the torpedo hoists which gave me the approximate location for the Torpedo tubes.

Added and installed the accomodation ladders, the 20mm single mounts to the aft deck and the 20mm quads to the tops of the secondary turrets

02/28/2014
Launch Date,
Looking for things that might have been missed or come loose.
The final piece was the national emblem on the transom. I considered painting the Swastika and the white but decided to leave it unpanted.
Doesn't really matter anyway since it had been removed from the ship well before the fall of 1943


Well here he is, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did building it
   
       

Conclusion and final ramblings
This kit was a lot of fun to build but a long process of assembly.
As prepared as I thought I was for all the photo etch I made several mistakes and omissions from which I could repair. I used wood decks for the first time and made a couple errors installing those. Nothing I couldn't fix with a #11 blade. The KA decks and Photo Etch set were incredible. Everything fit exactly as needed with minimal modification to only a few trivial pieces. The Master Model Gun barrels were worth the price as well.

And a special thanks and shout out to Andrew and Coach at the Spare Time Shop, Marlboro Massachusetts,
For getting me this kit and all the various PE sets, Details, Wooden Decks and other sundry stuff used in the construction of this beast

feel free to comment, most will be posted (as long as they're civil)
ships@wdross.com

now preparing in Slip way #1, The Imperial Japanese Navy Battleship Kongo

Products used in the construction

KA Models
Photo etch and Wooden Decks

Master Models
Scharnhorst Gun Barrel Set

Photoetch sets for doors, hatches and reels from Tom's Modelworks and White Ensign Models

Accurate Model Parts
Cloth battle flags

Research materials,
Battleships of the Scharnhorst Class, Gerhardt Koop
The Battleship Scharnhorst, Kagero
Kreigsmarine, Robert C Stern
And of course... The Internet

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