Kombrig 1/700 SMS Weissenburg

KIT #: 70-198
DECALS: None required
REVIEWER: Frank Spahr

S/S Pearl, BFM kit # BFM 728. Pier with lighthouse, BJ-kit # BJM-76. Brass barrels for Brandenburg, BMK 06700KM280B


Frank forgot to provide any historical background, so here it is.

SMS Weissenburg was one of the first ocean-going battleships of the Imperial German Navy. She was the third pre-dreadnought of the Brandenburg class, along with her sister ships Brandenburg, Wörth, and Kurfürst Friedrich Wilhelm. She was laid down in 1890 in the AG Vulcan dockyard in Stettin, launched in 1891, and completed in 1894. The Brandenburg class battleships were unique for their era in that they carried six large-caliber guns in three twin turrets, as opposed to four guns in two turrets, as was the standard in other navies. The British Royal Navy derisively referred to the ships as "whalers".

Weissenburg saw limited active duty during her service career with the German fleet. She, along with her three sisters, saw one major overseas deployment, to China in 1900–01, during the Boxer Rebellion. The ship underwent a major modernization in 1902–1904. In 1910, Weissenburg was sold to the Ottoman Empire and renamed Turgut Reis, after the famous 16th century Turkish admiral Turgut Reis. The ship saw heavy service during the Balkan Wars, primarily providing artillery support to Ottoman ground forces and taking part in two naval engagements with the Greek navy in December 1912 and January 1913. She was largely inactive during World War I, due in part to her slow speed. In 1924, Turgut Reis was used as a school ship, before eventually being scrapped in the mid-1950s.


I got my SMS Weissenburg kit when visiting the premises of NNT mail order during a summer vacation. The kit looked superbly molded and had some special PE included. I decided to build it once I found a pleasing presentation for it. On visiting the premises of BMK somewhat later I discussed the project with owner Burkhardt Masch. He offered to produce brass barrels for the main guns and hinted me at the really nice little kit of a pier with a small lighthouse by German company BJ Modellbau. I then had the idea to make a dio presenting the Weissenburg leaving a port and rounding the pier, whilst another vessel waited to pass the from a different direction. I had the excellent little kit by Battlefleet Models of a small steamer I meant to utilize here, so pretty soon I was playing with the pier and the ships´ hulls on a Trumpeter display box to find a suitable composition.


 That found, I first tackled the seascape. Both ships received screws to mount them through pre-drilled holes to the base.  The pier was cut at the appropriate angle to fit the edge of the display box. All major items provisionally connected to the base, I sprayed grey paint over them to mark their perimeters. After removing the resin pieces, any elements standing proud of the seascape were added using clear acrylic gel. The sea was to be extremely still, so not much sculpting was needed apart from some slight waves and wake. Now a layer of white wall paint was stippled onto the base using a large flat brush, in order to provide a uniform, yet slightly irregular surface. That cured, the base was sprayed a greenish-blue hue using various acrylic model paints. That fully cured, the base received several layers of solvent-based clear gloss from a rattle can. Only that adds a credible reflection to the „water“.


Awhile, I was busy working on the pier. Like the other resin items, it was primed using Vallejo´s solvent-based primer from a rattle can. Then it was sprayed and masked in various shades. The piled rocks were weathered and received a greenish hue at the waterline. The lighthouse was detailed a bit using spare PE and styrene. It was painted white with a red cap.

 After drilling out the portholes a bit, Weissenburg was sprayed an appropriate shade of grey. Her wooden decks were handpainted in tan and received a brownish wash using Humbrol thinners and artist´s oils.


The numerous decks and superstructure items were built as subassemblies, painted individually and detailed with kit and generic WEM PE. The ship´s masts were replaced by brass items for stability. The larger calibre artillery was replaced by machined brass items. Adding the numerous boat supports was rather tricky, but doable in the end.

With the subassemblies completed, the model was assembled working from the centerline outwards – hence the railings and outboard details were added last. I especially liked Kombrig´s beautiful ship´s boats and the finely etched ship´s crest at the bow. Sadly, the stern crest is missing from the PE set. The excellent book on the class by Nottelmann was a great help in many detail questions.

The ship was finally manned using Lion Roar PE figures, and rigged using a mix of stretched sprue and UNI fly-fishing thread. A final matt coat sealed things and hid the inevitable glue spots.

 Building  the S/S Pearl was a breeze. I had discussed paint schemes and details over a fine dinner with Jim Baumann that summer, and I set out to modify the kit to my liking. Especially the bridge was altered, using PE and styrene stock.  Pearl was weathered heavier than the pristine warship. Her sails were depicted furled, using white glue. Her masts were also replaced with metal. Her rigging was also applied using UNI Caenis. When completed and manned, she was also flatcoated and both vessels then mounted to the base.

Any remaining gaps between hulls and seascape were filled with clear gloss acrylic gel, and white artist´s oil paint was used to highlight and accentuate the seascape.


This is a nice little diorama on very limited space – it shows what can be done in 1:700 with today´s wide range of modeling supplies. I had fun doing it and I still enjoy looking at it.



Dirk Nottelmann: Die Brandenburg-Klasse, Höhepunkt des deutschen Panzerschiffbaus.

Frank Spahr

March 2013

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