Dragon 1/350 German Z-39 Destroyer

KIT #: 1037
PRICE: $59.00 SRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Smart Kit


When war broke out in 1939, new destroyer classes were cancelled and 12 additional 1936A vessels were ordered with slight modifications to speed construction and save materials. The 150 mm twin turrets were taken from planned, but never built, "O" class battlecruisers. It is frequently said that these were more like small light cruisers than large destroyers. In war service, the engines were more reliable than in earlier ships but at the end of the war, heavy corrosion was discovered.

Seven of this sub-class were built: one was sunk, another two were severely damaged and not repaired. The remaining four were war booty allocated to the Allies.

The Z39 was laid down: Germaniawerft Kiel, 1940; launched on 5 August 1941, commissioned on 21 August 1953 and survived the war. She was taken by Britain after the war and given to USA. Renamed DD-939 and used for testing. Given to France in 1947 and used as spare part supply for other German vessels in service. Scrapped in February 1964.

Coming after Dragon's superb Scharnhorst, this kit apparently uses some sprues from that larger ship for a number of its guns and deck details. The kit can be built as either a waterline or full hull kit and for the latter a display stand is provided. There are also several photo etch frets for various details like hatches, ladders, gun shields, chains, funnel rails, radar and other pieces. One thing I know many ship modelers would like to see included would be etched rails, but we'll leave it to the aftermarket folks to supply that. The bits are really well detailed to Dragon's usual high standards. Here are the details:

- Newly tooled 3-directional slide-molded twin 150mm gun turret
- Newly tooled 37mm LM42 intricate reproduced
- Newly tooled mid supperstructure with 533mm torpedo launcher
- Delicate paravane is newly tooled

- Waterline or full-hull version can be assembled
- One-piece slide-molded upper hull w/undercut details realistically represented
- Bilge keels are represented on lower hull by slide-mold technology
- Realistically detailed slide-molded gun barrels w/hollow ends
- 150mm twin turret w/2-square life rafts is reproduced
- 127mm single-1 delicately reproduced
- Delicate twin Flak 38 LM43
- 20mm Naval-vierling w/finest details
- Slide-molded 127mm single-2
- 3.7 twin anti-aircraft gun w/fine details and photo-etched gunner seat
- Torpedo boom is accurately recreated
- 6 realistic 1/350 scale figures
- Extra-thin shield walls on superstructure reproduced for accurate 1/350 scale appearance
- Delicate winch and detailed mine rails are accurately replicated
- Accurate workboat stowage and captains boat are included
- 3m rangefinders w/finest details and 4m rangefinders are produced
- Square life rafts are realistically produced
- Signal lamp delicately rendered
- Detailed torpedo locker
- Delicate funnel on bridge w/accurate detail is intricately reproduced
- Realistic photo-etched funnel cap grills w/finest details
- Delicate FuMO 63 radar is accurately presented
- The mast is intricately reproduced
- Sumatra radar faithfully replicated
- FuMO 27 radar is accurately presented
- Delicate vent door area is accurately presented

The kit has two markings options, differing only by the flags that one chooses. One can do the Z-39 as it was in German service or as it was as the DD-939.


As this kit is representative of the last of the 'Narvik' class destroyers, I can easily see how other ships in the class would become subjects of various kits; including the earlier versions - the first that were commissioned in late 1940. It adds to a growing selection of superb 1/350 WWII ship kits and I'm sure it will eventually see its way into 1/700 for the smaller scale ship fans.



March 2011

Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. You can find yours at your local hobby shop or on-line retailer.

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