Dragon 1/350 German Z-38 Destroyer

KIT #: 1049
PRICE: $58.00 SRP
DECALS: Three Options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Includes photo etch frets


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.

Z-38 was laid down at Germaniawerft Kiel, 1940, launched on 5 August 1941, commissioned on 20 March 1943. During the war she was part of the group that escorted Scharnhorst on her last voyages, later spending most of her time in the Baltic, evacuating troops during the last months of the war. She survived the war and was transferred to Britain at the end of the war. Renames HMS Nonsuch, she was scrapped in 1949.

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. This version has a few differences from previous boxings in term of the superstructure, as few ships, even sister ships are identical. I noticed that this one has a brace of mines on the fantail. I do not recall the other kits having that as part of the fit, but you know, as one gets older the, uh............memory tends to have gaps. One thing I know that 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 aft-superstructure
- Newly designed bridge made by slide-mold technology
- One-piece slide-molded upper hull w/undercut details realistically represented
- Waterline of full-hull version can be assembled
- Highly detailed portholes molded on hull
- Single AA gun w/finest details
- Delicate mines reproduced
- Bilge keels are represented on lower hull by slide-mold technology
- Sumatra radar faithfully replicated
- 20mm Naval-vierling w/finest details
- Detailed 533mm torpedo launcher reproduced
- Realistically detailed slide-molded gun barrels w/hollow ends
- 150mm twin turret w/2 square life rafts is reproduced
- 127mm single turret delicately reproduced
- Delicately detailed funnel
- Realistic photo-etched funnel cap grills w/finest details
- Extra-thin shield walls on superstructure for accurate 1/350 scale appearance
- Detailed torpedo locker
- The mast is intricately reproduced
- Accurate workboat and captain's boat included
- Winch and mine rails accurately replicated
- Highly detailed superstructure w/molded-on details
- Delicate ventilation grill area accurately portrayed
- Square life rafts are realistically produced
- 5 realistic 1/350 scale figures

The kit includes a nicely done decal sheet that includes flags and ship numbers. When in British service, she operated as R 40 and D 107. There are a few minor paint differences such as one of the British options has a black funnel cap instead of the usual white one.


This is the third or fourth of the German Z class destroyers to be released by Dragon/CyberHobby. Those who pay attention to these things will realize that Trumpeter has also released a Z class destroyer. There is quite a rivalry between these two companies with spies obviously rampant in both as they seem to produce the same product within a short time of each other! Ship fans will be very pleased with this one.



February 2012

Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local hobby shop or ask them to order it for you.

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