Dragon 1/350 German Z-31 Destroyer
KIT #: 1054
PRICE: $58.00 SRP
DECALS: One option
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 on some of the class 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 Z-31 was the first ship of that class

Z31 Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 1 September 1940

Launched: 15 April 1941
Commissioned: 11 April 1942
Fate: scrapped 1958

Apparently this ship was initially fitted with single gun turrets and never upgraded.  At the end of the war it served with the French Navy until scrapped.


With the release of the Z-39 kit, it was pretty much inevitible that we would see more ships in this class and so from the last to the first of the class, we now have the Z-31. I have to assume this kit is based on its initial fitting as the turrets have but a single gun and there is not a plethora of anti-aircraft guns that was found on the Z-39 kit.

Aside from that, the two kits are pretty much the same in both parts and layout. The new bits for this boxing include the bridge, hull, search light and mines. There are three photo etch sheets for things like doors and hatches, radar antennas, gun shields and seats, intake screens, a few railings, ladders, areas around the funnels and the list goes on.

Six crewmen are supplied as well. The kit can be built as either a waterline or full hull version. For the latter, a stand is provided. Decals are pretty much limited to some flags. Instructions are well drawn though a bit dense in terms of the amount of material on each page. You can model the kit in one of two schemes. A splinter scheme from 1943 and a simpler grey scheme from 1944.  


We have yet another superb Dragon 1/350th scale destroyer kit and judging from the level of detail, it will not be built in a hurry. For German Navy fans, this one will be most welcome and build into an outstanding model.



September 2011

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