Dragon 1/700 German Z-38 Destroyer

KIT #: 7134
PRICE: $31.00 SRP
DECALS: Three Options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Includes photo etch fret


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. Renamed 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. In fact, you get two complete hulls; one of each, but you cannot build two ships from this kit. There is also a small photo etch fret, and while not as comprehensive as in the 1/350 kit, is still enough to give most of us fits. This version has a few differences from previous boxings in term of the superstructure, as few ships, even sister ships are identical. 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:

- One waterline or one full-hull version can be assembled
- Accurate workboat stowage and captain's boat are included
- Upper hull w/undercut details realistically represented
- Detailed funnels w/photo-etched funnel cap grills
- Intricate bridge rendered w/authentic details
- Photo-etched FuMO 27 radar rendered accurately
- Sumatra radar faithfully replicated
- 3m rangerfinders produced w/finest details
- Square life rafts are realistically produced
- 53.3cm torpedo launcher molded
- Delicate winch and detailed mine rails are accurately replicated
- Realistically detailed slide-molded gun barrels w/hollow ends
- Slide-molded 15cm twin turret
- 12.7cm single-gun turret delicately reproduced
- 3-directional slide-molded twin 15cm gun turret
- Single AA gun w/finest details
- Well-crafted 2cm Naval-vierling
- 3.7cm twin AA gun w/fine details

The kit includes a nicely done decal sheet that includes flags and ship numbers. When in British service, she operated as HMS Nonesuch with codes 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 in this scale. It will be interesting to see if Dragon decided to do the whole fleet, though with Trumpeter also doing some of these ships, that may well be problematic. At least ship modelers now have a great kit where years back they had none.



July 2013

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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