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"Survey of WW1 armored cruisers in 1:2400" Topic


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warren bruhn29 Jan 2012 11:09 p.m. PST

Armored cruisers are the point, in terms of increasing size, where the selection of WW1 models in 1:2400 gets more interesting because of the addition of several Viking Forge models as a viable choices, because of the growing line of GHQ, because of the extensive line of Panzerschiffe, and because Molniya pre-dreadnought armored cruisers are joining the game.

My own first armored cruisers in this scale were the C-in-C versions of Blucher, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, the 4 Warrior class, and the 2 Duke of Edinburgh class (which might have been modified from the Warrior class before I got them, since these last two are not in the C-in-C catalog). These could have used some glued on C-in-C boats to make them look more interesting. Suppose I could add them, but I probably won't. The C-in-C models are a little smaller than other versions of these cruisers. That is a drawback, as these are the only available C-in-C models, and they would need to fit in with other makers' armored cruisers.

The C-in=C Blucher looks great, but the others are just OK. The secondary armament on the Scharhorst and Gneisenau don't stand out as much, which makes those cruisers look a little less substantial. Also, the four funnels on those are a bit thin and flat. And there are few things more annoying in assembling a model than gluing on little tiny turrets for smaller guns. Oh well, I'll be using these for years along with C-in-C light cruisers as von Spee's force. Too many other ships to paint before thinking about replacing them. I would say that C-in-C is a great choice for destroyers and dreadnoughts, but not for light or armored cruisers.

warren bruhn29 Jan 2012 11:36 p.m. PST

Molniya is a new company worth keeping an eye on. The emphasis so far has been on pre-dreadnoughts, particularly the French, and on aiming to fill holes in the line of ship models offered by other makers. For the completists among us, this is a pretty encouraging development.

I don't have any Molniya yet. So I don't know any more than the rest of you do regarding the looks of the models. There are a few photos on the Molniya website. The sculpting and casting seem to bear some similarity to the style of Panzerschiffe, meaning that the casting may be a single piece without bits to glue on. Hopefully someone who has already acquired them can give a better description of the actual product.

So far, one of the most exciting offerings by Molniya is 7 pre-dreadnought French battleships, 6 French armored cruisers, and 3 French protected cruisers. Since France lacked fast light cruisers during WW1, these armored and protected cruisers had to perform the patrol and escort role for France. Only one of these classes, the very last class of armored cruisers, is also offered by Panzerschiffe.

Molniya also offers an old British Edgar class armored cruiser and an old class of protected cruiser. I'm expecting to see Molniya produce a few old armored cruisers from other countries. Perhaps Molniya will produce a German Prinz Heinrich. Would be the right vintage for Molniya.

One drawback to Molniya is the price. It's not as high as for a model from GHQ, but the price is higher than for models from Panzerschiffe, C-in-C, or Viking Forge. Perhaps Molniya figures that a completist in search of more rare models will be willing to pay. Or perhaps these bulky looking ships, which are mostly French, contain a lot of expensive metal.

warren bruhn29 Jan 2012 11:54 p.m. PST

The GHQ WW1 armored cruiser models are increasing fast. Now GHQ offers British Warrior, Duke of Edinburgh, Minotaur, Good Hope, and Monmouth, Russian Rurik and Bayan II, German Blucher and Gneisenau, and American Pittsburgh and Tennessee. With the growing WW1 line, one has to wonder if French armored cruisers will be coming, or if GHQ will leave that to Molniya. I would also expect GHQ to start producing Italians and Austro-Hungarian ships, which may also include armored cruisers.

The detail on these models is exquisite. But the cost is high, $9.95 USD for a GHQ armored cruiser model. There is also some assembly time, and perhaps a bit more time painting the model to enhance that fine detail. If anybody is collecting the dreadnought battleships from GHQ, then they might as well collect the GHQ armored cruisers as well. The armored cruisers are often as long as a dreadnought, and are almost as wide. In other words, they are big enough to justify the extra detail.

warren bruhn30 Jan 2012 12:39 a.m. PST

As with everything else for WW1 in this scale, Panzerschiffe has the most extensive line. Panzerschiffe offers two French armored cruisers (one of which is not offered by Molniya), one American class (Tennessee), Russian Rurik and Bayan II, Austro-Hungarian Sankt Georg and Kaiser Karl VI, four German classes (Blucher, Gneisenau, Roon, Prinz Adalbert), six British classes (Minotaur, Warrior, Duke of Edinburgh, Devonshire, Drake, and Monmouth, and other armored cruisers from Italy, Japan, and from some smaller navies. It's a remarkably extensive lot of armored cruiser models.

At this size of ship, there are a few extra details, such as boats, on some of the models. Casemate guns are sometimes visible. Generally, these look good enough to impress me. Perhaps adding a few C-in-C boats would be justified for some of these models, although they have a few boats already.

The German Roon and Prinz Adalbert are pretty important, since nobody else offers those models. The Austro-Hungarian ones are also not offered by anybody else. The armored cruisers for Japan and the smaller navies are also only offered by Panzerschiffe. Some of the Italian semi-dreadnought ships of the Pisa, Regina Elena and San Georgio classes could be thought of as armored cruisers, and only Panzershiffe offers these.

As usual, these models are clean casts. They don't really scream for a lot more detail than what is already on them, though it would not hurt to add masts. Fortunately, Panzerschiffe has put photos of the models on the website, so the buyer can decide after looking. Note that the Prinz Adalbert model has 3 funnels (which is correct) and not the 4 funnels as in the photo. I think the models look better up close than in those photos. Generally, they cost $4.00 USD per model, with some exceptions.

I'm not sure the British Minotaur class is accurate in shape, but it is serviceable. Drake (Good Hope) and Monmouth look good enough, but aren't as elegant looking as the Viking Forge versions. But the Devonshire model looks very nice, and the Warrior and Duke of Edinburgh have a bit of character to the sculpt. I might eventually replace my C-in-C versions with these last two.

warren bruhn30 Jan 2012 9:21 a.m. PST

Viking Forge may be making its most important contribution to the scale with its armored cruisers. Viking Forge likes to mention the level of detail on its models, but I don't think that is really Viking Forge's forte. Some models, particularly some of the newer battleships, do have significant detail, but the armored cruisers and older battleship sculpts hardly have more detail than a Panzerschiffe.

STYLE is what Viking Forge brings. The aethetic in the sculpt of the armored cruisers and battleships is just more pleasing sometimes. That seems to be a matter of a curve here and an angle there, little things that add up. I think the Viking Forge Monmouth and Good Hope classes in particular are very good. Higher freeboard is part of it. The ships look higher out of the water. The Good Hope is enormous, equal in size to some dreadnoughts. The shape of the bow, the superstructure, and the funnels all have a lot to do with the good impression these models make. The Devonshire class is also very nice. The Minotaur is big and may be more accurate than the Panzershiffe version. I have 17 Viking Forge models from these four classes, and I'm quite glad to have them.

Also, Viking Forge is the only company to offer the Cressy class, which formed "Cruiser Force C" and was patrolling off the Dutch coast in the first few months of the war. That class was supposed to back up the British Harwich force as it withdrew from the raid on Heligoland Bight. Three of this class were sunk by a single German submarine in the fall of 1914, which led to the survivors of the class being redeployed.

Casting quality is not great on the Viking Forge, but there were no major problems with any of the 17 armored cruiser models I bought. I did get some visible mold lines, but I was able to smooth those out before painting. They are not visible on any of the painted armored cruisers. This issue might have to do with the very brittle white metal (pewter?) that Viking Forge uses. But after painting them up, I have no problem with my armored cruisers from this company.

However, the Viking Forge armored cruiser models cost $5.95 USD each as compared with the typical $4.00 USD for the Panzerschiffe model of the same class. When buying entire classes of armored cruisers that can add up to a lot of extra money to pay for metal, particularly when the detail isn't really much better. Since these classes weren't totally uniform, a collector could buy some Panzerschiffe and some Viking Forge. For example, some Monmouth class had slimmer funnels than others, most notably Suffolk, while others such as Kent had fatter funnels. I'm not sure a collector needs to buy the whole Devonshire class from Viking Forge, perhaps the four cruisers of the 3rd cruiser squadron could be Panzershiffe, while the Viking Forge model could be used for Carnarvon and Hampshire. A mix of Panzerschiffe and Viking Forge in the armored cruiser part of a collection could average about $5.00 USD per model, which is half the price of a GHQ.

It will be nice when Viking Forge gets photos of all of its models up on its website. For now you can see good photos of unpainted models of the Minotaur, Monmouth, and Devonshire, which can give you an idea. Also, the Russians are mostly shown in photos on the website, and these look fabulous! On impulse I bought a lot of GHQ Russians when they came out, but, in retrospect, I could have had a good mix of Panzerschiffe and Viking Forge for the old Russian cruisers and would probably be just as pleased with them. I'm curous to see a photo of the Viking Forge Italian Giuseppe Garibaldi. I really would like to see a photo of the Viking Forge Scharnhorst, as I will someday be looking for a replacement for my C-in-C models of that class.

Another advantage to the Viking Forge armored cruisers is that they come in a single piece, with no fiddly little bits to glue on. Masts could be added, but at least there is no need for further assembly.

I don't know if Viking Forge is intending to expand the WW1 line anytime soon, or if the focus right now is on replacing some of the oldest sculpts and molds with new ones for the same class. But I would describe Viking Forge as a very important source for armored cruisers. Their models have STYLE.

dragon6 Supporting Member of TMP31 Jan 2012 12:38 a.m. PST

I like main guns to not be cast on the model. Aesthetics, as you say. I add turrets to Panzerschiffe armoured cruisers along with masts.

My VF cruisers came with separate turrets. I also filed off the casemate guns, drilled them and put wire in for the barrels but most don't.

I agree VF do have style.

Your CNC Duke of Edinburgh models are kit bashes of the CNC Warrior model as they never made Duke of Edinburgh.

If you watch ebay you can sometimes find pictures of the Molniya models and nicer/larger pictures of Panzerschiffe

I like CNC but have to agree with you that their Scharnhorst model lacks.

warren bruhn31 Jan 2012 5:39 p.m. PST

Interesting about the VF turrets for armored cruiser models, dragon6. The ones I bought about 4 or 5 years ago from VF all came as single piece castings. The classes I bought were Minotaur, Devonshire, Monmouth, and Good Hope.

More barrels means more things that can poke or get hooked on things like the sleave of a sweater or the edge of another ship base. For me, I'm not sure of the value of that up through armored cruiser sized ships in 1/2400. But for many people the modelling aspect is the key part of the hobby. I've got one friend who put masts and other details on all his 1/3000 scale pre-dreads, and who manufactured his own fine detail parts for 1/600 scale ACW ships. They looked like museum pieces when he was done, breathtaking!

Most of my dreadnoughts and half my pre-dreadnoughts are C-in-C, however. Others are mostly Superior, GHQ, and Viking Forge. Little barrels everywhere! Panzershiffe probably would have worked for me, but I bought a lot of ship models before I figured out how much I didn't like gluing on the tiny bits…

Actually, my struggle with glue extends to working with greenstuff. Tried to convert C-in-C Chatham/Southhampton type CL into Nottingham/Birmingham type CL, and it was a disaster. Will have to take a class on using greenstuff before I try anything like that again.

I hoist a glass of ale and offer a toast to health of all the true ship modellers out there, because I surely am not one!

warren bruhn09 Aug 2015 2:04 p.m. PST

Updating with some armored cruiser model developments over the last 3.5 years:

1. Molniya added French Jules Michelet and Ernest Renan for $9 USD USD each, and Austro-Hungarian Maria Teresa for $8 USD USD. Guess one could call that slow growth.

molniyafigs.com/ships.html

2. GHQ continues to expand its line, with French Gambetta, American Pittsburgh & Tennessee, Russian Rurik & Bayan II, and British Minotaur, and Duke of Edinburgh, all for $11.95 USD USD. (Maybe some of those were available 3.5 years ago, but I can't remember for sure.)

3. WTJ rapid prototype 3d printed plastic models have exploded onto the scene. Since Pre-Dreadnoughts was the original emphasis of WTJ when it was merely a 1:3000 scale pewter ship model company, this period in naval history is now served magnificently by the new 3d printed models. That means that the older armored cruisers are well represented in the line so far, and we can expect WTJ to generate new models of this old type of ship regularly. One nice example is this 1:2400 scale model of SMS Furst Bismarck:

wtj.com/product6017.html

For armored cruisers troll through the Pre-Dreadnought section of rapid prototype plastic models at the WTJ store:

wtj.com/store/index.html

One thing special to note, if you've got old 1:2400 ship models from C-in-C or Panzerschiffe that don't have enough boats to satisfy you, and if you're disappointed when the C-in-C boat pack is out of production, try the plastic ship boats under the WTJ Pre-Dreadnoughts generic vessels and shore batteries section here:

wtj.com/product5981.html

dragon6 Supporting Member of TMP09 Aug 2015 6:03 p.m. PST

WTJ seems to have changed their opinion on the use of Bestine

Stronger cleaning materials like Bestine solvent work well, but they are somewhat expensive. It should also be noted that in addition to being highly flammable, in some cases, heptane solvents (like Bestine) may weaken medium-sized standing features such as funnels by as much as 20%, although even at 80% strength our 1/2400 scale test pieces withstood at least 16 ounces of side loading force which is still very good (the best was HMS powerful, whose rear funnel pegged the force gage at a 36 ounce side-load without breaking!). Thorough testing has demonstrated that smaller features such as gun barrels and ventilators are not weakened by Bestine and in some cases may experience a 5% gain in resistance to shear forces

In my own opinion Shapeways FUD models need this as paint will not stick to the wax. I have not purchased any of the WTJ models so I cannot say about their models.

Perhaps someone with experience could comment on how the WTJ models take paint?

As to the lifeboats … 12, halve with covered cockpits, for $3.75 USD seems a bit pricey

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP11 Aug 2015 1:40 p.m. PST

The last few times I ordered from C-in-C, I added in some boxes of the boats. Now I have billions of them. The C-in-C boats are the best deal going.

The WTJ boats are a better assortment, including some larger ones. I bought a few sprues just for that.

- Ix

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