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The All-American Panzerfleet

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Revision Log
24 February 2000page first published

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World War Two at Sea

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©1994-2022 Bill Armintrout
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five sample U.S. ships from Panzerschiffe's WWII product line

We recently received these sample ships from Panzerschiffe, a U.S.-based company which manufactures 1/2400 scale naval vessels. The manufacturer has been in business for many years, but because its products are chiefly sold by mail order, many gamers aren't familiar with their products. The samples received depict American ships from WWII, but the company's product line covers a wide variety of nations, covering not just WWII but also WWI, the Spanish-American War, the Russo-Japanese War, and the American Civil War.

Cleveland (foreground) and Pensacola

What makes these models unique is that they are manufactured from epoxy, rather than cast in metal. Each ship consists of a single casting - no small parts to assemble. The models come "ready to play," since the epoxy is grey and the funnel tops are dabbed with black paint. (You can paint the ships yourself - to add deck colors, highlight details, etc. - but you don't have to.)

aft deck area of New Jersey class battleship, with Saratoga class carrier in background

These epoxy castings, while having the advantage of being durable and light-weight, lack some of the detail usually found in metal miniatures. As the photo above shows, gun barrels are usually molded into the decks (which, though a bit abstract, also makes them less likely to break). Flat surfaces tend not to be as "polished smooth" as with metal models, and there are occasional "pin prick" holes.

If you are looking to get started in naval gaming, then the advantages that Panzerschiffe offers are (1) low cost and (2) models that can be put on the gaming table with little or no extra work. The most expensive Panzerschiffe model runs US$4.80, while the same models in metal can cost as much as US$12.95. You might also consider Panzerschiffe products if you have a habit of bending, breaking, or otherwise deforming your metal naval models - these products are more durable, and require less care in storage and transportation.

Collectors and micro-modellers may prefer conventional metal models for their higher detail levels - aircraft on the flight deck, masts and cranes, light AA armament, and so forth. Gamers, on the other hand, may find that Panzerschiffe offers sufficient detail for the tabletop.