ESCORT                                                       ISSUE 119


An unusual 1:350 scale model



Originally, the first Z1 - 4 were laid down at German yards but, at the beginning of World War I, they were taken over by the Imperial German Navy as V105 - 108.  Later, four torpedo boats of the same type were laid down as replacements at Dutch yards and they received the numbers of the originals.

Z5 underwent a series of modifications in Den Helder in 1931 to make her suitable for use in the West Indies.  She had her torpedo tubes removed along with a boiler and became fully oil-driven.  However, this did reduce her top speed to 22 knots.

During World War II, Z3 served on the IJsselmeer, Z8 was allocated to Terschelling, Z5, Z7 and Z6 were in Den Helder.  Z3 helped to defend the IJsselmeer against the German troops in Friesland, Z5 was intensively in action in Rotterdam, bombarding German shore positions.  She managed to destroy several floatplanes.  Luckily, all but one of the class managed to escape to the UK, where they were a welcome addition.  They weren't well suited for escorting convoys, since they would only draw attention to themselves by making smoke, due to the fact that, except for Z5, they burnt coal.

Z5 escaped to the UK on May 14th, 1940, where she was repaired in Portsmouth and was ready for action on June 16th.  She served with the 9th Submarine Flotilla in Dundee, as an escort and target ship.  Later, from May 1941 onwards, she performed similar duties for the 7th and 3rd Submarine Flotillas in Rothesay until March 2nd, 1942.  On that day, she was transferred to the Royal Navy, which commissioned her as Z5, later changing her name to H.M.S. Blade (from May 1943) and used her in the same role.  Returned and stricken on April 9th, 1945, she was sold to West of Scotland Shipbreaking Company, Troon.  She arrived for scrapping on October 23rd, was beached on November 20th and scrapping was completed by December 20th.  She was nicknamed "Razor Blade" for her sharp bow.

Technical details as first built:

Dimensions: 58,5 x 6,06 x 1,71 m  Displacement: 263 tons

Armament: 2 x 75 mm Bofors No. 4 guns, 2 x 0.5 in MG, 4 x 450 mm torpedo tubes; depth charge throwers

Complement: 34

Machinery: 2 triple expansion engines (Z3 had 2 AEG Vulcan turbines and an increased displacement); 5500 hp; 2 shafts; range 425 nm @ 20 knots; maximum speed 27 knots

I am not familiar with the Czechoslovakian manufacturers of the kit, Artillery models, but I bought it a few years ago when they were present at ScaleModelworld, but their website shows they do also produce 1:350 scale models of Z6, Z7, Z8 and two early 20th century Russian torpedo boats.  The hull is in resin, split at the waterline, the upper section including the small superstructure.  The details are provided on five resin sprues.  These are all cleanly cast, needing little cleaning up.  The etched brass sheet includes various platforms, davits and railings together with propellers for those who want to build a full hull model.

The instructions are on just a single sheet but do include rigging details.  The instructions also refer to a mask for the hull numbers (which I could not find) but the illustration in the instructions shows a very different font to those on the photograph, so the photograph was followed and suitable decals were sourced – or hand painting?

The instructions show the two masts at full size and so items from the Seamaster series were used.  No colour details are provided but research leads me to believe Z5 had a dark grey hull and superstructure with an ‘off-black’ deck (something like Tamiya’s Rubber Black XF-85).

The kit also includes a sea base but its use is a little puzzling.  The rough surface prevents the waterline hull being placed on top, unless a lot of filling is carried out and so it seems that a cutout for the hull is necessary.

A relatively simple model but care and attention results

in a fine model of an unusual subject.

Apologies - it wasn’t until I placed the photographs in the text

That I noticed the rigging had become detached from the

ensign staff.  Les