In light and anticipation of Revell's new 1:350 scale Bismarck, here's a quick review & revisit of Tamiya's venerable 1:350 scale Bismarck kit.
The kit is advertised as being 717mm in length and with a beam of 103mm and has the option to be motorised (evidenced by the moulded in battery holders). Provided in box are 1 complete single piece lower hull, 8 gray sprues of grey plastic and 1 black sprue.
The instructions booklet provides the specs and a short history of the Bismarckright up to its fateful demise. Assembly instructions are carried out over 22 steps in with clear pictorials and is not at all complicated.
The moulds are now some 30 years old but despite this, the parts are still quite clean although some light blemish, flash and seam are evident throughout the sprues. Nothing that can't be taken care of with a quick swipe of a new hobby blade.
The main hull is provided in one piece. There is a seam that runs from fore to aft of the hull and this needs to be taken care of. Moulded on step ladders are provided at the rear of the hull as well as port holes at the fore and aft. A little bit of blemish can be seen around the porholes of my copy.
The deck is in three pieces and has a representation of a wooden deck to it although the planks are continuous and without any breaks. The main issue with the decks being in three pieces will be the difficulty in getting it to be seamless.
The upper decks are smooth and do not have any representation of wooden planking or even steel textures. All this can be added with after market photoetch sets, though at additional cost to one's modelling budget.
The Arado aircraft is provided as a solid piece of styrene and the advanced modeller will probably want to do something about the solid canopy. The balkenkruez is molded onto the wings of the plane as raised lines. As no decals are provided, this marking will have to be done with some careful masking /hand painting or with decals from the spares storehouse.
Swastikas are not provided and will have to be sourced from elsewhere or carefully painted in.
The instructions allow for two camouflage schemes March-May 1941 and 18 May 1941 just before her sinking shortly about a week later.
Overall, despite its age, this venerable kit is still a nice model to work with. Not overly complicated and will be a relatively easy task for the average modeller to build it out of the box. For the advanced modellers, addition of photo etch sets (for which there are many options available) and some effort and research can turn this one into a winner.