The Kingdom of Prussia was always a land power. With a small coastline on the Baltic Sea, there was only a comparatively small Prussian Navy. The Franco-Prussian War of 1870 was a catastrophe for France with the loss of the provinces of Alsace and
Lorraine, the fall of the 3rd Empire and crushing debt. On the other hand victorious Kingdom of Prussia consolidated with smaller German States to become the German Empire with the King of Prussia becoming the Kaiser. Even with victory the new
German Empire saw little need for a large navy but did expand somewhat, constructing 2nd rate armored warships. With a friendly Great Britain, initial German naval policy was for minimal spending with the vast bulk of defense funds going to the army.
The coming of age of one of Queen Victoria’s grandsons would completely change this status quo.

Queen Victoria’s first child was Victoria, Princess Royal. With close historical ties with the Kingdom of Prussia, Princess Victoria married Friedrich son of the King of Prussia, King Wilhelm. In 1871 the German Empire was formed and King Wilhelm
became Kaiser Wilhelm and Friedrich, who was Crown Prince to Prussia also became Crown Prince to the 2nd Reich. On January 27, 1859, Victoria, Princess Royal and Prince Friedrich had a son, whom they named Friedrich Wilhelm Vikor Albert, the
future Kaiser Wilhelm II. Initial construction of the Imperial German Navy involved armored frigates, more like a cruiser than a battleship. They were basically of indifferent designs and were generally inferior to the equivalent ships in foreign navies. After
the conclusion of the Franco-Prussian War, the Prussian Fleet Plan of 1867 was modified to the Imperial German Fleet Plan of 1873. There were to be 23 armored ships, of which 14 would be frigates or smaller corvettes. German shipbuilding received a
boost in the next decade, when it started building warships for foreign powers. In 1880 the Chinese government saw a threat from Japan and approached Great Britain to build armored warships there. However, the Chinese efforts were stymied because of
Russia’s objections. So the Chinese shifted their focus to the firm of A.G. Vulcan. Numerous Vulcan built warships were ordered from the German yard. They became the core of the Chinese Navy and included two battleships,
Ting Yuen and Chen
, which were the most powerful ships in Asia for their time. Although Vulcan was paid well to build modern warships for China, the German building program withered, as the Imperial government didn’t want to spend money on the fleet. The 3rd
rate German navy remained present for almost two decades after Germany was unified.
In March 1883 Leo von Caprivi became the minister of the navy and immediately butted heads with the Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, who was disinclined to spend money on the navy. Caprivi canvassed his officers to see what type of capitol ship
should be built for the Imperial Navy. Possible designs ranged from a 10,000-ton battleships armed with seven 11-inch (30.5cm) guns to 2,500-tons coastal defense ships armed with two 8.2-inch (21cm) guns.  However, as in the United States Congress
in this time period, the German parliamentary government, the Reichstag, was adverse to spending significant funds on the navy. In the 1888/1889 naval program, the low end capitol ship program was selected for construction. The Kiel Canal was funded
for improvement and even the frugal Reichstag saw the need for protecting the canal. Eight warships to be called the
Siegfried Class were to be built based on the smallest option. At least there were modifications to this anemic design, Displacement was
raised to 3,000-tons and the main battery went from 21cm (8.2-inches) to 24cm (9.4-inches). Also a third gun was later added. They were originally typed as armored warships to appease the Reichstag critics of ocean going battleships. This again, was
the exact scenario being played out in the United States, where the Einsteins of Congress feared building blue water battleships as the tools of evil imperialism, i.e. Great Britain.

Siegfried Class did wonders for German shipbuilding, which had been starved through the lack of contracts, other than Vulcan. The eight ships were laid down between 1888 and 1893. They were clearly 2nd class at best, compared to foreign navies
construction. Displacement was 4,058-tons normal, 4,225-tons full load, for eight of them but
Aegir and Oden (last two laid down) came in at 4,110-tons normal and 4,292-tons full load. They were 240-feet long, with a beam of 49-feet 3-inches, and a
draught of 17-feet 9-inches. Armament consisted of three singly mounted 9.4-inch/35 (24cm) main guns with two side by side on the forecastle and one aft. The side by side bow mounts were in part based on the belief in ramming and focused on axial
fighting. The secondary battery consisted of ten 3.5 inch/30 (88mm) QF guns Six machine guns were also carried. Four submerged torpedo tubes were carried, which consisted of a 13.8-inch tube in the bow and 17.7-inch (450mm) tubes on the beams
and stern. The armor scheme consisted of a belt of 9.5 to 7-inches in thickness, 7-inches on the conning tower and an armored deck of 1.25-inches, except for
Hildebrand and Aegir, which had 2-inch armored decks. The Siegfried Class was the first
German design to have triple expansion reciprocating engines. Eight Schulz-Thornycroft boilers provided the steam for the 3 cylinder vertical triple expansion (VTE) engines for 5,100hp and a top speed of 15.5-knots. By World War One they had little
practical military use.
The year 1888 was the turning point for the German navy. The first of the Siegfried Class, namely SMS Siegfried, was laid down at the Germania Yard. On March 9, 1881 Kaiser Wilhelm died at the age of 90. His son was know Kaiser Friedrich III was
now Kaiser and Victoria, Princess Royal, became Kaiserin. However, Friedrich had throat cancer and ruled for 99 days until he died on June 15, 1888. The year is known as the year of the three emperors because with his father’s death, Wilhelm, Friedrich
and Victoria’s son, became the third Kaiser of the year, as Wilhelm II. Unlike his father and grandfather, Wilhelm II was a naval enthusiast. Some point out that he always admired the Royal Navy and was extremely jealous of the fleet of his aunt, Queen
Victoria. With Wilhelm II on the throne, the navy had a friend in high places. Another huge factor was the rise of Alfred von Tirpitz. In 1887 while Wilhelm was still a prince, he was sent by the family to represent Germany at Queen Victoria’s Golden
Jubilee., with a torpedo-boat escort. Tirpitz was the Chief of the Torpedo-Boat Inspectorate in charge of developing the German torpedo-boats and their tactics. It was during this voyage that Tirpitz first met the future Kaiser. After that Tirpitz’s career
was on the fast path. Promoted Captain on November 24, 1888, by 1890 he was the chief of staff of the Baltic Squadron. At a dinner at Kiel, the Kaiser met with high ranking naval officers, including Tirpitz. The Kaiser sought their opinions on how to
build the German Navy. Among the many opinions of other officers, Tirpitz said that Germany needed to build battleships. This was exactly the response that Kaiser Wilhelm II wanted to hear.        

With the 1889/1890 Naval Programme the German Admiralty went in the opposite direction from the previous year’s program. In the earlier program the cheap-skates got their 3rd rate, cheap
Siegfried Class. Now it was time to go with the big boys, with
going to the high end of the previous designs. Originally the ships would be of 10,000-tons but the allowable displacement climbed to 11,400-tons. The main armament would be six 28cm/35 (11-inch) guns with all guns mounted centerline in twin gun
turrets. Germany was well in advance with the centerline concept. The Admiralty sought two of these battleships but in August 1888 Kaiser Wilhelm ordered that four of the new battleship should be built.  All were laid down in 1890. During construction a
new 28cm/40 gun became available and that gun was used for the forward and aft turrets. The barrel of the new gun was too long for the midship turret and the new gun could not be used in that turret without an entire reworking of the superstructure,
so the 28cm/35 was used in the midship turret, as originally planned. Originally it was planned to use the 8.7cm/35  QF as the 16 gun secondary armament but the new 8.8cm/35 (3.5-inch) gun was chosen. While still under construction the 10.5cm/35 (4-
inch) gun became available and eight of these replaced eight of the 8.8cm/35 on the main deck. These four battleships were known as the
Brandenburg Class.
The displacement of the Brandenburg Class was 10,060-tons normal and 10,727-tons full load.  Their length was 340-feet 10.5-inches (113.9m) (waterline)(115.7m oa), beam of 64-feet 9-inches (19.5m), and draught of 25-feet 4-inches (7.9m).
Armament was six 11-inch (28cm) With twin 11-inch/40 C/90 (28cm) guns at bow and stern and twin 11-inch/35 C/90 (28cm) in the midship turret. The German Admiralty had wanted the 12-inch (30.5cm) gun but thought the 11-inch (28cm) gun
could be handloaded, while the 30.5cm gun could not. As noted earlier the secondary composed eight 4.1-inch/35 and eight 3.5-inch/35 (88mm) guns. Twelve 37mm light guns were also carried. They carried three 17.7-inch (450mm) torpedo tubes with
one above water tube at the bow and another two submerged beam tubes. The armor scheme jumped dramatically from the
Siegfried Class. The Brandnburgs had a 15.75 to 11.8-inch belt. The armored deck varied between 3 to 2-inches. The turrets
received 9 to 5-inches of armor and the conning tower 11.8-inches of armor. Twelve boilers provided steam for the twin VTE engines that developed 10,000hp for a maximum speed of 17-knots. Two of these ships were sold to Turkey in 1910.        

In the design of the next class of battleship,
Kaiser Friedrich III, the starting point was the Brandenburg restrictions, which were still in place. Early on it was decided to eliminate the middle turret to include a heavier secondary battery. Originally, the
new design would carry four 11-inch (28cm) guns but this changed. Numerous designs were prepared with four 9.4-inch (24cm) guns and different mixtures of 5.9-inch (150mm), or 4-inch (105mm) guns and 3.5-inch (88mm) tertiary guns. Even the
Kaiser submitted a design, which had weight and stability issues that ruled it out. In March 1894 funds were allocated by the Reichstag for the first ship of the new design before the design had been finalized. The armament reverted to the 9.4-inch
(24cm) gun. The reason was the availability of a new model 9.4-inch/40 gun with a 2 ½ times higher rate of fire than the 11-inch/40 guns of the
Brandenburg Class. The German Admiralty thought that more damage would be caused by much quicker
firing 9.4-inch/40 gun. This was the start of the German construction policy of selecting a lighter main armament than new ships of other powers based on their higher rate of fire. The policy would remain for almost 20 years. At the time, the armor
piercing abilities of the 9.4-inch and 11-inch shells were similar at the shorter anticipated battle ranges but the much higher rate of fire gave the 9.4-inch gun the advantage. Finally in August 1894 the design was finalized for a ship of 11,000-tons, armed
with four 9.4-inch/40 (24cm) and eighteen 5.9-inch/40 (15cm) secondary guns, with six in single gun turrets and the rest in casemates. Other improvements included Krupp cemented armor, watertube boilers, and machinery for three shafts. Five
Friedrich III Class
battleships were laid down between 1895 to 1898. Displacement was 11,097-tons normal and 11,785-tons full load. Dimensions were 125.3m overall, 120.9m waterline length, beam of 20.4m and draft of 8.25m. Armament was four
9.4-inch/40 (24cm) (C97) main guns, eighteen 5.9-inch/40 C97 (15cm) secondary guns, and twelve 3.5-inch/30 (8.8cm) C/89 tertiary guns. Six 17.7-inch (45cm) submerged torpedo tubes were also carried. The different ships had a different mix of
boiler designs but the three triple expansion (VTE) reciprocating engines developed 13,000hp for a maximum speed of 17.5-knots. The class had a narrow main belt of up to 300mm, barbettes of 250mm, main gun turrets of up to 250mm, single gun
secondary turrets of up to150mm, casemates up to 150mm, conning tower of 250mm for the forward one and 150mm for the aft one and an armored deck of 65mm.        
On April 10, 1898 the Riechstag passed the First Fleet Law to allow the navy to have twelve battleships. This allowed the navy to build five new battleships to bring it up to strength. The 1899/1900 programme provided for three new battleships with the
1900/1901 programme providing for the last two, which became th
Wittelsbach Class.  The new construction would be based on the Kaiser Friedrich III Class so the main gun battery remained four 9.4-inch/40 (24cm) guns. The idea of replacing four of
the 5.9-inch (15cm) with two single gun 8.2-inch (21cm) turrets was also trashed. However, the new construction was allowed an extra 5 meters and 500-tons displacement. The big change from the
Kaiser Friedrich III ships to the Wittelsbach ships
was the armor distribution. The earlier battleships had a narrow belt that did not extend the full length of the ship. The Krupp Cemented armor had proven so effective that half the width of the Krupp Cemented armor was more effective than twice the
earlier armor. The belt of the new design was thinned to 225mm, from the previous 300mm. This savings in weight allowed a belt running the length of the ship, plus the addition of an upper belt that linked into the casemate armor. The armored deck
slopped downward to tie in with the armored belt, which had been the practice of other navies for some time. The armor scheme was comparable to British battleships, which were being constructed at the time. The design was flush deck with the aft
turret raised a level. Four of the 5.9-inch (15cm) guns were placed in single gun turrets on the upper deck but the rest were in casemates on the main deck. As with the
Kaiser Friedrich III Class, the new ships had mixed boilers, however the engines
generated 5% more power. All five were commissioned between 1902 to 1904. The
Wittelsbach Class displaced 11,774-tons design and 12,798-tons full load. Their length was 407.2-feet (125.3m) overall, and 400-feet (120.9m) waterline. Beam was
67-feet (20.4m) with a draft of 28-feet (8.25m). Armament was four 9.4-inch/40 C/98 (24cm) main guns with a secondary of eighteen 5.9-inch/40 C97 (15cm) guns. Tertiary armament was twelve 3.5-inch/40 C89 (8.8cm) guns and six 17.7-inch
(45cm) submerged torpedo tubes were installed. The main armored belt tapered from 225mm to 100mm at the ends. Turrets had armor of 250mm on the front tapering to 50mm at the rear. Barbettes were 250mm. Casemate armor was 150mm with the
secondary turrets received 150mm at the front tapering to 70mm at the rear. 250mm of armor was fiven to the forward conning tower, while the aft conning tower received 140mm. The armored deck was 125mm to 120mm thick with thinner slopes of
75mm to 50mm. The ships had three shafts and the VTE engines developed 14,000 hp for a maximum speed of 18-knots.                

Plans for the follow on design to the
Wittelsbachs began even before the last of the class was laid down. The main point of discussion revolved around the size of guns of the main armament. The admirals thought that the 11-inch (28cm) gun would be
suitable. They continued to think that an 11-inch shell could be manually loaded and preferred the 11-inch gun, now produced in a new model, over the 12-inch (30.5cm) of foreign contemporaries because of the higher rate of fire. The new gun the model
C01, which had a far greater rate of fire than the 11-inch (28cm) gun used in the
Brandenburgs. It was pretty well fixed, early on, that the new battleship class would carry four 11-inch/40 C01 (28cm) guns in twin turrets but a deck lower than the main
guns of the
Wittelsbach. The big debate came over the secondary armament. The value of a new 17cm secondary gun was that it would give longer range, and greater penetrating power was countered by the slower rate of fire, and reductions in quantity
of guns. Finally the 17cm gun was chosen with four in single gun turrets on the upper deck and eight in main deck casemates. Although the 4-inch (10.5cm) gun was considered for the tertiary armament, the 3.5-inch (8.8cm) gun was retained. Twenty
3.5-inch/35 C01 (8.8cm) were placed on the new design. There were also adjustments to the armor scheme. The main belt was deepened and the casemate armor thickened. The beam and length of the hull were increased from the
Wittelsbach. This new
design would become the
Braunschweig Class.
The five ships of the Braunschweig Class were laid down, two in 1901 and three in 1902. The displacement was 13,208-tons design and 14,394-tons full load. The length was 415-feet (127.7m) overall and 409-feet 6-inches (126m) waterline. Beam was
72-feet 9-inches (22.2m) with a draft of 25-feet (8.16m). Armament consisted of four 11-inch/40 C01 (28cm) guns in twin turrets, fourteen 17cm/40 C01 secondary and twenty 3.5-inch/35 C01 (8.8cm) tertiary guns. Six submerged 17.7-inch (45cm)
torpedo tubes were carried. The armor scheme had a main belt of 225mm tapering to 100mm. Main gun turrets had 280mm in front tapering to50mm at the rear. Casemate armor was 150mm. Conning tower armor was 300mm for the forward one and
140mm for the aft one. The armored deck was 140mm. There were twelve watertight compartments. Eight Schulz-Thornycroft boilers plus six cylindrical boilers provided steam for the three reciprocating VTE engines, which developed 16,000hp and a
top speed of 18.7-knots. The
Braunschweig Class were the first German battleships to be close to par with foreign designs and the first German battleships with three funnels. All ships in the class were painted in the home fleet gray scheme introduced on
April 15, 1896. This scheme consisted of a gray hull up to the main deck and light gray superstructure, funnels, masts and turrets. Any bow and stern ornamentation was painted yellow-gold.

SMS Elsass was actually the first of the class to be laid down, 19 days before the Braunschweig. She was laid down on October 5, 1901 at the Schichau Yard in Danzig. She was launched on May 26, 1903 and commissioned on November 29, 1904.
On June 14, 1912 the Fleet Law of 1900 was amended to create a third squadron of battleships in the main battlefleet with eight battleships in each squadron. The first battleships assigned to the new 3rd Squadron were
Braunschweig and Elsass as the V
Division in late 1912. Fresh from the yards, the new
Kaiser and Friedrich der Grosse, the new fleet flagship, joined in early 1913. With new first rate battleships coming into service, there was no need for the 10-year old prdreadnoughts to be placeholders
in the 3rd Squadron. In May and July 1913 the
Braunschweig and Elsass were sent packing to the Reserve-Division Baltic. With the start of World War One, the Braunschweig and Elsass became the most powerful ships in the newly created 4th Squadron
of the High Seas Fleet. They were joined in the squadron by the
Wittelsbach Class. On August 28, 1914 the 4th Squadron with Elsass sortied the Baltic Sea, followed by a sweep of the Baltic coast from September 3 to 9.
The squadron lingered at Kiel until they were called upon to support the army in their advance along the Baltic. On May 6, 1915 the squadron was off Gotland to intercept any Russian ships seeking any Russian ships seeking to help the Russian army
defend against the German attempt to seize Libau.
Braunschweig and Elsass joined the armored cruiser Roon and Prinz Heinrich as the scouting force in the advance towards the Gulf of Riga in July. The next month big time players joined the force with
the arrival of the 1st Squadron of battleships (
Nassau and Ostfriesland Classes) with Seydlitz, Moltke and von der Tann for an assault on the Russian naval units in the Gulf of Riga. Their main target was the Russian battleship Slava, last of the Orel
, which met disaster at Tsushima. In September Elsass participated in two sweeps up to Gotland. In early January 1916 it was decided that these Baltic operations were become too dangerous for big ships. This was because of the extensive use of
mines and the torpedo threat from the numerous British submarines that were operating in the Baltic and having good success.
Elsass steamed for Kiel to become an exercise and barracks ship. Her armament was removed and then she became a training
ship for the rest of the war.

Under the Treaty of Versailles Germany could retain six of her predreadnought battleships and in March 1920, two more were allowed. This allowed Germany to retain all of the surviving
Deutschland and Braunschweig Class battleships, except for the
Deutschland herself, which was sold for scrap. However, the postwar Weimer Republic was poor and crippled by reparation payments. Germany could never afford to have more than four of these predreadnoughts in commission at one time. The Elsass
was in a poor state in 1920 but became the 2nd of the old battleships to be refited and enter service in the new Reichsmarine, Alterations included an enlarged bridge and foretop, deletion of all secondary gun turrets, and the addition of trainable torpedo
tubes that were installed in casemates below the quarterdeck. She recommissioned into the Reichsmarine on February 15, 1924 as one of the few 10,000-ton battleships permitted to the Weimer Republic under the terms of the Versailles Treaty. A prime
mission of the Riechsmarine was to show the flag to build up the new navy’s moral from the depths that it had sunk from the numerous mutinies before the end of the war followed by the capitulation at Scapa Flow. During her service in this period
made three cruises of the Atlantic, three to Scandinavia and one to the Mediterranean.
Elsass carried out the first live fire exercise against the Zahringen, a target ship converted from a Wittelsbach Class battleship. This was on August 8, 1928 in front of
President von Hindenburg. On February 25, 1930
Elsass paid off to be laid up. She was stricken on March 31, 1931. On October 31, 1935 the Elsass was sold for scrap to Techisches Betrieb des Norddeutschen Lloyd and broken up at Bremerhaven in
(Bulk of history is from: Battleships of World War I by Anthony Preston, Stackpole Books 1972; German Warships 1815-1945 Volume One: Major Surface Vessels by Erich Groner, Conway Maritime Press 1990; The Kaiser’s Battlefleet by Aidan
Dodson, Seaforth Publishing 2016.)

The Combrig 1:700 Scale SMS Elsass - I am very happy that Combrig has started producing a line of Imperial German predreadnought battleships. They have produced the initial Brandenburg Class years ago but the new Braunschweig Class are
delightful models. This is the
SMS Elsass, 2nd of the ships of the class. However, Combrig produces all five ships in the class, although at this time I do not know of the differences among them. Combrig also produces an 1:350 scale Elsass. The 1:700
Elsass is a multimedia kit, with fine, sharply cast resin parts and a full brass photo-etch fret. When I measured the waterline of the hull, it came in at 7.06-inches, which would equal 411.8-feet waterline. Since the actual waterline length was 409.5-
feet, it would appear that the hull is very slightly overscale. The casting quality is very good. I couldn’t find any voids. The only significant qualm that I have is the finish of the anchor chain run plate upon which the anchor chain ran from the windlasses
and chain locker fittings to the deck hawse. The model is finished with wood planks in this area, which runs counter to the standard of metal run plates. The anchor chain would tear up any wooden planking upon which it ran. However, these may represent
steel panels, as they are wider than the normal wooden planking found on the model.
The hull side detail is ample with the details expected from current Combrig releases. The hull hawse fittings are a raised oval with significant depth. The same is true with a hull hawse for a stern anchor. The casemate positions are notable with oval
recesses and a locater hole for the gun barrel. The also have vision ports for each casemate position. The 88mm tertiary gun positions on the hull are shown closed with armored shutter plates and a gun barrel locater hole. The shutters have hinge detail. I
love the cut-water, which has a very sharp foot. On either side of the bow are small rectangular fittings. I did find a photograph showing a chain running from the front point of the forecastle to one of these fittings but I don’t know its purpose. The deck
edge fittings start at the top of the cutwater and continue aft. These are a series of open chocks. At the waterline is a series of waste-water scuttles, running the length of the hull. The portholes are deeply cut. At the bow, there is a line of slits between the
lower level of portholes and the waterline. I do not know their purpose but their presence shows you the lengths to which
Combrig went in designing this model. Likewise, the bulkheads of the 01 level, which is integral with the hull casting, has small
details. This includes what appears to be wind hoods for interior ventilation. This is joined with a series of box ventilators located at the junction of the deck and 01 level bulkhead.
Deck detail is plentiful. At the bow is a single bollard and two other fittings. Behind those are very good deck hawse, a windlass plate, and detailed anchor chain guides. Other forecastle deck fittings are two deck access coamings on the starboard side,
a couple of unique triangular fittings and a centerline twin bollard. There are locater holes for the anchor chain windlasses, chain locker entrance fittings and another twin bollard centerline plate. The deck planking does not have butt end lines. At the
base of the superstructure are twin bollard fittings, a deck access coaming with hinge detail and locater squares for separate square mushroom ventilators. Detail midship starts with the characteristic square metal panel deck but there is plenty more.
Deck access coamings with inclined ladders descending into the interior of the hull are a nice touch. Coal scuttles appear in incised circles. Other details include square ventilators, centerline supports for boats, locater lines for the boat chocks, insets
for attaching the superstructure parts, and locater squares for winches and other deck machinery. On the main deck are a series of coal scuttles. The quarterdeck detail is similar to that of the forecastle but also includes two centerline skylights.
The smaller resin parts are poured in the familiar Combrig pattern with larger parts cast separately on pour tubes, a thin wafer for platforms and other thin items and runners for most of the smaller parts. The only parts cast separately are the turrets.
Both the main gun and secondary turrets have a great deal of detail. Gun openings are very good with a lot of crown detail, including turret commander cupolas. On the crown there are fine lines running the width of the turrets on the forward crown.
The very front of the crown and the aft portion of the crown don’t have the lines. I don’t know about these lines. I looked a photographs of ships of the class to check the turret crown detail. In the photographs I did find, I couldn’t see the lines but I
was hampered by th oblique angle of the photograph or their mediocre quality. Also the turret crowns are painted a very dark gray, instead of the light gray of the sides, making it further difficult to distinguish detail. There are rear access doors and
rivet detail along the edges of the gun openings.

In addition to the various platforms, the resin wafer also has substantial parts for the superstructure. The two largest are for the forward and aft superstructure. On both of these parts there is good detail on the bulkhead with 88mm gun openings on
the aft part and a secondary casemate on the forward part and porthole fittings. Both have splinter shields rising at deck edge. I noticed from the instructions that the decks of both upper superstructure parts are crowed with 88mm guns, shielded guns
on the aft superstructure and unshielded ones on the forward superstructure. A third large superstructure part is the deck house at the base of the 2nd and 3rd funnels. The bulkheads of this part have porthole fittings, doors with hinge and dog detail
and a series of ventilator louvers. On the top is the locater well for the 3rd funnel. Both the 1st and 2nd funnels have detailed deck house bases. Another part is a metal deck flying deck, which connects the forward and aft superstructure. It has metal
panel lines, louvers, rectangle openings, as well as openings for the cranes and 3rd funnel. The other four parts are the fighting tops and their overheads.
Excluding runners with ship’s boats, the kit has 15 resin runners of smaller parts. The largest of these are the three funnels on a runner. The funnels have a nice top apron, good depth into the interior and horizontal reinforcing bands. Another runner
with superstructure parts includes a very nice forward conning tower with vision slits, the aft conning tower, small deck houses and deck machinery. Another runner has the thick military masts, a detailed deck house, the 11-inch gun barrels with
hollow muzzles, and a couple of booms. Secondary gun barrels and various fittings are on a runner. The tertiary 88mm guns and more fittings are on two runners, while the 88mm base mounts and mushroom ventilators are on another runner. The
armament parts conclude with two runners of gun shields for the 88s. The two prominent goose neck cranes share a runner. Square mushroom ventilator fittings form the bulk of anther runner. Four anchors are on runner, while a fifth anchor on a
runner that is dominated by small midship platforms. Boat davits and pipes are on a runner and the last runner with the smallest of the parts, including navigation equipment. The numerous ship’s boats re cast on single or dual runners. These boats have
good detail, as is standard for
Combrig’s boats. Unfortunately, neither the runners nor the instructions have the resin parts numbered to help find their attachment locations. I consider this a step backward because Combrig did this on many of the
latter released British dreadnoughts.

The kit comes with a long brass photo-etch fret. The fret has part’s numbers next to each part with the corresponding number in the instructions, showing the attachment location. Some of the parts are relief-etched. My favorites of these are the
ornate bow scrolls for each side and coat of arms shield at the top of the cutwater. Other relief-etching is found on parts for ladder platforms, and ships doors in two formats. There are various small platforms on the fret as well as their pre-measured
railings. The upper navigation platforms gets foldable bulkheads with open windows. Also included are various boat cradles with chocks; crane rigging; inclined ladders with trainable treads and safety railing; a host of support gussets; cable reels; flag
staffs; 88mm gun shields; and multitudes of smaller brass parts. The fret has three runs of anchor chain but no deck rails, so you’ll have get 3rd party railing for almost all of the decks.
There are fourteen pages on instructions on seven back-printed sheets. Page one, which is unnumbered, is the plan and profile of the ship. Page two has the resin parts laydown, while page three has the photo-etch laydown and template for masts,
yardarms, spars, booms and steam pipes. Page four (numbered 3 on the sheet) is the initial hull assembly with three insets on assembling inclined ladders with platforms. Page five continues with hull assembly with insets on main and secondary
turrets assembly. Page six concludes hull assembly with an inset on anchor crane assembly. Pages seven and eight concern attachment of fittings and equipment to 01 deck-house midships. Page nine has modules on the flying boat deck assembly,
boat cradles and an inset on assembly of binocular towers. Page ten concludes assembly of the midships 01 level with attachment of funnel bases, boat cradles, and other deck houses, as well as two insets on 88mm gun assemblies. Page eleven
concerns assembly of the forward and aft superstructure. Page twelve has three modules on the mainmast military tower assembly, another for the foremast military tower and funnel and crane assemblies. Page thirteen finalizes superstructure, flying
boat deck, funnel, crane and military mast assembly. The last page is a plan showing boat placement. As I mentioned earlier, I regret the absence of numbering the resin parts on the resin runners or instructions. Thank goodness the brass parts are
numbered on the fret and with corresponding numbers in the instructions.        
Beware John Bull! With the magnificent new Navy Law, Kaiser Bill is furnishing his navy with hard charging battleships, which will make your knees knock, your heart flutter, your body go into uncontrollable tremors and spasms. Behold the SMS Elsass,
the second battleship of the
Braunschweig Class. With her incredibly fast-firing 11-inch guns, neither you nor any other power will threaten the Reich’s place in the sun!

Steve Backer
Huntsville, Alabama