Panzersciff Admiral Graf Spee 
by Stein Gildberg 

1/350 Panzersciff Admiral Graf Spee (Trumpeter)

Admiral Graf Spee: The ship named to honor the German sea-hero Admiral Maximilian von Spee from the Battle of the Coronel (thus the sign “Coronel” above the bridge), who was later hunted down and killed by the Royal Navy in the Battle of the Falklands onboard his flag-ship Panzerkreuzer Scharnhorst together with most of his flotilla during the opening parts of WW1.

I built this kit soon after it appeared on the market. PE is from White Ensign and my spare box.
Unfortunately, I was only able to source 2D figures back then, so I have a long-term plan to change these for 3D-ones from Northstarmodels. Paint is White Ensign while the sea is made from plaster, water based paint and lots of clear floor wax on top.

The model depicts the ship as she appeared in the morning of Dec 13th 1939 as the Battle of the River Plate was about to commence: Bright green-bluish sea, almost white teak decks dry in the South-Atlantic  sun, the ship is steaming (diesels..) at moderate speed,s searching for merchant ships to sink or capture.
Well, as we all know, the day ended quite differently…

Admiral Graf Spee was classed by the Germans as a Panzerschiff, while the Royal Navy called her a Pocket-battleship. The two other ships in her class, Panzersciff Deutschland (later Lützow) and Admiral Scheer were both later re-classified as Heavy Cruiser (Schwerer Kreuzer). Probably more of an appropriate designation.

This class of ships was built for commerce raiding under the motto “Faster than the stronger and stronger than the faster”: Keeping within the 10000 tons limit (at least on paper) new fuel-effective diesels were constructed to give much longer range than a steam-turbine ship.  Unfortunately the new engines also featured low reliability and too low speed to run away from cruisers, battle cruisers or (later) fast battleships. Her fire-control was superb, the 280 mm main guns had a large range and could outgun even most battleship’s guns. They could however only engage effectively one enemy ship at a time. So three Royal Navy cruisers were more than a match.

Also, to keep within the weight limitations, amour had to be sparsely applied. So “Panzershiff” – hardly!

Stein Gildberg

Gallery updated 2013