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1:200 German Battleship Bismarck - Amati

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1:200 German Battleship Bismarck


Catalogue # 1614
Available from Amati for €499.51




Bismarck was the first of two Bismarck-class battleships built for Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine. Named after Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the ship was laid down at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg in July 1936 and launched in February 1939. Work was completed in August 1940, when she was commissioned into the German fleet. Bismarck and her sister ship Tirpitz were the largest battleships ever built by Germany, and two of the largest built by any European power. In the course of the warship's eight-month career under her sole commanding officer, Captain Ernst Lindemann, Bismarck conducted only one offensive operation, lasting 8 days in May 1941, codenamed Rheinübung. The ship, along with the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, was to break into the Atlantic Ocean and raid Allied shipping from North America to Great Britain. The two ships were detected several times off Scandinavia, and British naval units were deployed to block their route. At the Battle of the Denmark Strait, the battlecruiser HMS Hood initially engaged Prinz Eugen, probably by mistake, while HMS Prince of Wales engaged Bismarck. In the ensuing battle Hood was destroyed by the combined fire of Bismarck and Prinz Eugen, which then damaged Prince of Wales and forced her retreat. Bismarck suffered sufficient damage from three hits by Prince of Wales to force an end to the raiding mission.


The destruction of Hood spurred a relentless pursuit by the Royal Navy involving dozens of warships. Two days later, heading for occupied France to effect repairs, Bismarck was attacked by 16 Fairey Swordfish biplane torpedo bombers from the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal; one scored a hit that rendered the battleship's steering gear inoperable. In her final battle the following morning, the already-crippled Bismarck was engaged by two British battleships and two heavy cruisers and sustained incapacitating damage and heavy loss of life. The ship was scuttled to prevent her being boarded by the British, and to allow the ship to be abandoned so as to limit further casualties. Most experts agree that the battle damage would have caused her to sink eventually. The wreck was located in June 1989 by Robert Ballard and has since been further surveyed by several other expeditions. A detailed underwater survey of the wreck in 2002 showed that the sustained close-range shelling was largely ineffective in the effort to sink the ship, the many torpedoes launched at Bismarck were also almost completely ineffective, and the plating of the armour deck was also found to be virtually intact.


The kit


There are other 1:200 Bismarck kits on the market, and Amati themselves worked with Hachette a number of years ago on a 2007 partwork release of this ship. This was subsequently re-released by DeAgostini but is now unavailable. Last year, Amati revisited the Bismarck themselves and released a reworked kit, which from what I believe, is a more accurate and certainly more detailed kit. I know Amati went to great pains to get this right and used numerous contemporary sources for their information. In this release, Bismarck is depicted in her final incarnation with her fore and aft deck swastikas painted over, and the superstructure disruptive camouflage obliterated. The only remnants of this are on the upper hull sides.



As far as model ships go, this one is huge! In fact, the completed length is 127cm, so you will need some space to display her. Unlike a sail ship with her tail masts and broad yards, Bismarck doesn’t have the additional height and weight to encumber her. A large model will also come in a large box, and that’s definitely the case with this one. Bismarck uses the same size box as the other large Amati releases, such as HMS Vanguard, HMS Revenge, Fifie, and the recent Orient Express Sleeping Car kit. As a guide to weight, the packing carton did give the figure of 10kg (22lbs), so that’s a reasonable figure to use. The box work for Bismarck is quite striking and depicts some views of the finished model. I have included these and other images of the finished studio model in this article. There are a couple of typos on the box side, but Amati are aware and will correct this in the next print run. The glossy lid itself is just a box cover, as when this is removed, the actual kit box is a complete one with a tabbed lid, making the whole thing very sturdy.


Bismarck is based around a traditionally planked hull, on a very conventional timber framework. Where Bismarck’s hull may cause some consternation with planking, 3D parts are included which the modeller needs to blend into a finally sanded and shaped hull. Surface preparation will be one of the most important things when it comes to building this model, as you won’t want any planking strakes to be seen when painted. The whole hull will need sanding, filling, re-sanding, re-filling, until you have a surface like glass. Sealing the hull could also help, as could using glass resin and thin glass cloth. That will very much depend on your level of experience. 


If you wanted to build this model for RC, then it’s also possible as the upper deck is purposely left to be removed, although that’s as far as it goes. Any internal changes will need to be done by the modeller, but I don’t think this would be too difficult. 


There are definitely a lot of materials packed into this box. 


  • SIXTEEEN sheets of timber parts
  • FIFTEEN laser-engraved deck sections
  • FOURTEEN sheets of photo-etched parts in various thicknesses
  • TWO large bundles of almost 140 planks for first and second layers
  • Pack of dowels and metal rod
  • Numerous 3D parts for tricky hull areas
  • Many injection moulded sprues with superstructure details
  • Brass chains
  • Decorative nameplate/wooden plinth
  • TWO full colour manuals with over 1000 constructional stages
  • SIX parts plan sheets for part maps
  • Large plan sheet of actual ship



Here’s a look at the kit contents.


Three boxes of injection mouldings















Two boxes of assorted fittings









Timber sheets










Timber and metal strip





Photo Etch




Laser engraved decks







Wooden plinth for photo etch nameplate






Instructions and plans


Two full colour manuals are provided for this kit. The first manual alone is 112 pages (landscape format) and has a staggering 612 constructional stages! That does seem quite daunting, but the stages re broken down in such a way that many of these stages will relate to individual areas, such as a single superstructure part, for example, and show the additional parts a few at a time. The first manual will take the builder from the basic skeleton of Bismarck, all the way through to a completed hull with superstructures underway. Manual #2 is over 90 pages, with another 560 stages. The second manual also contains a comprehensive parts list which you really should get into the habit of checking through with any kit you buy, let alone an investment the size of Bismarck! 















Six folded parts maps are also included. These are just a paper facsimile of the timber elements in your kit, allowing the modeller to perhaps find things more easily instead of manhandling all your sheets. You will also find the part reference numbers on those sheets, as they are not engraved onto the timber as some manufacturers choose to do. 


A single, rolled-up plan is included, and this simply shows the Bismarck in several elevations, to help you further with your model, despite everything being covered real well in the manuals.


Amati also have a series of online build articles for Bismarck, and they are well worth looking at: https://www.amatimodel.com/?s=bismarck&lang=it




Only a few decals are included in this kit, and those are for the Arado plane and the underwater sound location system. They are all superbly printed and with nice, thin inks. 




This kit comes with a series of templates that are led against the hull and used for tracing and cutting out sections for inlays, painting etc.




Amati are a name which many know to be a trusted manufacturer of high quality and accurate kits. This kit represents another angle to the old style of construction, melding those traditional elements with photo-etch components which are a major, integral part of this build, plus numerous 3D parts which remove some areas which would otherwise be tricky to plank. Without a doubt, this kit is a major undertaking to the prospective builder, and despite the 3D parts, the sheer quantity of etch means that you will need some patience and prerequisite skills in dealing with that medium. Bismarck is a multimedia kit which I feel is roundly aimed at a specific customer-base which is used to POB style construction, but perhaps not exclusively so. If you think a plastic kit with a fully injection-moulded hull sort of takes some of the fun away, then this could well be for you.  I think that Bismarck is also very well priced for the size of this model, and the work involved. In the UK, Bismarck retails for around £490. All models this size have a large initial outlay, but the sheer pleasure and time involved in building them will always even itself out. Make sure you have a strong table for this kit.


Our sincere thanks to Amati for the sample seen in this review. To purchase directly (if in Italy), click the link at top of article. All other countries, check your local Amati distributor.















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Posted (edited)



What a model!. It's a bit too large for me, but never say no 😉


I think the Cost -v- Build Enjoyment ratio will be very good with this model.


The detail in the pics is impressive, as are the technologies these ships carried eg two side launching aircraft.


Are you actually planning to do a build of this Bismark or was this a Review only?.... with all the builds you have going on I can guess the answer.






PS: And thanks for the 50 min video link...that's earmarked for this evening's viewing.




Edited by Rik Thistle
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4 hours ago, Rik Thistle said:

Are you actually planning to do a build of this Bismark or was this a Review only?.... with all the builds you have going on I can guess the answer.


At the moment, my shipyard is rammed with stuff I either need to do, or will soon need to do. Bismarck could be several years away yet 😂

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  • 3 months later...

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