Building the Scharnhorst in Gotenhafen 1943  by Fran Romero
Ten years ago when I began in this hobby, I built a small diorama in 1/700 scale of the German battleship Scharnhorst at Tanilla. The Scharnhorst was a ship of interesting design that had a tragic but impressive history.  It was my favorite warship. After some years I decided to build it again in a larger scale. I do not have experience with models of resin so I obtained a 1/400 Heller kit. Although it is an old and  very basic kit, it was the best thing in plastic.  Gotenhafen-02
To transform the ship to a 1943 version,  I needed a lot of a lot of additional information.  I used White Ensign Models #PE4002 photo etch. The photos below show the order of assembly. As you can see, I like to add the photo etch before painting. The funnel also needed a lot of work because there is practically no detail. 
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With patience and with sufficient information these parts can be detailed to the limit of our ability. New rowboats, exterior fans and the platforms of the antiaircraft were added.

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The artillery, just like the remainder of the components of the kit, comes with very few details and needs some extra work.  The gun barrels are of so poor quality and unrealisitic, that I couldn't use them. I instead replaced them with barrels from RBM.  The improvement is evident. The platforms where the  quadruple Flak guns were made from scratch. These were installed to the ship during it's stay in Brest.

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The Admiarls bridge and the platform where the radar is placed are complimented with photo etch parts and wire of different sizes. New platforms need to be contructed with stairs added  since they do not exist in the kit. A lot of work had to be done to the armored bridge with new windows added as well as  the guard posts. 

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The bow needed some work too.  To show the open hangar some cutting was required on the high part and a new sunroof fold was manufactured. On top of that the catapult is placed. The photo etch version is substituted for unrealisitic plastic version. Extra details were added such as the bottles of compressed air.

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The aft mast needed to be reconstructed with new platforms added to match the fit in 1943. For the painting I used the plans of Antonio Bononi. At the beginning of 1943 the ship carried the camouflage of the operation Padernborn, personally I believe that is the most characteristic one for this ship. 
In the diorama there are three airplanes. The HELLER kit only comes with one. The other two AR 196's are from the L'Arsenal. The L'Arsenal aircraft are a lot better detailed so I modified them to be able to place them with thier crew. I cut the cabin completely off and drilled out the cockpit. I cut the bottoms off of some figures and glued them in. New canopies were fabricated with a sheet of thin transpararent plastic.
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As you see is a very simple trick and the result is spectacular. 
In this diorama I tried to represent a realistic scene.  Most model-makers place their crew figures randomly. In many cases their placement seems meaningless with the only intention to fill spaces. In this diorama there is almost 200 figures and I utilized scores of photos of many real ships to give the impression of activities such as  provisioning, maintenance, cleaning etc….  Gotenhafen-31
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 In the port there were three kinds of trains to facilitate the transportation of merchandise, therefore I felt obliged to build a train. This would also help me to give a little life to the diorama. 
Among the models of existing locomotives in that era, the one that gets the attention of the model-makers is it known Kriegslokomotive BR 52. It was painted in interesting camouflage patterns, so I chose it to accompany to my Scharnhorst.  Gotenhafen-36
I  found plans on the internet. Once obtained I reduced the plans down to 1/400 and to began the construction.  As you see the materials are similar to what we are familiar with. The wheels are removed off of some photo etch cable reels. With a little bit one of imagination an acceptable engine can be done.  Gotenhafen-37
The four freight cars that accompany to the locomotive carry boxes of munition and torpedoes, in the first freight car is placed a Flak 38 antiaircraft.  The figures are L´Arsenal 1/350 figures cut a little bit one so they appear more in scale.  Gotenhafen-38
I took extra care to make sure the figures were not randomly placed but all appear to be doing a specific task. The figures help focus your attention on the details of the diorama. Gotenhafen-39
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This image will link to the finished diorama already in the gallery. I expect that you like and that have you entertained a few Fran.  Gotenhafen-45

More of Fran Romero 's work.
Updated 2010