Wiener Modellbau Manufactur
1/350 SMS Elster, Torpedoboat of the Austro-Hungarian Navy

Reviewed by Sean Hert
HISTORY

SMS Elster was launched in 1888, part of a larger class of approximately 22 boats built in three different naval yards. Elster was part of the "4th batch" of construction, having 4 sisters ships. Elster was built in the Schichau-Werke, which became well known for their quality torpedo boats. After ten years and one sinking, Elster was re-boilered with a Yarrow-type boiler, which changed her appearance by adding an additional funnel.

Armed with two 35cm torpedo tubes, one fixed bow mounted, and a rotating single mount on the after deck, these boats also carried two of the famous 37mm Hotchkiss gun.

WMM's kit of the SMS Elster models this Austro-Hungarian Navy torpedoboat in the time before her re-boilering, when she had a single funnel. This kit is well package in a retail-style box of stiff cardstock suitable for hanging hook displays. The contents shipped inside resealable baggies in the box, with the folded instructions acting as packing protection.

HULL

Elster is molded as a single piec full hull, with a sprue running the length of the keel. The hull is very well cast in yellow-tan resin, with slight flash along the mold line only. There are only the slightest hint of air bubbles, along the sprue at the bottom of the hull, but all are just under the surface.

One of the striking things about Elster is the size; this 1/350 torpedoboat is smaller than most 1/700 ships!

RESIN PARTS

There is a nice little variety of resin parts for this ship; a handful of tiny ventilator cowls, a small raised structure for the decklights, the funnel, a launch and five curious parts that resemble funnels, but are in fact the life rings to be placed on the outside edge of the railings.

Also included is a small sprue of resin with the external torpedo tube, the helm and compass binnicle for the auxillary bridge. The instructions also imply there should be a small resin searchlight to install atop the bridge, but this part was missing in my kit.

The launch is amazingly thin- as the pictures below demonstrate, it is translucent in places. The torpedo tube is also finely cast, and the hooded portion covering the torpedo's nose is incredibly thin as well.

PHOTOETCH

This kit also include two frets of photoetch, some brass wire, and a CNC-turned brass mast. The photoetch includes railings, anchors and anchor chain, the platforms for around the bases of the Hotchkiss guns (sadly, no guns themselves), hatches and other various fittings.

INSTRUCTIONS

A single page, double-sided, of information, parts list and instructions are included. There are no painting instuctions. The assembly is presented as more of an exploded view guideline, than in step-by-step directions.

CONCLUSIONS

Wiener Modellbau Manufactur (WMM) is not a new player to the resin warship scene, they are new here at Modelwarships.com. This is a neat little kit of ship type that was widely seen in the pre-dreadnaught era. This simple kit, with an easy paint scheme, would be an excellent introduction to resin ship modeling, and would make a fine weekend project for just about any modeler. I will try building this one at work during my lunch breaks!

Elster has a list price of 26.70, or about $35.50 USD and is available direct from Wiener Modellbau Manufactur. Thanks to WMM for this review sample.



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