Reviewed April 2016
by Timothy Choi

Hayreddin Barbarossa (Turkish: Barbaros Hayrettin; birth name Hızır) was a famous commander-in-chief of the Ottoman navy during the 1500s. Along with his brother Oruç, he was leader of the corsair enclaves out of modern-day Algeria and Libya. His repeated victories against other European navies and coastal fortresses caught the attention of Ottoman Sultan Suleiman and in 1532, he was appointed Grand Admiral of the Ottoman Navy and Chief Governor of North Africa despite the protests of more conservative members in the Sultan's bureaucracy. Barbarossa's prowess was so well-known throughout the Mediterranean that the French king Francis I asked for, and received, an Ottoman alliance in order to better carry out the struggle against his Spanish-Italian rivals. In 1538, Barbarossa's galley fleet achieved Mahan's elusive fleet battle victory against the combined might of the Holy League, decisively securing Ottoman command of the Mediterranean Sea for the next 33 years until the 1571 Battle of Lepanto - even after which the Ottomans quickly rebuilt their fleet and continued to be a major, if not uncontested, naval power for the next several centuries.

The Ottoman battleships Barbaros Hayrettin and Turgut Reis were members of the Imperial German Brandenburg class predreadnoughts, originally named Kurfürst Friedrich Wilhelm and Weissenburg. Purchased as part of the Ottoman Navy's desperate attempt to counter Greek naval expansion, they were the first modern capital ships in the Empire's steam navy. Their most unusual feature were the three semi-spherical turrets housing dual 11" guns each - a drastic departure from contemporary two-by-two layouts and giving them somewhat of a firepower advantage. However, they came just a few short years before the arrival of HMS Dreadnought fundamentally changed the calculation of naval power, rendering them obsolete fairly shortly. During the Dardanelles campaign, their low-elevation guns were of no use against the Allied armada trying to make their way through to Istanbul, and could only provide some fire support once the Allies landed at Gallipoli. Barbaros Hayrettin herself was in the midst of delivery ammunition to Ottoman troops in the Marmara Sea when she was sunk by the British submarine E-11, which had managed to make her way through the hundreds of mines spanning the Dardanelles narrows and against its strong currents. Over 250 men perished in the sinking, the survivors picked up by Ottoman torpedo boats.

Combrig's kit of Barbaros Hayrettin contains almost the same parts as their kit of the ship in German service (reviewed here), with two major but subtle exceptions. Firstly, the hull is different in that the Ottoman version has filled in the deck edge cutouts for the bow anchors, as well as having one extra secondary gun port on each side of the hull. Secondly, the aft superstructure block's portholes lack the square protrusion on which they are sited in the German variant, in addition to gaining several more portholes. The other major differences are reflected in the instruction callouts - different searchlight platforms on the masts as well as making use of the PE gunshields for some of the small guns. The instructions in the Ottoman version (as well as the Brandenburg and Weissenburg kits) are significantly more detailed than the one in the 1894 Kurfürst Friedrich Wilhelm variant. Those building the latter kit may wish to consult the instructions for former kits instead (available at the bottom of this review and on Combrig's website).

Dimension-wise, the kit hull appears to be spot-on if the "Length Between Perpendiculars" given in Ahmet Güleryüz and Bernd Langensiepen's The Ottoman Steam Navy, 1828-1923 was interpreted as the waterline length: 16.3 cm in the kit versus 16.28 cm as calculated, and the beam is 2.8 cm measured versus 2.78 cm calculated - well within measurement error.

Kit Contents
The kit comes in the standard Combrig paper box. The hull is loose amongst the packing peanuts, the resin parts all loose in a single ziplock bag, and the PE in another. Casting quality is excellent, with no blemishes or pinholes. Some minor flash typical of resin kits is present but easily removed. Despite the somewhat haphazard packaging, only two parts appear to be broken - one of the spheres on one of the two binnacles, and the stock of one of the three anchors.
The hull is moulded waterline, with sharp portholes (though no eyebrows), and has several cut-outs for the main turrets and aft superstructure.

Deck planking is recessed and sharply done, as are the coaling scuttles and placement guides for the various parts. The bollards and deck fittings are all intact and sharply done as well. Overall, typical high-quality casting from Combrig.

click images
to enlarge
The aft superstructure is its own piece and plugs into the hull with no trimming required. The rest of the decks and platforms are cast on a thin resin wafer. The midships flying bridge are on their own sprue. The funnels are nicely molded though lack any detail - no funnel grills are included (though the reviewer is not certain if these funnels had grills on top).

The unique dome turrets are flawlessly cast, though at the price of lacking details. The plugs at the bottom will have to be sanded down a bit to sit flush in their deck slots.
The resin barrels for the 11" main guns are thankfully straight and intact, because no one's going to produce brass versions for these suckers. Bonus points to Combrig: they correctly depict the middle turret's shorter barrels.
Can't say the secondary guns themselves are good (who needs breeches anyway), but the pedestals and shields are well done.
Masts are included in resin. Some are bent, so use brass replacements. Too bad the instruction don't tell you which of the thinner poles go where - they all look the same in the drawing.
A sprue of odds and ends includes windowed shielding for the bridge wings, two vents, and two platforms for the aft superstructure.
The fittings sprue includes the offending binnacle, its more intact twin, some mushroom vents and/or deck capstans, plus some secondary gun barrels.
The anchors are exquisite, though one has a broken stock, but that's okay becuase 1) this version of the ship only had three anchors and 2) the hawsepipes are molded solid anyway (though you can certainly drill your own hawsepipes).
The winches and vents are extremely well-done. Can't complain!
Those are some real nice searchlights you've got there. It'd be a shame to lose them.
It's a ship, so it's gotta have boats. Some came off their sprues, but that's fine - saves you some work! There are also what appear to be crude resin davits, but I'm not sure since there are PE ones too. Man, if only there was some way of showing or describing what parts are supposed to represent!
A minimally relief-etched brass fret is included. It's only okay, though, and similar in quality to Combrig's mid-"career" kits. The biggest disappointment is the bow decoration, which has the German imperial eagle rather than the Ottoman flag motif that replaced it.

Instructions are two pages, fairly well drawn showing a modicum of attempt at depicting subassembly views. I mean, it's an improvement over the initial release's version of the instructions (see here), but you'll still need to do a lot more research. Dimensions for the fore and main masts are sadly absent, making it difficult to replace the resin pieces with brass. Higher resolution versions of the instructions are available on Combrig's website.
Overall, your standard Combrig kit. High quality resin (both molding and accuracy), okay PE, mediocre instructions. Wish they'd include scaled down copies of the plans they used for making the kit - the resolution on the included profile view isn't quite up to snuff.

This is kit #70432 -1/700 Turkish "Hayreddin Barbarossa" Battleship, 1915 fit. Thanks to Combrig for the review sample. 

The following ModelWarships sponsors carry the Combrig line of ships.
This is an in-box review showing the kit contents. We welcome your input and comments in the review section of the forum especially if you can share details about fit, ease of assembly and accuracy. Click the logo on the right to join in the discussion.