The building of
SMS Radetzky in 1/700
the cheap way...(NOT!)
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By Jim Baumann
The Austro-Hungarian  Battleship SMS Radetzky was completed in 1911as one of  three sisterships. She was armed with 4 x 12in, 8 x 9.4in, 20 x 3.9in guns as well as Q/F guns and 3 torpedo tubes .  A handsome looking ship class with tall funnels and masts.
My personal interest in the ship was sparked many years ago when I encountered a  scaled down reproduction of a fine 1:200 scale plan by F. Prasky in a  classic book called SCALE MODEL WARSHIPS  edited by John Bowen, a worthwhile tome that is still available secondhand and  at net-auction sites. I was particularly taken by the unusual boat stowage arrangement midships and the near symetrical layout. My prayers and hopes were finally answered  a few years back when WSW released the 1/700 resin kit of Radetzky which meant I immediately purchased mine from WEM and put in the cupboard to 'mature'....!
Finally, earlier this year I grasped the nettle and dug out the kit from the pile and started work. I wanted to use the plan in the book and wanted to  present  the  ship  as completed in her green/ grey colour scheme. The WSW kit had the torpedo net cast on with the shelf, in peacetime  Radetzky did (as far as I can ascertain) not carry the net although all the booms and operating cables were linstalled. So the net and shelf had to come off....I then labouriously replaced  the net shelf with very narrow strips of brass strip (PE sprue scrap) . It was at this time that I had the hull sitting atop the plan in the book that I noticed the stern being too pointed, not a full round curve as the drawing  showed. My heart sank as it appeared fairly unfixable as a retrofit (as opposed to a scratchbuilt master) .(see photo) 

I remembered seeing a review of the NNT 1/700 Radetzky on steelnavy which was high in praise of the kit.  Hhmmmmm!

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Within minutes I e-mailed NNT and was rewarded 4 days(!) later with a second Radetzky kit...(This is not an excercise in economical  hobby past-times!!) This had the correct stern shape and as a bonus numerous small mushroom type vents which I had  wondered how to scratch as well as a small  fret of PE. As a further bonus the torpedo net shelf was without the net, this being supplied as a seperate item. However the armoured wall astern of the conning tower was represented as a solid block,whereas the WSW superstructure was correct according to photos showing hollow space under the deck. This had to be done, I proceeded to carve away the offending resin using a drum grinder in a high speed minidrill ( see photo) until I had achieved the desired thinness and delicacy.
Bridges  and wheelhouses on vessels of this era were decidedly flimsy affairs being supported on  a number of stilts  and struts with lots of laddders and companionways (WEM)which make for a very fiddly but  delicate looking assembly.WSW very helpfully have brass rods embedded in the casting to assist this process unfortunately they are too thick and overscale. On the NNT hull I was working on I drilled the holes and CA glued in some thinner rods to take the bridge. The  WSW boatdeck bridge deck was made to fit the NNT hull now modified to produce the undercut.(which can barely be seen on tthe finished ship  after all the effort...)
The Wheelhouse has very distinctive large windows on the fwd and side faces which was a feature that I wished to replicate to give the same  light feel. The WSW  wheelhouse had the correct number of windows but the divisions were in resin and too clunky; the NNT version had the windows represented as raised square bumps,easy to paint but not what I wanted!! The final version was scratchbuilt with  1/192 ladder stock representing the windows in the correct proportions.
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The WSW crane masts were preferred and used in conjunction with the nice PE booms from the NNT kit. I scratchbuilt the boat stowage racks and used WEM boat cradle PE from the Askold set. I used the WSW turrets which had the gun barrels cast integrally but cut the Q/F gun mounts off the NNT turrets and glued them to the turrets ready to receive the VERY nice NNT PE  Q/F guns. The dark grey circles around the turret barbettes (what were they for?) were done using a drawing compass and a very soft lead pencil and filled in with a fine brush. Anchors and chain again came from NNT PE set.
At the outset even before I  bought the NNT kit I had already decided that the funnel bands on the WSW kit were just  to crude and that I was going to scratchbuild the funnels (as I always do with  Kombrig/Moderlkrak etc) using alloy tube lighly squashed and flattened with handrails from VERY fine copper speaker wire glued on with CA. The NNT funnels have the rails represented by thin grooves in the funnel, nice but the funnel is still solid! Steam pipes were from brass rod, ladders  WEM.The funnel grille atop was scratchbuit from speaker wire an sprue. Ships boats are a mix of NNT, WSW and WEM! Oars were made from brown sprue with ends flattened with pliers, this makes a HUGE difference to  the overall appearance.(see photos of before and after).The aft searchlight platform structure was scratchbuilt. The bridge railings on the front of bridge WERE higher and 3 bar as opposed to the remainder of the ship which had 2 bar and singlee chain. The canvas dodgers were made from white glue after painting the rails,, the glue dries clear so by painting the outside only the rails can still be seen against the dodgers on the inside...(This method is especially effective with grey rails and white dodgers ie IJN) bridge windows were glazed with Krystal Klear white glue. Torpedo net booms were made from brass rod. The torpedo net brailing davits(!) were made from PE model railway carriage door handles cut in half.... The complex accomodation ladders were cobbled together from WEM Iron Duke PE set and bits. The handrails were WEM askold and GMM Goldplus for the deckedges and are VERY fine, they were coloured with an indelible markeer pen and 'washed' with grey. The Ensign was made of paper and coloured pencils, the   gold crest was painted in enamel yellow(and can hardly be seen!!) The ship was painted overall in the Austro-Hungarian olive green colour known as MONTECOCCOLIN, the nearest match to which is  Humbrol 31 according to the article by Falk Pletcher in  the Dan H Jones Plastic Ship Modeler magazine 1997/2 (which can be read on-line in the SMML Archives along with most of the PSM articles) Falk describes the boot-top colour as being 'PINK'!. This is certainly correct but NOBODY woukld ever believe you.....! There is a  nice photo of a nice model of Erzherzog Karl from the marine museum in Vienna which is shown on the site dealing with the Austro-Hungarian Navy showing a bright red bootop which clashed less with my inner senses....! The seascape was made in my usual fashion using artists watercolur paper as described in detail  in the HOW-TO section at
So there it is, a very attractive little Battleship of a less well known navy .I used the aformentioned plan by F Prasky, photos in the book K.u.K
Flotte 1900-1918 by Wladimir Aichelberg and volume two of Die Schiffe  der k.u.k  kriegsmarine im Bild 1896-1918 byLothar Baumgartner and Erwin Sieche, a truly superb set of photo  reference books with english captions, I bought mine from Christian Schmidt booksellers in Germany( on-line); along with numerous photos of Radetzky from a variety of  book sources.
The ships of Jim Baumann