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In-Box Review
Z-32 German Destroyer
Z-32 German Destroyer
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by: David Foster [ ROLLTIDE31 ]

Originally published on:
Model Shipwrights


The Zerstörer 1936A-class destroyers, or Narvik-class destroyers as they were known to the Allies, were a class of German destroyers of the Second World War. In common with other German destroyers launched after the start of World War II, the Narviks were unnamed, known only by their hull numbers - Z23 to Z39.

When war broke out in 1939, planned new destroyer classes were cancelled and twelve additional 1936A vessels (Z.31 to Z.42, although the last three were to be cancelled) were ordered with slight modifications to speed construction and save materials. The 150 mm twin turrets had been manufactured for planned, but never built, "O" class battlecruisers. In war service, the engines were more reliable than in earlier ships but at the end of the war, heavy corrosion was discovered.

Seven of this sub-class were built: one was sunk, another two were severely damaged and not repaired. The remaining four were war booty allocated to the Allies.

Z-32 Story

Z32 was sent to France in March 1943, it spend most of its operational life at the Channel, ramming Z37 on January 1944 . In an attempt to break through the invasion bridgehead at the Normandy, the ship was beached on 9 June 1944 after battle with Canadian destroyers Haida, Huron and the Polish destroyer Blyskawica near Ile de Batz and destroyed by air attacks.

Z32 Laid down: DeSchiMAG Bremen, 1 November 1940
Launched: 15 August 1941
Commissioned: 15 September 1942

Fate: Damaged in battle with Canadian destroyers Haida and Huron on 9 June 1944 during the Battle of Ushant and beached. Later destroyed by air attacks. 26 Crew members were lost.

General Characteristics

Class & type: Narvik-class destroyer
Displacement: 2,600 tonnes (standard)
3,605 (max)
Length: 127 m (416 ft 8 in)
Beam: 12 m (39 ft 4 in)
Draught: 4.65 m (15 ft 3 in)
Installed power: 70,000 hp (52,200 kW)
Propulsion: 2 shafts, geared turbines 6 boilers
Speed: 37˝ knots (69 km/h)
Range: 3650 nmi at 18 knots
Endurance: 1936A (Mob): 2,240 nautical miles (4,150 km) at 19 knots (35 km/h)
Complement: 220 officers and men
1936A (Mob): 5 X 15 cm guns (1x2 & 3x1)
4 X 37 mm guns (later 10, or 14 in 1936A (Mob))
8 X 20 mm guns (later 20, or 18 in 1936A (Mob))
8 X 533 mm torpedo tubes
60 mines
4 depth charge launchers

The Kit

The kit is part of the Dragon 1/350 Modern Sea Power Series. The box is the standard lidded box with a picture of the Z32 cruising through calm seas. The box is a little over-sized for its contents but on a positive note it provides plenty of room to organize the sprues without damaging them. The hull is provided in a separate bag with a plastic protective covering over the bow. There is no sprue connected to the hull which provides a clean “canvas” to start with.

There is a total of 16 sprues contained in the kit, a decent display stand, and 2 sheets of photo etch. A quick glance reveals little to no molding flash but a lot of extra sprue points, especially on the small delicate parts. I will review each sprue individually in alphabetical order.

Sprue A

A The hull is molded in two separate pieces, Sprue A is the upper half. The upper hull is quite sturdy and has internal ribs molded into the bottom and sides. The detail of the sides is crisp and clean with a clearly defined degaussing cable. The portholes do not have any over flash and the porthole brows are visible. There is a large square hole in the bottom of the hull but that will be concealed once the lower hull is attached. The bottom of the upper hull has an uninterrupted channel for attaching the lower hull. The construction appears to prevent any slipping of the lower hull while waiting for the adhesive to dry.

Sprue B Sprue B is a combined sprue which includes the lower hull, the main decking, propellers, rudders, and a cover for the square opening in the bottom of the upper hull.

The lower hull has good crisp detail which includes seawater intakes. They are closed but provide enough depth that the builder could either drill them open or use a wash to make them visible after applying paint. There are some injector pin marks but they are located on the inside of the lower hull and will be covered once attached. Also on the inside of the lower hull are the mounting positions for the provided display stand. The builder will need to drill out the bottom in order to mount the stand. Dragon made a good decision here in that it provides the builder the option without having to fill unwanted holes in the bottom of the hull.

The propellers are protected inside a circle of sprue. They appear to be well molded and not oversized or too thick. The one drawback are the connection points in that they are attached to each propeller and will need some delicate cleaning. The remaining parts are all well-made and have little to no molding seams or flash.

The main deck provides the same level of crisp clean detail that has been seen on previous parts of this kit. There are a few pre-drilled holes that have opened on the side of the deck but may have little impact once the appropriate part is installed. One aspect that I am quite in favor of is the limited amount of items molded into the main deck. This enables the initial painting of the deck easier without requiring a whole lot of masking. It also provides the builder more options and prevents damage from those who remove the molded detail in favor of AM options.

Sprue C

This sprue is one with a large collection of parts from all over the ship. I will highlight the major parts and provide a brief description of the rest.

The first major part I will cover are the main structures for the ship The detail again is quite clean and crisp on the sides, going so far as to provide the retaining straps for the life rings. The doors are open, providing the builder with the option of mounting the doors closed or open. There are even molded hinges for the doors.

The funnels are also mounted on Sprue C. Here I will admit that I am a big fan of the route that Dragon took for the funnels. The funnels are molded complete and not in sections which leads to either the line running down the middle or the over sanded flatness. The funnel caps are also included here. The caps are molded with openings as opposed to the normal solid funnel cap. The funnel grating is added which the builder can either leave in place or remove in favor of the photo etch option. The detail on the funnels and the funnel caps is quite good.

The prop shafts are attached to this sprue. Nothing spectacular about them but for those builders who like to replace the plastic with brass rod will find it will require a lot of work as the shafts are a solid piece including the support brackets. Not impossible but a little challenging for the mid experienced builder.

The remaining parts and pieces remain clean and crisp with their details. Another norm are multiple mounting points for those parts that would be considered delicate along with quite a few added ejection points. I assume these are added to prevent the injector pin marks on the model parts themselves but it does seem a little much.

Sprue D

This sprue contains a lot of the delicate parts associated with the mast and railings. There are a lot of thin parts which will require a delicate hand to remove without breaking anything.

Sprue E

This sprue contains the parts for the bridge. In line with the earlier parts of this review the detail is crisp and clean and extensive.

Sprue F

There are 2 Sprue F’s which include a lot of the small parts for the decks such as the reels and life rings (squares) for the ship. Also included on these sprues are the torpedo tubes. Now here Dragon took a step that I personally applaud and that is not molding the torpedoes in the tubes. I think this gives the builder more options since due to their size it is difficult to remove molded torpedoes without damaging the tubes. Also included on this sprue are some searchlights, doors for the opening discussed earlier, paravanes, and the anchors. All well molded and very detailed.

Sprue G

There are also 2 copies of Sprue G. These are small in size and mainly contain the lifeboats for the ship. The boats are well molded and very detailed. The rudder and prop shafts are included. The main deck for one of the lifeboats is a separate piece and will need to be attached to the hull. The detail for all the lifeboats is clean and crisp.

Sprue H

There are 2 copies of Sprue H. These sprues contain the parts for the AA weapons on the Z32. As what is the norm for this kit the detail is nice and the weapons are a kit into themselves. Unlike other manufacturers Dragon has decided not to mold the AA guns as a solid block of undefined plastic. The parts are small and will require a steady hand but in the end it should result in a great representation of the ships AA armament.

Sprue J

This sprue contains the parts for the forward main gun. The main gun barrels have a slight depression to represent the hollowed barrel. It would still need a little more cleaning but at least there is a start point. The main turret is in two parts with the two barrels connected at the base which mounts to the bracket located on the main turret floor.

Sprue K

There are 3 copies of Sprue K. This sprue contains the parts for the remaining main guns which are single barrel as opposed to the forward dual barrel main gun. Another difference is that the three gun mounts are open back. Here Dragon fell a little short with the details as the breach block is pretty plain and begs for additional detailing. The remaining parts of the gun mounts such as the front/ overhead shield is nicely detailed down to the rivets.

Sprue M: This sprue contains the mines that are loaded on the Z32. These will be a challenge even for the most experienced builders due to their size. In a leap forward I will mention that the photo etch contains the prongs that need to be mounted to the mines. There are clearly points for mounting the prongs but again due to the size it will be challenging. Once complete though the mines should look amazing.

Sprue N

This is the final sprue in the kit. It contains more parts for the main structures and decking along with life rings and reels. The main structure continues to have openings for the doors and the detail remains at a high level.

Display Stand

The display stand is a solid piece of gray plastic with gray separation mounts. The stand appears to be a generic stand due to the different mounting locations located on the bottom of the stand. The builder will need to select the correct holes and drill them out if they decide to mount the Z32. Nice but very generic.

Photo Etch

There are two sheets of photo etch included in the kit. The smaller of the two contain parts for the sea mines and the AA guns. All I can say is the photo etch is nicely detailed and small. I highly recommend a good pair of tweezers when working with this sheet.

The second sheet is larger and contains some doors, vertical ladders, details for the funnels and radars. Also included are the grates for the funnels and some railing. A good touch is the inclusion of the anchor chain.


The decal sheets provides a couple of flags and the parts needed to remake the swastika. In an effort to not offend anyone the swastika’s are broken into two parts and will require a steady hand to make them appear properly.


The instruction sheet is a typical fold out with 6 pages of instructions, a paint guide, and an inventory list. The instructions are laid out in a logical order and provide clear instructions for both the plastic parts and the photo etch.. The pain guide provides names and numbers for GSI Creo, Mr. Color, Aqueous Hobby Color and Model Master paints. One thing missing is a 1/350 scale camouflage guide. Due to the complexity of the camouflage pattern this would have been a beneficial addition and not too difficult to provide.
Highs: The detail is amazing; open or closed door options; main deck does not have the molded detail such as reels, storage boxes - provides options for the builder; photo etch provided in the kit
Lows: a lot of very, very small parts; a lot of delicate parts with multiple connection points on the sprue- increases chances of breaking parts; lack of a 1/350 camouflage pattern guide.
Verdict: This is a very well produced replication of a WWII German Destroyer. A must-have for any Kreigsmarine fan.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:350
  Mfg. ID: 1065
  Suggested Retail: $66.00
  Related Link: Dragon USA Z32 Information Page
  PUBLISHED: Nov 28, 2015

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About David Foster (rolltide31)

I am a Retired US Army EOD Officer who now works for the Texas Division of Emergency Management. I have been modeling on and off for the past 30 years and have recently come back to the hobby after about a 5 year break. I am focused on building World War II Warships from the Pacific Theater. Primar...

Copyright ©2021 text by David Foster [ ROLLTIDE31 ]. All rights reserved.


Beautiful molding and detail. Sprue(s) F are amazing.
NOV 28, 2015 - 05:56 AM

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