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In-Box Review
German Z-39
Dragon 1/700 Germany Destroyer Z-39
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by: David J. Salvin [ DJANDJ ]

Originally published on:
Model Shipwrights


Dragon’s latest “tin can” model depicts one of the unsung (and literally unnamed) German Destroyers of WWII the Z-39. The overall content of the kit is good to excellent. Consisting of over 120 parts of well formed plastic and Photo Etched brass (PE). The kit contains a nice sheet of decals consisting of a two full set of decals to depict the ship both as German and also as American. (Apparently, this ship was captured by the Americans after the war and was operated as an American vessel.

Both full hull and waterline hulls are included, as is a base to mount the ship on if you chose to build it with the full hull. (A very nice touch).

The kit also includes a black and white painting guide which includes colors for Model Master as well as a few other European paints.

The PE fret is more expansive than most for such a small ship. It includes very small parts for ladders, radar assembly, search light railing and smoke stack hand rails. While a very nice addition to the kit, it could have included deck railing to make the ship complete.


A six page pictographical instruction book is included with the kit. The instructions are clear and well drawn. They build order appears logical and no details are omitted. Overall an excellent instruction guide for the build.


This is where Dragon’s new kits really shine. There are no unnecessary deck or superstructure seams. The deck is molded as a single piece thus eliminating deck seems or the chance for misalignment.

The superstructure parts as well are well thought out. All superstructure parts come together at the 90 degree mark and at an angle to avoid seam lines in the middle of the superstructure or along parts of detail which would be wiped out by the inevitable filling and sanding. This is also true of the deck parts which join the hull at an angle so as to make an invisible seam that should not require filling which would risk damage to the deck details.


Despite being a very small kit depicting a small ship, the Z-39's molding details are excellent. Deck planking can easily be seen on the bridge level decking. The main weather deck is replete with details including water breaks, anchor chains and cleats.

The turrets shields and guns are molded as separate pieces which, when joined give a very realistic look rather than a one piece molded turret as we have seen on the 5 inch guns of early Fletcher Class kits. Similar treatment is given to the secondary and AA armament which is molded in several pieces to give better look only to be surpassed by aftermarket PE pieces.


Despite having incredible details and fairly comprehensive PE fret, the kit lack PE rails (a rather large omission considering it includes tiny hand rails and stack rings. Also, a rigging diagram wasn’t included and it might be hard to research the rigging for such a relatively unknown vessel such as the Z-39. All and all, a very nice value of a kit for the $20-$25 price range seen for this kit.
Highs: Great Detailing
Lows: Lacks PE Railing
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:700
  Mfg. ID: DML7103
  Suggested Retail: $24.95
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Apr 01, 2012

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 J. Salvin (djandj)

I began building models at the age of 8. Stopped for college and law school and came back to the hobby after an 18 year intermission. Having built most everything from space ships to full-rigged sailing ships, I have returned to my first love - 1/700 military shipping. Modeling is just one of m...

Copyright ©2021 text by David J. Salvin [ DJANDJ ]. All rights reserved.


A lot of ship model manufacturers omit rigging diagrams and the modeller is on his own there. In the case of the Z39, German destroyers shared a lot of commonalities. A quick Google image search will provide drawings and photos, maybe not of Z39 in particular, but of the other similar types, and use those rigging styles as a guidelne. If there are no references available for the Z39 it becomes a moot point, as who can say what is 100% right or not?
APR 04, 2012 - 08:10 AM
Just one thing, the manufacturer of the model is not Dragon USA. Dragon USA are just a distributor in the USA for kits manufactured by Dragon. And I must be doing something wrong as I can't find many diagrams online of the Z Series of destroyers...
MAY 16, 2012 - 07:03 AM

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