Flyhawk 1/700 Bismarck

Bismarck was the first of two Bismarck-class battleships built for Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine.

In the course of the warship’s eight-month career under its sole commanding officer, Captain Ernst Lindemann, Bismarck conducted only one offensive operation, in May 1941, codenamed Rheinübung. The ship, along with the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, was to break into the Atlantic Ocean and raid Allied shipping from North America to Great Britain. The two ships were detected several times off Scandinavia, and British naval units were deployed to block their route. At the Battle of the Denmark Strait, the iconic battlecruiser HMS Hood initially engaged Prinz Eugen, probably by mistake, while HMS Prince of Wales engaged Bismarck. In the ensuing battle, Hood was destroyed by the combined fire of Bismarck and Prinz Eugen, who then damaged Prince of Wales and forced her retreat. Bismarck suffered sufficient damage from three hits to force an end to the raiding mission.

The destruction of Hood spurred a relentless pursuit by the Royal Navy involving dozens of warships. Two days later, heading for occupied France to effect repairs, Bismarck was attacked by 16 obsolescent Fairey Swordfish biplane torpedo bombers from the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal; one scored a hit that rendered the battleship’s steering gear inoperable. In her final battle the following morning, the already-crippled Bismarck was severely damaged during a sustained engagement with two British battleships and two heavy cruisers and was scuttled by her crew and sank with heavy loss of life. Most experts agree that the battle damage would have caused her to sink eventually. The wreck was located in June 1989 by Robert Ballard and has since been further surveyed by several other expeditions.

There’s lots of information available about her and here’s a couple of links to follow if you want to know more.

There have been over 40 different boxings of the Bismarck in 1/700. However, the most recent new tool release from last year by Meng was a very simplified kit and before that, we’re back to about 2010 for a new tool release from Revell. Flyhawk has also released a photo etch set, brass barrels, display base, name plate, masks and wooden decks for this kit. There’s also a deluxe version that contains the extra PE set and brass barrels is is better value if you want to get the PE set.

The box is a top opening box, with the parts securely packaged inside. There isn’t much space in the box so everything is held in place and the hull parts are wrapped in foam or cardboard.

So, inside the boxes we have:

  • 461 plastic parts on 38 frets
  • 12 separate parts.
  • 1 small PE sheet
  • 1 decal sheet
  • 1 metal plate
  • 2 instruction sheets

The level of detail in this kit is up to Flyhawk’s usual exceptional standards. I can see on the superstructure parts that the level of detail is better than most other kits in this scale. There are doors, vents and bolts on the various parts. The ships boats have rowlocks and other fine details. Overall this kit has all the exceptional detail that you would expect from a Flyhawk kit.

The instructions are mostly black and white on 2 long sheets of glossy paper. Parts are coloured in places to clarify the instructions.

The build is done in 17 steps:

  1. The secondary turrets are assembled and the main hull is put together. You have a choice of full hull or waterline. If you choose waterline there is a metal plate to add. The rudders, propellers and propeller shafts go on now too. The detail on the lower hull is very nice.
  2. Assemble the main turrets. There’s some nice detail on them.
  3. Adding small parts and turret A to the foc’sle.
  4. Now we move onto the start of the forward superstructure with the lowest deck and there’s some very nice detail on these parts.
  5. Step five is again working on superstructure parts and adds a rangefinder, searchlights and other small parts to an upper part of the superstructure.
  6. Step six adds a mast and is building another superstructure subassembly.
  7. Step seven is another small superstructure subassembly building a rangefinder.
  8. Step eight assembles the funnel and the platforms that are attached to it.
  9. Step nine brings together the superstructure subassemblies made in steps 5 to 8.
  10. Step 10 brings together all the forward superstructure parts along with the lower superstructure that was put together in step four and adds turret B to it and some ships boats.
  11. step 11 adds the completed forward superstructure to the hull along with the ship’s cranes.
  12. Step 12 starts the building of the aft superstructure with the lowest two levels.
  13. Step 13 continues the building of another subassembly for the aft superstructure
  14. step 14 puts together the mainmast, a small platform and adds in the aft superstructure subassembly to complete the aft superstructure.
  15. Step 15 puts the aft superstructure on the main whole along with small ships boats and small details.
  16. Step 16 as the aftermost turret along with more details of the aft end of the ship.
  17. Step 17 adds the single piece of photoetch which included with the kit which is used for the catapult for the Arado 196 amidships.

The paints are called out by name and in the Mr. Hobby, Tamiya and WEM colour ranges. The painting guide is in colour and shows port, starboard and above views.

The decal sheet gives you the air recognition bads on the main deck fore and aft but the swastika is separated into 2 parts. There are 4 Kriegsmarine ensigns and again the swastikas are in 2 parts. The rest of the decals are for the aircraft and again the swastikas are in 2 parts and some of them are extremely small.

This kit is currently available at HobbyEasy for $42.55.


Overall it’s an excellent kit of the Bismarck with the usual high level of detail we come to expect from Flyhawk. It’s several years since we’ve had a new tool Bismarck and this one is now probably the most detailed kit on the market.

Many thanks to Flyhawk for sending along the kit for review.

Paul Tosney – Editor
ModelBuilder International
HobbyLink International
eBay Store

Paul Tosney

Paul has been with Model Builder International since almost the beginning. He started building models as a boy, and took a hiatus, but started building again a few years ago. He builds pretty much anything, but mostly WW2, with a smattering of modern and the occasional SciFi model.


Mike McCabe · November 29, 2018 at 8:02 pm

Hello Paul,
I run Starling Models a UK specialist ship modelling business in the UK. At present I am one of the very few (maybe one other?) that stocks Flyhawk kits in the UK. Would there would be a possibility of mentioning this on your review thread? I didn’t want to just drop it in without contacting you first.

Best regards

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