Originally designed as a Royal Netherlands small destroyer, four ships of this class were ordered from the Stettin Shipyards of AG Vulcan in 1914. When WWI started up foreign ordered ships in various powers shipyards were taken over as a means of increasing Naval Fleets by whatever means necessary. The Z-1 through Z-4 ships was renamed by Germany as V-105 through V-108, the V standing in for the Vulcan Shipyards.
At 340 tons displacement, 205 feet long and a speed of 27 knots these were handy little ships which carried 2 torpedo tubes firing the 17.7 inch or 450 MM torpedo. While her three sisters were carrying two 8.8 CM guns she had her guns reduced to two 52mm mounts to enable a third torpedo tube to be added. They were designed as dual fuel type ships with two boilers fired by coal and two fired by fuel oil, enabling them to be of maximum use The Yarrow water tube boilers turned two geared turbines that were turning two screws with a horsepower rating of 5500 HP.
The history of these ships was interesting as a Dutch design, placed into Kriegsmarine service, and then two of them turned over to Brazil as a part of war reparations and then sold to Poland. The four ships served through WWI for Germany as coastal patrol and defense ships, V-106 being scrapped in 1920. V-107 hit a Russian mine and had her bow blown off in the harbor entrance to Libau on the 8th of May in 1915 just two months after being commissioned. V-105 was renamed the ORP Mazur, V-108 was renamed as the ORP Kaszub. These two were rearmed and used in various functions up to WWII. V-105 as the ORP Mazur had the distinction of being one of the first Polish ships sunk on September 1, 1939 when German bombers appeared over her berth in Oksywie dropping one bomb close to her and another amidships. The V-108 as the ORP Kaszub fell victim to a boiler explosion in Gdansk Harbor on July 20, 1925 with a loss of 3 crewmembers.
Mirage Hobby’s’ 1/400 scale line of model ships offers a good value in terms of size of completed kit, ease of assembly, as well as furnishing a Kit specific Photo Etched set for the subjects. The V-106 being one of three kits that are basically the same kit with different decals and painting instructions as well as box art to represent the ships in different time periods in service to two different Navy’s. As I have the ORP Kaszub kit and the V-106 on hand in the stash I have compared the two and they are alike as two peas in a pod.
The kit parts are molded in medium gray styrene on two frets. As this is a small ship it is a good starting point for a budding ship modeler with some kit experience to try his or her hand. There are no sinkholes in the parts on the sides that will be viewable and as it comes out of the box it is able to be built up acceptably.
The hull halves are glued together then the decks are added on top with all the other parts added to that basic assembly. The decks do feature a nice camber reflecting the ships actual appearance. If you would like to drill out the portholes in the hull, I would recommend that you wait until you have the decks glued on first as there is very little space at the tops in some places along the hull.
The bridge windows are in one half of the bridge top which would let you open them up if you chose to do so with some careful work. This is a full hull model so if you want to display it on a sea base you will either have to make a pocket for it to sit down into, build up your water surface or do some surgery. It does come with a stand if you care to model it that way.
The instructions are four pages in Polish and English with a brief history for the four ships, V-105 through V-108. There are paint call outs along the assembly steps to help you out as you work your way through. The drawings are quite easy to follow along and don’t contain any surprises. The decal sheet includes hull numbers for all four ships of the class as well as a German WWI Naval flag and pennant. From experience with Mirages’ decals, they are nice and don’t give you any fits in application. The last drawing in the instructions also includes a rigging diagram.
Options, options, options
As I pointed out at the start of the kit description, there is a kit specific Photo Etched set available for this one and it is highly recommended. Not only does it contain the railings, it also has the bridge wing supports, cranes and other small parts that while acceptable in their molded kit parts are better represented with photo etched parts simply because this is a rather small ship. It does cost twice the price of the kit itself, I think it is a valuable addition. It also includes a brass name plate that you could use either on the supplied base or one you make up.
Another interesting bit that I discovered while researching this particular model was that Roman Detyna’s Digital Navy supplies a free down load of the V-108 in 1/200 scale as a paper model on their site. At twice the size of the kit it would make an interesting project in its’ own right. As I have had some experience, it could also be built up as a styrene scratch build substituting your own supplied materials along with some other bits like railings and ladders from other manufacturers in the larger scale. Should you really want to get large, it would not be difficult to increase the size of the parts sheets using any number of photo editing programs to go up to other scales to use as a build guide.
If you are into downsizing as opposed to up scaling, HP Models offers a resin kit of this ship in 1/700 scale. It is available from Pacific Front Hobbies and from what I have read from a build article, provides a rather nice finished project on its’ own. It would also be a nice way to break into building your first resin ship model.
Link to the Digital Navy download page for the V-108 paper model:
Link to Pacific Front Hobbies:
I used build articles from several sites as well as Wikipedia to research this little review. We also have a completed model from our own “Skipper”, Rui Matos on site in a rather fine looking sea base. I obtained my model(s) from Squadron Mail Order as well as the Photo Etched set.