German Z-38 Destroyer

Published: April 19th, 2012     
Box Art
Box Art
Reviewed by: 
Greg Wise, IPMS# 44378
Scale: 1/350
Company: Dragon Models
Company: Dragon Models
Price: $60.79
Product / Stock #: DRA 1049

History Brief

The Z-38 was a Zerstorer 1936 A-class destroyer, also known as the Narvik class destroyer by the Allies. These ships carried only their hull number and were not named by the Germans. Constructed by F. Krupp Germaniawerft AG in Kiel, she was fitted with leftover parts intended for larger ships, including 155mm twin turrets and 5.9inch guns. Closer in size to a light cruiser, her wartime displacement weighed in at 3,691 tons and hosted a crew of 330 souls. She was launched on August 5th, 1941, and commissioned on March 20th, 1943. Soon after completion of her sea trials, she was selected for escort duties and found herself assigned to the battleship Scharnhorst. Her colorful wartime record was extensive and, nonetheless, just as honorable. After WWII, she was seized by the British and used as a test ship under the name Nonsuch.  She was scrapped in 1950. A total of 15 Zerstorer 1936A-class destroyers were produced by Germany.

The Product

Dragon has previously provided us 1/350-scale kits of the Z31 and Z39 destroyers, and now we have their sister-ship, the Z38. She can be built full-hull or waterline-hull and features:

  • New aft-superstructure
  • Portholes molded on hull
  • Single AA gun
  • Mines
  • Bilge keels
  • Sumatra radar
  • 20mm Naval-vierling
  • 533mm torpedo launcher
  • 50mm twin turret w/2 square life rafts
  • 127mm single turret
  • photo-etched funnel cap grills
  • Torpedo locker
  • Winch and mine rails
  • Square life rafts
  • 5 figures
  • One decal sheet with markings for 3 versions:
  1. German Z-38 Destroyer, 1944
  2. HMS Nonsuch, 1946
  3. HMS Nonsuch, 1948

All the plastic has the expected quality that precedes the Dragon name; flash free and clean, the detailing is incredible, to say the least. The sculpted crew figures are absolutely jaw dropping and will leave you amazed. The Dragon guys really like using their slide molding technology, allowing their CAD designer to raise the standard once again in the ship-modeling world. Using this technology, they have managed to simplify basic modeling building construction and expand on more dimensional compound detailing. The photo etch parts are beautifully done and the decals also look exceptional. When magnified, you'll find all the fine print in register. The instruction sheet also is a well-planned masterpiece; I could not find any faults or flaws of the in-box contents in my examination.

The Bottom Line

Fundamental test fitting proves construction to be 99.9% near perfect.  This is a must have for the Kriegsmarine warship collector. I highly recommend this kit to any experienced ship modeler.


Thanks to IPMS/USA and Dragon Models USA for the opportunity to review such a beautiful kit.

  • Sample sprue
    Sample sprue
  • Bridge detail
    Bridge detail
  • Example of slide mold technology
    Example of slide mold technology
  • Crew figure in 1/350th
    Crew figure in 1/350th
  • Crew set
    Crew set
  • PE stack grills
    PE stack grills
  • Other PE details
    Other PE details

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