My ship Catalogue

Classic Ship Models 9

"Gorch Fock" as museum vessel in Straslund, Germany



German Reichsmarine Training Vessel 1933

Built by Blohm & Voss in Hamburg in 1933, the "Gorch Fock" was the first of five vessels from the shipbuilder of similar design. She was commissioned just 100 days after commencement and served as a training vessel for the German Navy until the outbreak of World War II.   Laid up in Straslund during the war, she was re-activated in 1944 but taken over by the Russians, restored and renamed "Tovarishch" also serving as a training vessel based in Odessa. She participated in many Tall Ship races around the world but, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, she sailed under the Ukranian flag until 1993. Needing substantail repair, she lay in Newcastle on Tyne from 1995 until 1999 when transferred to Wilhelmshaven. Without funding, she lay there until 2003 when moved back to Straslund where she is berthed as a museum piece but in dire need of maintenance. She is said to be stable but poor condition, requiring 6 million dollars to restore her to sailing status.

"Gorch Fock" is a three masted barque of some 1510 displacement tons. She has a steel hull and, as a safety precaution, contains 300 tons of ballast to provide sufficient righting moment to return her to upright when heeling to almost 90 degrees. The vessel has an overall length of 269 ft, a breadth of 39 ft and a draft of 13 ft. The mainmast is 135 ft above deck level. The auxiliary engine is of 550 HP  and she carries 23 sails.

Her sister ships, which were built before the war along similar lines with minor modifications to length and motive power, were the "Horst Wessel" (now the US coastguard's "Eagle"), the "Albert Leo Schlageter (now the Sagres III under the Portuguese flag and still sailing) and the "Mercia" built and still working as a Romanian training vessel. The "Herbert Norkus" was under construction at the outbreak of war but never completed. She was damaged in an air-raid and subsequently scuttled in the Skagerrak in 1947. A number of South American training vessels were also built along the same lines as the Blohm and Voss design.




German Naval Training Vessel

There are a number of kits available for this ship and the one used here is a 1:90 scale model from Mantua of Italy. The final product is marginally over 1,000 mms in length, 160 mms beam and 490 mms of mainmast height. Modelling was commenced in April 2012 and completed twelve months later on April 13th 2013.

For the interest of fellow modellers, Mantua kits are generally of reasonable quality timbers and accessories but the quantities do not allow for much leeway if errors are made. It is useful always to have a collection of spare timber and common fittings. One should maintain the golden rule of never dispensing of left over materials from previous models! The explanatory notes and plans for this model are adequate but not for the inexperienced.

It is advisable to firstly read through all the instructions as there are a number of instances where it may be advisable to vary the order of work.  The frames were laser cut well and fitted with very little fashioning required. The hull is double planked and the ply decking well cut to fit the frames. Due to the minute size and 'softness' of the brass stanchions, the reeving of the handrail wires, without kinking, required utmost care and precision. Other than that, the end result provides satisfaction and is much admired.

A few additional photos follow indicating the stages of construction

Gorch Fock planked and painted 21.9.13

Gorch Fock complete with most deck fittings December 2013