The Germans are coming! The Germans are coming! (by pickup and trailer)


In the category of “some people have the damnedest hobbies,” John Asmussen of Germany and William Terra of Maine have certainly each found one that suits them.

Mr. Asmussen created a fascinating and comprehensive website, Bizmark & Tirpitz, the purpose of which is “to give the visitors a detailed and informative place on the Internet related to the history of the battleships of the Bismarck Class.” His “criteria of success:”

I want to make a website that I would like to find myself if I want information about Bismarck and Tirpitz. I hope to have many visitors who’ll find this website useful and informative. Whether you like a website like this or not, (the level of details, design etc) is more or less a matter of taste.

Four years in the making and a few more needed to “complete” the project, Mr. Terra built a 1:20 scale, 30′, navigating model of the World War II German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee. (Wikipedia entry) Per Bizmark & Tirpitz:

  • The model is scratch built like a canoe using 2,54 – 10,16 cm (1 – 4 in) bass wood strips and then covered with fiberglass.
  • Estimated weight 318 kg (700 lbs).
  • The beam is 1,32 meter (52 in).
  • The length is about 9,1 meter (30 foot).
  • It can carry 2 persons.
  • The model is powered by a 15 hp (11,2 kw) outboard engine under rear gun turret.
  • It can sail 24 kilometer per hour (15 mph).
  • Furthermore the model has a music system build in.
  • While William Terra cruise the lakes of Maine he enjoys listening to Wagner.
  • The Commander-in-Chief in the photographs is William Terra.
  • William Terra would like to see more models build in this scale.






Pretty amazing projects by 2 very dedicated individuals. (understatement)

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Published by

Peter A. Mello

Father, son. Lifelong mariner, student of leadership, photographer. Professional creative placemaker.

19 thoughts on “The Germans are coming! The Germans are coming! (by pickup and trailer)”

  1. “I also did the USS Saratoga cva 66 from a kit to plans”. USS Saratoga (CV-60) is a Forrestal class carrier. CV-66 is the USS America which a Kitty Hawk class. The CVA designator for aircraft carriers was changed to CV in 1975.
    Cheers, DBO, Naval Engineer (USN Ret) (CV-60 1975-1979), (CV-43 1985-1989), (CV-67 1992-1996)

  2. FYI…there is no ‘z’ in Bismarck.

    As for obtaining 1/20 ship plans, you won’t find them. A plan for the Bismarck would be over 40 feet long. Buy a traditional scale plan and calculate up.

  3. Wagner is Great!! Doesn’t look anything like I saw it in 2001. Wonderful job Bill. I am proud of you-did you get the dolls you were looking for? Anyone that is interested, I am sure it is the best out there. I know Bill Terra personally and I know he has the best replica out there. Believe me, I attest to that because to Bill I am “Tessie on Toast”.

  4. Hi Jack;
    Sorry but I don’t know if there are plans available for Mr. Terra’s or other 1/20 scale models. Maybe another Sea-Fever reader can help.
    Thanks for visiting and commenting!

    1. I have drawn plans for the graf spee in 1/144 scale and the Scharnhorst same scale
      I also did the USS Saratoga cva 66 from a kit to plans by using a Proportional divider and a calculator using a scale ratio formular

  5. Are drawings available for William Terra’s 1/20 scvale model? I have been trying to contact him for two years with no success. Are you aware of any other 1/20 scale ship models with drawings that can be purchased?

  6. Thanks for visiting and commenting Mark! Never heard of the term “Theme Yacht” before but it’s entirely appropriate and never more so than in this case. Fair winds, Peter

  7. I believe that this type of model should actually be called a “THEME YACHT”. I know many people who have favorite ships and like this concept. Ecellent hobby, very unique…

  8. Hello, being a Maine resident I found this article to be quite interesting.
    Can anyone tell me what lake William Terra first lauched his German replica?

  9. I found your site from another blog. This story is awesome. I would love to cruise on the Ohio River in one of these model ships. People called it “obsession” when my father and I built an airplane to fly in. I think this is every bit as cool as out plane was.

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