Minecraft Maps / Water Structure

SMS Derfflinger (1913) 4:1 Scale

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ConfuseACat's Avatar ConfuseACat
Level 49 : Master Engineer
Imperial German Battlecruiser SMS Derfflinger (1913) (4:1 Scale)

SMS Derfflinger (1913) 4:1 Scale Minecraft Map

SMS Derfflinger was a battlecruiser of the Imperial German Navy during the First World War, and was one of the navy’s most successful vessels. I personally think that the Derfflinger class were beautiful ships, as well as being a very effective design, so they’re among my favourite ships in general.

I’d previously done 1:1 scale versions of the class – Derfflinger and Lützow are in Project Jutland, while 1:1 Hindenburg has a separate project page.

When I fancied doing a 4:1 scale build, Derfflinger seemed like the obvious choice. I've since also done Lützow in 4:1 scale, and she can be seen here.


The Fourth Naval Law, passed in 1912, authorised three new dreadnoughts. They became the Derfflinger class battlecruisers, a response to the British Lion class. They formed the ‘second generation’ of German battlecruisers, with several improvements over the preceding SMS Seydlitz. Notably they moved all of the main armament onto the centreline and upgraded the main guns to the excellent 30.5 cm SK L/50. The secondary armament was fourteen 15 cm guns in casemates, with an anti-torpedo boat armament of twelve 8.8 cm guns. They could make 26.5 knots on four screws.

SMS Derfflinger was ordered from Blohm & Voss under the contract name ‘K’. She was laid down in March 1912 and was ready to launch in summer 1913. The first attempt failed when the ship became jammed on the wooden sledges, but the second attempt in July 1913 was successful. She was completed and commissioned on the 1st of September 1914 shortly after the outbreak of war.

The navy found her to be an excellent sea boat, though she did roll over quite a lot at full rudder. To combat this anti-roll tanks were added, which meant that two of the secondary guns had to be removed to make room.

SMS Derfflinger (1913) 4:1 Scale Minecraft Map

She was part of the 1st Scouting Group for the duration of the war and took part in all of the major fleet advances, including the various operations bombarding the coastal towns of eastern England and the Battle of Dogger Bank in January 1915.

Her finest hour came at the Battle of Jutland on the 31st of May and 1st of June 1916. She was second in the line of the German Scouting Force behind Hipper’s flagship, her sister ship Lützow. Derfflinger engaged HMS Princess Royal, but the British ship was soon obscured by smoke and fumes, so she switched her fire to HMS Queen Mary. Queen Mary was already being engaged by SMS Seydlitz, and between them the two German battlecruisers soon scored a deadly hit that sent the British ship up in a huge magazine explosion.

As the battlecruisers joined up with the High Seas Fleet, they came under fire from the British 5th Battle Squadron. They took hits from British 15” shells, which caused Derfflinger to take on 300 tons of water at the bow. Sailing north in pursuit of the British battlecruisers, Hipper saw the light cruiser Wiesbaden which was dead in the water after taking a 12” shell from HMS Invincible. He altered course to support her, and soon saw the British armoured cruisers Defence and Warrior racing to finish off the crippled ship. Lützow opened fire, followed by Derfflinger and the rest of the battlecruisers. Defence was blown up almost immediately and Warrior suffered crippling damage before managing to limp away.

The German battlecruisers were then engaged by the approaching British 3rd Battlecruiser Squadron. The British ships soon scored several hits on Hipper’s fleet, including 10 hits on Lützow. Two of those hits from Invincible exploded below the waterline, leaving Lützow taking on a lot of water which would ultimately result in her sinking. Then abruptly Invincible became a clear target for Lützow and Derfflinger; their combined fire soon destroyed her with yet another magazine explosion.

The damage that Lützow had suffered effectively took her out of the battle. Shortly afterwards, Admiral Scheer ordered the battlecruisers to cover the retreat of the High Seas Fleet by making a charge towards the British line. Since Lützow was limping away, the task of leading the charge fell to Derfflinger.

Derfflinger led Seydlitz, Moltke and Von der Tann in what has been described as a “Death Ride”, sailing into the guns of the entire British Grand Fleet, into "the greatest concentration of naval gunfire any fleet commander had ever faced". 18 British battleships opened fire on them, at ever decreasing ranges. At their closest, the German ships had closed to within 4 miles of the Royal Navy ships. Derfflinger took especially heavy fire, and had two main gun turrets knocked out, but managed to veer away and lead the other battlecruisers to safety.

The British crews were grudgingly impressed by Derfflinger’s stubborn refusal to sink and gave her the enduring nickname “Iron Dog”.

In the night as the German fleet attempted to evade the British, Beatty’s battlecruisers came across Hipper’s at the rear of the High Seas Fleet. Hipper’s squadron was in no fit state to fight; one shell hit Derfflinger’s last operational gun turret and left her with no main armament in action at all. The battlecruisers managed to slip away once again, putting themselves behind the undamaged German pre-dreadnoughts.

Derfflinger made it back to port having been hit by 17 heavy calibre and 9 secondary shells. By the end of the battle she only had two main battery guns in action and took the heaviest casualties of any ship that wasn’t sunk; 157 killed and 26 wounded.

SMS Derfflinger (1913) 4:1 Scale Minecraft Map

Derfflinger went an extended repair and refit until October 1916. Her battle damage was repaired, her pole foremast was removed and replaced with a sturdier tripod mast, her torpedo nets were removed and much of the 88mm anti torpedo boat armament was removed.

The rest of the war was uneventful for the German surface fleet, with no more major battles. Derfflinger was one of the ships interned in the British Naval base at Scapa Flow after the Armistice in November 1918. The German Navy suspected that they would be ordered to hand the ships over to the victorious allies once the peace treaty was signed, so in a last act of defiance the entire fleet was scuttled in the harbour in June 1919 about a week before the Treaty of Versailles was signed. Derfflinger rolled over and sank upside-down.

She was salvaged in the 1930s (still upside-down) and scrapped.

The Build

SMS Derfflinger was 210.4m long, so this 4:1 model is 842 blocks long overall. As ever with my builds, there’s no interior.

I've represented Derfflinger in the following versions:

Original Configuration, September 1914 - Early 1916

Derfflinger appears as she was at her commissioning in September 1914, based on specifications, line drawings and whatever photographs I could find. Unfortunately, photographs of her original configuration are somewhat rarer than those of the post-1916 refit, but I think I found enough. I've chosen to fly a single War Ensign at the stern.

At the Battle of Jutland, 31st May 1916

By the time of Jutland, the 8.8 cm guns had been removed from Derfflinger's forward superstructure, but the casemates were still in place.

At Jutland, every German ship had their rear funnel painted red as a form of recognition. I've also elected to fly a second War Ensign at the mainmast.

Late War Version, Summer 1916 - November 1918

While being repaired for battle damage suffered at Jutland, Derfflinger underwent a significant refit. The changes that would have been made here are:

- Replacement of the foremast with a new tripod mast
- Reworking of the mainmast and rigging
- Addition of a new enclosed bridge
- Removal of the anti-torpedo nets
- Removal of the aft 8.8cm guns
- Plating over of the 8.8cm casemates in the forward superstructure
- White circles painted on top of Berta and Cäsar turrets to aid identification for friendly aircraft and Zeppelins

Unfortunately the foremast for this version would be too tall to fit in the height limit, so I haven't been able to do it.

You can see how this version looked in real life in the colourised photo up above in the History bit.

However this does lead me on to -

Interned at Scapa Flow, November 1918 - June 1919

This version includes all of the changes listed for the 1916-1918 version above. The main difference is that when the German fleet was interned in Scapa Flow, Derfflinger's fore topmast was taken down - which rather handily puts it back into the height limit again. Aside from the lack of the fore topmast, this version is largely identical to how the 1916-1918 version would have been. The only other difference is that this version is not flying any ensigns - when the German ships surrendered, one of Admiral Beatty's first orders was that all their flags should be hauled down and not raised again.

The following album contains renders of the completed build: http://imgur.com/a/JkBvQ

The following album contains work in progress renders: http://imgur.com/a/auyKW

The World Download contains two versions of the map, one in water and one without water. Each map has got all three versions of the build in it. Please do let me know if you spot any mistakes. :)

Future Updates

This should be the last update to Derfflinger - unless I find some more mistakes or the height limit increases and allows me to properly do the 1917-1918 version.

After having built Derfflinger and Lützow, there remains one sister ship to do - SMS Hindenburg.

Hindenburg was built to a slightly modified design. She was about 2 metres longer, and like Lützow she carried the full 14 secondary guns. She was built from the outset with a tripod mast similar to the one that Derfflinger gained in her refit and had different funnel designs to the other two ships. Like Derfflinger's refit, the full height of the mast would put her above the height limit so I would have to do the version with the topmast taken down.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Additional Credit

Render by CrankerMan
Progress100% complete

2 Update Logs

Update #2 - Error fixes and new 1919 Version : by ConfuseACat 08/07/2016 2:31:11 pmAug 7th, 2016

1914 Version
- Error with 15cm casemates fixed.

Jutland Version
- Error with 15cm casemates fixed.
- 8.8cm guns removed from casemates in the forward superstructure.
- War ensign added at the mainmast.

NEW Scapa Flow 1919 Version Added

Changes for this version compared with the Jutland version:

- Tripod foremast replaces pole mast.
- Mainmast tops reworked.
- Rigging changed.
- Enclosed bridge added
- Torpedo nets removed
- Empty 8.8cm casemates plated over
- Aft 8.8cm guns removed
- White circles added on top of Berta and Cäsar turrrets

New renders added to account for the error fixes and the new version.

Download updated.


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08/07/2016 11:51 pm
Level 56 : Grandmaster Architect
squirrel-friend's Avatar
08/08/2016 5:44 pm
Level 49 : Master Engineer
ConfuseACat's Avatar
Cheers! I'm glad you like it - especially coming from such a great builder as you. :)
07/31/2016 12:07 pm
Level 64 : High Grandmaster Sailor
_NamSek_'s Avatar
This is very BEAUTIFUL and COOL
08/08/2016 5:43 pm
Level 49 : Master Engineer
ConfuseACat's Avatar
Thanks - I like it when things get that sort of reaction!
08/24/2015 6:58 pm
Level 23 : Expert Engineer
Mr_Dzielnicowy's Avatar
Really great work, especially that it is in 4/1 scale. It for sure took a lot of time and effort to create it with so many details. 

Greetings ~Mr_D
09/02/2015 4:40 pm
Level 49 : Master Engineer
ConfuseACat's Avatar
Thanks :)

For a long time I resisted going to larger scales, but now I'm glad I did. The extra scope for fine detail is fantastic.
08/14/2015 11:04 pm
Level 41 : Master Engineer
Dispharmacy's Avatar
Wooow, This is incredible! Great, great work mate! 
You got ma diamond!
08/16/2015 6:51 am
Level 49 : Master Engineer
ConfuseACat's Avatar
Thankyou, sir! Took a lot of work, but I think it was worth it. :)
08/14/2015 7:05 pm
Level 26 : Expert Taco
SonarCST's Avatar
Holy cow this is amazing mate!
08/16/2015 6:51 am
Level 49 : Master Engineer
ConfuseACat's Avatar
Thanks very much! Glad you like it.
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