Sunday, May 2, 2021

German Kriegsfischkutters

Kriegsfischkutters (KFK) were small armed fishing boats used as auxiliary warships by the German navy during World War 2.

My newly completed Kriegsfischkutters
Similar to the British, before World War 2 the Germans created some standardized designs for their fishing fleet could be used by private operators. In return, the ships could be requisitioned by the navy during the war. One of the designs was the small Reichsfischkutter, which would then become the KFK during wartime. KFKs were used as escorts, submarine hunters, minesweepers, and general security duty.
Wartime photo of a KFK (from

Over 600 of these vessels were completed before and during the war. They were typically armed with one 37mm gun, one 20mm gun, and depth charges. But they often mounted extra guns and I’ve seen photos where the forward 37mm was swapped for a quad 20mm. Because they served everywhere the Germans had ships, these little craft are really useful for European-based coastal forces games.


As part of my Black Sea/Baltic Sea project, I picked up a couple Warlord Games Cruel Seas KFKs to help escorts merchants.


The basic kit is nice and includes two KFKs. The hull and superstructure are resin and didn't need much clean-up work. Everything went together easily and fit well. The worst part of the kit was the weapons, some of which required a lot of cleaning and filing to look good. For all the Warlord kits I've gotten I've had to spend a lot of time cleaning up the weapons. For me, they have been the most troublesome part of the kit. That said, the end results generally look pretty good. So, I guess I shouldn't complain too much. 

The other side of the KFKs

For my models, I decided to use the standard layout and weapons fit. Warlord sells a weapons pack, so you could switch up the armament some and, for the really ambitious, you cut off the minesweeping paravanes and add another gun. 

Size comparison with an S-boat

I painted up my ships in mid-gray with a light brown for the decks (the ship colors on the Warlord Games site look sort of blue-gray to me, which seems off). I then attempted to do some weathering on the ship. The decks and superstructure turned out okay (you can see the different planks on each). But I wonder if I was a little heavy with the colors on the side of the ship and for the water run-off holes. I touched this part up several times, but I'm still not sure it looks right. While I generally don't like my vehicles to be factory-fresh looking, I also don't care for heavy weathering. They will probably look fine on the gaming table. 

Overhead view showing the deck layout

Overall, I like the KFK kit. I would recommend them for anyone looking for a simple German ship to add to the 1/350 scale fleet. 

KFKs escorting a merchant


  1. I was just thinking about this line the other day as I have a large collection of 1:600. Of course I bought some of Warlords 1:300, but I haven't gone all in yet for table space reasons. I am happy to see that they are still supporting the line. Nicely done on the fishing vessels, look great to me.


    1. Thanks. I too have a large collection of coastal forces in 1/600 scale. So I'm limiting my 1/300 project to the areas where I don't already have miniatures, the Black Sea and Baltic.

  2. Great looking ships (boats?), Dave. I have to admit, some things in German seem like foul language :)