Category Archives: Submarines

1/72 U-Boat Type XXVIIB Seehund German Midget Submarine

The Seehund German seal, also known as Type XXVII, was a successful series of German midget submarines created during World War II. Designed in 1944, and operated by two man crews, the submarines were used by the Kriegsmarine during the closing months of the war, sinking 9 merchant vessels and damaging an additional 3, with 35 losses mostly attributed to bad weather.

  • Highly detailed plastic pieces molded in gray.
  • Hull in two halves showing welded seams.
  • Detailed propeller and helm.
  • Periscope.
  • Two lateral torpedo tubes.
  • Display stand.
  • Waterslide decals.
  • Illustrated instructions
  • ICM7
  • MSRP:  $27.95 USD

german-midget-submarine

Here’s what could be a nice relief build after a long high-parts count model build, a weekend warriors build or a model of a different subject that you don’t usually build. The later gives you the change of practicing different weathering techniques especially if your model kits portfolio is mostly aircraft subjects. This is the Type XXVII 1/72 Midget Submarine from ICM Models. This is pretty much a 1 sprue model kit molded in light gray styrene. The instructions are for the most part self explanatory as the parts count if very low. A simple model kit yet by no means a snap-tite deal. Simple for the nature of the subject but well detailed for its scale.

There are no alignment points for the main hull, neither they are present on the 2 provided torpedoes. Despite  the absence of locating points, if you align and glue in increments, there should be no problems when the main super structure is cemented together and little sanding will be required. Judging by the provided extra parts, you can also build an early version.

Painting and Weathering:

With the subsequent weathering I had planned for this kit, I didn’t intend to break my head trying to achieve the ‘perfect’ color match. The top base coat is Tamiya XF-19 Sky Gray. A wash of AK-303 Grey Wash for Kriegsmarine ships followed by random spots of Vallejo Green Oxide 73112 pigment on 26333 Pigment Glaze.

The finishing touches was a selective wash with A. Mig 1003 Interiors Wash and A. Mig 1004 Light Rust Wash from Ammo by Mig.

This is a nice little model kit. And when I say little I mean it by the nature of this subject. You ought to see how midget is this midget sub next to the same 1/72 scale of the German U Boat from Revell. My only tiny complain about this kit is the fact that the clear ”bubble” on the hatch is not clear but provided as regular light gray styrene. Chances are that we could have a clear part that might be tweaked here and there and represent this part as it should be, clear. Other than that, I highly recommend this kit.

Acknowledgments
Thanks to the team over at Ammo by Mig for kindly providing the Ammo weathering products.

 

Brengun 1/144 Midget Sub X Craft

The X class was a World War II midget submarine class built for the Royal Navy during 1943–44.

Known individually as X-Craft, the vessels were designed to be towed to their intended area of operations by a full-size ‘mother’ submarine – (usually one of the T class or S class) – with a passage crew on board, the operational crew being transferred from the towing submarine to the X-Craft by dinghy when the operational area was reached, the passage crew returning with the dinghy to the towing submarine.

Once the attack was over, the X-Craft would rendezvous with the towing submarine and then be towed home. Range was limited primarily by the endurance and determination of their crews, but was thought to be up to 14 days in the craft or 1,500 miles (2,400 km) distance after suitable training. Actual range of the X-Craft itself was 500 nmi (930 km) surfaced and 82 nmi (152 km) at 2 knots (3.7 km/h) submerged.

The Kit:

I absolutely forgot that a midget submarine was, well, small. Here comes the 1/144 scale British Submarine X-Craft from Brengun Models.  My copy was a clean model with virtually no air bubbles trapped. The is as small fret of photo etched parts. Get your magnifying glass ready because you will be fiddling with really tiny parts.

I have dealt with good and not so good etched parts during the years and this is one good rendered fret. With a fresh #11 blade, one can only see the parts coming off because the holding tabs are very delicate and the cut is very clean.

I found that the instruction sheet is a little ‘hazy’ in terms of photo etched parts placement (no big deal IMHO).  Some parts are positioned in different locations when one look at the picture on the box.  I decided to follow my heart and the picture on the box.

There’s is a good 4 to 5 hours of fun with this kit. Most of them consumed by the photo etch parts assembly. The instructions calls for light and dark gray for which I used Tamiya XF-19 Light Gray and Tamiya XF-83 Medium Sea Gray.

After a coat of Vallejo Gray Primer, I painted the entire model with Tamiya XF-19 and my Aztek A470 airbrush. The Dark Gray area was painted by masking free hand with a piece of a sticky note. Avoid the glued side on the model or else you will have PE parts off your model. After sealing the colors with Testor Acryl Flat Clear, the model was weathered using the Naval Weathering Set 1 & 2 from AK Interactive seen on the picture below.

I have 2 shelves reserved for submarine model kits. I like building them. Most of them are built in 1/350 so they are in scale with other battle ships. In real life this is a small subject, so a 1/350 would have been an almost featureless model. 1/144 nailed it, it will be on display inside a 5 x 7 shadow box from the craft store.

Note from the Author

If you love submarine kits, you’re going to love this finely cast with nice photo etched detailed kit. Highly recommended!

My sincere thanks to Jan over at Brengun.cz for kindly sending this kit in. Brengun has high quality upgrade sets for other subjects as well as model kits. Check your local Brengun dealer here.

1/72 Moebius USS Skipjack

The Skipjack class was a class of United States Navy nuclear submarines. This class was named after its lead ship, the USS Skipjack. This new class introduced the teardrop hull and the S5W reactor to U.S. nuclear submarines. The Skipjacks were the fastest U.S. nuclear submarines until the Los Angeles-class submarines. The Skipjack‘s design was based on the successful Barbel-class submarines that were based on the USS Albacore design.

The design of the Skipjacks was very different from the Skate-class submarines that preceded the Skipjacks. Unlike the Skates, this new design was maximized for underwater speed by shaping the hull like a blimp. This required that the single screw was aft of the rudders and dive planes.

This so called “body-of-revolution hull” reduced her surface sea-keeping, but was essential for underwater performance. Skipjack‘s hull was also a single hull design, where the pressure hull and outer hull are the same for most of the length of the ship.

The first Skipjack class was authorized in the FY 1956 new construction programmed with the first of the class commissioned in April 1959. Each hull cost around $40 million. The Skipjacks saw service in Vietnam and throughout the Cold War.

The Skipjack-class submarines were withdrawn from service in the late 1980s and early 1990s except for the Scorpion, which sank on 5 June 1968 in the south west Azores, while returning from a Mediterranean deployment.

The Kit:

  • 1/72 SCALE
  • U.S.S. SKIP JACK
  • NUCLEAR-POWERED – FAST ATTACK SUBMARINE
  • SKILL LEVEL 3
  • 40 INCHES LONG
  • SUPER-DETAILED 50 PRECISION-TOOLED PARTS
  • DRAFT MARKINGS, HULL NUMBERS AND SHIP NAMES OF ALL 6 SKIPJACK-CLASS VESSELS
  • DISPLAY STAND

Here it is! Finally, the 1/72 Skipjack model kit from Moebious Models. This kit was previewed back on February 26, 2013. As I briefly mentioned on our Facebook page some time ago,  the kit was in standby to be painted. This kit is too big for my paint booth and I had to wait for the weather to improve here in MN to take it outside.

The main 4 hull parts can give the impression of being flimsy before assembly. However, once all the 4 parts are cemented, the hulls gets sturdy enough for static display. Some reinforcement would be needed should you plan to convert this model to radio control.

Once the main hull is assembled, it requires some gap filling which I did with Squadron Green putty. The rest of the parts are big enough to make this build almost self explanatory.

It is evident that Moebious went the extra mile researching this subject. Every hull and and sail starboard line is where they should be. But I found those lines on the ‘thick” side which can be a let down to those looking for the maximum accuracy rendering. If you are in that group, I humbly believe that this with some elbow grease can be corrected using the same panel lines as guides.

I strongly believe that this is to be expected on subjects with little surface details made into large scales. The photo etched parts provided with the kit are a nice touch. I would have love to see the dish on the SS-2 Radar Antenna (part #48) provided as a photo etched part.

Make sure you place the emergency stern light (clear part) before closing and cementing the sail starboard halves. Most important, don’t forget to add a shelf to your room wall to display this sub. It will cause a display impact on your relatives and friends.

Painting & Weathering:

This model was painted with my trusty Aztek A470 airbrush with the White Hi-Flow nozzle and a 12.cc gravity feed cup. Tamiya X-1 Flat Black was used and the other half of the hull was painted with Polly S Special Oxide Red (F414354). Once the model was dry, it was cleaned in a buffing circular motion with a piece of cotton rag.

 

The decals provided with the kit are top notch. The decals were placed onto puddles of Microsol decal solution skipping the Clear Gloss Coat. The decals are now sealed under a coat of Testors Lacquer Flat Cote spray.

Weathering: If you don’t see any weathering on this model, you are not seeing things. I wanted to take pictures of this model kit before that step. The folks over at AK Interactive kindly provided their new Naval Sets 1 & 2 for this project. Expect pictures of the Skipjack submarine all weathered on a separate post soon.

Note from the Author

As I always say, there is no such thing as the perfect model. The Skipjack submarine is my 3rd Sub in 1/72 scale. It is sharing room with a Revell GATO Class sub and a Revell of Germany German Wolfpack. By this time, Revell of Germany has announced the Skipjack as well.

 

_DSC1465

 

Even with its hull lines larger than they should be, this is a model worth adding to your subs or ships display. I highly recommend it.

My most sincere thanks to Moebius Models for kindly providing this kit.
Also, our acknowledgement to AK Interactive for eagerly becoming part of this project.

Airfix 1/350 Trafalgar Class Submarine

The Fleet Submarines of the Trafalgar Class are extremely sophisticated, deep diving, high-speed submarines, capable of fulfilling a range of maritime military tasks undreamed of by the strategists of previous generations. Their most important role is to seek out and destroy other submarines that may pose a threat to any friendly force.

  • Model Scale 1/350
  • Number of Parts 41
  • Dimensions (mm) L245 x W28
  • MSRP: $12.99 USD
  • Kit # A03260

The Kit:

Here is another kit of a well known British deep sea hardware. There is not a high number of parts involved and like the recent Airfix Red Arrows Hawk, this can be a fun project for the weekend. I didn’t find any fit problems with the lower and upper hull halves.

Worth mentioning is the fact that the lower hull half is comprised of two parts. So the finished super structure is comprised of 3 parts instead of the traditional 2 halves found in other submarine model kits.

To tackle the seam line on subs, I let the cement do its work first. I get wet/dry #320 or #400 grit sandpaper from my local supplier. Then I cut small 2 x 6 inches (approx) strips. I wet sand the seam in a old shoe polishing motion. It does work very nice on round surfaces, and if you can find a helping hand (in this case my wife), you can have this done in a matter of minutes.

Painting and Decals:

The kit was painted using Tamiya XF-1 Flat Black and my Aztek  A470 airbrush using the Tan Nozzle. The a coat of  Testors Model Master Acryl Flat Clear. Once the clear gets dried, I use a an old cotton shirt to polish the kit. This leaves the model with a slight sheen.

For the price of this model kit, I was surprised to find good quality decals in it. They were applied over a puddle of Microsol decal solution without the need of gloss coating. This saves me valuable bench time. Once the decals were set, another coat of Acryl Flat Clear was applied.

Speaking of decals, there are markings for 7 Submarines. The kit provides the necessary parts to build a Trafalgar (S107) 2008-2009. A few necessary parts are provided as well for the following subs:

  • HMS TURBULENT
  • HMS TIRELESS
  • HMS TORBAY
  • HMS TRENCHANT
  • HMS TALENT
  • HMS TRIUMPH (Used on this kit)
Final Note
This is a very nice and reasonable priced model kit. The decal sheet alone is well worth in my *personal* opinion the price tag. The kit features very nicely engraved detail for its scale. If you’re looking for a new challenge or simply because you love these steel behemoths of the sea, I’m very sure that you’ll be pleased with this kit. Highly Recommended.

Review sample courtesy of my wallet.

Weathered with Salt Streak AK 306 kindly provided by AK Interactive.

1/72 Moebius USS Skipjack Submarine Preview

Presenting the 1/72 USS Skipkack Nuclear Powered Submarine from Moebius Models. The mail carrier dropped off this one in my studio last week so here are the preview pictures. Let me start by saying, don’t let the box of this kit fool you. Moebius went the extra mile to wisely use every square inch during the package design. This may seem a bit trivial to some, but shelf space is a big commodity .

1/72 Moebius USS Skipjack Submarine Preview

I have seen reports of the hull parts being ”flimsy”. This is absolutely NOT true. Size X thickness, the hull pieces are as sturdy as they get and to my experience, no different than the 1/72 Revell Wolfpack and GATO Class Submarine.

The kit is comprised of 50 parts including some clear lenses and photo etched to build a 42” long model. Decals are in the Goldilocks side, not to thick, not too thin. Also included markings for all 6 Skipjack Class vessels.

  • USS SKIPJACK (SSN-585)
  • USS SCAMP (SSN-588)
  • USS SCORPION (SSN-589)
  • USS SCULPIN (SSN-590)
  • USS SHARK (SSN-591)
  • USS SNOOK (SSN-592)

The hull will require a mini saw to get rid of the remaining injection runners. No big deal but worth the suggestion. They are too thick and I rather avoid the stress induced by regular styrene cutters.

The rest of the parts are free of molding lines and zero flash on the smaller parts. The instructions are as easy as a Quick Set Up guide and comes with the suggested colors for the kit.

Wait, there’s more! If you are into the RC hobby, the Caswell Company has a R/C motor kit designed specifically for the 1/72 Moebius Skipjack.

Read the acknowledgements on the instructions, this will give you an idea of the great care and commitment to accuracy from Moebius on this project.

Look for a build review of this kit soon.

My sincere thanks to Moebius Models for the review copy.

1/350 Russian Nuclear Submarine ‘Kursk’

The K-141 Kursk was an Oscar-II class nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine of the Russian Navy, lost with all hands when it sank in the Barents Sea on 12 August 2000. Kursk, full name Атомная подводная лодка «Курск», which, translated, means the nuclear powered submarine “Kursk” [АПЛ “Курск”] in Russian, was a Project 949A Антей (Antey, Antaeus, also known by its NATO reporting name of Oscar II). It was named after the Russian city Kursk, around which the largest tank battle in military history, the Battle of Kursk, took place in 1943. One of the first vessels completed after the end of the Soviet Union, it was commissioned into the Russian Navy’s Northern Fleet.

The Kit: Let me start by saying that this model kit is BIG! At 1/350 scale, it almost hits 18” long  (44.5 cm). The kit is comprised of 28 parts and trust me, if you want to make the most out of this kit, this is in no way a weekend project. If I were to build this kit again, I would add more aligning tabs with styrene stock.

4 aligning tabs (with no locating points) are not enough considering the length of the hull halves. Be ready to fill and sand, the joint line is not perfect all around the hull more notable on a ‘black’ finish model. To see the scale of this submarine, I added a few 1/350 figures from Tamiya’s Detail-Up Parts Series.

The missile hatches are painted in Tamiya Dark Gray. The hatches bay received some structural detailing as I had planned to have one side open. I used .015 x .040” (stock #112) styrene from Evergreen Scale Models.

Painting and Weathering:

Here comes a little bit of a challenge. Submarines might be painted in flat black in dry docks, but the truth is that to our eyes they don’t look as black as we think. My reference pictures and videos show that the finish quickly turns into a dark gray. The only sections of black we can see, are those wet areas at sea. I could have played alchemist with my Testors or Tamiya colors. But instead, I looked in my local hobby shop at the shelf I seldom look, the Polly Scale Rail Road colors.

And there it was, after comparing a few shades of black from Polly S colors, the one that I found the most appropriate was F414110 Steam Power Black. Streak lines were achieved with medium to light gray. White is too strong *in my humble opinion*.

OK, where’s the red hull bottom? Good question if you’re wondering. I did look all over and consulted my references. At least on the Kursk submarine, there is no trace of Hull Red or Light Gray on those pictures of the recovered wreck. Because I’m not 100% sure, I decided to leave the bottom black until further research and confirmation. Painting this area if necessary, will be an easy task.

The weathering of the Kursk Submarine was achieved with Loew Cornell fine pigment pastels set 882. It is comprised of 12 gray tones (available at Michaels). From another color set I own, I used Brown, Orange and Light Blue shades. The model was not sealed before or after the weathering.

I want to have the rough finish of unsealed paint and believe me, at normal viewing distance, this model looks like is made of black cast iron / steel. The silver area on the hull was painted with Alclad 2 Airframe Aluminum. All decals were added on a ”puddle” of Microsol Decal Solution and went on without problems.

I know that Zvezda produces fine model kits in a great variety of subjects. However, I never came across a subject that called for Zvezda Models until now. As I write this, I’m about 30% from finishing Zvezda’s K-19 also in 1/350 scale.

I like their packaging system although parts come loose in the box, no plastic bag at all and your model sounds like a puzzle inside. The hull halves on both, the Kursk and K-19 are solid, but the other part trees are a little soft. No big deal but worth mentioning.

Decals, there is no attempt from Zvezda to be more clear on this area. The instructions only show an approximate decal placement on the conning tower. For the rest of the decals, we are pretty much on our own. The instructions in general are in Russian, but the illustrations are good enough.

Note from the Author
I did put about 2 hours detailing the structure in the missile bays. Something that you don’t have to worry if you are planning of leaving them closed. Still, I believe that this is no weekend project. Most of the building time went towards weathering.

Weathering at 1/350 is totally different from my usual 1/48 aircraft and 1/35 armor.

The nice thing is that if you go overboard, you can always use dark gray or even black pastels to subtle things down. Even with its minor shortcomings, i.e. aligning tabs, no locating points and lack of decal placement guide, this model is highly recommended. I would dare to say that some model building experience would help.

Cyber Hobby 1/350 Alfa Class Submarine

The Soviet Union/Russian Navy Project 705 (Лира/Lira, “Lyre”) was a class of hunter/killer nuclear powered submarines. The class is also known by the NATO reporting name of Alfa. They were the fastest class of military submarines built, with only the prototype K-222 (NATO “Papa” class) exceeding them in submerged speed.

The Lira was a unique design among submarines; it used a powerful lead cooled fast reactor as a power source, which greatly reduced the size of the reactor compared to conventional designs, thus reducing the overall size of the submarine, and allowing for very high speeds. However, it also meant that the reactor had a short lifetime and had to be kept warm when it was not being used. As a result, the Liras were used as interceptors, mostly kept in port ready for a high-speed dash into the North Atlantic.  More info after this link.

 

 

The Kit:

This is the 1/350 Alfa Class Submarine from Cyber Hobby bundled in their special Orange Box with the U.S.S. Yorktown of the same scale. This kit is a one sprue deal without much to write back home about it. The 2 hull halves fit is very good, but being a round shape, be ready to use some putty. The trick is snading down the joints with a Squadron sanding stick on a round surface.

In this case, I use the same approach as I do with some aircraft model’s fuselage. I do cut a strip of wet/dry sandpaper (usually 400 grit) and get the help of the 1st one who shows up in my room . I sand the two hull halves with wet sandpaper in ‘shoe polishing motion” ;o)

Painting the Russian Alfa Class:
I used 2 shades of Black. I first applied a coat of Tamiya XF-1 Flat Black to the entire model followed by airbrushing at random some Polly Scale Grimy Black. The lower hull was painted with Tamiya XF-19 Sky Gray. It might not be the right color, but I don’t really pay attention to that shade of gray if the model is to be heavily weathered (my personal opinion of course).

2 coats of Testors Gloss Cote, left the surface ready for decals which went very nice with no notable silvering over a black surface to complaint about. Once the decals were dry, a final coat of Testor Dull Cote was applied followed by weathering with Tamiya Weathering Master sets. Because most of this weathering will be lost if the model is sealed with another coat of Dull Cote, the model as you see it on the pictures is unsealed.

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Revell 1/72 Gato Class Model Kit Pictures

Although the Revell’s 1:72 Gato Class Submarine was a last year project, it happened during the transition of publishing platform (SMF to WordPress) and lots of model kit pictures and posts didn’t make it. Marking are from the USS Cobia which is still stationed in Wisconsin and used as a museum. As you can see from the pictures, there is  one taken with a 6×6 Truck and a Testors SBD-4 Dauntless in 1/72 for scale reference.

USS Cobia (SS 245) was launched on November 28, 1943. In June 1944, she began the first of six war patrols in which she sank thirteen Japanese vessels for a total of 20,000 tons of enemy shipping. By July 1944, Cobia had established herself in the annals of World War II sub history by attacking an enemy convoy bound for Japanese-held Iwo Jima

Obviously this is a model kit that requires plenty of display real estate and with the proper knowledge and how to, it can also be converted into an R/C Submarine. The parts were crisply molded in my copy and fit was nothing to complaint about. I hope you enjoy these pictures of the 1/72 GATO Class from Revell as well as the short clip.

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1/72 scale German U-BOAT from Revell

The Type VII C was a further development of the Type VII B. The VII C was by far the most built submarine. It was also the most successful submarine of all time and in all countries. By the end of the war 577 units had been completed. From the delivery of the first sub of this type in 1940 these units formed the backbone of the German submarine forces in the Battle of the Atlantic.

Revell 1/72 German U-BOAT

This is good news for model kit builders who either missed the first release or now want to add another version of the infamous German U Boat to their kit collection without having to shed big bucks at the auction site. As of September, 2011, Revell of Germany will have once again their soughtafter 1/72 scale German U Boat.

There are plenty of aftermarket accessories for this kit as there is interest for this kit. I built this kit nearly a year ago shortly after finishing my Revell GATO class 1/72 American submarine. With the GATO, I indulged myeself in a few resin figures and torpedoes from CMK Resin Productions.

With the U Boat, I settled for Revell of Germany figures set # 02525. Now, don’t take this as 100% accurate, but I’ve heard that the new Revell U Boat is including this set of figures.

If someone can confirm this, please let us know thru our comments section below. Along I’m including a few pictures of the U-Boat with a scale comparison between the GATO Class. You can see the GATO submarine on top of a 32” LCD TV. It won’t fit inside the showcase where the U-Boat model kit is in.