Monday, August 20, 2007

Revell 1/72nd U-Boat

This is Revell-Germany's 1/72nd scale Type-VIIC U-boat. It's a big and rather striking model, though perhaps more "big" than "striking". Note how it overflows my jumped-up "photo studio" in the first picture and gets into one of the lights! Its sheer size makes it difficult to work on; I ended up having to move it to my "woodworking bench" just because there was more room there.

But for such a large model, it goes together relatively quickly and easily, though I found the rudders and stern diving planes somewhat fragile, and the odd shape of the dismounted conning tower makes it all too easy for it to roll off the workbench. Ask me how I know that. Sharp-eyed viewers will note that the optics at the top of the attack periscope are missing - they snapped off when the conning tower rolled off the bench and were never seen again.

I spent a lot of time opening up the free-flood holes in the hull, and in a way I wish I hadn't. I didn't duplicate any of the pressure hull behind the free-flood holes, so in the right light you can see all the way through the hull and it just doesn't seem right.

I decided to build it as Erich Topp's boat from earlier in the war ("U-552 Early" in the instruction sheet) though purists will note that I didn't apply Topp's Red Devil marking to the conning tower. Maybe someday, but my decal sheet was damaged by exposure to high temperature, wind, bad vibes or something and I only barely managed to salvage the decals on the base. Later, when I have more nerve, I'll try Topp's personalized markings, but for now, I'm simply pretending that the Red Devil washed off in high seas.

Buy lots of paint! The hull consumed a full bottle of Model Master flat black, and I still had to touch up here and there with a little bit of hardware flat black. Still, I knew I was going to weather the boat, so I didn't worry about the coverage too much. I weathered the boat with pastel chalks for the most part. I use a stiff white artist's brush to grind pigment off the bars of chalk, which is cleaner and easier than rubbing the stuff on sandpaper, and I kept sealing as I went along with Dullcoat. The clear flat spray darkens and tones down the weathering, so for a while I was scrubbing on pure orange and hoping that it would look all right overcoated. I think it does.

I found the Squadron "U-boats In Action" volume useful in building this kit.

There is no crew, yet. A while back I bought Revell's vinyl "Kriegsmarine" figure set and will add a few figures to the boat. I'll probably use the guys in slickers on my S-100 and add a couple of nonchalantly-standing guys to my U-boat just to give it an impression of scale. Any thoughts of showing the crew manning the deck gun were dashed when I hung the kill pennants from the overhead rope, but none of the Kriegsmarine figures look much like Topp and his bridge crew lounging in the sun while the boat arrives in port. So I'll just throw in one or two guys for scale and call it good.

Thanks for attention!