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U-81 U-boat VIIc Revell 1/350 (14 posts)

  • My great uncle Artie was on HMS Ark Royal when this U-Boat sank her from distance. My Dad made it into the merchant navy as basically a boy for the latter years of the war and had tales to tell about subs. Both saw the war out.

    I had always intended to build a large kit of a U-Boat with my boys when they were older, as I had done this with my father – a cutaway with lots of interior detail and figures. I occasionally look at the history of the boat and wait for my boys to grow a little before taking the plunge (no pun).

    Yesterday, looking through some records it came back to me that this sub had also hunted as part of a wolf-pack off North Africa in 42-43.

    Now I haven’t looked at a maritime kit for about 40 years – so the expectation is certainly not going to be in the same universe as the absolute masterpiece that has just appeared on imodeler by incredible coincidence (and which gave me serious second thoughts even though I had ordered the kit 24 hours earlier ).

    1/350 U-boat VII/C “The beginning of the End.”

    by Won-hui Lee

    At some point I will find that large cutaway U-boat to build with the boys, but right now I’ll put together this small version as part of the group build, as the whole of the Africa campaign, for both sets of protagonists, ebbed and flowed as supplies came and went. U-Boats and the war the Allies waged on them played significant roles in the destiny of those supplies. I’ll save the specific History for later but here is an interesting read:

    Convoy SL-125: Sacrificial Lamb For Operation Torch?

    I don’t think I have a modelling ‘comfort zone’ but if I did this would fall way outside it. Wish me luck. I’ll post the box and contents when it arrives!

  • Paul, I’ve been applauding you in my heart all day and only now have come around to posting a reply. This is a significant addition to the GB because I broaches the naval aspect of the Tunisia Campaign. It is also highly significant to hear of the family connection.

    Bravo, and many thanks, mate.

  • Kind words David, ‘in for a penny’ as they say!

  • Paul, looking forward to seeing this!

  • I’m with Bernard on this. U-boats have always had my interest. This will be good !!!!

  • Nice pick Paul look forward to seeing it completed.

  • Well, U81 arrived today. It is small (19.2cm in length) and has 28 parts – some suitably delicate. There are a small number of tiny decals: an emblem for the conning tower, a flag and some labels for its stand. There is quite a lot of flash given that it is a 2009 kit.

    I am happy it is diminutive, but can already see that great care is going to be needed in sanding, gluing and fitting. It should build very quickly – and the fun will certainly be in the painting and weathering!

    ‘Springing into action’ I have sanded the deck, hull and conning tower, and joined the halves of the hull – and filled the keel with Mr Surfacer 500. I’ll sand that off later.

    4 attached images. Click to enlarge

  • Nice progress Paul. Man that sub is tiny not sure I could build something that small. Looking forward to seeing her done.

  • That is tiny! Wow! But it’s great to see progress. Good work, Paul.

  • Great start! It sure is a tiny model and like you’re saying the model will stand out with all the painting and weathering done. Looking forward to your progress.

  • ‘Small’ appears to lend itself to ‘unheard-of progress’ in my house. This is about as fast as I go!

    The hull has been primed (AK grey primer), pre-shaded (Vallejo AV Black) and painted (AK Interactive RLM 74). RLM 74 is considered a good approximation to the anti-fouling paint used on U-Boats of this type.

    The deck is going to be interesting. I have done some reading – it is incredible the amount of conjecture and literature a subject can throw up! Decks were clad in cheap local wood and coated in preservative. The state of a deck depended on a lot of variables. Essentially the longer out of dock the more weathered, worn and likely to be carrying algae (although this was removed rapidly to avoid crew members slipping on it). The more used parts of the boat’s wood showed more weathering – usually in the form of fading. The wood also changed hue depending its relative ‘wetness’. A sub travelling on the surface on a sunny day would (I guess obviously) look different to the submerged version!

    So, I have primed the deck and laid down a base coat of ‘AK 783 Weathered Wood’, masked off areas to be painted RLM 74 and dry brushed some lighter areas for contrast. That sharp contrast will disappear under a wash or two. I am now going to pause to choose a plan on finalising the deck (I have a couple of alternatives in mind).

    Next up a bit of masking and some Hellgrau ‘camo’ on the hull and conning tower.

    6 attached images. Click to enlarge

  • I got a little more done: the ‘camo’ on the hull and conning tower – a very pale grey in reality – so a mix of 5 drops insignia white and 1 drop USAF medium grey. Probably not exactly what was used! There was significant variation in U-Boats and they tended at times to get whatever was in the place they docked! Since the weathering and washes will take the brightness down a notch I think ‘approximate’ was good enough!

    For reference the Conning Tower parts are a fraction taller than the width of the paddle pop stick they are attached to!

    3 attached images. Click to enlarge

  • I learned something here by watching your build………….. I didn’t know that U-boats had a splinter type camouflage like they used in the Luftwaffe………but it makes sense.

    Thanks my friend, and it’s looking good, especially for such a small model where it’s hard to get the details to pop like you have !!!!

  • It really is remarkable works. And kudos on the photography as well!