Italeri 1/35 scale Schnellboot type S-100

KIT #: 5603
PRICE: $249.98 MSRP   -  $175 from  Earls Hobby Hangar
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Kyle Bodily
NOTES: WOW, this thing is huge

The German Schnellboot was approximately twice as large as it’s American and British contemporaries were, and far better suited for the open sea.  It could run at full speed in very high seas; a task that was not possible in any of the allied patrol boats.  It could travel up to 700 nautical miles.  This allowed it to out range any of its allied counterparts. 

The reason that S-boats were so fast was their hull design and something known as the LURSSEN EFFECT.  The Lurssen Effect is created when two small rudders known as Lurssen rudders, situated on either side of the main rudder are turned toe in heal out.  This does two things, first it lowers the bow and secondly it reduces the wake.  With all the wasted energy that most PT type boats put into that dramatic frothy wake, the Schnellboot used that power to push the hull forward through the water.  Because of this, Schnellboots could easily make 40 knots with the Lurssen Effect at the same power settings it took to make 36 knots without. 

One of the most successful Schnellboot raids took place on the morning of 28 April 1944 off the cost of Devon England at a place called Slapton Sands.  A convoy of eight LSTs were discovered by a pack of nine patrolling Schnellboots including the S-130.  These LSTs were participating in Operation Tiger, a dress rehearsal for the D-Day invasion of Utah Beach.  The allied ships were discovered around 0150 on the morning of 28th.  The German vessels immediately attacked.  They fired torpedoes and caused great confusion as they darted through the darkness around the allied ships.  Because of the Lurssen Effect, the wakes of the S-boots traveling at full speed could not be easy seen in the early morning darkness.  The allies didn’t have any warning until 0204 when LST-507 suddenly exploded into flames.  The German’s speed was blinding and their marksmanship deadly.  Just as quickly as the Schnellboots had appeared they were gone.  Making good their exit behind a cloud of smoke they sped away into the night, leaving in their wake one transport sunk and two others on fire.  The Tiger raid as it would be known was very costly to the allies.  An estimate of 749 soldiers and sailors were dead or missing and presumed dead.  Sadly this number was more then three times higher than the number killed on D-Day taking Utah beach.  Only about 200 casualties were recorded during the Utah Beach landings.  The success of this raid at Slapton Sands has only recently been known.  Since the secrecy of Operation Tiger was so high and because of national security, the allies didn’t publish the casualties until they could include them in the D-Day figures.  Because of this there is still some discussion as to how many individuals were actually lost that night.  The exact figures are lost to time, war secrecy and the far larger numbers lost less then two months later on June 6th.

After the war, several boats remained in service.  The most interesting one I think, was the S-130 renamed the P5230 after the war.  Between 1949 and 1956 it was used in Operation Jungle jointly run by MI-6 the CIA and the Gehlen Organization to infiltrate secret agents into the Soviet Union and Poland from the Baltic Sea. So the old S-130 now the P5230 and the S-208 now the P5208 were sent to Portsmouth Navel Yard to be modified to make them lighter and increase power.  To cover the operation they operated under the British Control Commission's Fishery Protection Service, which was responsible for preventing Soviet navy vessels from interfering with German fishing boats and was also responsible for destroying stray mines.  To add to the illusion, old S-boat crews and captains were recruited to man the boats giving all parties involved plausible deniability.

The S-130 is the only surviving Schnellboot left of the 230 built during the in the war.  The S-100 is privately owned but is in a restoration trust. 

The S-130 was commissioned on 21 October 1943 and she was in service until 1956.  Ironically she spent more time under the White Ensign of Great Britain then she did under the Red Ensign of Nazi Germany.


If I use the words WOW, AWESOME and HUGE a lot please except my apology now.  But I’ve still not gotten over the size of this kit, wow it’s huge!!!!  That is 1 meter or 39.37 inches long and about 13cm or 5.11 inches wide and over 600 parts.  The box proudly states “The Worlds largest 1:35 scale plastic model kit”.  If you’ve seen the Revell kit of the S-100 and were impressed by its size, then this kit is going to knock your socks off, it is twice as big and the detail is every bit as good.

The first thing that I noticed was that the hulls were absolutely huge and that they have excellent detail.  My unbounded joy was only tempered a little when I found that both of my hulls had some problems.  What caught my eye right away was that the right hull had a small short shot spot.  This made me stop and take a very close look at the hulls.  Next I noticed that both hulls had the sprues snapped off at the factory.  This was not an issue for the most part except for the bows of both hull halves.  As the sprue was snapped off some slight damage was done to detail around the torpedo tubes.  Just as soon as I saw this damage I noticed that the arches that go over the torpedo tubes on both sides of the bow were broke in the middle as well.   

As you unpack the kit, on top of everything is a smaller box bottom (no lid) that contained the photo-etch, decals, hardware to screw the hulls together, film for windows, a nice little book labeled “photographic reference manual” and lastly the instructions.  This lead to my next discovery. This little box does not have a lid so somewhere in transit the photo-etch sheet slipped out of the box and as things shifted the photo etched sheet was substantially crunched.  I was able to mostly flatten it back out but it still shows some crunch marks from its trip. 


I inspected every last part and couldn’t find any more problems except for the fact that a large number of parts had fallen off their sprue.  But even though they had separated from the sprue they were not damaged.   I assume the parts fell off the sprue while they were being shipped.  I really think the kit could have been packed a little better then it was. 

Now with the initial inspection out of the way I really began to like the kit.  All the possibilities of such a large model started to come to the surface.  If you are an Armor guy this thing is kind of like a sea going tank.  The main armament will give the modeler hours of fun.  Each of the guns is a kit unto itself.  The M42 looks like a work of art with several clips of 37mm ammo.  And the torpedoes “WOW”; they look like they would run away and blow something up if they only got wet.

The bridge looks awesome. Not only do you get a fully detailed flying bridge but also the helm room, just below and in front of the flying bridge is nicely detailed.  You may want to put a light down there so you will be able to see it.

The kit is so large that the Italeri folks felt that it would be better to screw this thing together than to just glue it.  I measured the plastic thickness of the hull and it averages about 1/10 inch or 2.5mm thick!  I think the sturdiness of the hull and the screw together construction will assist in converting this kit to Radio Control if one is so inclined.  In fact I really think this kit is begging to have a R/C installed.  I wouldn’t doubt it for a minute that we will see some motorized versions on You Tube soon. 

The decals are for two vessels from the 4th Flotilla out of Rotterdam Holland.  Version A is Ha-Ju Kommandant Hans Jurgen.  Version B is the S-204 Kommandant Claus Hinrichs.  I think that we’ll soon see some after market decals that will allow us to build several other boats.

The instructions are excellent, very clear and well written.  Along with the instructions you get a really nice little photographic reference manual.  This little book contains a brief history of the type S-100 Schnellboot and some excellent color pictures to assist assembly and camouflage. 

From stem to stern this thing is beautiful.  I bet that the after market guys will go crazy with it.  I can just see resin engine rooms or crew cabins, even a little galley. The after market decal companies should come up with some more decal options.  I can already see someone adding a Flak-Vierling on the rear gun mount and if someone comes out with a crew set at battle stations, I can see a winner at the NATS.  With a little modeling skill you could open some of the doors on the bridge. Wow. the options are truly limitless.


This is a nice kit.  I am happy with the kit and I do recommend it.  If you have built the Revel S-100 I think you will like this. The Revell 1/72 Schnellboot is a really great kit and I like it.  I’ve built two of them in the last year for friends.  But the Italeri kit in 1/35 scale opens up a whole New World of super detail possibilities.  I think that the only thing limiting the modeler here is his/her own desire and imagination.

I think that all of the problems except for the short shot that I’ve encountered are easily within most modeler’s skills to repair. I think I could have even lived with that if it weren’t for the fact that the short shot is in such a prominent place.  I’m really looking forward to building this kit just as soon as I can get a replacement part for the right hull and find some extra time (you will recognize the classic model builder’s lament).  I’ve heard nothing but good about getting replacement parts form Italeri, so I guess I’ll give them a try.

I would like to see Italeri improve their packaging.  As it is, the parts are allowed to tumble around inside the box.  The inside of my box shows all kinds of scaring from parts banging against the box so hard that they left marks.  I am surprised that more parts weren’t damaged.


Schnellboot in action” Warships Number 18, Squadron/signal publication

“German E-Boats 1939-45” Osprey New Vanguard #59, By Gordon Williams 

Countless Internet searches, I wish I had taken note of all the excellent sites on the S-100 type

Kyle Bodily

December 2008

 I would like to thank Earls Hobby Hangar for this kit.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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