ICM 1/144 Type IIB (1943) U-boat
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Type II U-boat was designed by Germany as a coastal U-boat, modeled after the CV-707 submarine, which was designed by the Dutch dummy company NV Ingenieurskantoor voor Scheepsbouw den Haag (I.v.S) (set up by Germany after World War I in order to maintain and develop German submarine technology and to circumvent the limitations set by the Treaty of Versailles) and built in 1933 by the Finnish Crichton-Vulcan shipyard in Turku, Finland. It was too small to undertake sustained operations far away from the home support facilities. Its primary role was found to be in the training schools, preparing new German naval officers for command. It appeared in four sub-types.
There were 20 Type IIB boats built.
Submarines are pretty popular kits among modelers of all sorts. Aircraft modelers like them as they are rarely very complex kits, especially modern submarines. These WWII versions do have more to them than a modern Los Angeles class for example, but there are still not a ton of sprues.
Typical of ICM kits, this one is very nicely molded. I am pleased to see that there are raised welded seams on the hull, typical of the way these boats were built. To many, engraved seams on the hull of boats just does not look quite right! Since submarines did have small differences, even in the same class, ICM has taken this into account with the two different conning towers. One is for the U 18, 19, or 20 and the other is for the U 23 or 24 so you have to make a choice rather early in the build. Pretty much everything else is the same, including the bits that fit on the conning tower.
You get the usual small deck section and an after deck that holds the boat's A-A gun. This is provided with a nicely molded railing, a nice touch as photo etch is notoriously difficult to mold into the cone shape of these railings. The boat also has a nicely done deck gun that can be built with one of two mount types, again, depending on the boat type you are going to be building.
The hull is in two pieces onto which you put the main deck and the conning tower. Two internal bulkheads help to keep things properly aligned during construction. You also get the large railing around the deck gun. What you do not get are the rest of the small stanchions and life lines along the deck. These will have to be made or purchased as part of an aftermarket p.e. set. They should be easy enough to build as ICM shows you just where they go. A large base is included to hold the finished model.
Markings are included for two boats, the U-20 and the U-23 from late 1943. The paint schemes are similar but not the same with the U20 in what looks like three grey shades instead of the two for the U-23. Color information is via Model Master paints. The small decal sheet appears to be a bit off register if you look at the flags that are included.
A very nice kit and one that will not take up a ton of space on your display shelves. It will fit nicely into any submarine collection.
Thanks to Squadron Products for the preview kit. You can find this kit at your favorite hobby shop or on-line retailer.
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