Verlinden 1/35 resin Seehund (Seal) German WWII Submarine
I have always wanted to try one of Verlinen's interesting line of 1/35 German Pocket submarines. They produce a line of around six of these kits ranging from manned torpedoes up to the Seehund (seal) class. I bit on the Seehund and was delighted when my order arrived from Great Models. If you are into mini submarines of WWII read on.
The Seehund is considered the most successful of the miniature German submarines. The type, designed in 1944, is known as XXVII B 5, also known as Type 127, and at least 138) were commissioned into the Kriegsmarine. From 1944 onward it was planned to build over 1000 in the Seehund class.
These boats had a displacement of 17 tons submerged, a crew of two and carried two underslung G7 type torpedoes. The Seehund had a range of 300 km at 7 knots and could attack on the surface in weather up to 4 on the Beufort scale but had to be almost stationary for submerged attacks. About 50 Seehund boats had an additional fuel storage that gave them a range of 300 miles at 7 knots surfaced and 63 miles at 3 knots submerged. They were capable of diving down to 164 feet.
The first Seehund was dispatched to Ijmuiden in the Netherlands December 1944 followed by 18 more by the end of the month. On New Years Day 1945 17 sailed to attack a convoy off the Kwinte Bank. Of these only two returned to base. Two were sunk in action and the rest either were found beached or lost at sea due to bad weather. They sunk one vessel the trawler Hayburn Wyke.
Later one boat suffered a compass failure. After attacking a ship in the Thames Estuary on January 22nd, it was driven northwards by the tides until by the 24th it was off Lowestoft. There it was attacked by ML153 but managed to escape. However, in so doing, the craft drifted even further to the north and was now off Great Yarmouth. When the crew tried to set course to the east and home, the Seehund went aground on Scroby Sands, where it remained for two and a half days. Eventually the exhausted crew fired distress flares and was taken off by the Trinity House tender Beacon. Tough duty!
Seehund operations totaled 142 sorties. This resulted in the loss of nine allied ships totaling 18,451 tons sunk and three ships damaged. A total of 35 Seehund were lost mostly due to bad weather. Seehund operations ceased on 28 April 1945.
In the Box
The first thing I noticed on picking up the sturdy camouflaged Verlinden box was its weight! I estimate it at around two and a half pounds or over one kilo! The box features a very nice large color photo of the finished kit. The weathering of this build is very tastefully done and I plan on using the photo as a guide.
Inside is a large amount of bubble wrap obviously sized and taped to protect the resin parts. Most of the parts were loose from this wrapping so I examined them. The real eye catcher is of course the hull of the boat. This is a one piece solid resin molding around 13 inches long! The hull is very well done (typical of Verlinden products) with a mega pour tab along the bottom. I noticed only a few bubble holes along the bottom hull and a small chip out of the conning tower flaring. Just gorgeous! I am thinking major saw at this point to remove that heavy pour tab!
The kit includes a one-sided instruction sheet with an exploded assembly drawing. There are also two images identifying all the kit parts. Let's have a look.
Besides the huge hull most of the kit parts are resin. The two torpedoes are perfectly molded with some of the finest detail I have seen. Each torpedo is made up of several parts including body, tail cone, detonator, separate fins on a sprue, and separate prop blades. The body and tail have large pour tabs that will need to be sawed off.
Conning tower features include a periscope, hatch assembly, and valves. The crew hatch has flash to be removed to enable the clear plastic dome to be installed. The periscope mount and mast are two parts. The shaft is slightly warped but should be easy to straighten.
Other resin components include torpedo rails and mounts for each side of the boat. Five separate components make up these mounts. Looking at the hull I see no indication where these or any other parts are mounted. There is some eyeballing required to build this one! I like the box photo even more now! Separate blades build up to the main screw and the boat's rudder appears to be build up around a cone that is positioned over the screw. The only diving planes on the boat are two large planes at the rear of the craft. These are in two pieces so they can be positioned. Finally there is a small base piece that looks inadequate for this size and weight of a model. I will probably pick a wooden base for this beast.
The Photo-etched Parts
There is one large fret of PE with the kit. It is well done in a three dimensional process adding details to the parts. The largest piece is the conning tower top. It has great detail with a simulated wooden floor piece. The boat's davits appear to be represented in both PE and resin. I think I'm going with the PE! There are several engine access plates with excellent bolts. Most of the other PE builds up to make the torpedo ejection mechanism and mount.
There is a clear plastic dome for the con vacuformed in very heavy clear plastic. Careful cutting that one out! There is also a length of very fine wire I assume is to be used to make the fore and aft tie points. This is far too thin for this and I will probably substitute bent brass wire.
I am fired up to start building now! I've been putting this one off for years and it is definitely worth the wait. I would certainly recommend that you have a few resin kits under your belt before trying this kit. Just the size of the pour tabs seems a bit daunting. I would hate to mess up the perfect resin cutting them off. The sparse instructions lend the kit to more advanced modelers as well. Written instructions consist of five words, "Painting Dark Sea Gray Overall." That said, I definitely recommend this kit to the submarine enthusiast.