Wiener Modellbau Manufactur 1/72 SM U5/U6 Holland type U-Boat

By Grzegorz Mazurowski

The Boat

Probably the most famous Austro-Hungarian U-Boat of the Great War, SM U5 was initially commanded by no-one else but Captain Georg von Trapp, who later became hero of the Hollywood “Sounds of Music” popular musical.

This submarine, designed for the k.u.k Navy by American John P. Holland and built in Whitehead shipyard in then-Austrian Fiume (now Rijeka in Kroatia), from the first days of the Great War was used in the patrol service on the Adriatic Sea, but the real wartime operations began in April 1915 Italy joined the Entente in the war against the Central Powers. Soon, 27th April, von Trapp managed to sink French battlecruiser Leon Gambetta, 5th August Italian submarine Nereide, and 8th June 1916 another cruiser, Italian Principe Umberto. In May 1917 submarine was heavily damaged by unidentified mine explosion during the exercises, but before the end of the war returned to the service. U5 ended its life in 1920 in Italy.

U5’s twin, SM U6 was less famous and less successful. It sunk only one enemy warship, the French destroyer Renaudin, and ended its life self-scuttled 13th May 1916 after being stuck in the anti-submarine net in the Otranto Straits.

The Kit

This kit, designed by Peter Plattner, modeler and architect from Vienna, is a first class one – everything, starting with the box, is not only precisely and carefully designed, but also very elegant. The colorful, glossy box contains small instruction booklet which, besides detailed building instruction, includes also four pages of historical data and even four period photographs of the submarine. On the back of the instruction booklet there are two views of the finished model in full color.

The kit is a true multimedia one. Main parts, carefully packed in the box filled with styrofoam “popcorn” for safety, are precisely cast in the grey and light yellow resin, smaller details and decks are photo-etched in brass, and several other parts are brass-made: set of wires for railings, and two beautiful propellers, cast in real heavy metal! Quality is very good, and the kit won’t be very difficult to build, except the usual problems with glue: resin nor brass can’t be glued with “normal” modeling glue, cyanoacrylic or resin glue must be used.

Finally, the kit is in 1/72 scale, you know, U-Boat in 1/72 scale – really big thing, almost half meter long after finishing.

The Decals

Small sheet of the decals is included, containing big white numbers for conning tower (both “5” and “6”), small black names of the both U5 and U6 and two red-white-red sets of the stripes for the bow.

Conclusion

Really unique, wonderful kit. Not for the beginner, but also not very complicated in building, due to rather large size and good design.

For every serious WWI navy fan it is a real must, if only he can afford it – as the kit is pretty expensive (about 150 Euro). But the price is in reviewer’s opinion fully justified with both size and quality of the kit. Finished model will look really impressive, almost half meter long, in the elegant blue/green finish, with Austro-Hungarian red-white-red colors on the bow.

Many thanks to Peter Plattner from Wiener Modellbau Manufactur for review example!

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