When Bronco announced a Seehund in 1:35, it was shortly after Italeri announced a “Biber” in the same scale, so all us submarine fans were understandable quite happy, as it’s the first time we get an alternative to the resin offerings from Verlinden among others.
Anybody interested in the history and data of the Seehund, should look in the review of the ICM offering in 1:72 here.
Due to the speedy and helpful service of Mol Plastic Modelbouw
I received my kit early enough to satisfy my eager waiting!
This offering covers 2 versions of the Seehund, the XXVIIB and the XXVIIB5 which are the early and late version of the sub. The difference between the 2 versions is the addition of saddle tanks and a simplified rudder on the late B5 version. The purpose of the saddle tanks was not for diving but for storage of additional fuel for extended range.
The addition of the saddle tanks require that you drill out 2 holes in each hull side, so be careful to do that before joining the hull should you wish to build the B5 version.
The Seehund also varied in the height of the inner tower, where it seems that the turret hatch on the earlier versions would be flush with the upper edge of the tower and on late or altered boats would be about 20 cm. higher than the turret edge. The kit comes with the high version, but a little work with a fine saw could easily give you the low version.
I have not from my literature or pictures been able to determine any correlation between the presence of the saddle tanks and the higher turrets – so I cannot with captaincy say whether the height of the hatch was version specific or if it’s an upgrade done on all boats.
Contents and quality:
4 frets of light gray styrene
1 small clear fret with the cupola for the hatch
1 small sheet of photo-etch
1 sheet of decals
Instructions, color-guide and corrections for the instructions!
The first thing that catches the attention when you open up the box is the large parts for the hull-sides. They measure about 30 cm, and are showing great details in weld seams, inspection hatches, bolts etc, and I consider it an advantage that the different flood holes are pre-opened and cast in such a way, that thickness of the hull is not seen from the outside.
The lift hooks and eyelets front and aft are quite delicate and showed some damage from sliding around in the box. Some effort are taken to protect the eyelet in the front, but despite, or maybe because of these measures, my sample was damaged anyway – but easily repaired.
In general the hull confers with my reference material on most areas – care should taken when comparing with one of the many surviving samples of the Seehund – a number of the survivors are either raised from the seabed after many years or have seen service and tests after the war – which means that they have seen a lot of altering or downright abuse and have lost a lot of the original boats characteristics.
Some of the details related to the plating in front seems to be a bit on the heavy side – but its hard to determine from photos whether that’s the case, as we are talking about very little variation. Welds seams are impressive, showing delicate details and variation. They will stand out nicely with some wash and a light dry-brush.
The variety of inspection hatches and other fittings on the hull, all shows fine details, the screw-heads even have the recesses and as such the detail level and sharpness is on par with the best offerings on the market.
On the smaller parts there is a bit more flash than is expected, especially since I have built or have a number of Bronco kits in my stash, that don’t show flash to this degree. It’s easy to remove, and as such it’s more a time issue than a sign of questionable quality.
The torpedoes are very nice, the parts layout are such, that it won´t be noticeable that the main body is only molded in a traditional form. As the different hatches on top are separate parts with matching recesses in the body.
Fins, propellers and fuse prop are all very finely detailed and quite delicate. The torpedoes in themselves are worthy of a separate display should you decide to do the Seehund “unarmed” – maybe on a flatbed rail-car.
All in all, this is a well detailed kit, quality molding except for some flash.
Proportions and measurement are as follows:
Length: 39 ft. / 11,86 m
Beam: 5 ft./ 1,5 m
Length: 33,4 cm
Beam: 4,0 cm
Length: 11,69 m
So the size is slightly on the small side, but the general proportions looks spot on compared with photos and drawings.
Construction and improvements:
The kit does not contain many parts, so building should be pretty straightforward. Actually, there’s almost more parts in one torpedo than In the Seehund itself.
Despite the low parts number, it has been necessary to include a separate sheet with corrections for the main instructions – indicating that the time to market has been too short for a decent job on the instructions.
And despite the corrections, I still found an error in the instruction, but more on that later.
Building this kit is pretty easy, but you still have to be a bit careful getting a good fit, especially on the hull sides and the torpedo halves. I glued mine up in sections using very thin liquid cement, allowing me to adjust the fit along the way. By doing it this way, I actually got myself out of using filler, but some careful sanding is still needed to get a good round shape, especially on the of the hull. If you are going to mount the torpedoes on the sub, the “upper” assembly will be mostly hidden by the mounting bar running alongside the hull.
You have the choice of doing the early or late boat – difference being the addition of the saddle tanks – remember to open the locator holes before joining the hull sides. The saddle tanks fit nicely, but I decided on doing mine without.
The flood-holes in the hull are pre-opened in such a way, that the surrounding material looks sufficiently thin for being sheet material. Remember to paint the inside of the hull a dark color, both in regards to the flood holes, but also because you can look trough the clear dome in the hatch.
Remember to take care of the correction sheet – also look out for what I take for release mechanism for the torpedoes behind the aft mounting arms for the torpedoes – the instructions got the mixed up and they should go on the opposite sides.
The torpedoes themselves are almost more complex than the boat, as they contain more parts and they are also very delicate, so a lot of care is needed to get a proper alignment of the propellers and the etched fins at the front of the weapon.
Getting the torpedoes round, takes some work with a file and sanding-stick; care must be taken not to damage the details, one very good detail is, that the inspection hatches along the seam line are separate parts, so they can be left off until you are happy with the seam.
Remember to open up the holes in the torpedoes if you want to mount them on the sub – otherwise the torpedoes in the selves are so nice, that a separate display is justified. I am going to mount them though.
The top hatch sports a very fine transparent dome, and the hatch can be fitted closed or opened – but the interior is void of any details, so unless you are going to put a figure in the turret, I would suggest closing it.
When it comes to the details, some are easily damaged – especially the eyelet at front, the lifting eyes and the mooring handles front and aft, I replaced the last with wire and added some weld seams on the lifting eyes.
I will not venture much into painting – the painting instructions gives you 4 samples that provides some variety, also when it comes to decals, after all, these boats looked pretty standardized, but displayed a lot of weathering, so there’s ample room to go crazy on the effects.
Decals are nicely printed and thin, but I found the somewhat hard to get to settle properly down with my usual means, resulting in some silvering.
Does the kit have any omissions – well, I haven’t been able to find many, in general this is a very nice kit, and the need for improvement is very small. You can choose to add some blocks on the lower rudder base to limit the sideways movement of rudder. For the more adventurous builder you can add some interior detail to fill out the empty space under the hatch.