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U-2540 by Tecko - Revell - 1:144 - INTERIOR VIEW - PLASTIC

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First plastic model from a kit. Hoping it will be easy, after all it comes with all already made parts and even has an instruction manual.

Not expecting to do much modelling (a welcomed break), just assembling.


Bought the kit from a second hand shop. Discovered later that a few tiny minor parts are missing. 90% of the parts are still in there template frame.

Overall size is 53 cm (about 21"). Not sure if I will mount it on its stand. May include a small diorama afterwards.


Done Internet research on the U-2540. Most interior view models were, for some reason, less impressive than what was illustrated on the kit box. I suppose the small scale of the details would be the main challenge here. Thank goodness the kit has some instrumentation decals.


Exterior view will NOT include weathering. Though I am very impressed by those who can recreate weathering with such realism, though at times overdone, I have an aversion to it. I like warm and sunny as opposed to cold and dull appearances for models. So this model will look somewhat brand new, just off the slipway.




Have no Revell paints, so I cross-referenced to the Humbrol paints that were available to me from the local maritime museum. Be the way, this model will be for the museum (if it turns out okay and they accept it). Some colours were missing, so I mixed up a few to suit.

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Got stuck into the conning tower.

The side walls are blank, which I think it could be touch up a bit.

The real submarine is so intricate, or should I saw compact, that it is near impossible for a 1/144 scale model to show all the details. However, the model does have blank areas which invites, or dares, the modeller to add what is not shown. I would like to experiment with this idea.


So far:




The Revell instruction pamphlet does not describe/name the sections of the submarine.

Having lots of trouble finding a readable plan of this ship. Internet search does not show any simple plan which points out what compartment is what. Finally figured out the main compartments except the control room section. Above it is the conning tower, but do not know what the other below sections are: RB, R, and U.




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Have been doing lots of research in terms of images (photos and drawings). As a result, several ideas have come to mind in terms of how I am going to present this model. I was hoping to include a diorama encompassing the boat, but its cutaway interior view does not really lend itself to the outside world. It is more than likely to simply become a cutaway model with the possibility of some diorama happening within the boat.

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24 minutes ago, cog said:

You still can make a diorama  with a cutaway model, why not. First get her into the cutaway shape you want, you can always fit here into a diorama ... besides, once you have her like you want, it is easier to picture her in a fitting surrounding

I will make a diorama, but only within the boat itself, and perhaps on the bridge too. I feel better doing it that way than to have a cutaway submarine in dry dock (let alone submerged).

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Had a lot of trouble finding anything on the flak guns. From what I can gather is shown below.




The gunner is enclosed in a column or pillar. There is no window or slot in the turret for sighting the target, so the turret hatch has to be opened to sight the target. This model of the turret does not lend itself to making an open hatch without botching-up the turret. So I have decided to leave the hatch alone, However, there are gaps around the guns which would allow any light within the pillars to shine out. Most probably there is no light within the pillar, but to add a bit of drama I decided to add one.


I read somewhere that earlier night vision lights used a blue-green light (before the red light was introduced). So I opted to use a blue for something different. There is a problem with introducing a LED within the sail. It lights up everything, and light escapes through all cracks etc. Decided to eliminate this diffusion by directly attaching the LED to the plastic, and painting the glued LED black. This helped my to isolate where I wanted the light to shine. The below photos shows the light quite brightly. I will dim this down by introducing a resistor for each LED at the power source.







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For a diorama you could kill two birds with one stone, or three.


If you built a translucent blue display case on all sides except the back and bottom making them opaque instead. Then place a ripple blue sheet a few inches below the top of the case. Then you could put the periscope through the 'ocean surface' layer and have the sub at periscope depth, then you could use your blue/green LEDs behind the opaque back panel to diffuse the light and make it a kind of shadow box effect. If you placed the light above the 'waterline' and possibly painted vertical streaks on the outside of the back panel you would get a very nice shadowing effect under the 'surface' that would get darker the further down you go. These subs were designed to spend as much time under water as possible and only surfaced when necessary.


I believe i read somewhere that using red lights at night for instrumentation was a British idea and was considered secret in WWII. The story that carrots improved vision was invented as a cover story. Seems a little far fetched, but I have heard stranger things and know for a fact that they were true.

Edited by lmagna
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53 minutes ago, Submarinerblue said:

There is a type XXI on display in Germany. Maybe Hamburg?  They may be able to send you accurate plans and diagrams. 

Thank you for great idea.

Have visited their website, and others, and downloaded all the photos. Never thought about asking for a copy of the plans and diagrams.

Yesterday I found a large plan, but it is not exactly clear, and I have been deciphering what German labeling I can read.



Edited by Tecko
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Thank you @hof00, @lmagna, @Canute, and @cog for your reactions.


Last night, and today, I spent time painting torpedoes. I noticed that some colours did not like the smooth plastic, for the paint spread out ultra-thin. Several coats needed to be applied. Next time I will lightly sand the plastic so more pigment gets trapped and held to the surface.


The torpedoes come in four sets of three (fused together). Nearly every modeller of this kit elected to follow the instructions to the letter. I noticed by doing so, the rear starboard wall and its instrumentation gets blocked by the upper rack of torpedoes (the bottom rack, of three, is not used). The racks can handle 16 torpedoes, the kit has 12. Decided to cut one torpedo from the set of three, which leaves two torpedoes for the bottom rack. As a result, I am using the bottom and centre racks, leaving the top one free. This empty space now provides a clearer view of the starboard wall. The two spare torpedoes will be used in a simulation of being fired and just leaving the torpedo tubes.


Used a single insulated wire to imitate a shaft and lever for each torpedo tube. This will indicate the mechanical firing lever. Actually, the wire can be turned by the lever. This could actually be used as a contact switch for triggering sound effects of a torpedo being fired ;). I won't be using that idea on this model, for it will be sealed in a display box.







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Thank you @lmagna, @yvesvidal, @cog, @RGL, @Canute, and @paulsutcliffe for your supportive reactions.


Decided to give the torpedoes a coat of gloss. I think they look a lot better. 
Besides, I am sure they used to give the torpedoes a coat of oil/grease for easier release from the torpedo tubes.


Worked on painting the torpedo compartment wall. Surprisingly the kit instructions show not decals for this wall. Perhaps they realized that the torpedoes would obscure the wall. But this model has the wall showing. So now I have to paint what I can, and made a rough plan of colours to use on the plastic protrusions. 


Thought of a way to make the larger dials more realistic. The idea is to paint the dial surface a matt white so pencil marks would be easier to apply. Then paint the white dial with a few coats of clear gloss to imitate glass. I think it worked out well.


Really enjoyed painting these small bits. My confidence in doing so increased as I progressed. My hand stayed more relaxed and steadier. In that relaxed state I became more aware of what was needed to be done. I feel that my skills will improve as I proceed along on this build.

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26 minutes ago, cog said:

did you p[ut it on all the coloured items? from this side it does look that way.

I do not have the full range of gloss, satin and matt colours. But what I have painted includes some gloss and others are matt. Those that are matt, and I wish them to be gloss, I have paint clear gloss over them.

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Torpedo Warheads (MK 44) are Brown with a yellow strip or Gray with a yellow strip. MK 48 warheads are Green with a yellow strip. Exercise heads are orange. Never saw a Red or Yellow Head in my entire 40 years. A Submarine out for a war patrol would not carry exercise Torpedoes. Modern weapons are waxed to help prevent corrosion and use special paint that does have a shine to it


During WW2 Torpedoes were generally a dull steel color or green including the warhead.


Retired Torpedomen’s Mate Chief

Edited by Jim Rogers
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@Jim Rogers, thank you for sharing that information. I've been told that the US torpedoes, during WW2, were basically raw metal.


I am not a torpedomen's mate, nor been in the navy, so I cannot say anything from experience. I only go by what I see on the Internet. Perhaps I've been influenced by playing too many submarine simulation games like Silent Hunter. However, the Revell kit suggests Carmen red war heads. Other navies have suggested other colours too. In my model, I am basically using 'artist's privilege' in this matter.



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Thank you @Jim Rogers and @mtaylor for your recent reactions.


Was given an image of a larger view of the XXI plans. Discovered that something is stored under the torpedo room floor.




The kit's cutaway section shows a partial view. Naturally the cutaway could be enlarged.




Well that just invited me to add some spares to the model.

Made a spare torpedo from the kit template frame.




Quickly figured out what parts of the wall is visible after the torpedoes and tubes are installed. 

Used single strand wire to add extra electrical conduit within these visible areas.






The spare torpedo is installed under the floor.

Bottom photo show the extra conduit seen under the torpedoes.



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Jim, the colors you cite are what we, in the US anyway, use on all our ordnance. Live loads have yellow stripes for the real stuff, whether it's torpedoes, aerial bombs, air to air missiles or 20 mm ammunition. Training ordnance had blue markings.  I spent 20 years in the flying game hauling that stuff. Ten or so years as a Weapons Instructor.

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4 minutes ago, Canute said:

Jim, the colors you cite are what we, in the US anyway, use on all our ordnance. Live loads have yellow stripes for the real stuff, whether it's torpedoes, aerial bombs, air to air missiles or 20 mm ammunition. Training ordnance had blue markings.  I spent 20 years in the flying game hauling that stuff. Ten or so years as a Weapons Instructor.

Thank you Canute for sharing that information.

It's a bit late now to add that ring on the torpedoes.

There is only one red torpedo visibly (top rack) where I will try to apply a stripe (all the others would then be hidden by the racks ;))

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7 hours ago, mtaylor said:

Spare torpedo and warheads under the decking?   Just surprising to see that.  Is there a hatch or some method of accessing and the torp into tube?



The U 2540 museum has taken out the racks and turned the space into an information area. You can still see where the floor plates were/are.

Edited by Tecko
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Thank you @mtaylor, @Canute, @cog, @BenF89, @DORIS, @paulsutcliffe, @RGL, and @FatFingers for your 'likes' and responses.


The aft bulkhead from the torpedo room has embossed instrumentation that does not look anything like the real U-2540 submarine. It's the old BS Baffles Brains (BBB) approach. But it does not baffle me, only disappoints. Besides rebuilding the bulkheads, I decided to use what there is and create my own version of BBB.




Added a hatch door, but closed it. This will give a little more space in that room. Also added a plastic shelf for the spare war heads, and refined the spare torpedo racks.

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Thank you @DORIS, @Canute, @cog, and @BenF89 for your "likes".


The wardroom presents some challenging modelling concepts in terms of architecture. This room has a doorway into the centre hallway. The model does not have a hallway or anything else passed the door. After all, what is there to see? Well that is the challenge. The doorway invites a person to question "what is behind the door?" A great opportunity to try and create a sort of 'peepshow'.






Much of the port wall bunkers / beds will get in the way of looking passed the door. But I believe there will be a few lines of sight that allows one to see through the door. I am trying to create a view into the starboard Wardrooms on the other side of the hallway.


Another altered creation is to add railings (which they had) to the thirty beds.

Painted the floor with matt blue colours in the hope of creating a retro art-deco carpet. I am sure Hitler would have disapproved of the degenerate design .




Creating artificial hallways. The holes in the box is for a white, and a red (or other colour) LEDs.




Below: the bottom images show starboard areas of sight - the peepshow stage area.



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