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yvesvidal

U-552 by yvesvidal - Trumpeter - 1/48 - Plastic

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Folks,

this model is the realization of a childhood dream. As long as I can remember, I have had a passion for submarines and more specifically for the German Type VIIc. A few years ago, Revell Germany proposed a very impressive model at the scale of 1/72 that was a nice match for their re-issue of the Matchbox Flower Class Corvette. 

 

A lot of negative things can be said about the Chinese quality and products, but in the domain of plastic scale models, they created a renewal, a revival of that discipline that no American or European companies have been able to even get close to. It started with their Bismarck and USS-Arizona in the scale of 1/200 and they have been relentlessly offering multiple models each time, bigger and bigger. The upcoming Titanic at 1/200 is another proof of their energy and commitment to this form of Hobbies. The models offered, the molding, packaging, artwork of the contents, quality of instructions and the size are absolutely unmatched by European or American manufacturers. Tamiya, being Japanese, remains in the leading group.

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Their 1/48 U-Boat U-552 kit is probably the biggest kit that can be found on the market today, at least it is in my small collection.  The following shows the box weighing 22 pounds resting against some of my pinball machines: 

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That model is massive with a length of 1.440 meters, near 5 feet. The kit includes more than 1100 parts and is extremely well presented, packaged and molded as are the modern Trumpeter kits. All the parts are arranged into three large boxes with delicate parts carefully wrapped with bubble shields. The main hull and rear hull are located in their respective boxes, impervious to shocks and mishandling.

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Three booklets come with the kit: Instructions for assembly (70 pages), instructions for colors (20 pages) and a flyer for painting and assembling the 50 some crew members. 

 

on the PE side, it is very limited and spartan: 

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However, two PE solutions are available:

- Eduard with 3 sheets of PEs for the hull and conning tower 

- RCSubz with a fantastic offering (slightly more expensive than Eduard but ten times better and more protypical) of PEs, including the infamous Enigma machine in the scale of 1/48 - https://www.rcsubs.cz/index.php/photo-etched-sets/20-sets-for-u-boat-viic-1-48-trumpeter-06801

 

I have not made up my mind yet, but I am leaning very strongly towards RCSubz which allows to redo the entire deck and part of the hull, in brass. They are currently sold out but working hard to produce other PE kits.

 

The amounts of parts is overwhelming: 

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I have not replicated the instructions here, as it can be easily found on the Internet. Instructions are very precise, clear and are leading you step by step, towards a successful completion of that large model. 

 

The hull is provided with a grey side and a clear side: 

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A lot has been said about that kit and numerous people have built it on the WEB. The best realization (in my humble opinion), being a French modeler who turned that kit into a museum piece with a galore of extra details. His Build Log can be found here: http://www.laroyale-modelisme.net/t20510-u-552-trumpeter-echelle-1-48 (in French): 

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Here is another shot from a different builder, showing a beat-up and heavily rusty Type VII: 

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People have been complaining about the clear acetate used to mold the Port side of the submarine and the starboard of the conning tower (mishap!!) and wished that both parts were molded with polystyrene. The Trumpeter kit insists mostly on the inside of the U-Boat and it is clearly what the Chinese tried to do with this massive kit. The Trumpeter kit is an enlargement of the Revell kit and all mistakes of the original Revell kit regarding the hull, have been carried over to the Trumpeter model. 

 

Despite these limitations, that kit remains an absolute must have (for submarine enthusiasts) and offers incredible potential for kit bashing and a level of details rarely obtained in naval plastic kits.

 

I am not planning to start the building of this kit any time soon (other priorities to take care of) but still wanted to present it to you and perhaps get the motivation to tackle the biggest plastic model of my life.

 

Yves

 

 

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“The Trumpeter kit is an enlargement of the Revell kit and all mistakes of the original Revell kit have been carried over to the Trumpeter model“

 

sounds pirated and then enlarged...Just sayin’

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4 hours ago, Jim Rogers said:

sounds pirated and then enlarged...Just sayin’

I wouldn't be too hasty to make that judgment. I'm not as well-versed on the plastic kit world as I once was (many, many moons ago), but I know that it is not uncommon for injection molds to legitimately exchange hands between plastic kit companies and that Trumpeter has acquired molds in the past in that fashion. I'm not qualified to speculate any farther than that.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, ccoyle said:

it is not uncommon for injection molds to legitimately exchange hands between plastic kit companies

I think what Jim was referring to in this case Chis, was not a case of using the same molds as the models are not in the same scale. He was presenting the possibility that Trumpeter copied the design, including the flaws, and enlarged it to 1/48th. 

Edited by lmagna

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I have no idea. Not only are U-boats not my forte but I have not built either kit.

 

I was referring to Jim's reply to Yves statement about this kit and the Revell kit.

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These days, when your government can take your photograph and use your image for whatever purpose they may deem necessary (facial recognition), all without your permission, we have problems much larger than model submarines. 

Having said that, I sure hope to see someone start a build log on this impressive plastic monstrosity. Huge project!

 

By the way, that RC sub site is quite impressive as well. 

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Posted (edited)

You may well have already found this thread on The Ship Model Forum, if not it provides a wealth of information and links that may help you.

http://www.shipmodels.info/mws_forum/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=23494

 

And Trumpeter are a highly regarded company in the plastic modelling world so I personally doubt that they 'stole' this kit from Revell and upscaled it. 

There is a large amount of reboxing and rebranding with plastic model kits, Revell as an example do a large amount of it so it's likely that the plans were sold to Trumpeter and there was the traditional SNAFU in certain areas of the kit. A situation not unknown with wooden kits I'm learning. 😊 

I really wonder if some companies actually build any of their kits from a quality control standpoint before releasing them. Sometimes, it seems as if they didn't. Or didn't pay any attention to the builder who said.. " Umm, about this bit ??? "

Edited by johnothanswift

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3 hours ago, johnothanswift said:

You may well have already found this thread on The Ship Model Forum, if not it provides a wealth of information and links that may help you.

http://www.shipmodels.info/mws_forum/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=23494

 

And Trumpeter are a highly regarded company in the plastic modelling world so I personally doubt that they 'stole' this kit from Revell and upscaled it. 

There is a large amount of reboxing and rebranding with plastic model kits, Revell as an example do a large amount of it so it's likely that the plans were sold to Trumpeter and there was the traditional SNAFU in certain areas of the kit. A situation not unknown with wooden kits I'm learning. 😊 

I really wonder if some companies actually build any of their kits from a quality control standpoint before releasing them. Sometimes, it seems as if they didn't. Or didn't pay any attention to the builder who said.. " Umm, about this bit ??? "

If the truth was known, the Revell kit was probably molded for them by Trumpeter in the first place as Revell kits sure as heck are not made in Germany or the USA. Modelers would be surprised by how many manufactured kits are actually made by the same factory. I know of at least 4 or 5 companies who label kits as their own but are made by Trumpeter. That's just the way it is.

A friend of mine goes to China and has the factory make electronic RC aircraft components for him that he labels as his own and sells in the USA. These components are the same thing that's sold by other well known brands, made at the same factory assembly line. Happens all the time every day.

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Posted (edited)

Some very timid progress, due to limited time. I truly have too many passions and hobbies going on at the same time.

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Two torpedoes out of the 12 provided in the kit. Most likely I will only assemble 8, which are more or less visible. Trumpeter provides 12 torpedoes, one for each front tube plus 4 under the floor and 1 for the rear tube and two under the floor of the rear compartment. The last torpedo can be displayed being loaded through the deck.

 

Now, for the colors: the most common color was black for the head and light gray for the body. However, the torpedoes on the U-552 were of the G7e type (53.3 cm diameter, 7.16 meters long, electric 100HP/75KW) and could have been painted silver with a brass/golden head. Difficult to really know. The torpedoes weighted close to one ton each and needed to be recharged every 4 to 5 days which was a dreadful exercise for the crew, when patrolling for weeks at a time. The G7e-T2 or G7e-T3 had a range of 5,000 meters and 7,500 meters respectively. The propellers are contra-rotating, to neutralize the asymmetrical torque, keep the torpedo straight and  optimize the flow of water.

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Yves

Edited by yvesvidal

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On 3/9/2019 at 2:40 AM, johnothanswift said:

I really wonder if some companies actually build any of their kits from a quality control standpoint before releasing them.

It would seem that Trumpeter is doing that with the new 1/200 Titanic they are reportedly releasing this year. People who have seen it say it will be the most accurate Titanic ever released. 

 

CDW is probably also right in that the plastic companies trade all kinds of stuff back and forth and Revell has been selling kits mad by others for years. Look at the Black Pearl that OC is building.

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