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yvesvidal

U-552 Type VIIc Submersible by yvesvidal - Trumpeter - 1/48 - Plastic

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I have really enjoyed your thread on this beast of the seas.  I have a old Combat Models 1/72 Vacu-form of this boat.  Over the years I have collected bits and pieces to help bring this massive chunk of white plastic to life.  Years ago I had the Revell version in 1/72, wished I had of kept that, much could have been taken from it to improve the Big Vac Attack.  Looking forward to more of your build.

Rick

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Some updates, on the Diesel engine compartment: 

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Basically, to give the roof and wall a more interesting appearance, I am doubling the molded wires with real conduits: twisted pairs from CAT5E cables. The fasteners are made of a small piece of tape sliced, to create the illusion of some metallic holders. Also, notice that I made a second hole for the exhaust of the starboard engine (missing in the kit, of course).

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Once painted, the result is not too bad. All the conduits blend nicely....

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Highlight of some details and a touch of wash on the conduits. Still very clean overall, no grease and oil being spilled.

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Painting the chassis took forever, even with an airbrush: there are so many surfaces.... I cannot even imagine what it would be to paint this with a brush: 

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Et voila, for the moment.

 

Yves

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This wonderful 360 spherical view of the Engine compartment is very useful: 

 

https://www.360cities.net/image/submarine-u-995-machine-room

 

I already spotted another error done by Trumpeter, who installed the indicator lights over the rear bulkhead (wall between Diesel and electric engines) when in fact they are suspended to the ceiling, near the wall between Diesel engine and kitchen.

 

When looking at this presentation, please keep in mind that the pictured U-995 is somewhat different from the early U-552 that we are depicting. In addition, U-995 has been modified heavily and retro-fitted with more technology than the early U-Boots. Therefore it may explains some of the differences between the pictures and the model.

 

Yves

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I am now moving away from the Trumpeter instructions.... not that I have followed them very much, since the beginning. What should have been glued last, is actually done first.

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This is done to allow me to fine tune the alignment of the engine(s) and transmission shaft(s). If you do that task at the end, as suggested by the assembly instructions, you run the risk of having the shaft not match the opening in the bulkhead (which is exactly what is happening, already). So, some intervention will be necessary at this location.

 

I have two diesel engines, but they are identical and not symmetrical as are the real ones. So, we need to perform some important surgery on the starboard engine. In addition, keeping the two engines fully assembled will hide the "prototypical" and correct looking engine and presents to the observers, something that is not right. So, I have decided to cut down to the crankshaft case the second engine and prepare it for a little surprise..... If I can do it. More will come later, in a few days....

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This is where we stand at this moment. hopefully, most details of the port engine will be visible over the "cut" starboard engine. This is going to be a very busy compartment.

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Thank you for all the "Likes", encouragement and support.

 

Yves

 

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Let's look at some of the information I found on the Diesel Engine compartment.

 

As shown by the blueprint, there are three main tanks in that compartment (and there are many secondary and very important tanks to operate such complex machine). There are two Fuel tanks located under the engines and multiple lubrication tanks located right between the engines, under the walkway. These 3D renderings will help: 

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That first drawing shows the fuel cells under each engine and the multiple oil/lubrication tanks, pipes and associated pumps. Quite complex.

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The drawing above shows the two engines and the walkway installed between them. Notice that the two engines are not parallel to each other. This is not correctly represented in the Trumpeter kit. I will see if I can give the model some offset on the engines.

 

The three following drawings are showing the armature holding up the two massive diesel engines. Fuel tanks are built in between the frames, whereas oil tanks are installed as separate cells between the main longitudinal frames. I have decided to not represent any of these fuel and oil tanks, as I like to be able to show  the nice ribs arrangement.

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Here again, the Trumpeter kit does not provide the two elevated frames marked with a warning signs.

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The next diagram show the cooling and anti-corrosion system used for the diesel engines and electrical motors:

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We saw that the diesel engines were introduced by an opening on the pressure hull. That opening was bolted and carefully made waterproof. the two following pictures show that large opening. On the second picture, the opening is shown in greater details, but it is a later model than the U-552 (possibly even a Type IX). You can also see the large pipe bringing fresh air to the engine compartment. On the U-552, that pipe would be almost straight.

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Finally, some views and blueprints of the engine itself: 

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I have to say that Trumpeter did an excellent work on the engine details. It is rendered in great details as we will see.

 

Yves

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With all of the research you have done on this build you will possibly be one of the most knowledgeable U-Boat experts anywhere. I had no idea that the details you are showing were even available outside of some kind of research facility! Thanks for sharing these bits and pieces along with your excellent model build. 

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I think I know where you're going with the starboard engine. If I'm correct, good luck! I was going to go that route, although I was going to have to scratchbuild the lower engine block. I abandoned that idea so I wish you God speed in your endeavor. You're going to have a great compartment when you're done.

 

I have some drawings I did of that area that might be of some help if you're interested. Shoot me a PM if you want to take a look.

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30 minutes ago, Katuna said:

I think I know where you're going with the starboard engine. If I'm correct, good luck! I was going to go that route, although I was going to have to scratchbuild the lower engine block. I abandoned that idea so I wish you God speed in your endeavor. You're going to have a great compartment when you're done.

Katuna,

 

I know you know, since we frequent the same very specialized forums. I simply hope I can get close enough to what You and Bianco are doing. I am humbled when I see the masterpieces and the extent of research and details that you are putting into these models.

 

Katuna, I use your work as the reference for a lot of details and understanding of that submarine. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and skills with us.

 

With gratitude.

Yves

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3 hours ago, Katuna said:

I have some drawings I did of that area that might be of some help if you're interested. Shoot me a PM if you want to take a look.

Please, post here what you think is relevant to the Diesel engines compartment. I'd love to see what you have.

 

Yves

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You flatter me sir but I'm just a hack compared to most of these guys. You're no slouch either. You've done some great work. This boat is a challenge for anyone just out of the box. I just wish you didn't work so fast because you're modeling a lot of my ideas.

 

Here's the drawing I made. I added the lower oil sump as the Trumpeter engine is missing this as well as the flywheel housing at the forward end. I believe the throws on the crank are clocked correctly. I went by some factory film stills. The drawing is not to scale, of course but it's close. The forward end gear and thrust bearing are a "best guesstimate". Hope this helps. I gave up on it because when I started making the crank throws I realized how tiny all the parts were going to be and my gnarled old hands just can't hack it anymore.

 

A suggestion would be to make the mains as one rod from front to back and load the counterweights on, add the rod shafts then cut out the main rod in between the counterweights. I think it would be best to use brass rod but it would be very difficult to cut the rod throw sections out without damaging the rest of the crank. It could all be done with plastic but you would definitely need to make a jig to hold it in alignment. 

 

If you can pull it off, I will surely envy you, lol.

Star Engine Crankcase Color Parts ID.png

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Thank you Katuna for all this very interesting material.

 

I have thought about showing the oil pan on the engine and regrets that Trumpeter did not include that part in their otherwise extremely well detailed engine. I may fabricate it for the starboard engine, as nothing will be visible on the port engine.

 

I wish you could show in a separate thread, the beautiful work that you have done with your engine, all the piping and oil tanks in the frame of the compartment. Maybe you will start your own thread on the U-371, as you are depicting it, in the Mediterranean sea.

 

Yves

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I may just do that. Thank you so much for the complements. You are definitely too kind. Unfortunately I haven't had much time recently to work on it and it's probably been over a month since I even touched it.

 

The most fun I have had with this project is the research. I kind of picked a boat number at random then dove into the research to find out as much as I could. I love history and especially WWII. It took considerable digging to find details on U-371 but that's the fun of it. My avatar, a dragon fly riding a torpedo, was the captains logo. Fortunately there is one photo that clearly shows this. Yes, it is a dragonfly and not a mosquito. I guess dragonfly's look different in Germany.

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My eyes are exploded. That engine is a challenge to build and to paint. It must have at least 100 parts to put together.

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I am building it pretty much out of the box. The only change I made was to cut the plastic pushers and replace them with metal wires for more realism. Not an easy thing to do: you need to drill 12 holes with the proper alignment. Trumpeter has been placing a lot of hoses and it makes the assembly a challenge: at the scale of 1/48th, these hoses are too big and are crammed, preventing a nice organization of all the parts, especially around the rockers.

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I have seen some modelers push the insanity at replacing the plastic valve springs with real springs. I just cannot do that. Besides they are almost invisible once the engine is in place.

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After painting the entire engine, some kind of "Hemp" color, it is time to install the pushers and paint all the details. My eyes are too shot to go any further today.

 

Yves

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Hello Yves,

 

Your model building skills are exceptional to say the least... The kit looks to be a daunting task and you have stood up to the challenge; I admire your veracity... Back in 2003 I joined "TheSubcommittee.com" and starting building the OTW 1/32nd scale model Type VII C U-Boat (About 78 inches long); the hull was fiberglass and the deck, tower, and all the accessories were plate brass. When building the tower I had to learn to use a miniature blow torch to build the brass tower which consisted of two (2) flat sides and all other components had to be scratch built form brass sheets or rods. It took me about three (3) years to complete the project as a display model. I never got to installing the Water Tight Chamber (WTC) with the motors and all the control circuits. A completed model would be a static diver which is radio controlled.

 

I noticed you posted some drawings that looked very familiar... Possibly, they came from the AMP Website that contains "Tore's Mailbox"; it is our intent to share our discussions about the design and functionality of the Type VII C U-Boat with everyone. Mr. Tore Berg-Nielsen served in the Royal Norwegian Navy in the early 1950's on U995, and U926 as an Engineering Officer (EO) and I believe he is one of the very few living experts on the Type VII C U-Boat and he is in his early 90's. Over the past 5 years, I have documented our discussions and created "Skizzenbuch: U-Boat Type VII C Project" in a PDF format. At one time I had a publishing contract, but the book format 11 x 17 inch sheet size, 516 pages with over 700 photos and drawings became too expensive to print the book. My original intent was not to profit from Skizzenbuch in the first place, so I made the PDF file available on the internet to be downloaded free of charge. You may find Skizzenbuch helpful in understanding how everything worked in the actual Type VII C U-Boat and what your model represents. Skizzenbuch may be downloaded at www.subcommittee.com and go to "Forums" then "The U-boat Pen" and Skizzenbuch is the second pinned entry from the top where you can download the PDF.

 

Regards,

Don_

 

PS - attached is my OTW version of U-96 (Das Boot)'''

 

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Don,

 

I am humbled that the famous Mr. Prince is taking a look at my model. I am in awe at the extraordinary amount of work you have done on these German submarines and have learnt so much by reading your book (the PDF version). Also, thank you for introducing Mr. Tore to this community as he is probably one of the very few men having served on a Type VIIc vessel, still in existence today.

 

There will be more of your material being used in this Blog. It is my absolute reference.

 

Yves

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Hello Katuna,

 

Those Donald Duck cookie jars were a gift to my Mom from my Dad about 6 month before I was born. That would make the gift to her around December 1940; I was born in June 1941. They survived me and my two younger brothers and she gave them to me about 50 years ago. I was named Donald, so go figure... They are 79 years old!

 

Regards,

Don_

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yves - Have you seen the rest of the set of photos of the engine being loaded into the engine compartment? Someone posted them on the AMP site. They would be very helpful for you in detailing the outboard side of your Stbd. engine. Lots of close up shots.

 

If you don't have them let me know and I'll resize them and post them here.

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