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

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Yves,

 

This Trumpeter sub has always been an intriguing possibility for me after seeing Das Boot in the theater in 1981 it always stuck with me. I also later saw the full length German TV series version of the same - (4:48 hours). I had also never forgotten the ending of that movie - after ALL that they went through.  Are you planning to also do some "aging" paint work down the road?

 

Hera are a couple of bits that I found online (since you've resurfaced my interest in this boat again. 

 

https://www.amazon.com/U-Boat-1936-45-Type-VIIA-VIIC/dp/0857334042

 

and FYI.

 

PS: The metal etched after-market parts will make ALL the difference in this model, good choice on your part.

planstypeVIIC.thumb.jpg.931b3a82cf8a15c160c4dae9539ffb5f.jpg

 

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Posted (edited)

We are at a welcome point, where the "butchering" of the main deck has been completed: 

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Not much of the deck is left overall. The hatches have to be also reworked as the PE set offers a nicer alternative than the gross molding of the Trumpeter. The Hatch mechanisms have to be installed before gluing the PE decks. It was not easy to remove the molded hinges without damaging the spherical shapes.

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At this stage, I need to finish the work on the port hull, with a few more openings: 

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I still have a few elongated vents to open towards the stern and work on the openings that you can see on the picture. I am NOT touching the square/rectangular vents above the two main ballast tanks. These are too tedious and would weaken the structure in a very negative way. I will simply paint them black to simulate holes.

 

Finally, I started installing some small but very powerful magnets to hold both half hulls together. I think I will be using that approach all around to obtain a solid assembly that can be opened if need be.

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This picture found on the WEB is very interesting and revealing of the details underneath the deck. These submarines are very similar to the one I am modeling.

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One can see that the cuts I did on the deck, may resemble what was done on the real submersible.

 

Yves

 

Edited by yvesvidal

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1 hour ago, md1400cs said:

Yves,

 

Hera are a couple of bits that I found online (since you've resurfaced my interest in this boat again. 

 

https://www.amazon.com/U-Boat-1936-45-Type-VIIA-VIIC/dp/0857334042

Thank you. Yes, of course, I do have the so called Type VIIc Manual by Haynes. Very interesting book.

 

Yves

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4 hours ago, popeye the sailor said:

model is as long as your table

It looks a little bigger than the table to me Denis! Yves may have to put an extra leaf in!:stunned:

 

7 hours ago, RGL said:

You’ll need a roller to paint her.

And paint purchased by the gallon!

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14 hours ago, CDW said:

I have the Revell 1:72 U-boat and thought it was rather large. This 1:48 scale model makes mine look tiny in comparison.

Here is a picture (taken from a forum) showing both models for comparison: 

Revell-vs-Trumpeter.jpg.a0c7a740e0da2d7997410a8b1f4782ff.jpg

Yves

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The half hull (Port side is pretty much completed: 

DSC03615.thumb.JPG.725e8c00992a20d92dc557bbc7a4dcaa.JPG

All holes (with the exception of the rectangular openings above the main ballasts) have been drilled and filed.  A few details: 

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My camera really sucks in Macro mode....☹️

 

I just have to finalize the gluing of the magnets to secure the two halves together. Then, the main deck can be assembled.

 

Yves

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About those ballasts...was the actual metal cast with that cratered finish as seen in the molded parts? That's an interesting feature I never noticed before seeing this model, but then again, I have never thoroughly researched U-Boats and their construction.

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Posted (edited)
On 4/25/2019 at 12:40 PM, CDW said:

About those ballasts...was the actual metal cast with that cratered finish as seen in the molded parts? That's an interesting feature I never noticed before seeing this model, but then again, I have never thoroughly researched U-Boats and their construction.

I have seen this appearance on some pictures of units in dry-docks. The effect may be over-exaggerated on my model but will be more subtle once I sand them a little bit and after the painting. I also do not like the sleek and smooth side provided by the kit.

 

The crater like effect is due to multiple reasons: 

- Foundry was not always perfect.

- Occasionally these submersibles landed on on the bottom of shallow waters.

- Barnacles and shells hanging there...

- Dry-dock maintenance between two missions.

- Possible explosions and shrapnels being received. 

 

The ballast (above) did not have these appearances, although they were bumped at port and at sea (during re-fueling/replenishing), quite frequently. The typical oil canning was found on the ballasts, being made of a softer material.

Below are a couple of picture of the U-995 that survived the war and did not see too much action: 

8yco7d.jpg.676e3bdc33ec1d8f6d19cea57886e462.jpg

27y2tty.jpg.208648ba513a1fec19fc84698920dbad.jpg

Yves

 

Edited by yvesvidal

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Posted (edited)

Someone more knowledgeable on Type VII U Boats may have a more detailed or different explanation on the saddle tanks on the Type VII, but I was under the understanding they were added to the original hull design as additional fuel storage to increase the range  of a boat that as originally designed was little more than a coastal defense submarine. Somewhat a slightly upgraded version of the WWI U Boats. The area fore and aft, above and below the saddle tanks is the actual outer layer of the ballast tanks, (The non pressure bearing layer) and free flooding areas the actual pressure hull is little more than a round cylinder that runs the length of the ship from the forward tube hatches to the after tube hatch. The conning tower also had a pressurized cylinder used as the "Attack center" but the remaining structure flooded when submerged much the same as the American Gato subs. The original Type VII as designed looked like the later Type IX only smaller.

 

Some people also say that the original design without the saddle tanks was a ruse used by the Germans to get around what they were allowed to build under the Treaty of Versailles and the later Washington and even later London Navel treaties. Build and operate what looked to be compliant but was always meant to be altered. The Japanese did much the same with several of their light cruisers and converted them into heavy cruisers just before the beginning of WWII. 

 

Of course as fuel was used up in the saddle tanks it would be replaced with sea water and they essentially became ballast tanks as well except I do not believe they were blown and flooded each time the sub dove or surfaced, like the actual ballast tanks were.  

Edited by lmagna

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Posted (edited)

Imagna,

 

Thank you for these explanations. It is somewhat difficult to understand exactly how these Type VIIc submersibles were used and operated. Yes, apparently the RFO (Reserve Fuel Oil) tanks were located with the main ballasts, on each side of the hull.  I found that picture (not very good) of a slice of the U-534 (Type IXc) which was rescued recently and is being restored by a wealthy and "crazy" organization. It is still quite close to the Type VIIc, just bigger:  

u534-3.thumb.png.6a89f6b1e60a5f84e5cf24d2823ae3db.png

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u-534.jpg.8e16c693d6af9ffa4b29f775bbf3e78f.jpg

u-534-2.jpg.fbefcde17d9ddfc52d1ff3fa39c0d9ec.jpg

Nice view of the two Turbos above.

 

Yves

 

Edited by yvesvidal

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Posted (edited)

That's a great cutaway of the U-534. I did not know that they had done anything like that to the real boat. The only problem is that the 534 is not a Type VII but is the later larger Type IX and did not have the additional saddle tanks. 

 

I know that it was common for US subs to use sections of the ballast tanks for fuel and I think the same idea was used by other countries as well. But I am not all that certain it was used on the Type VII. I think I read somewhere that with the exception of the saddle tanks, the Type VIIs had fuel tanks inside of the pressure hull to protect them from being ruptured by depth charge attack. I have no idea if that is true, just something I read somewhere.

Edited by lmagna

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Posted (edited)

The Haynes manual on the Type VIIc seems to go along with your understanding, Imagna.

 

So, I also have access to the original German Manual for the Type VIIc, translated in English. Below are a few schematics showing the intricacies and complexity of the fuel system and the respective positions of the various fuel tanks: 

Tanks.thumb.jpg.7ad09c9092bfb074a596370b8454bb56.jpg

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I did not study them in details, but it is a good starting point to figure out how it works. Knowledge of the language of Goethe may help too.

 

Yves

Edited by yvesvidal

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I forgot about those new Haynes manuals. In my day, (Somewhere in the post Cro-Magnon era) Haynes manuals where what you had sitting around in the garage to show you how to work on your family car! If you really wanted to fix something you got a Chiltons. ^_^

 

I spent some time looking up the U-534 and it is a pretty interesting story. The reason they cut it up was so that they could separate the hull into three sections and allow people to navigate through the sub easier. Something that is a problem with all the submarines on display to the public. I wish they had left the ends open like in your picture so we could still see the real "insides". It was still a pretty complex restoration project. 

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Posted (edited)

Some progress: 

 

1) installation of magnets to hold the starboard half hull to the deck and port hull. It is working very well and give me a sturdy and full hull to work with. This is very important to position perfectly the PE on the deck. In the end, I may glue the other half, but there is no certainty. It could stay like that and be fine.

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I may still add a couple of magnets towards the bow, below the torpedo doors. The half hulls are so big and long, there is a slight warping that irritates me.

 

2) There is the whole enchilada, holding with just the magnets:

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Now is time for the exciting part: THE PEs !!!! A novelty for me.

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For the time being, they are just resting on the plastic deck. Maybe tomorrow, I will start gluing them, starting from the bow.

 

Yves

 

 

 

Edited by yvesvidal

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Well, I could not wait..... First two pieces of deck: 

DSC03626.thumb.JPG.dde1ac1ca8c101603f7d7af11be7395b.JPG

These are glued with two components epoxy glue. It gives you plenty of time to position perfectly the parts and clean very easily with isopropyl alcohol. The end result is very sturdy although somewhat flexible. Just what I needed. You have to apply the glue very sparingly, as it will try to seep through the gratings. A soft and clean rag with alcohol, and it is all clean.

 

Now, for the claustrophobia lovers, an inside shot: 

DSC03627.thumb.JPG.b945dbe8a1e8378d87058fa70777b2d5.JPG

That hull is massive.

 

Yves

 

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Folks and followers, 

 

Thank you for the appreciations and thumbs-ups. I encourage you to go back to old posts as I usually improve them with additional information and archive elements that I find, in my ever lasting quest on these machines. I recently added some schematics on the fuel system, a few posts back.

 

I am trying to make this BLOG interesting by offering historical and technical elements in addition to the build properly speaking.

 

Yves

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Posted (edited)

Now that the Port side is more or less completed, it is time to work on the starboard half-hull. This piece is made of acrylic or plexiglass and is a nightmare to rework. My tools although running at the lower possible speed (5,000 RPM) tend to melt the plastic if you stay too long on one spot. You have to keep moving, stop frequently, cut the melted blob around the bits, and start again, a tedious and delicate cutting. In addition, the part is not as resilient than the regular polystyrene and I am always concerned of risks of shattering the part. Not a pleasant section of the construction. It is nerve wracking and my teeth are clenched way too long. How much I wish they had provided two starboard hulls: one transparent and one made of regular polystyrene that you could cut to your desire. Also, working on a semi-transparent part is not exactly easy and I cannot wait to prime that section. It is truly difficult to see your mistakes.

 

First, the torpedo doors: 

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Then the large cut to show the front torpedo compartment: 

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And an appetizer of what will be the final result: 

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My plan is obviously not to use the transparent hull as provided in the kit. Let's be honest, you don't see much through that plastic, even though it may look a little bit better with the lights on. Instead, I want to paint the hull and leave open some sections that show all the action taking place inside the submersible. A little bit like these books of our childhood, showing you a cutaway of ships, cars, planes and submarines.

 

Yves

 

Edited by yvesvidal

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1 hour ago, mtaylor said:

If I'm reading this right, you're planning on painting the clear piece?   Why not shoot some primer on it before cutting then?  

For the simple reason that it is easier to adjust the cuts when you can see the modules inside. But do not worry, I will be shooting a coat of primer soon, on the bow that I am reworking. Yes, it is not easy to work on this transparent stuff.

 

Yves

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Old Collingwood said:

Great work  she is going to be fabulous,   I remember building this one as a kid  -

Yes, that was one of my first kit, the Renwall original model. I was so excited to have such a great kit. You could even shoot the missile in the air. What a treat.

 

Yves

Edited by yvesvidal

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Posted (edited)

Folks,

 

I am slowly starting to be more comfortable with the cutting of that transparent material. I will post a couple of pictures when I get home to show the latest progress. You definitely have to be more careful and patient than with the polystyrene side. On the other end, it produces a little bit less dust when working it.

 

I have also decided to show all four torpedo doors (hull doors) open. I really like the aggressive look provided by the the four mouths ready to fire: 

axfuiu.thumb.jpg.4c986747f29a05fb727cdf9a678ba35b.jpg

To do that in a realistic way, I have decided to order a few more parts from RCSUBS in Czech Republic. In retrospect, I should have ordered the whole set upfront. With the Torpedo doors set and the torpedo door framing set, I will hopefully have something that resembles a true Type VIIc submersible. 

 

Below is a picture of the the Torpedo Door framing set, that goes inside the hull: 

0172.jpg.bcba322b320ca98fd66fcdd4b7d22bf3.jpg

I started installing these frames in the Port side of my model and will continue in the starboard side, very soon. The Torpedo inner doors is another set  (on order) which is very interesting and allows you to replicate faithfully and accurately what real inner torpedo doors look like. That set is very important if you want to replicate the rear torpedo mechanism, correctly. 

0167.jpg.afa635b48e415c32a1b42ac71270a055.jpg

I will then link the torpedo inner door mechanisms with the Pressure Hull front Bulkhead from RCSUBS (3D printed part), which I have already installed on my front torpedoes room module: 

0174-2.jpg.5122b2cced80b6c30468c778cde13b59.jpg

The links between the bulkhead and the torpedo inner doors is not something you can find easily and after hours of searching the Internet, I found the following drawing done by a European enthusiast: 

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It shows the levers and commands that are involved to control the outside doors and the external shutters, on the hull.

 

I have to say that this is a big departure from the Trumpeter kit, which presents absolutely nothing of these parts. I am so grateful that the RCSUBS photo Etched sets are available as they allow the demanding modeler to complete a very accurate and faithful model of the type VIIc submersibles.

 

Below is the complete offering of RCSUBS PE sets. Quite a comprehensive set and so much better than the simplified and approximate Eduard set. Each set comes with a complete set of instructions and templates, whenever applicable. Oto from RCSUBS has been enlisting a German veteran and expert on the Type VIIc and newer submarines, to get the most precise and accurate set of PE available. 

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I also have the rear pressure hull bulkhead on order, a new part that was not available when I placed my first order. I like these 3D printed parts as they truly depict and make you understand how the Type VIIc was designed. I wanted to show the bulkheads and the control links and this is why I cut the Torpedo Room window the way I did.

 

Yves

 

Edited by yvesvidal

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Way back when the only sub I knew of was the Lindburg Fleet sub. VERY basic, I think it has about a dozen parts! I built that one and then a few years later found the Aurora Type XI German Uboat. I don't know of any others until the Japanese started coming out with a number of Uboats followed by Revell. But with the giants they are making now with all the PE and 3D printed aftermarket it is a whole new game.

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