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U-Boat Kit

Academy 1/150 German Navy U-Boat IXb Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review January 2009 Manufacturer Academy
Subject German Navy U-Boat IXb Scale 1/150
Kit Number 1442 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice kit of a German U-boat that can be built as a static display or a motorized and diving model Cons Self adhesive stickers provided instead of normal decals. U-156 marking wrong for a Type B boat
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $36.00

First Look

U-Boat Kit
U-Boat Kit
U-Boat Kit
U-Boat Kit
U-Boat Kit
U-Boat Kit

The Type IXB U-boat was an improved model of German submarine with an increased range. It was the most successful version overall with each boat averaging a total of over 100,000 tons sunk.

Famous IXB boats included U-123 under the command of Richard Hardegen, which opened up the attack in the US waters in early 1942, known as Operation Drumbeat, and U-107 out of Freetown, Africa under the command of Hessler. This boat had the most successful single mission of the war with close to 100,00 tons sunk.

A list of Type IXB boats includes: U-64, U-65, U-103 to U-111, U-122 to U-124. The only markings in this kit that are for a Type IXB are for U-124. The U-124 or Unterseeboot 124 was launched on 9 March 1940 with a crew of 54, under the command of Georg-Wilhelm Schulz, who commanded it up until September 1941, when Johann Mohr took over command. U-124 left Wilhelmshaven on her first active patrol on 19 August 1940. Over the next two years and eight months, she would compile one of the most successful kill records for enemy sea vessels destroyed of the entire war, sinking 48 Allied ships totaling 224,953 tons, and severely damaging another four ships totaling 30,067 tons, and shooting down one aircraft. She completed 10 patrols and was sunk in 1943.

The kit is by Academy and is molded in Korea. The kit comes in a long tray and lid type box. The boxart shows a Type IXB U-boat tooling along in rough seas. It has the emblem of U-156 on the front of the conning tower. This is a shield with a gold castle on it. Problem is that the U-156 was a Type IXC U-boat, and NOT a “B”. So the boxart is wrong. This insignia is on the self-adhesing sticker sheet in the kit (stickers vs. normal decals). The boxart announces that the kit can be built either as a motorized and diving submarine or as a static display. A RE-280 electric motor is included, that requires 3 x “C” batteries that are not included to power it.

One side panel gives the copyright date of 1991 and says that the kit is not suitable for children under 3 years of age, but is aimed at modelers 10 to adult.

The second side panel has a photograph of the model built up on its desk stand, and 3 pictures of other sections of the sub made up: the conning tower, the forward deck gun and the stern.

Inside the box is a large medium gray parts tree and medium sized medium jet black tree in a sealed cello bag, a large red parts tree in another sealed cello bag, a loose jet black upper hull part, a metal rod, a black vynil gasket,  the electric motor with wire and switches , ballast weights, a tube of lubricant, metal screws etc.  Self adhesive stickers are included in leu of normal decals. The instructions complete the kit’s contents.

The instructions is a single sheet that accordion folds out into 8 pages of 6 3/8” x 11 5/8” format.

Page one has a black and white repeat of the boxart, followed by a one paragraph history of the Type IXB U-boats.

Page two through the top of page seven gives a total of 16 assembly steps. Care should be given to study these steps to determine what has to be done for a motorized model, or deleted for a static one.

The bottom of page seven has the parts trees drawings and a list of the parts used for motorization.

Page eight has a black and white photo of the model made up on it’s desk stand. Arrows are pointing to various parts of it with colors attached to the arrows. The lower hull is to be red (which it already molded in that color). The waterline is a black stripe, top half of the hull is gray, as well as the conning tower. The deck is to be tan. A white line drawing shows the placement of the stickers to model the U-124 with the Eidelweis insignia. However, the frog is not shown…and…to my knowledge it too should appear on the conning tower someplace too.

Large red letter A parts tree holds: the 3 piece hull, periscopes, rudders and dive planes, conning tower floor etc. (14 parts)

Large medium gray letter B tree holds: railings, guns, conning tower parts, 3 piece deck, life rafts etc. (38 parts)

Medium jet black letter C tree holds: the desk display base, the fore and aft upper deck parts etc. (19 parts)

The single jet black upper central hull piece is next. It is approximately 15” long!

The electric motor, wire and hardware completes the kit’s parts.

Instead of a decal sheet the kit includes self-adhesive stickers. How waterproof these will be when used on a motorized model is unknown. I am going to build my kit as a static model and would have much preferred decals. These include a furled Kriegsmarine flag (minus the swastika that should be in the white circle), the frog and Eidelweis insignia for U-124 and the shield with gold castle on it of U-156, which as mentioned was NOT at type B U-boat, but a type C.

Highly recommended.