Special Navy 1/72 U-Boat Type IIA Kit First Look
|Date of Review||April 2015||Manufacturer||Special Navy|
|Subject||U-Boat Type IIA||Scale||1/72|
|Kit Number||72002||Primary Media||Styrene, Resin, PE|
|Pros||Well-made and easy build||Cons||Missing surface detail; some scratch building needed|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$95.00|
Looking at the infamous Type VII U-boat used during the battle of the Atlantic and the archetypical design for a U-Boat, you can see where its design influences came from while looking at the Type II. The first of these U-boats were launched in 1935 in secrete to avoided the Treaty of Versailles. The Type IIA had a distinctive small bridge with a single periscope protruding from it and a single hull design with its ballast tanks inside the welded hull with the iconic serrated net cutter we have become use to seeing on the bow of U-boats of this era. Early in WW2 they were used operationally but quickly moved to training units. This role was probably the best use for the quickly outclassed submarine. There is a Type II on display at Helsinki, Finland.
Special Navy put out this kit in 2008. They are a part of the Special Hobby and MPM company as a follow-on to their Type XXIII released a few years earlier. The kit is made up of 68 parts casted in grey with 13 parts in resin and 28 parts in white metal with extra photo-etch and decals for 4 different submarines.
The instructions are in booklet form with a brief history written in a few different languages, an illustrated parts breakdown on the trees and a simple 60 degree assembly drawing The back page has painting instructions for the different U-boats and finally a separate errata sheet that has corrections for Type IIA U-boats 1 through 6. It is kind of basic but does enhance your kit with a bit more detail to add using your scratchbuilding skills.
All resin parts are cast with tan colored resin and are very well done. Extra care is needed with a razor saw to separate the screws from their casting mounts to keep from breaking off a blade.
The white metal parts are slightly deformed but soft enough to bend back straight but could be used to show some wear on the boat too. You get some rails, a hatch and a few sundry parts such as an anchor. The other metal parts are some very nice turned periscopes used by different Type IIA boats.
The decal sheet gives you two choices for U-3, U-1 and U-6 along with two types of art to go on the side of the conning tower. The decals are done by Aviprint and are of high quality.
There is a photo-etch plate that has some number plates on it along with some deck detail and hand rails for the conning tower.
The main hull is made in four pieces with no alignment tabs but this is easy to remedy with some scratch sprue. The deck is not perforated to show the inner hull curve below it but there are some real wood laser cut decks and some photo-etch decks out there if you want to go that far with your build. The hull is lacking some detail in weld marks and the assembled hull is about 18 and half inches long. Depending on the version you want to do some vent holes need to be sealed up and water vents added to the bottom of the hull along with some other detail missing. I recommend a good reference book on the Type II if you want to detail it out.
My overall opinion is that this is a great addition to any collection. It is small enough that it could fit on a shelf. With a proper display base you can make a fine example of the rare Type IIA with just a little basic modeling skills. Special care needs to be made to keep the hull quarters in alignment and if you can find the aftermarket photo-etch you will have a real eye catcher. This kit has become popular with some of the RC boat community too. Look out for a build review soon.