1/48th Scale German Type VII Project Commences!

It isn't often that I can say that a product that was made in China impresses me. Typically these products are cheaply made, ill-fitting and reek of whatever oil they need to soak them in to stop mold or corrosion due to their long sea voyage over to North America.

I have to say, the Type VII offering by Arkmodel (www.arkmodel.com) has changed my perception of what the Chinese can do when they put their minds to it.

The Arkmodel Type VII German uboat kit is done in 1/48th scale, netting a model that measures an impressive 55" in length (about 140cm). This gives ample room for the installation of internal components and a great presence on and under the water while not requiring a trailer or pickup truck to haul to and from the pond.

Parts are made from injection molded ABS plastic and I am having great luck with standard styrene cement for adhering the pieces together. Details are crisp and clear. Purists will argue that the details are overscale, but I actually prefer that in an RC model due to the distance when viewing. Honestly, though, a little sandpaper and time will knock down some of the oversized rivets and net a beautiful display boat as well.

All of the flood holes are already opened. All of the control surfaces have pre-installed stainless steel shafts and integrated brass bushings. All in all... I'm impressed.

The best part of all was the price. The total kit cost, inclusive of shipping, came in at just under $390US.

This particular build will feature a Caswell 2.5" cylinder. I'll be integrating a wireless power switch for the model, adding LED lighting and I'll also try to install a sound unit, however the space is somewhat limited for a decent waterproof speaker, so that may need to be re-evaluated when the time comes.

Access for the cylinder will be via a vertical cut in the rear section of the boat. The cylinder will simply slide into place and lock down with a single retaining screw, much like my big 32nd scale OTW Type VII that I completed a few months back.

What I love most about this model is that from the get-go it was engineered as a practical, working model. I don't need to scratchbuild control arms or linkages. Arkmodel has already thought this through.

At this point, I have completed much of the work on the rear section, having installed the rear planes and rudders as well as the main drive shafts. I've also installed the forward torpedo shutters and as of this morning, have worked out the linkages to actuate them in pairs, top and bottom.

Look for more updates to come on this project in the very near future! In the meantime, enjoy this brief walkthrough of the kit uploaded to YouTube:

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