Trumpeter Nails the Type VII With New Kit Release
While there are a handful of offerings for lovers of the German Navy's uboats, most of them fall in the piddly 1/72 or 1/144th scale ranges, which makes them big enough to be detailed, but exceptionally difficult to convert to RC operation.
Larger kit offerings are out there, namely OTW Designs in the UK (www.otwdesigns.com) and Engel of Germany (http://www.engel-modellbau.de/) Type VII kits. Both are a monstrous 1/32nd scale, putting them just short of seven feet in length. At that size, you can rest assured that the installation of any number of amazing and cool features is a snap due to the sheer volume of room you have to work with, and also that the boat will have exemplary presence on and under the water, regardless of the size of pond.
It also means you need to own a semi-trailer and crane to transport it to said pond.
Okay, so perhaps I exaggerate, but not by much. Fortunately, there have now been two kits released in the sweet spot between the pool toys and the nearly-full-sized boats. Arkmodel out of China was the first to bat and they hit a home run (in my opinion) with their 1/48th scale offering. The boat is created primarily as an RC platform, with everything rigged for practical operation. Details are somewhat inaccurate on the boat, but for an RC sub, are perfectly fine based on the fact that you won't be near it most of the time it's out.
The second offering, and the focus of my article, is the newly-released 1/48th scale Type VII kit by Trumpeter, also out of China.
I was fortunate enough to get one of the first kits out and have had the chance to crack into the box and get a good look at just what the kit entails.
I was not disappointed.
Like the Arkmodel version, the Trumpeter kit is a wonderful scale, putting it at about 55" in length. In my mind, this is about the perfect scale for a fleet boat like this, big enough to install very functional practical RC components, and small enough to fit in most vehicles without needing to rent a trailer to haul it.
Having said that, gutting this particular boat to install running gear is darned near a tragedy as it offers, unlike any of its competition, a fully detailed interior. When I say detailed, I mean detailed.
The entire starboard side of the boat has been rendered in crystal-clear plastic, offering a clean and unobstructed view of the entire interior of the submarine. Every nook and cranny has been rendered in exceptional detail and the kit includes a full crew compliment of 35 figures, sculpted specifically to fill each of the main compartments of the boat. While 35 would be a light crew for a boat of this era (most uboats ran with between 44 and 52 crew), it still helps to illustrate just how cramped it was living on a fleet boat of this time.
The details in the hull are exquisite and the model is highly detailed. Fitment looks to be excellent based on my first impressions. The instructions are very clear and concise, and the kit includes an entire supplemental document dedicated to detailing out and painting the interior and exterior for proper realism.
I do, however, have a couple of (picky) complaints:
1.) The decking details are not open, so the modeler who wants the ultimate in realism will have his work cut out for him opening up all of those deck slots.
2.) The deck hatches are not practical, they are molded in to the upper deck. Why they didn't add them as separate pieces confuses me to no end, but cutting them out and making them work is within the realm of talented or semi-talented builders, so it's not a deal-breaker.
All in all, this is an exceptional and unique kit. I am very much looking forward to building this boat out and I plan to selfishly do so for my own viewing pleasure. I already have a spot picked out in my study to do so.
Now all I need is the time to put it together.