This is an old Gulfstream kit I picked up at a model swap about a year ago. To keep things interesting I decided to fit her out as U-453 would have appeared just as she left the Atlantic for the Med in late 1941. The kit shows a little age in its photo-etch and its simplicity/ non-existence of small parts aside from the snorkel, but the resin hull itself is beautifully done and detailed. The only work needed on the hull was a correction on the keel where the two edges of the envelope mold failed to line up properly, causing the hull to be lop-sided in section. The contoured conning tower rails fit nicely the first time around. After dropping her on the floor (top side down of course) while masking, I had to remove them, then flatten and straighten them as best I could. After recontouring them, they never quite fit the same. The deck rails proved to be temperamental, as there was no allowance for contouring around the aft tower. My solution was to separate the rails into fore and aft sections, cutting out the middle stretch of lifelines. After bludgeoning the aft rails to something acceptable, and gluing them in place, I added new middle lifelines using copper strand from computer ribbon. The same type of wire was used for the fore and aft radio aerials. Periscopes weren't included. These were tapered from brass rod using a Dremel and emeryboard. The heads were constructed from bits of styrene rectangle and then filed to shape. The 37 mm flak included in the kit was a 2D PE affair and did not include a shield as U-453 had. I replaced this with a completely scratch-built unit using 0.001 styrene for the shield, trunion and seats, with 0.002 styrene for the breech-block, and wire for the barrel and seat mounts. Other Scratch-built items include the snorkel bracket on the tower (brass sheet), port and starboard navigation lights (styrene sheet and rod), and the life ring on starboard (brass wire bent to shape and filed). The ladders are from the spares box, and the flag is from the ISW decal sheet. The pattern was masked with Silly-Putty. Last but not least, the Mahogany display base was crafted by John Healey in exchange for a six pack of Bud.

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Fritz Koopman