I'm sure the readership may be suffering from "U-Boatitis" by now. Everyone is more than excited with the Revell of Germany 1:72nd Scale Type VIIC, plus all the accessories. For those who do not have the room, or budget for this monster, here's an alternative. This is the Mirage kit #40044 of the Type IX C/40 Turm II, in 1:400th scale. Don't be put off by the scale folks, this kit with its associated brass set is a jewel in the right hands. Unfortunately, you'll have to settle for my example.

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This kit really attracted me due to the version. This is the Type IX C with the cut away fore deck. Now I'm not certain, but I believe this is the first kit ever produced in this configuration. From my readings, it seems the Type IX was a pig underwater. It took way too long to accomplish the dive, and maneuverability was poor compared to the Type VII but it did have a longer range and more creature comforts for the crew. In an effort to reduce the problem, the fore deck was cut away. This helped a little, but not much. Mirage has a great little series going here. For approximately $20.00 US, you can get the kit and the etched brass sheet. This sheet includes such items as the main deck, winter garden railings, screws, anchor, life preservers, radar antenna, DF loop, and shoulder rails for the 2CM guns. Granted, not all items will be used, depending on the boat configuration you choose. It really is a simple kit. If folks are experienced in the use of etched brass, plus painting and highlighting, they will definitely enjoy this series. For my example, I chose to build U-803 in her late war colors. Weathering was accomplished with artist's acrylic gouache and pastels. Obviously toward the end of the war, these boats were really showing the wear and tear of operations with minimum maintenance being performed between patrols. I also chose to show the schnorkel extended. This is because next to an early war boat, it shows how the configuration was going through drastic changes to survive.

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So that's it, I hope some enjoy. Please note, comments and criticism from the readership is definitely appreciated, especially from some of our Sub experts. I have a whole fleet to go, and feedback will help with future projects.

Bruce Simard