Cover the eyes of the Wee Ones, For this Halloween tale is not for the young, faint-hearted or squeamish! High on the shoulder of Benn Nevis in the Scottish Highlands stands the imposing edifice of Castle Hall. Wreathed or is it Wraithed, in storms for half a year and in clouds for the other half, its gnarled spires or not frequently seen by the public. During the day it appears as a gray tomb monolith but on any lightning-wracked night, lights dance along its parapets, as this is when the Mad One concocts his creations. In some areas October 31 is called All Hallows Eve or All Souls Eve, in others it is Halloween. There is a very strong clue in that name. Notice the prefix of the word, Halloween. For this evening is not just for ghouls, goblins and the undead, but also it is a fixed point in time each year for the Mad One to breath life into his creations.

Bolts of lightning flicker from the purple clouds to the spires of the decaying castle as Herr Docktor Hall sets about his insane endeavor of bringing life to the base atoms of common elements. The Mad Doctor has been very busy this year and one of his creations, his creatures of brass if you will, has been a two fret brass photo-etched set for the Revell 1:72 scale German Type VIIC U-Boat. There are other mad scientists working on bringing this kit to life. There is a warlock who resides near Salem, Massachusetts, who is concocting a resin pressure hull for the kit and a Sasquatch from the pine forests of Georgia, who is busily carving wood decking for the kit with his rusting chainsaw but this tale concerns the creation of the original mad scientist, Mad Pete of White Ensign Models.

White Ensign Models WEM PE 7203 is not a garden variety creation for it exhibits all of the unearthly skills and artifices of the Mad One to the fullest degree. After reviewing the contents of this photo-etch set, the only question remaining will be if you have the courage and skill necessary to turn the creature to your advantage. Armed with wolfbane, garlic cloves, silver bullets and holy water, not to mention a hobby knife and tube of superglue, you will! And now, on to the insanely detailed creature from the original Mad Pete.

Of course WEM had to enter the lists for creating after market accessories for the large Revell kit. How could they not? One of the White Ensign Models specialties has always been into breathing life and detail into the plastic models released by the big commercial companies. WEM is recognized throughout the world for their brass creations of extraordinarily fine detail and WEM PE 7203 is no exception. Indeed, considering the kit that for which this set is designed, it could easily be foretold that the mad genius of Peter Hall would be unshackled on this subject. No chains, no bars, no governor of any type or description would place artificial limitations on Mad Pete for this one. After all, the subject was one of the gray wolves of the Atlantic, Mad Pete’s children of the night. A Type VIIC U-Boat that prowled at night looking for innocent victims, defenseless merchant ships to send to a watery grave. The Revell Type VIIC U-Boat kit is no ordinary model, at 1:72nd scale it is as monolithic in size as are the talents of Mad Pete. The laboratory of Mad Pete crackled with electricity as was permeated with the smell of ozone as WEM PE 7203 took shape. In common with many other of his creations, it was shaped and developed into a two fret set.


Part A
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WEM Type VIIC Fret Part A
The largest component to this set is Part A, which contains the largest items of photo-etch for the 1:72 U-Boat. The concentration is on parts for the main deck and the deck of the conning tower. The parts on this fret will confer an unparalleled versatility and flexibility to any build of the Type VIIC U-Boat but they also impose the requirement of choice on the modeler. Through this creature of brass the modeler can bring life to the static plastic model for WEM provides individual deck gratings that can be assembled open or closed. About 50% of the fret is composed of 24 individual access panels found on the main deck of the U-Boat. The variations on how to assemble and display your Revell U-Boat seem almost endless with the opportunities literally opened by the individual gratings on this fret. A listing of these insanely detailed creations is only a mere glimpse into the flexibility of this fret: Gun Deck Casing Access Hatch; Aft Casing Access Hatch; Forward Casing Torpedo Loading Hatches; Casing Access Galley Hatch; Aft Casing Torpedo Loading Hatches; Forward Casing Access Hatches; and Conning Tower Side Forward Casing Access Hatches. Each body of access hatches runs from one to eight separate hatches in the group. With these separate access hatches it is almost possible to have the entire upper deck opened for viewing. This fact may be evidence that the Mad One, with the trusty help of his equally mad assistant Igor, AKA John Snyder, is in league with the Warlock of Massachusetts, who is developing a resin pressure hull for the same kit. Now matter how you dissect the situation the conclusion is always the same for the parts offer an unequalled opportunity to individualize your 1:72 scale U-Boat.


Part A
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However, access hatches are not all of the detail provided by WEM, even on this one fret. No dentist could provide more care for the teeth of your Gray Wolf than that provided by the Mad One. Mad Pete provides for five separate torpedo tube doors, four for the bow and one for the stern. All of them come to life with three-dimensional relief on the doors. This 3D relief is not just confined to these parts but is seen throughout this fret. Other relief etched parts include Ballast Tank Vent Valves in three shapes, circular, large oval and small oval; retractable bollard heads; retractable bollard plates; Conning Tower Hatch Mechanism; Attack Periscope Compass Repeater; Deck RU Locker Hatch Hinges; Diesel Exhaust Plates; and a large Diesel Air Vent Duct that displays individual bolt heads. How could any Halloween review of one of Mad Pete’s creations not have bolt heads sticking out from somewhere on the surface? Yet still the tally is not complete. You receive a complete set of brass replacement rails for the sides of the conning tower in four shapes, hatch handles, torpedo aiming sight footbars, torpedo aiming sight bevel & handrail, hand holds and foot bars for the attack periscope, 20mm and 88mm gun handwheels and a conning tower radar antenna stowage box. Although one might think that this list of parts would exhaust the possible detail parts for the U-Boat kit, they would be wrong as there is yet another fret in this set.

WEM Type VIIC Fret Part B
The smaller of the two frets exhibits parts of even more fineness of detail than Fret A. On this fret are concentrated all of the parts that have a fine open grill-work design. Further, almost every part of this fret has the beautiful 3D relief-etching of WEM. The sharp, angular blades of upper and lower cable cutters are the perfect accompaniment for a Halloween review and they are captured in all of their sinister glory by WEM. However, the prize for the most intricate parts on this fret, as well as the entire set, goes to the three radars provided in the set,  for WEM indeed provides three of these creations as options. One is the asymmetrical FuMO 30, rotating radar and the other is the later FuMO 61, which replaced the FuMO 30. A third and earlier type of German submarine radar is provided with a 24 part FuMO 29 fixed radar. Again, the modeler is given the option by White Ensign Models to display his Type VIIC in a comprehensive manner. The electronics fit does not just stop with the three varieties of radar. WEM provides an inclusive selection of other electronic, magnetic and mechanical gadgets and gizmos for the Type VIIC. In a list that sounds like the manifest of instruments from Mad Pete’s laboratory, you get the Naxos Antenna; Biscay Cross Antenna; forward compass mounting; MAG compass housing crosses; conning tower circular crosses; conning tower square crosses; Helical stiffeners for the attack periscope; and 24 cable tensioners. All of these parts are just right for any well equipped Gray Wolf or the workplace for any self-respecting mad scientist.


Part B
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The very fine grillwork of air ducts is readily apparent in many of the parts on Fret B. This grillwork includes parts for the central diesel air vent duct grill and side duct top grills. For variation there is a selection of louvered grillwork, which includes the ballast intake grills and diesel duct side grills. To keep the annoying Short Sunderland at a safe distance, WEM provides all of the parts for your 20mm AA gun with a subset of five super-detailed parts, not including the handwheels on Fret A.

Mad Pete’s Recipe of Creation
Your average insane scientist is not too clear in recording his observations for posterity but Mad Pete is not the average insane scientist. He has meticulously annotated just how to put his creation together so that like minded free-thinkers can follow his path of scientific and artistic success. The instructions for any White Ensign Models kit or photo-etch product are justifiably renowned for their detail, quality and comprehensiveness. With the Mad Pete Gray Wolf photo-etch set this comprises six pages of detailed instructions in text and graphics. These are not just arcane scribblings and amorphous doodles found with some recordings of the unbalanced but are lucid and clear of exceptional quality. The neophyte is taken through the wonder of creation of the Type VIIC photo-etch detail set, step by step, with no process or detail overlooked. Mad Pete willing shares the secrets of breathing life into the plastic Revell kit through the 25 modules included in the instructions. It is clearly shown which plastic parts are replaced by the much finer WEM brass parts so that any aspiring apprentice can follow in the steps of the master.


Mad Pete's Recipe
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Verdict
The White Ensign Models Type VIIC U-Boat photo-etched set, WEM PE 7203, designed for the Revell 1:72 scale U-Boat is uniquely qualified for a review on any October 31. The model of this oversize gray wolf is brought to life by Peter Hall as surely as any film version of Dr. Frankenstein brought life to his creation with one notable exception. The multiple Dr. Frankenstein’s of film never were known for creating creatures of grace or beauty. With any creation of Mad Pete, beauty and fineness of detail are givens, for WEM and Mad Pete are not capable of anything less. The Revell 1:72 scale Type VIIC U-Boat is far larger than your average model kit and it takes a truly professional and skilled hand to bring animation and life to the subject but yet again the mad scientist of Benn Nevis has done so, to the benefit of modelers everywhere, who now can unleash their children of the night.

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