by: Todd Michalak [ ]
MPM Production, Ltd. has been around since 1990 and is based in Prague in the Czech Republic. MPM creates what are called “Short-run” kits in both injection molded plastic and cast resin formats. As part of MPM, Special Hobby has a line of specialty kits manufactured by MPM and serves as an online outline for providing not only their own manufactured products but kits and parts comprised of molded and cast materials for other manufacturers such as CMK, Condor, Planet Models, Azur and more.
U-Boot IX Weapon Set – Single 37mm & 2 Twin 20mm AA Cannons
Not too long ago, Revell Germany released their latest version of the Type IXC U-Boat in 1/72 scale. As a result, MPM Productions created an aftermarket gun set for this kit in an effort to improve the quality of the kit supplied weaponry; enter the U-Boot IX Weapon Set.
This set is a multi-media kit containing one single 37mm & 2 Twin 20mm AA Cannons. The kit is supplied in MPM’s standard hard cardboard flip-top box. Inside, the parts are secured nestled within packing peanuts and sealed within Ziploc-type bags. There are sixty (60) parts included in this set consisting of the following:
• 40 – Light Grey Resin Parts
• 1 – Photo Etch Sheet Containing 15 Parts
• 5 – Turned Brass Barrels
• 1 – Instruction Sheet
There are a total of forty cast resin parts to the kit which once built will create three scale AA guns to replace Revell’s kit supplied weapons in their Type IXC U-Boat kit; the single barrel 37mm and two barrel twin 20mm AA Cannons. All of these parts are attached to their original casting blocks and have been cast in grey-colored resin. A quick visual inspection of the parts reveal there is no presence of any air bubbles and casting seam lines are all but non-existent. There is a minute amount of casting flash located on a couple of the more delicate parts, however, this is standard and easily removed with a light pass from a no. 11 hobby knife blade. The resin parts contained in this kit make up the majority of each of the three scale guns included. The detailing appears to be very crisp and other than minor cleanup after removing the parts from their casting blocks, there is very little than needs to be cleaned to begin construction of these guns.
Included in this set is a small sheet of photo etch parts. The majority of parts included on this sheet are the gun adjustment handles which control the movement on the guns in real life. In addition to the photo etch, MPM provides gun barrel replacements within the kit. The barrels are a product of RB Model and are cleanly reproduced in 1/72 scaling and appear to be indicative of the original gun barrels used on both guns.
There is a two-sided, color instructional sheet included with the kit. These instructions are provided in an exploded view format with magnified insets for detailing specific construction steps. There is a numbered parts legend included on this sheet to help identify the parts used for each gun.
The construction of these scale U-Boat guns is straightforward. Following the instructions, the parts need to be carefully removed from their corresponding casting blocks and sanded lightly to prepare for installation. All parts will need super glue or some form of PVA adhesive to secure the parts to each other. The 37mm AA gun with the single barrel will need either a .5 mm piece of styrene rod or small gauge wire to complete the assembly.
MPM Productions has created an excellent representation of the German made single 37mm & 2 Twin 20mm AA Cannons as seen in use aboard the Type IXC U-boats. I will add that these guns were also used aboard other variants of the U-Boat as well as aboard various smaller craft such as the Schnellboot (E-boat) either individually or collective. The castings of these aftermarket guns is exceptional. The parts are clean and crisp and for the most part, free of casting flash. While I did find three parts not attached to their casting blocks in this kit, there was no damage to the parts themselves. Construction was simple and easy to follow along with the supplied instructional sheet. The option for positioning these gun other than zero level is provided. This does pose a problem if the builder would like to depict the gun in a barrel up or down position to add contrast to the construction. However, The U-Boot IX Weapon Set is a fine aftermarket offering to anyone looking to improve the soft detailing to the guns provided with Revell’s Type IXC U-Boat kit in 1/72 scale as well as possible additions on similar scaling E-boats sold.