by: Jan Klarbæk [ ]
Skywave and Pit-Road has a general good reputation for delivering accurate ship kits with a high level of details and accurate dimensions and proportions. Lets take a look at this double release with no less than 2 different submarines - the late war German efforts, the electro boot XXI and its smaller cousin the XXIII.
In the box...
In the box you get 2 identical frames each containing the parts to build a XXI and a XXIII, so all in all you get no less that 2 of each type. Getting an extra of each gives you the opportunity to put the knife to one of each and do both a full hull version and a waterline.
Aside for the 2 frames the packaging also includes a small decal sheet with German naval flags, numbers and swastikas, the latter is without relevance to the kits, but you can always glue the on the small bases included on the frames.
Instructions are a simple sheet a4 size printed one-sided only - it’s enough considering the number of parts in the kit.
Quality, details and construction...
Both boats show considerable details the scale taken into consideration. Details are sharp and well defined, but there are some flash present especially on the hulls.
This is the biggest boat, it measures 11 cm, and a comparison with my references show a true and well made layout of details like flood holes, bollards on the deck, armament in the turret, radar and radio detection and rudders and screws. Nice and well-defined castings. The hull comes in 2 halves, a separate deck and the turret likewise in 2 halves and a top piece. And to that detailing parts.
There are some flash evident, especially on the hull halves and care is needed with assembly, since there is on guidance pins on the parts. The schnorkel is a bit out of scale and will benefit from being cut down a bit.
While assembling the hull, its evident that the deck needs some putty around the edges to hide the seam, due to the very fine detailing on the hull, care is needed and I chose to mask the area with Tamiya masking tape to control the putty. A light sanding and you are done. The rest just goes together, but be aware that the crew openings on the tower is only represented as slight indentions, so should you want to ad a crew, you will have to deepen these holes with a drill and a sharp knife like I did.
You get a simple stand for the kit, but I chose to do a small base in wood, stained and lacquered and the boat mounted with 1 mm brass tread.
The smaller cousin, only 5 cm, but never the less quite detailed. This little kit is limited to 2 hull halves and a top piece for the bridge, ad to that a few rudders, the screw and the small plastic base and that’s that.
Overall details are neat and the flood holes are accurately placed. The exhaust cover on the port side of the turret is missing, but is easily made with a small piece of thin styrene sheet. There’s no bridge, only a flat top piece and it will benefit the kit to drill out the bride. It’s a relatively easy task with a bit of care. The periscope and schnorkel is better replaced, as they, even in this scale, are a bad representation of the real thing. When surfaced both the periscope and schnorkel were often retracted into the turret top, so this will make it easier to rebuild.
On this boat I decided to use the supplied base, painted brass and glued on a stained piece of wood.
Antenna wires can be added to both kits using thin nylon tread.
Painting and finishing...
Both boats were painted with Vallejo Air, coated with future before a dark wash to bring out the details. A wash with a dark grey from Pro Modeller and before a dullcoat.
If you need a little distraction from the more complex and time consuming (not to say costly) projects, this is a both cheep and good way, as the kits involved is really nice and sufficiently accurate for the scale.
You might get slightly more sharp details from a resin kit, but this release really measures fine compared with other offerings, and with a few alterations and additions they are worth the price and can be done over a few days.