German Type VII in 1/32 Scale - OTW

This model will be a buildup for a friend in Florida. It will be a static display (for now) hopefully with accommodations for future expansion as a fully functional R/C model. He would like it built as the U-995.

Some info on the original Type VII subs:

The Type VIIC was the workhorse of the German U-boat force, with 568 commissioned from 1940 to 1945.[72] Boats of this type were built throughout the war. The first VIIC boat commissioned was the U-69 in 1940. The Type VIIC was an effective fighting machine and was seen almost everywhere U-boats operated, although their range was not as great as that of the larger Type IX.[72] The VIIC came into service as the first "Happy Time" near the beginning of World War II was almost over, and it was this boat that saw the final defeat by the Allied anti-submarine campaign in late 1943 and 1944.[72]

Type VIIC was a slightly modified version of the successful VIIB. They had very similar engines and power, and were larger and heavier which made them slightly slower than the VIIB. Many of these boats were fitted with snorkels in 1944 and 1945.[72]

They had the same torpedo tube arrangement as their predecessors, except for U-72, U-78, U-80, U-554, and U-555, which had only two bow tubes, and for U-203, U-331, U-351, U-401, U-431, and U-651, which had no stern tube.[72]

On the surface the boats (except for U-88, U-90 and U-132 to U-136 which used MAN M6V40/46s) were propelled by two supercharged Germaniawerft, 6 cylinder, 4-stroke M6V 40/46 diesels totaling 2,800 to 3,200 hp (2,100 to 2,400 kW) at 470 to 490 rpm.[72]

For submerged propulsion, several different electric motors were used. Early models used the VIIB configuration of two AEG GU 460/8-276 electric motors, totaling 750 hp (560 kW) with a max rpm of 296, while newer boats used two BBC (Brown Boveri & Co) GG UB 720/8, two GL (Garbe Lahmeyer) RP 137/c electric motors or two SSW (Siemens-Schuckert-Werke) GU 343/38-8 electric motors with the same power output as the AEG motors.[72]

Perhaps the most famous VIIC boat was U-96, featured in the movie Das Boot.[72]

View most recent update

October 29, 2010

The build has officially commenced, however it might not be until another week before I really get into it.

All of the parts have been laid out, and I'm going to start with the construction of the conning tower, which is an entire model in and of itself. I managed to find an excellent build of the extended conning tower online. Feel free to check it out at:

For now, enjoy the photos of the parts.

October 31, 2010

I have begun work on the conning tower, which really is a model completely unto itself. There are literally a hundred small detail parts that go into it, and there is a LOT of scratchbuilding that I'll need to do, particularly in the "walls" of the conning tower.

The brass decking was removed from the photoetch sheets and cut to size. Supports were added below. The first detail parts such as the periscope housing were also test fit.

November 10, 2010

The aerial and the wind deflector were tackled next. The aerial was steel photoetch and took a bit of doing to get bent properly as its quite stiff to work with. The end result, however, is very impressive. The aerial is retractable (manually) and fits into the recess that I built into the walls of the tower.

The wind deflector was built using kit-supplied brass forms and styrene plastic.

The loop aerial was also installed, and retracts in a similar manner to the steel one.

November 15, 2010

The tower was primed and a few layers of filler applied (and then re-primed!). It really looks good with a coat of paint on it!

I drilled out the drain slots with my Dremel. I've yet to sand them to proper shape, but they're opened up, which is really half the battle.

I then moved onto tackling the brass railings. The kit comes supplied with brass stanchions, which are perfect and make this job infinitely easier. I threaded all of the stanchions onto the rods and then began shaping the railings to the shape of the deck. This took a bit of time and creativity, but it actually went very well and tuned out as good as I hoped. Brass rungs were also added to the sides of the conning tower.

It was when I progressed onto the lower deck area that I discovered a big oversight on my part. On the U995, the upper deck is actually raised from the main conning tower area by a significant amount. I'd gone ahead and just glued it onto the tower according to the supplied parts without working ahead, and I now had it secured about 1/4" too low!

The solution was to break it off, add a spacer and re-attached. It was far less of a problem than I was anticipating, and the modification was actually accomplished in less than a half an hour. The result was perfect!

Lower railings were added as I did the top ones, and more grab bars were added.

November 18, 2010

I moved onto fitting the lower prop support, prop shafts and propellers in place. I had to notch the keel to get the proper clearance, but my Dremel made quick work of that. After the support was in place, I slid in the shafts until they contacted the hull to ensure alignment and to determine where to open up the hull. Two slots of about 3/16" by 2" were made to facilitate the prop bushings.

Now, the U995 has a different armament than most standard u-boats. It featured twin 2cm Flakzwilling cannons and a single Flak42. The owner of the model found a good kit for the FLak42 and I hope to have it by the middle of next week. Unfortunately we could not find an option for the Flakzwilling cannons.

I took the stock parts from the kit and modified them to look more like the Flakzwillings. I think it turned out really well.

November 25, 2010

The lower rudder assembly has been installed along with the dive planes, lower skeg and propellers. I did notice that the shafts for the dive planes were cast in such a manner that they were not level, so I needed to do some alterations to get them to sit right. The rudder support was fabricated from scratch out of brass.

I've begun adding the wire mesh around the conning tower railings, and I've also received the Flak cannon kit that goes on the lower Wintergarten platform. It was a beautiful little kit and went together fairly well in about an hour.

I'm now moving forward on getting the main brass photoetched deck secured to the hull...

November 30, 2010

I've completed the addition of the wire mesh to the railings of the conning tower. It really makes the tower look highly detailed.

The snorkel was also fabricated from scratch based on some rather vague references that I found online. The snorkel support was scratchbuilt and added to the conning tower.

I'm now about 50% done cutting the drainage slots in the hull. It is a very time-consuming task, and very dusty.

The port, starboard and rear navigation lights were also constructed. They will be functional and are made from LED's, brass and plastic stock.

December 9, 2010

I'm very happy to say that I've completed the cast majority of the flood slots. Each were cut with a dremel and then filed to shape. The job actually looks worse than it is, however I'm still glad to be done with it (for now).

LED lighting has been completed on the conning tower port, starboard and aft as well as the far aft navigation light. I still need to make the shroud for the aft light, however it is wired and operational. Lights will be powered by a 6V power pack inside the sub. A small switch will be concealed behind one of the flooding slots to turn them on and off.

Ammo bins were added to the conning tower.

I've gotten some light gray paint from Testors, so I'm basically set to begin painting the conning tower, guns, antennas, and portions of the deck.

The lower hull is getting final sanding on the filler for the dive plane supports.

Looking good!

December 13, 2010

I decided the other morning to just start playing around with weathering the big flak gun, just to get some ideas on how to move forward with the rest of the model. To make a long story short, I got carried away (in a very good way!), and ended up painting and weathering the entire conning tower.

I used a base of light gray followed by an airbrush of the panel lines and edges with some weathered black. Over that went some selected addition of rusted edges and a pastel wash of rust colored areas. I am very happy with how it turned out. I think its just enough to convey the look of a boat just returning from patrol, which is how this boat will be modeled.

In real life, the uboats would not have the bollards extended, the life rings displayed, or even the rear navigation light in place. My thoughts is that this boat is portrayed as just returning to port, proudly displaying its flag after a successful patrol.

The decking, according to my research, would have been painted black, and during the patrol areas where it was eposed to lots of traffic would slowly wear through to the wooden color. I simulated this by airbrushing a rust-colored paint in the areas around the various guns and ammo lockers.

The LED lights were exposed by removing the masking tape that I'd put in place during painting. I really like how they turned out.

I have now moved onto creating the rear torpedo tube, which will be made from 3/4" copper tubing.

December 15, 2010

Lots of progress!

The brass deck has been completed along with all of the lower deck railings. The lower hull has been filled, sanded, primed and painted!

The lower hull is dark primer gray, which is a very good match for the dark gray that the boats were actually painted, and the sheen is perfect as well. The upper deck is light German gray. Panel lines were lowlighted with airbrushing to bring out the detail.

The deck was painted in the same manner as the conning tower, with a base of weathered black followed by a misting of rust to simulate wear.

The lighting switch was installed behind one of the flood slots, and is very subtle. Lighting was fully installed and tested (and looks AMAZING!).

Some final filling of the upper deck area needs to be done tomorrow and then the upper deck attached.

After that, I'm onto the rigging and then final weathering!

December 19, 2010

More weathering! I've started rusting! All of the panel lines are being highlighted with a bit of rust, and its a long, but worthwhile process. The rigging has also been installed. I used aluminum wire, which was actually very easy to work with and looks great!

The weathering in these photos is not yet quite the final product, however you get a good idea of the end result.

More soon! I'm off for a week for the Christmas holidays, so look for more in two weeks or so!

December 31, 2010

Done! And just in time for New Years!

The model has been weathered using paints, pastels and airbrushing. I'm not sure that these phtoos do it justice, as I had a hard time showing the true colors, however you get a decent idea of how it turned out.

The model was hit with semi-gloss lacquer to give a hint of sheen, and I like the effect a lot!

January 3, 2011

I built a quick stand out of hardwood for the model at the owner's request. It turned out quite well. Its all ready for him to pick it up in a few weeks!

July 11, 2012

Torpedo Tubes installed!

I had the chance to head out to this model's owner's house last week and install a pair of port-side torpedo tubes for him. He was really excited to have that done and my wife and I took the chance while we were out there to have a small vacation as well, so it worked out well for everyone.

The side of the hull was opened up with a diamond cutoff wheel in my trusty Dremel and then PVC torpedo tubes (of conveniently proper size) were installed along with some scratchbuilt bulkheads and reinforcement frameworks.

I also took the opportunity to replace the aluminum wire support wires with stretchy black wires that hold tension far better and look more to scale.

I think it turned out great! Pardon the poor photos, but all I had was my cell phone.