by: Darren Baker [ ]
Originally published on:
When Bronco Models announced a 1/35th scale submarine the first thought through my mind was that will be big and I can tell you I was not wrong as it measures in at about 39 inches in length. The German U-XXIII Coastal Submarine was designed to operate in shallow water where larger subs could not, as they would make for good targets for Allied ships and aircraft. This type of submarine was the fastest submarine of the time with a surface speed of 9.7 knots and a submerged speed of 12.5 knots. The submarine was powered by a 572hp 6 cylinder diesel engine and a 572hp AEG electric motor, with an additional small 35hp motor referred to as a creeping motor, all driving a single shaft. The maximum range of the U-XXIII Coastal Submarines was 4800 kilometers which could be achieved at a speed of 8 knots when surfaced. The diminutive size of the U-XXIII Coastal Submarines in submarine terms meant that it could only carry two torpedoes, which had to be loaded externally, which did not stop them from being lethal. U-2336 is credited as the submarine to sink the last merchant ship of World War Two in European waters on the 7th of May 1945.
The model is packaged in a rather large and deep box which holds;
8 light grey sprues.
4 large hull moldings
2 large conning tower moldings
1 small clear sprue
1 large photo etched fret
1 glossy instruction booklet
2 small magnets
A color painting guide
A poster of the box art
A length of string
Upon opening the impressive sized box you will be confronted with some very large moldings of the hull, which are packaged as pairs in their own polythene bag and are held together with elastic bands. This has created one problem in that one of the moldings has been slightly distorted by the pressure from the elastic band where, at some time, the two sides became unlocked. This should not be a big issue as long as care is taken when cementing the halves together. The only other thing of note are the large injection points that remain after the moldings have been freed from the sprue, which will require careful removal to prevent damage to the casting and I suggest using a razor saw. The panel lines and overall detail is very good, but no more than we have come to expect from Bronco Models.
The next two large molding are the two halves of the conning tower, which again are nicely molded with good definition; the injection molding lugs are again large but have been placed in such a way as to make for easy removal. There is a lot of ribbing on the inside of these parts helping to prevent distortions from occurring. in order to provide some idea of just how big this model will be, it will come in at just under 1 meter long.
All of the sprues in this offering are individually packed in their own polythene bag, with the exception of sprues that are duplicated. The points where the model parts are connected to the sprues are easily accessible and should allow for clean removal of parts by your chosen method without causing damage. Of all the sprues in this set, only two parts have been broken free from their connection points. One is the cone of a torpedo and the other is a cone that fits in the conning tower. The parts that have been broken free do not appear to be obviously damaged, and in the case of the part for the conning tower may have been cut free for packing.
The parts that go to make up the model are cleanly molded and, considering the size of the model, there are not very many parts or stages of construction. Those of you reading this who are familiar with Bronco Models armored fighting vehicles know that they put a lot of parts in order to allow the making of a model that is as detailed as possible, however in this case Bronco Models have provided a model which has a low part count without sacrificing detail in the process.
On the subject of detail I was particularly impressed with certain parts such as the many holes in the part that makes up the top of the conning tower. This detail may be simple, but it unusual to see no flash messing up the look of this type of detail. The finesse of the handrail detail is also worthy of note and, while we as modellers have come to expect this sort of detail, it is still an impressive improvement over what was seen on models from 5 or more years ago.
Photo etched parts are becoming more and more common in the box with all the plastic, and this model is no different having a very large photo etched fret. The photo etched fret does not contain very many parts, but it does tackle the areas where it is needed, and a nice inclusion is a very large photo etched plaque for the model which is designed to attach to the provided display stand. The photo etched fret in my example did suffer some minor damage during transport in the form of a slight crease; gentle rubbing with an iron or other heavy flat surface should correct this issue easily.
There is a small sprue containing clear plastic parts for the model which are suitably thin and again laid out in a way to make removal easy. The two magnets packaged with this model are for the torpedo doors and will allow them to be displayed open or closed depending on your personal preference on the day. While on the subject of the torpedo doors it is worth looking at the torpedoes themselves which are about 7.5 inches long in their own right and very nicely detailed.
The instruction booklet is printed on high quality glossy paper and is roughly A4 in size. The front of the booklet has an artists illustration of the German Type XXIII submarine and a short introduction in English, German, and Chinese. Inside the booklet starts with a guide to applying decals and a list to explain what the icons used during construction mean, followed by a paint guide for the model using Mr Hobby, Hobby Color, Humbrol, and Tamiya paints, followed by a parts identification list.
Next the booklet guides you through the construction of the model using the line drawing method. None of the stages are overly busy, and surprisingly the construction is complete in 15 steps including one stage showing how to put the submarine on its display stand, and another showing the construction of a very nice lifeboat. The instructions finish with a guide to finishing the model as one of four specific submarines which are;
This 1/35th scale submarine model of a German type XXIII will, I am sure, attract a few members from all areas of the hobby regardless of their usual area of interest with it being in such a popular scale. The large size and ease of construction are all strong points for this model, and will make an eye catching build when on display. The only part of this model I would consider changing is the included string which I would replace with a thin wire such as fuse wire or possibly a finer string. All in all this model should prove a popular item for Bronco Models which may see them look at other large scale ship and submarine models in the future. All I need to look for now are a few suitable figures to bring this big sub to life and I was thinking of 35132 German Tank Crew (Normandy 1944) that have I believe been depicted in suitable clothing for the most part for a sub crew. I highly recommend this model to anyone with an inkling for a large and impressive looking model.