The Type II U-Boats were conceived as 250 ton coastal vessels. Construction on the Type II started in 1935 when compliance with The Treaty of Versailles was abandoned. The Type IIB was a development of the initial Type II(A). The improved IIB series submarines were built in Deutsche Werke (U13 - U16) and Germania Werft in Kiel (U7 - U12, U17 - U24). The small size of the vessel led to them becoming known as Einbaum ("dugout canoe").
Belying their small size, the U9 and U19, the submarines supplied in the kit, were very successful, sinking 23 vessels between them. The U19 was on of several Type IIB submarines transported overland to the Black Sea.
The majority of the coastal U-Boats were used in training roles from 1940.
Armament was 5 torpedoes with 3 forward torpedo tubes. Initially there was no deck gun.
A submarine called Vesikko was supplied to Finland and was essentially a prototype Type II.
This still exists and can be see at http://www.vesikko.fi/
Supplied in a proper box with a lid, a plastic bag holds the two frets of the model and the hull halves. The hull is split vertically down the middle and there is no waterline option. The plastic on my sample has patterns in it as is if the was not thoroughly mixed or cooled at different rates.
The large fret contains the deck and pretty much all of the deck fittings, the propellers and a chunky stand. The deck is nicely done but there is no option for a version without a deck gun. The smaller sprue is the two different conning towers, one straight fronted and the other stepped. The parts are not numbered on the frets.
The hull detail is very sharp and crisp, even if the weld seams are a little over done. The free draining flood holes are indentations and it would be a brave modeler who opened them up. Bulk heads are supplied which will create a robust and stiff hull.
The real beauty of the kit lies in the finesse and detail of all the railings and deck fittings. Absolutely amazing and massively improved on the rather soft and vague moldings on the previous ICM Type XXIII. My concern would be that they will be hard to remove from the sprue without breaking them, in fact the 20mm gun which builds up from 7 parts has a broken barrel on my kit. There is also a little flash on some of these small parts which will require care and patience to clean up.
The instructions are printed clearly on two sides of very thick paper. The first part of the text is a brief history and images of the sprues with the parts numbered. A separate painting guide is supplied in black and white, or more accurately greyscale. While the two options are shown on the painting guide, the building instructions do not label which conning tower is U9 or U19 which is the first step. The modeller needs to observe the difference from the start.
The box art and painting guide show deck railings which are not supplied.
Painting and Markings
Colours are given as Model Master reference numbers. The flag decals are off register and better examples need to be sourced if a flag is desired.
The Type II is an important subject historically even if it was mainly used for training role. It signified the start of Germany building up naval power before WWII.
On the whole this is a very fine offering from ICM which will sit alongside Revell's 1/144 submarine offerings quite nicely. Itís a shame about the decals but I am really looking forward to putting this kit together.