Yankee Modelworks 1/350 Type XXI U-boat

KIT #: YKM-35032
PRICE: $26.50 from www.earlshobbyhangar.com
DECALS: None provided
REVIEWER: Kyle Bodily
NOTES: Resin multi-media kit


The Type XXI Elektroboot was a weapon that, had it entered service earlier in the war could have won the war in the Atlantic for the Germans.  The type XXI was considered to be the first of the modern submarines.  It was designed from the outset to operate submerged, and not operate on the surface-only to submerge when danger was near.

 Crew comforts and space was much improved over earlier classes.  They were among the first German U-boats with freezers for food storage and a shower.

 They were very silent, streamlined and hydrodynamically clean.  This allowed for a surprisingly high submerged speed 17.2 kts (31.9 km/h).  This gave the boat a 'submerged sprint ability' when positioning itself for an attack.   This high rate of speed even gave the type XXI the ability to outrun many surface ships WHILE SUBMERGED.  This made the type XXI much harder for the Allies to detect, chase, and destroy.

 The Type XXI even had a hydraulic assisted torpedo reloading system.  With this system the type XXI could reload all six torpedo tubes in around ten minutes.  That was about the same time as it took for one torpedo tube to be reloaded in the type VII boat.

The Type XXI had three times the batty power of the VIIc.  This gave the boat an enormous underwater range.  The Type XXI could submerge in the Bay of Biscay as it left its bases in France and stay submerged far out to sea.  This made the area between the Bay of Biscay past England to the open sea, also known to the Germans as the Valley of Death, a worry of the past.

The Type XXI could charge its batteries in about 3-5 hours while submerged with the Schnorchel.  Once the Batteries were charged it would not need to re-charge again for up to three days depending on its speed.

 The type XXI was so advanced that it influenced submarine construction up into the 1960s.  Only one type XXI is still in existence and it is the U-2540.  The U-2540 was salvaged and re-christened as the Wilhelm Bauer in the new German Navy to honor the father of German submarine technology.  Wilhelm Bauer’s first submarine was demonstrated in Dec/Jan 1850/51.  The Wilhelm Bauer has been restored and can be visited at the Deutsches Schiffahrtsmuseum in Bremerhaven, Germany. 


 The kit comes in the classic sturdy Yankee Modelworks box.  The boxes are so nice that I’ve already started to use them to store stuff in.  This kit, like the other Yankee Modelworks subs consists of a one-piece hull with the conning tower as part of the hull.  The molding is excellent with not even one bubble.  I’ve always been very impressed by their kits. 

 The metal parts consist of a nice fret of photo-etch, six cast metal detail parts and a length of brass wire for periscopes.

 The instructions are a two-sheet affair with drawings to help with parts placement.  In other words I would say a very nice simple kit.


 My first step was to add two brass rods to the hull.  This I like to do to mount it on a stand and for a few handholds.  I find this quite handy since you don’t have too many things to hold as you build one of these boats.

 I began to detail the boat with the photo-etch and used cyanoacrylite/super glue to attach the parts.

 I like to put most of the detail on the model before I paint.  The only parts that I save for final assembly are the very fine parts that may be damaged while weathering. 

 So after everything was done and the glue was dry the boat was ready to paint.

 After everything was dry I added the fine detail parts and a flag from the excellent sheet by Tauro.  I like stuff like that since it seems to really bring things to life for me.

 I mounted the whole thing on the stand and rigged with 2lbs fishing line. That really was about all there was to building this very nice little kit. 


Of the 118 boats that were completed by the end of the war only four were rated as operational.  When a boat was going through its sea trials and crew train up it was marked with a series of yellow bars.  Most of these boats were in just such a color scheme when the war ended.  What I wanted to do was paint my model as one of the operational boats.

The paint scheme was basically three tones of gray.  I first shot on the light gray and after it had dried I masked off the upper hull and painted all horizontal surfaces a gray that I mixed from the light gray and anthracite gray. After this I masked off the lower hull and shot it with a coat of straight anthracite gray. 

Now I weathered.  I basically use the same technique to weather this kit as most of my other builds.  That is, I start out with a very diluted color like rust that is diluted to the point that if I were to put on one coat you would not be able to detect it.  The secret is layer after layer so it becomes visible. 


Well that is about all there was to it.  All in all it was a very enjoyable build.  The kit is small, only about nine inches long but it is very well cast.  I think that this kit would be a good kit for a beginner since I would consider it somewhat simple and relatively inexpensive.  Just don’t let the word simple mislead you since it is still a very detailed little kit.   


“U-boats in action” Squadron/Signal Warships #1

“U-boat War” Squadron/Signal Books

“The U-boat net”   www.uboat.net   lots of information here.

Kyle Bodily

May 2011

I would like to thank Earls Hobby Hangar for giving me this review kit.  www.earlshobbyhangar.com

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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