Yankee Modelworks 1/350 WWI German U-Boat U-35

KIT #: YKM-35063
PRICE: $30.00 from www.earlshobbyhangar.com
DECALS: None
REVIEWER: Kyle Bodily
NOTES: Resin kit with photo etch

HISTORY

When the war started, Germany had only 28 U-boats complete and operational.  During the next few months the single most successful U-boat type of WWI was commissioned.  The type 31, not to be confused with the type UBIII, which were the most numerous boats and the forerunner of the venerable Type VII World War II U-boat.  Eleven boats U-31 to 41 would be built in this class.  At the time they were the most advanced boats in the world and incorporated all the lessons learned from the U-1 up to that time.  Of these eleven ships, six were lost in action and five were interned after the war. 

Of the top five scoring boats, all five were type 31.  The U-35 sank 224 ships totaling 539.741 tons, U-39 sank 154 ships totaling 404.478 tons, U-38 sank 137 ships totaling 299.985 tons, U-34 sank 121 ships totaling 262.886 tons and finally the U-33 sank 84 ships totaling 229.598 tons.

No other submarine in history sank more ships then the U-35.  She was built at Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft in Kiel and subsequently launched on April 18, 1914 and commissioned November 3rd of that same year.  Her first posting was with II Flotilla Unterseebootflotille Flandern and soon after was transferred to the Deutsche U-Halbflotille Pola (Pola Flotilla) on the Adriatic and served there until the armistice.  She sank ships from all major allied nations to include Japan and Portugal. but seems to have preyed on Italian ships the most.  I think that the most interesting thing about the U-35ís history is that she achieved her record in just seventeen war patrols with a crew of just 35 men and on November 26,1918 she was surrendered and sent to Blyth to be cut up.  Such was the rather unceremonious end to the single most successful submarine of all time.

Contrary to popular myth, surprisingly few ships were sunk with torpedoes in WWI.  Since early U-boats couldnít carry many torpedoes, (most German boats only carried six torpedoes and some even less)  it just made sense to save them for times when surfacing would put the boat in danger.  So the vast majority of the ships sunk were sent to the bottom by the subís deck gun or by placing scuttling charges on the unlucky ship.  In fact the commanding officer of the U-35, Kapitanleutnant Lothar von Arnauld de la Periere said of his cruises that they were "quite tame and dull. We stopped the vessels. The crews boarded the lifeboats. We inspected the ships' documents, told the crews how they could reach the next port and then sank the stopped prize."  This stands in great contrast to the British propaganda at the time. England worked quite tirelessly to resurrect the old idea of the lawless and Godless cut throat Pirates to describe the German submariners.  This propaganda was very successful in fomenting the hatred of U-boat crews to a fevered degree.  Sadly, we have several British accounts of British sailors executing German submarine crewmen in revenge for a particular ship sinking instead of allowing them to surrender.

    Lothar von Arnauld de la Periere strictly operated in accordance with international prize rules, as did virtually every German sailor.  This makes his achievement as the Submarine Ace of Aces a truly honorable achievement.  Lothar von Arnauld de la Periereís score was 193 Merchant vessels, 2 warship and another 7 vessels damaged.  Among his many awards and decorations are the Iron Cross both 1st and 2nd class and the coveted Pour le Merite.  His name also made it to the Admiralty's wanted list of possible ďwar criminalsĒ. This was not really unique, since it was quite common for U-boat Commanders who became too ďsuccessfulĒ against British shipping.

 Lother began his career in the Kaiserliche Marine in 1903.  He served on several Battleships and even spent two years as the torpedo officer on board the SMS Emden.  ďWhere have I heard of that ship?!Ē  He was working as an adjutant in Berlin when WWI broke out.  His first wartime posting was with the Marine Luftschiff Abteilung.  In 1915 he was finally transferred to U-boats and in November of that year was given command of the U-35.  All but four of his victories were achieved while he was commanding the U-35.  In May of 1918 until the end of the war he commanded the U-139.  It was with this boat that he achieved these four victories.   

 After the war he remained in the German navy until he retired.  Then moved to Turkey and taught at the Turkish Naval Academy.  In 1939 he was recalled to Germany and promoted to Vice Admiral. On February 24, 1941 he was killed in a plane crash near Le Bourget airport.  He was given the honor of being buried among Germanyís great and famed at the Invalidenfriedhof Cemetery in Berlin.

THE KIT

Now I donít know about you, but Iíve been really inspired by Frank Spahrís builds.  Iíve been very busy building WWI aircraft for others, so Iíve found that I am drifting to ships whenever I get the time to build for myself.  Iíve always gravitated to WWI subjects so when I got this kit it was right up my alley.

 Iíve been told that this kit was originally kitted by Blue Water Navy.  Iím not sure why or how Yankee Modelworks is now producing this kit but I am very happy they did so.  It is an excellent kit of a very important and historical ship.

 When I got this kit in my hands, the first thing I noticed was that it is in a very solid box, the better to protect the treasure within.  In this box is a well packed single piece resin hull and a bag of photo-etch and detail parts.  The instructions are a single page affair with history and a little bit of painting and parts placement information.  I would have liked them to be a little more comprehensive.  I found that they were somewhat lacking since I would have liked more views to help in parts placement and alignment.  My hull looks to have a little bow to it so I will carefully heat it and straighten it.  I also have not been able to find any air bubbles in the resin molding.  For now Iíll call it flawless but Iíll watch for bubbles during the build.

The photo-etch looks really nice.  I think that the only thing here will be to handle this fret very carefully so you donít damage the really fine detail.

Basically I count 31 pieces/parts in the kit, so lets get started.  

CONSTRUCTION

As I said the hull of my kit looked a little bowed or arched.  To straighten out the hull I used a piece of I beam aluminum that I use as a miter box.  What I did was clamp the hull to the I-beam and dipped the whole thing in hot water that had just boiled.  The good thing about resin is if you over bend something or just donít get it right, all you have to do is put the part back in the water and try again.  After I got the hull the way I wanted it I drilled two holes in the hull to allow brass rods to be use for the mount. 

I began to detail the boat with the photo-etch and used cyanoacrylite/super glue to attach the parts.  While I was letting the glue set, I went to the local craft store and got a wood stand for fifty cents.  I brought it home and drilled matching holes in it so that the hull and stand would mate up then sprayed some sealer on. 

Now with the stand done and the boat ready to paint I set out to find pictures of the boat to paint it.  It was amazing that I could find only two pictures of this U-boat.  I ended up using a basic painting outline for Kaiserliche Marine U-boats. 

After everything was dry I added the screws and the deck guns.  I added an Imperial German Battle Ensign 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.  The hardest part here was the wireless antenna.  The all P-E brass one just didnít look right to me so I built one out of brass and fishing line.  And that is about all there was to building it. 

COLORS & MARKINGS

The paint scheme was an overall coat of Silver gray.  After it had dried I masked off the upper hull and painted all horizontal surfaces a gray that I mixed from the Silver gray and Anthracite gray.  After all was dry I painted the lower hull straight Anthracite gray.  I used the same technique to weather the kit as I do on most of my builds.  That is, I start out with a very diluted color like rust- so diluted that only one coat is almost undetectable, and I add coats to darken it as needed. 

CONCLUSIONS

Well that is about all there was to it.  All in all it was a very enjoyable build.  The kit is small, only about seven inches or 17cm but it is well cast and somewhat simple. 

I think it would be a good first all resin ship kit.  It is relatively inexpensive and simple.  Add to this that it was the top scoring U- boat in history and it was skippered by the U-boat ace of aces.  I think you could say that you have a real winner here.

Now if I can just find a kit of the SMS Scharnhorst, the flag ship of Vice Admiral Maximilian Graf von Spee. 

REFERENCES

 ďU-boats of the Kaiserís NavyĒ Osprey New Vanguard #50

ďThe U-boat netĒ   www.uboat.net   lots of information here.

Kyle Bodily

October 2009

I would like to thank Earls Hobby Hangar for giving me this 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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