Pavla 1/72 "Molch" German WWII Midget Submarine

KIT: Pavla 1/72 "Molch" German WWII Midget Submarine
KIT #: 72070
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Resin kit


Designed by Dr. Heinrich Drager, the Molch (Salamander) was a one man midget submarine driven exclusively by electric motors. Shaped like a long cigar, it carried two underslung G7e torpedoes and had a limited range of 50nm at 2.9 knots. For vision, it was equipped with a plexiglass cupola and had a periscope which could be rotated 30 degrees on either side. The controls were simple and rudimentary and most were equipped with a compass and a simple hydrophone for detecting distant sounds.

As the Molch did not have an engine for surface running, this meant that it suffered from very limited endurance. To compensate for this, a large proportion of the hull was allocated for battery storage. This resulted in a positive buoyancy which made the submarine almost impossible to dive. As a result, the submarine was robbed of a vital asset concealment.

First delivered in June 1944, the Molch saw action at Anzio, Norway, the Mediterranean, and Denmark and was mostly used for coastal defense. Although there were some successes, the losses incurred were greatly out of proportion to the sinkings they afflicted. The Molch was used mostly in reserve to the Biber, as that was considered to be a more advanced submarine. A total of 393 were built, mainly by AG Wesser in Bremen.


Pavla continues with its production of midget submarine kits with this one on the diminutive 'Molch' submersible. Molded in Pavla's usual tan resin, the detailing is quite good. There is interior detailing on the bulkheads of the control area and this area also contains a seat, control wheel and conduit.

The control cupola has a separate boarding hatch that can e displayed open if one wishes. A vacuformed 'bubble' fits atop the hatch and Pavla was kind enough to provide a spare. Clear decal film can be used over the rest of the windows or one can cut out sections of clear acetate or plastic to fill these in. Using the latter and then sanding the protruding areas smooth may well be the best option while the decal film would be the easiest.

A set of well molded fins attaches to the rear and there are the usual external deck fittings to attach. Propulsion is via a single screw, which, on my sample had one of the blades broken away during shipment. This same happened to both of the very nicely molded torpedoes and in fact, these items had broken away completely from the resin pouring block. What is missing from this kit is some sort of a stand. While I know that people can be creative in designing these things themselves, it would be nice to have one included.

Instructions consist of a folded sheet of paper in which are contained six well drawn construction steps. There are no decals and apparently these were all painted a uniform light grey. I doubt there would be much in the way of corrosion on these as they were basically expendable and kept out of the water until needed. I'd also like to commend Pavla for moving to these much nicer and stronger cardboard boxes.


This is another interesting and unusual kit from our friends at Pavla. Submarines appeal to a wide range of modelers and I can see this one doing well.


August 2008

Thanks toPavla ModelsPavlamodels - logo. for the review kit. You can get yours direct or from your local hobby store.

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

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