|KIT:||Verlinden 1/35 British X-Craft Pocket Submarine|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Armament was two 2 ton side cargoes of HE that was attached to the submarine by a threaded bolt. This was released from inside the hull by turning a hand wheel. The craft would manouevre close to its target, release the side cargoes and move away before the charge exploded.
The X-Craft were also fitted with a wet-and-dry compartment that allowed a diver to swim from the boat to attatch limpet mines to enemy vessels.
The X-Craft used conventional diesel propulsion when on the surface, and electric drive when dived.
The X-Craft had a crew of four: commanding officer, first lieutenant, engineer and diver. The passage crews used during Operation "Source" consisted of three men only as it was not necessary to have a diver onboard while the X-Craft was under tow. (Editor's Note: Operation Source was a September 1943 attempt to sink the 'Tirpitz')
The X-Craft could be towed to within a few miles of the target by conventional submarines, suspended underneath surface vessels or launched from the deck of other submarines or surface ships.
The X-Craft were designed for use against the Tirpitz and Scharnhorst.
The targets for the X-Craft was: X-5: Tirpitz; X-6: Tirpitz; X-7: Tirpitz; X-8: Lützow; X-9: Scharnhorst; X-10: Scharnhorst
Thanks to http://www.bismarck-class.dk/other_craft_involved/british_ships_involved/submarines/x_craft.html for the historical background on these craft. This website includes a number of excellent photos as well.
I'm a sucker for stuff that is neat or unusual. When browsing through the clutter at CRM hobbies the other week, I came across this particular kit. Looking at it, I could tell it had been around for a number of years. With its dust covered and somewhat ratty box, it was obvious that this wasn't a hot seller. Opening the box only went to solidify my opinion as there was dust on the inside as well and the resin had turned that golden brown color that is so typical of somewhat ancient resin.
What is in the box is a foam resin base that constitutes about 95% of the bulk of the kit. There is the X-sub surrounded by a resin sea. The resin sea is pocked with air bubbles atop the wakes and this should be enough to put off any serious builder, but I'm not a serious builder so that didn't concern me. The rest of the sub is very nicely formed with all sorts of rivets just where you'd expect them. Measuring near 18 inches in length, this is not a small boat.
There is a small bag that contains the rest of the kit. Half of this is for the hapless sailor standing atop the sub. Not being content with one or two molds, this tar is comprised of six pieces. The other. The other seven bits are for parts of the sub, some of which are readily apparent, but others are cloaked in mystery. This is because there are no instructions as to exactly where some of this stuff goes. I was gleefully assured that the box art was all that was needed, but I'm not really sure that will be sufficient. As you can see, over time the longest of the resin bits has warped so I'm hopeful that it won't shatter when heat is applied to it when it comes time to straighten it out.
Once again, I've been bitten by the unusual. It definitely wasn't expensive, there are not a lot of parts, and building should be very straightforward, once I can figure out the location of all the bits. Most of the work will be painting and that should make this a fun project for those like myself who enjoy that aspect of modeling.
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