U-Boat Laboratorium’s 1/350 German WWI UB-8 submarine

KIT #: 350-1
PRICE: 15 Euro
REVIEWER: Kyle Bodily
NOTES: Resin


Three countries operated the type UB-I coastal submarine.  First and largest user was the Kaiserliche Marine or the (Imperial German Navy) with 17 boats.  Next was the Kaiserliche und Königliche Kriegsmarine or the (Imperial Austro-Hungarian Navy).  The only other operator of the type UB-I was Bulgaria.  Bulgaria operated one boat, the ex-German UB-80.  The UB-8 was also the last UB-I built at Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft in Kiel prior to the change in production to the new and improved UB-II boats. 

On the 25th of May 1916 the UB-8 became the Пoдвoдник №18 (Podvodnik No. 18) the very first submarine of the Bulgarian Navy.

UB-8 was originally one of a pair (UB-7 and UB-8) of UB-I boats ordered by the Austro-Hungarian Navy. The UB-8 was built in Germany at the Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft in Kiel.  After completion she was shipped by rail to Pola where the final assembly took place.  The Austro-Hungarian backed out on the order when the acceptance took too long and the Italians, for now this one time ally declared herself neutral, were very overt in their disappointment with Austria-Hungary for its desire to purchase the submarines.  So for now the UB-8 would remain in the Imperial German Navy. 

She was first posted with the Pola Flotilla then was sent to the Constantinople Flotilla.  The UB-8 was the first submarine in the Constantinople Flotilla and was expected to operate in the Dardanelles.  Alas the currants in the Dardanelles were just to strong for her and the UB-8 was sent to the Black Sea.

In September 1915 Bulgaria declared for the Central Powers and the UB-7 and UB-8 were sent to Varna and began patrols to support Bulgaria.  In response the Russians sent battleships and seaplane carriers to attack Bulgaria targets.  The UB-7 and UB-8 were sent out in an attempt to end the attacks.  The UB-8 wasn’t able to do anything but the UB-7 was able to launch a torpedo at a Russian Battleship.  This one shot missed but caused so much concern that the Russians broke off the attacks.

The Germans had not seen much luck with the two boats in the Black Sea and they fell in priority.  On the other hand the Bulgarians saw that for Bulgaria they were quite important.  The UB-7 was lost before it could be turned over to the Bulgarians, but on May 25, 1916 the UB-8 was transferred and accepted in to the Bulgarian Navy.   

The UB-8 was renamed the Пoдвoдник №18 (Podvodnik No. 18).  The Podvodnik No.18 was assigned to coastal defense and reconnaissance.  In her activities she was quite successful and did an excellent job of keeping the Russians at bay until the Russians signed a peace treaty and withdrew.   

After the war the Podvodnik No.18 was surrendered to the French as war reparations on 23 February 1919. She was then towed to Bizerta and scrapped.

The UB-8/Podvodnik No.18 accounted for two ships sunk both while she was still in German hands.  One of them was the S.S. Merion displacing 19,380 tons the eighth largest ship lost by the allies in the First World War.  The American Line had sold the Merion to the Royal Navy to operate as a dummy capital ship representing HMS Tiger. 

But I think that her most important success was to keep the Russian Black Sea fleet at bay with just the threat of an unannounced torpedo attack.


Well this is the third build of this kit for me and I am still really enjoying the kit.  In fact I think I’m going to see what other kits that U-boat Laboratorium makes and get one of them.  If you have any questions about the parts in this kit see my first review in the series of the SMS UB-1.


For me, I think that subs are among the more simple kits.  By their very nature they have to be stream lined and fish-like.  So By their very nature they had to have as few as possible sticky outy parts.  But back in the day these boats spent most of their time on the surface.  In fact the UB-Is could only operate for some where around an hour submerged depending on the variables of operation.  If the crews wanted they could break down certain external structures and store them before diving.  In most of the photos I’ve seen of these UB-Is I’ve noted that if a boat is photographed in port most all the rails are up and the deck guns are stowed somewhere and are just not seen except for maybe the mount.  Things are just opposite when I see the boats at see with the exception of one photo showing the crew of a sunken British ship leaning on the deck rail on the foredeck of a UB-I. 

Now for how I will build this boat.  When I first started to look for some pictures of the Podvodnik No.18.  All I could find was different photos of it in German livery with a white 8 painted on the conning tower for UB-8. 

As I researched the Podvodnik I learned that Wikipedia said that the commissioning ceremony for Podvodnik No. 18 was kept out of newspapers.  It was however attended by Crown Prince Boris and his brother Prince Kiril, who both boarded the submarine for a ceremonial first voyage to Euxinograd where the Royal Bulgarian summer palace located just north of Varna.  In research this would be what I call a break.  Even though Wiki said that newspapers were kept away, this was a somewhat big event with Crown Prince Boris later known as (Tzar Boris III the Unifier) and his brother Prince Kiril tacking what was probably their first submarine ride.  It is unclear weather or not they submerged.

Any way I typed it in to different search engines a million ways to say Пoдвoдник №18, Podvodnik No. 18, first submarine of the Bulgarian Navy, and on and on.  After some time searching I hit pay dirt, http://www.lostbulgaria.com/?p=1514 .  This is an excellent photo of the Podvodnik No. 18 in dry-dock and shows the boat beautifully.  The next picture in the set was that of one of her crewmen. http://www.lostbulgaria.com/?p=1513  Wow two nuggets of gold right next to each other.  Needles to say I spent the rest of the evening pouring over all the old photos on this site.  Ah yes IT WAS A GOOD DAY!

The Photo at http://www.lostbulgaria.com was of the Podvodnik but I wanted a photo that showed it at during or just after when she was commissioned. So to get the results I wanted I started to add the names of Crown Prince Boris and his brother Prince Kiril to the mix.  Once again I fiddled around with the search and Holy Cow this time I hit the mother load.  A picture, not just a picture of the Podvodnik No. 18 but it was taken on the day she was commissioned and you can see Crown Prince Boris and Prince Kiril on the conning tower. http://anno.onb.ac.at/cgi-content/anno?apm=0&aid=wrb&datum=19161210&zoom=2 and go to page 9 top right


The newspaper was the Wiener Bilder.  And an added bonus is that this papers front-page story is about the recent death of Kaiser Franz Joseph I of Austria.

Well I think I have the photo I was looking for.  So lets get started and build this boat.


Well, what I did was take the picture from the newspaper, cropped it enlarged it and finally played around with the photoshop settings to try to bring out the details. 

What I decided was that the lower hull and the base color of the conning tower would be Lfd. Nr.4 Deckfarbe Hellgrau/Silbergrau.  I painted the upper hull above the water line Lfd. Nr.33-3 Dunkelblau.  Now I know of no company that produces these colors.  So I just mixed my own and since I mixed such large amounts for my SMU-10, I just used what I had left over.  The really unique thing about this boat was that at the time of commissioning the conning tower camouflaged in what looks to me like a wave pattern that looks to me like a fingerprint type pattern.  Maybe it is some kind of Dazzle camouflage.  Since I know of no example of a central powers vessel using dazzle I think it was a wave/horizon camouflage.  I decided that I would use Lfd Nr.3 Dunkelgrau for the waves.  Once again I mixed this color. 

On the hull just beneath where the deck gun would be is a White number 18.  For this I found a set of small white numbers in the decal pile and used them.

Next was to make a Bulgarian flag to be mounted on the rear of the conning tower.  So I went to the Internet and found an example of a World War One Bulgarian flag.  I used this to make the flag and a nameplate for the display base.  Just hit print and there you go.


Man-o-man what did we model builders do before we had computers, the Internet and printers.  I don’t think that I could have built this model with out all of their help. 

I truly had fun building this kit and this whole series of models for that matter.  I find it amazing to go on these little “journeys of the build”.  To start out with an idea or see a very fuzzy picture of a blob like machine or equipment that sparks your interest.  Through research it becomes clearer and clearer until you hold the finished item in your hands, is one of the most rewarding things I know of.   

The kit it self was simple enough to recommend to a beginner.  The Podvodnik No.18 itself was, for me very hard to research but that is what makes the hobby so fun for me.  

I do recommend this to anyone that wants to try it. Very few of the UB-Is were built but you can find a lot of different paint schemes and modifications.  Really every boat was different so you can use this kit as a core to build any one of the UB-Is.  As they say “the only limit is your own imagination”.   

I have asked my local hobby shop to get in more kits like this.


First and foremost “Lost Bulgaria.com”  http://www.lostbulgaria.com  This site had tons of really nice pictures of Bulgarian subjects from the World War One time frame.

K.u.K. KRIEGSMARINE” http://www.kuk-kriegsmarine.at/ This site is a German language site and the best that I’ve found on the Imperial Austro-Hungarian Navy.  It’s just full of good stuff including high quality photographs. 

“U-boats of the Kaiser’s Navy” Osprey New Vanguard #50

“The U-boat net” www.uboat.net lots of information here.  I consider this site the single best reference on the web.

Countless Internet searches

Kyle Bodily

April 2010

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