Mirage Hobby 1/400 U-1064 U-Boat






Flags and hull numbers


Scott Van Aken


Full Hull


Able to nearly bring the UK to her knees in 1941/42, the German fleet U-boats were both small, and well armed. Thanks to their small size (at least in comparison to US and Japanese submarines), they were easy to build in relatively large numbers, with nearly a thousand of them being constructed during the war years. As technology improved on the side of the Allies, it became even more and more difficult for the Germans to successfully complete cruises. It is well known that casualties in the German submarine service were high; some 75% of crews perishing during the war, an incredibly high attrition rate.

The two most used U-boats were the Type VII and the Type IX. They were similar in shape, only differing in size. As the war progressed, newer technologies such as improved propulsion systems and the use of a snorkel to allow the crews to get fresh air to the engines while still under water were developed. This was mainly due to the constant harassment of surfaced ships by Allied air cover. When the war ended, many U-boats were turned over to Allied nations, the Russians actually making use of them for many years post-war.


I must admit that while I have heard of Mirage, I have never purchased or even seen any of their kits. All of their releases have generally been of Polish subjects so are not well known here in the US. It was quite a pleasant surprise when I opened this box to look at the kit parts. The kit in its bag has lots of room in the box as even in 1/400, a U-boat is not a large vessel! The image above is pretty well full size.

Detailing on the kit itself is really very good. Though slightly less crisp than what you'd expect from a Hasegawa or Tamiya kit, the detailing is complete and most thorough. There is no flash on any of the parts, nor did I find any sink marks or ejector pin marks that would be visible when the kit was finished. The engineers did their work and designed the ejectors to hit the back side of parts. Attachment areas to the sprues are also commendably thin. Like a short run kit, there are no alignment pins or sockets, but none are needed. This is a full hulled boat so a stand is included with the kit.

The kit instructions are in Polish with minimal English translation. However this is not a problem as the assembly sequence is logical and well thought-out. There are a few spots that had me wondering just how the parts fit, but I think that when construction gets underway, those areas will be clear. The molds for this kit are designed for more than one version of this kit so you'll find some extra parts not listed on the instructions. This being a snorkel equipped boat, you have the option of having that item raised or lowered. The instructions also offer alignment diagrams for the diving planes and the prop shaft supports.  Color for the boat is pretty simple with generic color instructions. The best guide is undoubtedly the box art. There is a small decal sheet supplied that allows for four different boats. Three are German and one is Soviet. The sheet is well printed and appears to be very thin.



Overall, this is a very nice little kit. The subject is interesting and the kit well molded. 1/400 is one of several 'standard' ship scales and is used both by Mirage and by Heller, amongst others. This U-boat would seem to be a pretty pleasant build and it definitely won't take up a lot of shelf space!

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