Mirage’s 1/400 HMS Undine
as HMS/m Utmost
by Glen Porter
images by Brett Green
1/400 scale HMS Undine is available online from Squadron.com for
This is an old kit that Mirage has updated and
For this 1/400 scale release of HMS Undine, Mirage
has added a resin nose and an etched brass set representing finer
details. The original plastic is the same however and not very good, but
if you want a British submarine, this is the only game in town. With a
little bit of work, however, it can be made into a reasonable
Unfortunately, I started building this model before I
had much in the way of references and some of the finer points on my
model are not accurate. However, it does look like a British U class
boat and so I persisted. I was going to build it as H.M.S. Upholder in
the Dark Mediterranean Blue scheme that it was lost in, but I could not
find any references for this colour and WEM don’t do it. Then I found a
small photo of Utmost in the Warship Profile No 16 on H.M.S. Upholder
and I was able to identify the colours.
Of the model itself, the pressure hull looked good and the tower was
also not bad. However, the rest of the parts were either unusable or had
to be heavily modified. The casing and deck were particularly bad and I
decided to rebuild them using strips of Evergreen plastic.
The new resin bow was glued on and reshaped to better
represent the U class bow and blended in to the rest of the hull.
The rudder was quite usable but the after planes had
to be widened and it probably would have been easier to just make new
ones. The bow planes were hopelessly wrong so I scratch built them. The
kit’s plastic props were dreadful so I pinched two out of a Mirage
U-boat but in retrospect I should have used the P.E. ones.
Early British U class submarines were fitted with a
12-pounder deck gun. I borrowed one of the unused guns out of the same
Mirage U-boat kit and put it on the 12-pounder pedestal. The structure
on the tower for the periscopes, folded radio mast and D.F.antenna was
scratch built. The only photo-etched parts that. I used were the gun
handrails and sights on the gun.
Next came the painting. This was much more
From the top of the pressure hull down I used
Revell’s Anthracite, which is almost black. Sides of the casing
and tower were done in White Ensign Models enamels WEM 507B; and for the
deck I used WEM 507A. Vent holes in the top of the casing sides were
made using 1/48-scale Fw 190 black walkway markings from the decal
spares box. For the white N19 on the tower I again drew from the spares
box but I could not find a nine of the right shape. I had to make it out
of three other letters.
Jumper wires were made from nylon invisible thread and super-glued in
The base is a simple piece of timber sprayed black
from a can and the plaque by a local engraver.
I find 1/400 to be an ideal scale for submarines.
1/700 is too small and 1/72 takes up too much of my model cabinet.
It is just a pity no-one has produced any “S” or “T”
class boats but I can always live in hope. In the meantime I will just
have to be satisfied with my “U” class.
Click the thumbnails below to view larger
Model and Text Copyright
© 2004 by Glen Porter
Images Copyright © 2004 by
Page Created 07 November, 2004
07 November, 2004
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