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Revell's 1/72 scale U-Boat
Typ VII C U-552 (late)

by Don Jamieson


U-Boot Typ VII C

images by Brett Green

Revell's 1/72 scale U-Boat Type VII C is available online from Squadron




Here is Revell's 1/72 scale Type VII C U Boat.

I finally had the chance to devote some attention to this fantastic kit. It is big and does take up a lot of space especially when you add a solid Tasmanian Oak base “That weighs a ton”.


The model out of the box is quite acceptable but I spent many hours of research, scratch building and general assembly to do justice to the U-Boat I was representing. I had an interest in U552 because of its colourful markings on the conning tower and one of its most notable “Skippers”, KptLt Eric Topp and early on decided to build the late version of this boat. I broke the assembly down into subsections for ease of completion. The main areas on which I concentrated are highlighted in this article.





Conning Tower

This was assembled in two parts, upper and lower. All rails were replaced with brass wire. Following reference photos, the lower portion aft on both sides had the access hatches opened up and lowered below the railings. An additional hatch was positioned below these on which the circle and square with cross markings were hand painted with thick paint to provide that welded relief look. I had been informed these were markings for compressed air and oxygen. This same method was used on the magnetic compass fairing.

The “horns” which carry the receiving aerial wires at the aft edge of the conning tower that extend up to the wintergarten rails was made from plastic tube which had wire stiffeners placed inside.


The two indentations on the forward port lower side almost at the centreline were, I am told foghorns. These were opened up and configured to look like the references.

The upper section was the most challenging. The periscope fairing was lengthened and detailed including the missing compass. The main periscope was thinned down and a set of cables was fixed to the upper part. These apparently broke the water flow into general turbulence (something to do with harmonic frequencies, causing vibration and in some cases, structural failure as the long unsupported piece of the periscope moved through the water). “It’s an engineering kind of thing”. The UZO was rebuilt as it was undersized and when completed, a scratchbuilt pair of binoculars was positioned on top.


The main hatch received inner detail in the form of locking lugs and a wheel. The open hatchway has a ladder down to the internal conning tower space. The voice pipe was repositioned higher onto the shelf below the lip of the forward conning tower starboard side. The kit-supplied shelf (part 54) was halved and a compass was positioned portside where the other half of the shelf would have gone. According to my references, below this, the kit part (part 56) that I believe is an engine repeater was detailed and placed slightly more aft.

The 20mm cannon was detailed with new shoulder braces, as mine were broken beyond repair. A sight was also added. The shaft on which it sits is brass tubing. The wintergarten railings are the kits but were repositioned so that they blended with the bridge wings. Brackets were added to represent the part of the mounting points for the torpedo-loading frame. Various other items were added to dress up this area. The Flagpole was made from brass rod. The flag was printed on a laser jet printer and replaced the kit flag which apart from not having swastikas, looked generally wrong. A Commanders flagpole was made including the pennant and positioned on the starboard side on the ventilation trunk.

8.8cm Deck Gun

The 8.8cm deck gun is another viewing attraction of this kit which is ok in its supplied form but can be further improved for accuracy. All my kit supplied crew braces were broken so I replaced them with brass rod and insulation material from wires. They were then correctly formed and placed in the stowed position.



Various other bits were added to the gun and base including a receptacle for the gun tompion. The tompion on the end of the kit barrel was further detailed and a lanyard made from tan quilting thread was applied.

The Hull

I drilled out the many flood holes by hand using a pin vice with a drill bit and cleaned up with a scalpel and files. No, I don’t own a Dremel power tool. It really wasn’t a hassle (quite therapeutic really) and they were less than the thousands of portholes I drilled out for my Titanic model. I paid careful attention to the known copies of photos that I had of U 552 to ensure that I could best represent the right pattern and in some cases had to add, delete and reposition them. The long indentation along the top of the saddle tanks were recessed floodholes. I cut out and backed this area with spaced square plastic rod to represent the floodhole pattern. The extreme bow holes were repositioned and the correct number was made two to starboard and three to port.


All this as on the real boat would allow light to show through from the deck and sides. This did pose a problem. I made sections of the inner pressure hull and some details like the torpedo stowage canisters from rolled card paper and various bits of plastic tubing and strip. These were then sprayed with a very dark grey and give this area some sense of depth and internal structure. The bow tow hole was made bigger.

Some may question the position of the anchor being too close to the forward hydroplane fairing. In its present position, the skipper would be very upset if when going to anchor, they dropped the “pick” on the hydroplane fairing. I thought about moving it and also considered moving the hydroplanes aft a bit, but decided that I had done enough surgery on the hull.


To represent the wires fore and aft on the boat, I used 3/0-and 4/0 gauge surgical braided silk and incorporated this into the kit parts.



Some couplings particularly around the conning tower where the cable runs were made from wire. The lead in and out wires to these are fine copper wire on scratch built insulators.



Painting and Weathering


Boy, is this a hot topic for U-boat fans. I used various mixes of Tamiya and Gunze acrylic paints and weathered the kit based on the copies of photos I had. Weathering was done with pastels, washes and airbrush streaking.


As mentioned before, the completed boat was mounted on a piece of solid Tasmanian oak. It has a 3mm routed edge to take a clear acrylic case.





I thoroughly enjoyed building this kit and it has pride of place in my home. It took many months to complete due to time constraints and the need to check reference material to detail and fashion replacement parts. I hope you enjoy the photos.



Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Kriegsmarine U-boats 1939–45 (1)
New Vanguard 51
Author: Gordon Williamson
Illustrator: Ian Palmer
US Price: $14.95
UK Price: £8.99
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publish Date:
 May 25, 2002
Details: 48 pages; ISBN: 1841763632
Shop cart
Buy it from Osprey Publishing

Model and Text by Copyright © 2005 Don Jamieson
Images Copyright © 2005 by Brett Green
Page Created 22 October, 2005
Last Updated 24 October, 2005

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