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CMK - U-VII armament crew in port (F72132) _________(EXT)

 

Manufacturer CMK
Scale 1/72
Set Code F72132
Year Unknown
No. of Figures 3
No. of Poses 3
Additional Items 1 G7 torpedo with photo-etch parts
Size Tall
Material Resin
Colour Cream
Flash Level Low
Glue-ability Excellent (Super Glue Gel)
Convert-ability Medium
Optimal Period 1939 - 1945

 

Review

 As one of the main source for 1/72 WWII German U-Boot and Kriegsmarine crewmen, CMK puts forward an exhaustive catalogue in the field, featuring lots of stances and actions carried out by such personnel. Likewise, the items of garment these sailors dress are extremely varied, covering foul or cold environments as well as fine weather. Crewmen released for U-Boot find place on any battle vessels and vice-versa, when the U-Boot was navigating on the surface many crewmen having similar tasks and attire as on any battle-ship. A large array of CMK sets targets the U-VII Klasse U-Boot which represented the back-bone of WWII German U-Boot fleet and fought since the beginning till the end of war.

From the modelling point of view, the space offered by a U-Boot for figures is pretty limited and linked on how the hobbyist wishes to depict the submarine, in surface combat, on patrol, entering/getting out of port, at dock, inside (section) etc. It should be acknowledged that CMK reflected on plenty of possibilities and makes available lots of miniatures able to cover all alternatives. Sometimes, the Czech manufacturer includes in the box few accessories intended to better define the actions performed by the crewmen, for “U-VII armament crew in port” supplying one G7 torpedo, this kit following to be here reviewed.     

Sold in the traditional CMK clear plastic box fit on a cardboard, the set received an artwork illustrating the three figures in action, the torpedo and a part of the submarine being merely suggested through a black and white drawing. In terms of torpedo, this is somehow an odd decision, being known that in general CMK show with simple drawings the items that are not included in the kit but pictured for better understand sculptor’s intention. In addition, with few exceptions, for CMK 1/72 sets the artwork has a dual role, both as assembly and painting guide, so this time modellers wishing to put together and paint the weapon lack information, having to search and study other sources. Still, the crewmen are appropriately coloured and it can be easily noticed the diversity in terms of attire, all of them arriving in dissimilar clothes. In the box there are three slots, each for one figure, as well as one torpedo, split in two parts and accompanied by a photo-etch with components for the tail piece.

Generically defined as “armament” and without making specific references in the title to the featured weapon, the kit supplies a G7 torpedo which, as its name reveals, was a 53 cm diameter (the diameter designated by letter G) with a length of 7, 163 mm (the approximate length being highlighted by number 7). The G7 torpedo was standard issue for all U-boots and intensively used, in various variants, throughout the war and even long after it. With serious problems at early models, including high rates of failure to detonate, also easily spotted and very noisy, later variants of G7 torpedoes solved various issues but brought in other problems. Likewise, G7 was utilised not only by U-boots, but also by surface vessels and shore torpedo-batteries. The early models such as G7a had two contra-rotating propellers with four blades, while the later ones got six blade propellers. Bearing in mind CMK delivers on the photo-etched sheet, apart from the four tail fins, only four blades for the propeller, definitely there is intended the early models of G7 torpedoes and it can be observed that blades for the second propeller miss. Many U-Boot captains preferred early models of torpedoes instead of later variants, so the present torpedo can be rushed into service in any year of WWII. 

CMK’s G7 torpedo is nice and accurate in size and shape, the photo-etch parts and various details carved on the body adding a plus to the product. Putting together the torpedo is neither easy nor complicated, cyanoacrylate making a durable bond between resin parts, also excellent sticking the photo-etch ones. Super glue gel is most recommended because it confers few seconds for further rearrangements, extremely necessary this time especially for the tail piece assembly. Achieving the final look of torpedo require studying other sources because the kit misses any assembly guide and some extra work will be necessary bearing in mind the small size of propeller blades. Split in body and after body, the two sections fairly match, of course if the hobbyist rightly removes the pieces from their small slots. Still, even if the pieces are properly cut, at a close look, the joint will be visible no matter how many efforts will be done to clean, fill or sand the place. A good solution for hiding the connection can be fixing around one of the cables used by the crew to load the torpedoes inside the U-boot, in general two cables being fastened during that exercise. The torpedo lacks the detonating mechanism set in front, but this is normal considering the weapon is intended to be depicted as loaded inside the submarine. The location of the mechanism is very visible in front, marked by a hole, totally matching the images of the period with torpedoes during loading manoeuvres. In order to avoid undesired accidents, the process was done without the detonating mechanism, the device following to be put in place inside the submarine. However, a nice touch would have been offering the mechanism as a separate part, conferring hobbyists the possibility to use this torpedo in other purposes, not only for loading. For the tail fins the sculptor has carved clear locations in the after-body, so nothing intricate. Likewise, for the propeller blades there are available ditches, but those are extremely thin and their identification requires a very good light. The blades must be arranged by the modeller how he wishes and the procedure requires a steady hand and tweezers. The producer has chosen the most difficult solution for depicting the propeller, definitely wiser and simpler to fix would have been a one piece propeller, as White Ensign Models gives for their G7 torpedoes or two blades per part as Kora Modell and Schatton Modellbau chose for their G7 torpedo kits. Furthermore, the CMK blades are sufficient just for a single propeller while in reality there should be two contra-rotating propellers. Nevertheless, if using the torpedo according with its initial designation, the tail might be concealed inside the U-boot, so the propeller inaccuracies will not be noticed.

Due to a much undesired event, my torpedo rolled over and fell from over 1.70 meter while I was putting it to dry after assembling and painting it. Of course, the carpet monster, which this time has been the parquet one, swigged all the blades of the propeller. Disappointed after all that work done, and on account I have nothing to do with a torpedo, my collection focusing on ground troops, I wanted to give up and not post anymore images with the assembled and painted torpedo. Still, in order to offer a more accurate and interesting review, I decided to scratch-build some new blades for a propeller and I used clear plastic in that purpose. I strived respecting both the size and shape of the original blades supplied by CMK, but please note that the here displayed ones are scratch-builds.              

At their turn, the figs have got separate arms and heads and putting together those goes straightforwardly, the same cyanoacrylate following to be used for gluing the body parts. The limbs fit quite fair in places, without leaving too much undesired gaps. The recreated poses illustrate the heavy duty of loading the torpedo inside the U-Boot, two crewmen following to have their hands on the torpedo, arranging it to enter through the narrow hatch. The third, standing, supervises the activity and guides his comrades, pointing with the left arm to something. The poses fairly evoke such motion and though not identical in adopted stances, there are more historical images revealing the same operation, perhaps one of those being the inspiration source for the sculptor.  

The diversity of items of clothing worn by the U-Boot crewmen is accurately highlighted, practically all figs receiving different garments. In this light, one of them, bent in front and holding the torpedo put on a shirt with rolled sleeves, trousers, M34 overseas cap, and sea or marching/jack boots. Likewise, he has got suspenders with braided ends and working gloves, which is fully accurate bearing in mind the performed action. His crouched colleague dresses either a regular or drill uniform, similar in cut with the standard one, boots and M34 overseas cap. Regulations enforced that WWII German soldier should have received a work or fatigue suit together with the uniform, the work attire arriving in a huge number of shapes, cuts, and colours, including alike cut with the regular uniform but made of HBT and without insignia. The standing crewman, bare headed, wears the common battledress, but by painting the belt as made of leather, the attire can be immediately transformed into an overall dressed by land units, too. None of them have got beards, tolerated on board of U-boots, clean faces being normal for a submarine in harbour where soldiers had the possibility to shave.

Based on both attire and stances, these figures are ideal to act not only as U-boot soldiers, but also as Panzer or StuG crewmen or other maintenance troopers loading gear or ammunition inside a vehicle or carrying out similar activities.

Anatomy is great, with proper proportions and striking facial expressions, put in valour by perfectly carved eyes, eyebrows, noses, mouths, and ears, also the hair of the bare headed soldier making a pleasant impression. Palms are slightly bigger but fingers emerge excellent sculptured, including the ones covered by gloves. The items of clothing received natural creases, pocket flaps, and other niceties, the same applying to what can be seen from the footwear.    

Manufactured in a high-quality resin, neither bridle nor fragile, still little care should be granted when removing the components from the slots as well as for eliminating the marks where the parts were fixed. Flash and seam lines are almost inexistent while excess of material and air bubbles completely miss. Likewise, thin film is low and can be immediately eradicated. Enamel, acrylics and artistic oils flawlessly adhere on the material and resist well to intense handling. Designed for U-boot emplacement, bases would have nothing to do here, so there are completely ignored. 

These crewmen belong to the tall side of 1/72 and brilliantly match with most of their comrades from CMK catalogue on the matter or on other maintenance topics as well as with Warriors, Hecker&Goros, Andrea or Revell figurines reproducing U-boot or Kriegsmarine personnel. However, to such sets should be added many others featuring maintenance soldiers or Panzer and Luftwaffe troopers wearing working clothes. 

With the certain possibility to adapt to multiple roles, not only U-boot crewmen, CMK’s U-VII armament crew in port” brings in the hobby few great figures for non-combat scenarios. The inclusion of a resin torpedo with photo-etch parts categorically emerges as an useful asset for all U-boot fans and manufacturer’s effort should be much appreciated especially considering the very low number of similar tenders on the 1/72 market.   

 

Historical Accuracy 10
Anatomy 9
Poses Quality 9
Details Quality 9
Mould Quality 9
Sculpture 9
Recommendation/Utility 9
Reviewer’s Opinion 9