1/72 German U-Boot VIIC "U96"

I've always had a special interest in the 2nd World War, especially in the German submarines, or U-Boats as they were called. Building one has been on my list for a very long time, and I actually started a smaller size during my time at university. After finishing my previous large scale models, I decided to stick with the 1:72 scale and started looking for a model online. I found one fairly quickly and bought it without hisitation. What followed was an array of PE, aftermarket and many other parts to aid the project. An undertaking that was going to take me more than 300 hours to complete.

Kit by Revell

This project started on 15 February 2013 and was finished on 31 January 2014

Photos of this project can be found here:

The Making of Photoshoot

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14 Feb. 2014 | Titusville, FL. USA | By Niek Nijsen

Just before she was shipped across the Atlantic to Europe, I managed to take some photos. I have uploaded two albums, a Black & White edition and a full colour edition with photos by Peter Bello.


Bereit zum ablaufen

01 Feb. 2014 | Titusville, FL. USA | By Niek Nijsen

Herr Kaleun, wir sind bereit zum ablaufen!

Finally, after a staggering 350 hours of cutting, sanding, fitting, gluing, painting and adding many, many details, my U-96 project has come to an end.

The crew has been added, the torpedoes are being launched and the wiring has been rigged. It's been a race to the finish to complete the project before the deadline, which I managed to do last night, on Jan. 31st of 2014. With only a few hours remaining, I added the final layer of coating, making her ready for display.

In the meantime Lyle has done an amazing job on the stand. I can hardly imaging how it came from an idea in my head to the actual product at the end, simply beautiful. I can't thank you enough Lyle, you've done an outstanding job! Simply unbelievable!

It has been an amazing project, my biggest so far. The only thing that remains now is the photoshoot, which I will be doing next week before she's being shipped home. I would like to thank every one for their support and interest in my build. As always, hope to see you on the next one!

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28 Dec. 2013 | Titusville, FL. USA | By Niek Nijsen

With the holidays I finally found some real time to work on U-96 again. So far I've made a huge progress in regards to painting, weathering and adding the last items to the boat.

The crew has been painted and waiting to be added to the project. The equipment that is on top of the command tower, such as the flak gun, periscope and UZO all have been painted and will be added after the weathering process. Crew will be added once the wiring has been done.

Weathering the boat took me about 15-16 hours so far, done in 2 phases. First I've been using a technique called "dry brushing" where you have almost no paint on the brush and rub along the spot until you see a change. Very harsh on the brush, but the effects can be amazing. Secondly I've been using powders to highlight and add "paint chips".

Next up are the torpedoes and the wiring. Both need some additional research, but I'm trying to start working on those tomorrow. After this is done, the crew will be added and the whole will be coated one more time to finish it off.

In the meantime work has started on the stand as well. Lyle, whom I gave the Chinook, will be building and designing it for me. His ideas sound great and I can't wait to see the result. During the process, we'll be taking photos to keep you updated.

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Guess what, more paint

26 Nov. 2013 | Titusville, FL. USA | By Niek Nijsen

And again a layer of paint has been applied. After looking at many photos, I found out that Revell made a mistake in their paint schematics. So that required me to raise the lower paint layer by almost a centimetre. But while looking at the photos, I found out that the waterline was almost perfectly aligned with my original paint layer. This allowed me to start the weathering process way before I intended to. Because salt water is pretty harsh on the paint, it resulted in a faded colour of the boat below the water line. By adding a little black paint to the "Dunkelgrau 51", I managed to get a slight colour difference between the layers. This created a perfect wash effect. Have a look at the photos for the result.

Next step is to add the decals, which took me a long time to make up my mind about. Since the real boat didn't have the laughing sawfish during the patrol (see the photo at the top of this blog) I wasn't sure whether I would make the "movie version" or the "real version". I decided it would be a combination. The boat will be fitted like the real one, but having the sawfish as its emblem, not the snorting bull.

A short explanation to the problem above; Just before the 7th patrol, BDU ordered all boats to remove personal insignia. Hence the laughing sawfish was removed and replaced with the Flotilla emblem, the snorting bull. Later on, the sawfish was brought back to life when Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock became the commanding officer of the 9th Flotilla and he was now allowed to use it as a non-personal insignia.

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Another layer of paint

14 Nov. 2013 | Titusville, FL. USA | By Niek Nijsen

Another layer of paint has been applied to the project. The "dark grey" colour is now covering the bottom half of the boat, which makes it look like the real U-96. Still many layers to go, but the end result is slowly starting to show.

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Paint progress

10 Nov. 2013 | Titusville, FL. USA | By Niek Nijsen

The next layer of paint has been added to the project. This time it's the "light grey" that forms the top section of the dual tone. The result is pretty much what I hoped achieving, since the pre-shading is still visible, creating a nice visual depth effect. Photos as always through the button below.

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First exterior paint is on

07 Nov. 2013 | Titusville, FL. USA | By Niek Nijsen

It has been many weeks since my last post and progress has been slow. I've been waiting for the mail service to deliver me a package that my dad send me with some highly needed drills and thin metal wires. After almost 4 weeks of waiting it finally arrived.

In the meantime I gave the boat it's first layer of primer and pre-shading. It's starting to look like a real boat now.

Unfortunately making the rail guards and "wintergarten" myself didn't go so well. After a few attempts I decided to sand down the originals, thereby making them thinner and more realistic. The result is not bad, although adding the small PE parts was a **** job.

Now that the rails are on, I can continue painting again. First there will be the light grey, then the dark grey, post-shading and many more layers after that. The crew is starting to take shape as well. Only 2 more figures to go, which will be part of the gun crew.

As always, photos are to be found in the gallery through the link provided.

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Almost no parts left

03 Sept. 2013 | Titusville, FL. USA | By Niek Nijsen

Progress is fast and almost all parts have been added to the boat now. Still have a few rails that need to be added as well as all the periscopes and guns. This will be done later, after I painted the hull and deck. That's what is going to be done next. I will start off with a primer before adding about 6 layers of paint. But you'll get more details on that once I start with the paintwork.

For now, enjoy the photos I've uploaded that show you all the details that have been added using the PE parts and some scratch parts from my Chinook and Space Shuttle projects.

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Work on the exterior has begun

28 Aug. 2013 | Titusville, FL. USA | By Niek Nijsen

It's been a while since my last post. I had a friend come over which prevented me from working on my boat too much. But in the last few days, I got a lot done. The interior has received all 5 layers of paint and is now finished. I've started working on the exterior by adding details such as the saddle tank hatches, PE parts to the command tower and the first 2 out of 5 decks are in place. Still a lot more to do, but she's coming along nicely now. Don't forget to view the new photos!

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First paint is on

18 Aug. 2013 | Titusville, FL. USA | By Niek Nijsen

Finally, after finishing up all the internal ribs and getting the gaps filled with the brass parts, I painted the interior. A huge difference already, even before I added all the rust and other weathering effects. Many photos have been uploaded to show you the progress. More updates to follow soon!

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So many ribs

06 Aug. 2013 | Titusville, FL. USA | By Niek Nijsen

I started working on the internal ribs. What a sh*ty job... I've made the first batch of 43 pieces, and still have 67 more to make. At least the first batch is now in place and the command tower has been added as well. Once the glue has dried, I can finish that the tower with putty and place the last ribs before painting the whole interior hull. New photos have been uploaded as well.

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The progress so far

04 Aug. 2013 | Titusville, FL. USA | By Niek Nijsen

After more than 10 hours of research, I found out that the boat I want to build is different than most other U-boats from that time. Good thing I bought the book which has almost 250 photos in it, most of them showing what I'm looking for. Only thing I am going to do different than the real thing, is add the laughing sawfish emblem to the side, although it wasn't on the real boat during the patrol I'm building. It just looks AWESOME! Besides that, I ordered the wrong paint colour, so I had to buy the correct ones as well. Unfortunately, the 30 day return policy is long gone now...

As I am still waiting for parts to arrive before I can continue on the boat, I started working on the base platform. I've designed the whole thing in SolidWorks and made the plates with text that will be attached to it. I've also been working on the deck, since that is the only thing I can do at the moment. I've cut parts of it off (yes, I know this wooded deck was **** expensive, but it had to be done) and replaced that part with the standard plastic part of the kit. I then added the PE parts to the plastic parts, thus giving a much more realistic resemblance than an all wooden deck. More to follow!

I've found some time to work on the boat again. I started work on the deck gun and the anti-air gun. I've been cutting up the torpedo's so they will fit in the beast's belly and I've been working on the deck a little. But I'm still waiting for my parts to start working on the hull and cutting out all those flood holes...

Started building my command tower interior from scratch. And since my aft deck was bend upwards, don't ask me how, the PE part came off. But I found out that the deck is sloped anyway, and by flipping the part upside down, it fits perfectly. Only thing to do is sand it and glue the PE part back on.

It's been a busy time, but I found a few spare minutes to work on the boat. The interior lighting has arrived, as well as most other parts. Only thing I'm waiting for now are 2 parts for the hull, which will allow me to build the hull as the real boat. But it will require a lot of cutting and rebuilding of the boat. Meanwhile I decided to rebuild the interior, as it wasn't realistic enough in my opinion. More to follow soon!

After 3,5 hours of grinding and sanding with the Dremel multitool, I finally got the flood holes out and started adding extra detail by deforming the hull between the rivets (created by the enormous water pressure when submersed). Yesterday I also received another aftermarket part, this time it had the accurate flood holes for the bottom part of the boat. I'll try fitting those tonight, while I wait for the last part to arrive containing the torpedo doors. More to follow soon!

After a busy period and forgetting to take photos, I finally found time to upload a few more. The bow is now taking shape, as well as the rest of the interior components. Not long anymore before I can start closing the hull and continue with the outside of the boat.

I couldn't sleep last night, so I decided to work on my control tower. By the time it was around 02:30, I was almost done. All that remains now is adding the crew member and the ladder. Once that's done I'll post some photos with the lights on as well.

Hallelujah, I bought a copy of the official logbook of U-96's 7th patrol! This is amazing, thank you Germany for keeping your historical records!