The stand

The long-ignored stand had to be painted at some point. I had primed it at the same time with the u-boat itself, so all I had to do was to choose the paint. Another grey would fit in the theme and a darker shade of it would also not steal the attention from the model itself. Wheter or not that's a good thing will be left for the observer to decide.

From my happily-coloured collection I chose German Grey (VMA 71052) and applied it on the frame. After the paint had dried, I whiteglued the photoetch piece in its slot. Quick and easy, as they say.



Deceiving looks

I had assumed that setting up the cables would be a quick, easy thing. The thread provided by the kit looked sturdy, even though the white colour confused me a bit, but I thought I'd stick to the OOB plan.

How wrong I was. The damn thread started undoing itself as soon as I touched it! First I thought that I had done something stupid myself and cut off the disintegrating end with a small safety margin and hoped that the thread wasn't measured for the kit millimeter-accurately. Nope, it wasn't my mistake, as the self-destruction kept going on just about immediately.

Despite all the traditional "get that thread through the needle's opening" tricks the thread didn't pass through the plastic poles. So I drilled them more open with the tip of my xacto knife. After that the thread went nicely through, finally. Then I repeated the process twice more with some swearing, as the thread kept getting worse and worse. I just didn't feel like cutting off more would do me much good.


Utilizing the power of tweezers and even more swearing I got the end of the thread knotted onto the bottom-most rung of the conning tower. Because I couldn't trust in the thread's cooperation, I applied some superglue to bind it shut. Then I twisted the thread around the cylinders in the other end of the setup, tied it up and superglued the bugger.

Quickly I measured if the thread would be enough to set up the second cable. It was going to be just fine, so I didn't have to start digging for a different piece of thread for this. I tied up the thread to the topmost rung this time, superglued it and pulled the end to the loop in the front of the boat.

I left a tail hanging, in case I felt like faking a better tying setup or something sailorlike. Or, as it most likely will be, I'll do nothing of the sort.



Tiny things

At this point I was pretty content with how the hull was painted, so I got to proceed with the rest of the painting. The propeller unit I painted over a couple of times, as my old gold (VMC 70878) didn't cover well enough with a single pass.

As I had finished painting the conning tower I finally remembered that I had left the transparent cylinders from the D sprue for later. It was later. Luckily I even had a couple of washes available (some positively ancient Citadel Blue Glaze and Yellow Glaze, that I had bought before 1998) in more or less appropriate colours. I painted the pieces in their sprue, let them dry and then whiteglued them into their places. Immediately afterwards I did the same for the cover-windows so that I wouldn't forget them.

The periscope, RDF antenna and the snorkel I painted as directed: main areas with steel (VMA 71065) and the top parts black, though I deviated a bit and used grey-black (VMA 71056) just because I think it looks a bit more natural than pitch-black. The "glass" of the 'scope I painted with steel as well. For a moment I thought if I should wash it blue (or green), but I didn't think it was necessary.


Then I also realized that I had left the binocular-like part of the UZO off. I glued the transparent piece into its place and after it had cured I painted that with the same grey-black. I thought I could give it a black drybrush, whenever I have the time. The lens-ends I left clear, of course, in hopes of that being noticeable from a certain point of view.


Once again, if I had thought of my work order, especially considering the ease of painting, I'd done several things differently. But then again, what would I write about week after week, if everything went perfectly every time?

It was clear: the walking planks had to be painted, they could not be left grey. The exact shade was a bigger question. After a bit of digging around I found some lightish brown (VMC 873 "US Field Drab") that I then proceeded to apply all over the wooden-to-be pieces.

Come next evening I applied an already thickening Citadel's Devlan Mud. I had thought of using a black wash instead, but that sounded a bit too dark in my mind. Most likely it would've worked just fine in the end, but this is what I went with.

You can see the results in the photos. I think it looks really good, or at least to me they look like wood. As usual, they look much better live than in the photos.


Redo, partially

Yeah. I tore off the masking setup with great excitement. It was generally ok, with some "patch this" areas around the waterline, but not much more. Then I took a look at it from a bit further away.

Do it yourself and save money

In a few places the thing that was supposed to be the waterline looked as if a drunkard had been freehanding with broad strokes. There was just one thing to do: redo. My in-common-law asked why didn't I use a piece of cardstock with a pencil to draw the waterline quickly and handily, that's what he does with his scratchbuilt ships. I hadn't even think of it, I'm not a boatbuilder...

A cereal box worked just fine

I took a cereal box, cut the openings for a pencil and functioned just fine, as far as I could tell. Then I masked the boat following the newly drawn line. Just like the last time I believed it was ok, but I hoped that my eyes didn't deceive me this time.
Quickly I painted the light areas and took these following pics. Those lonely flappy bits were protecting the tower's white lines from overspray, just in case.


The end results of this attempt were much better. Next I'll get to work on the details, like the propeller, antennae, the periscope and the snorkel that's awaiting getting glued on again. At this rate this boat's going to be finished this year!


Transitioning to the painting phase

A session-long mishap

As expected, I started priming the diver-dinghy one Thursday afternoon with my trusty airbrush. I spent a good half an hour covering almost half of the model. The more I thought about it the stupider it felt, especially in this scale, with the coverage of the device. I had this brewing in my mind at work for almost five minutes and then I left for home, taking a short detour to Hobby Point and a rattle canful of Tamiya's white primer on my person.

Yes, I decided to pay for the convenience of priming the massive model quicker and with less stressing about the result. Who cares that the propellant smells unpleasant and that I'd have to be spraying in the chilly balkony.

The photo should show that the surface isn't perfect, but I didn't see it as a problem, as most of the model was already primed before the white layers. The target pattern is, according to the box art, a dark gray bottom and a lighter top part, without any shape-breaking patterns or anything fancy. Of course I've heard the suggestion "paint it yellow" more than a couple of times and I am the first to admit that a Dunkelgelb sub could be a hilarious idea. I believe I'm going to put that idea on the shelf and be boring and keep the gray wolf of the seas -theme.

Tape on, tape off

I spent a good amount of time applying tape masks on the boat. Luckily I had managed to set up my schedules so that I had about 40 minutes one afternoon. Applying the tapes (and all associated subtasks) took half an hour and I was left with 10 mins to paint a layer of grey (VMA 71050 Light Grey) and to clean things up. Rushing kills you and so on.

The result was pretty decent, I'd say. Of course I was left with some underpainted spots for a new session, but that happens. It could've been worse.

I had a bit less of time the following day and I could only prepare things for the next afternoon: I applied a good pile of cheap sticky notes (awful PostIt-note copies) to protect the upper hull and the conning tower from overspray. Maybe this would work.

The best of the dark waters

Out of two paint options at hand I chose Dark Sea Grey (VMA 71048). During my first painting session I started with the extreme ends, so that they'd be cured when I attacked the middle and especially the mid-bottom of the model. As said, I started from the nose all around, then did the tail end likewise and then proceeded to cover the center while leaving the lowest parts of the center area untouched so I could leave the model lying on its display stand.

For some reason the paint seemed to cover much better while it was wet. After a couple of hours I took a new look at my doings and saw that especially the center sides were much spottier than the ends. No matter, I was going to paint more in any case. The most important thing in my mental plan was to have the ends dry so that I could easily leave the center parts hanging in the air.

Perhaps I was too cautious but the second session ate an incredible amount of time, but I did think that the fine-looking result justified the extra time. Especially as I later compared this newly painted side to the unfixed flipside.

After the third darker painting round this section was finally done for the time being. Genially I had taken all the dark grey pics from the same side of the model. We (software) engineers are so very smart!