Schnellboot Scale Model Kit Guide

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Revell S-100 Review

Revell-Germany's new S-100 in 1:72nd scale has hit the market. Unlike Airfix's bungled "E-boat" with its clunky hull, Revell has accurately represented the clean sleek lines of this powerful vessel. This new kit is a two-thumbs-up winner.

My kit, which I obtained from White Ensign Models, is crisply molded in light grey styrene. The resolution of detail is very good, For example close inspection of the bow fairleads reveals the rollers inside.

Revell is sometimes guilty of unnecessary or exaggerated details but in this case there are no huge rivets to sand off and no recessed plank or plating lines that need to be filled in. The railings and gun depression rails are too thick, but this is a standard compromise due to the limitations of injection molded plastic. More suitable parts can be made from wire.

Basic accuracy is excellent. Revell obviously worked from original technical drawings as published in Harald Fock's book and elsewhere. The sweeping contours of the hull, and the futuristic looking faceted armored panels of the bridge are especially nicely done. On the other hand, the well-informed will notice that where the published technical drawings are inadequate, the kit has suffered. The bridge cockpit and Flak guns are sparce and certain details are questionable. The basic parts are still suitable for corrections and additional detail.

As always, some of the details might have been done better. The odd propellors will go to many a scrap box. The armored shutters over the wheelhouse windows are not convincing, but I understand WEM has provided replacements in their set. The beamwise wooden walkway behind the bridge might have been better represented as a separate part. The vent bulges that protrude from the hull below the waterline are not quite the right shape. The box art is crap.

So far, parts fit seems to be excellent. The aft deck fits the hull like a glove and will only need a touch of liquid cement after it snaps into its recess. There are some exceptions, notably, the cockpit instrument panel does not fit well into the front armor. The fore deck will require a bit of putty near the fairleads.

Decals are provided for four boats. The 4th Flotilla panther insignia is disappointing, it lacks definition and detail. The original had eyes and teeth. The decal looks like an ink stain. The Reichkriegsflagge is nice and sharp but missing the swastika. A suitable addition might be found in a model aircraft kit.

In summary, the kit is an excellent scale representation of the late war Schnellboot, and excellent value for the price. Ship model builders who previously had to make due with the clunky Airfix "E-boat" will be extremely pleased with this kit!


9 May 2001: WEM Brass set is complete! A plethora of detail parts and a choice of rails with or without covers. I especially liked the ammo clip retainers for the bow gun, the ventilator grilles and the tiny handwheels that will be useful for this and other projects. Click on the icon to view the entire set.




Revell S-100 Online Build

This section will guide a model builder of average skills and experience through the process of building the Revell kit into a high quality scale model. I will explain and illustrate each step and post it online as I go.

To make the most out of this website, print out the useful photos and organize them in a binder. As you work on your model, keep the relevant page open on your workbench. No need to worry about damaging it with paint or glue. You can always print another copy!


Years ago, a Mad Magazine spoof showed a kit of the USS Constitution. Inside the box was a block of wood and a pen knife. The instructions read "remove anything that does not look like the USS Constitution." This has been my basic approach to building kits ever since. After examining the kit against the reference material, I remove anything that does not look like the prototype. A Dremel, a scraper blade and a good metal file are very useful.

Readers may recall, I originally removed the peculiar raised coaming around the 2cm gun tub. However, a review of the general arrangement drawings compared to the photographs indicated the bow tub opening was too small, and this coaming was the result of a misinterpretation by the Revell die maker. The first step in correcting this error is widening the tub opening on the forecastle. A circle template was carefully aligned and the deck was scribed for the new opening. I used the 1" diameter hole, to allow for the outside diameter of the styrene ring which I will insert later. The inside diameter should be 11mm. In an operation such as this, it is important to first pencil in a center line for the template, then scribe the cut line, since handling will erode a pencil or pen mark. The hole must be dead center or it won't look right so approach this project with a relaxed mind and use care throughout. Using a dremel tool, I gradually cut away the material. I used a metal cutting bit first, then as I neared the cut line, I used a 3/8" cylindrical grinding stone for more finesse. A scrap-box search for the right diameter ring led me to a warp drive nacell from a 1960s vintage AMT Enterprise. With the styrene ring test fitted, the results look good. I won't need any putty.


The Enterprise engine nacell was cut down in the lathe to form a coaming with a slightly raised rim. Later the opening will receive an interior platform at the base of the coaming, the tub will attach beneath this.




I removed all the smoke generator mounts at the stern, since the molded-on solid rings do not accurately represent the raised metal rings of the prototype. The conical protrusions on the aft deckhouse represent smoke buoys. I removed these as well since they do not resemble the open metal retainers on the original.

I also sliced away the rectangular torpedo cradle stands. The originals had a half-round cutout at the top; the fore and aft stands were wedge-shaped in side view.

The interior of the bridge cockpit was filed clean of inaccurate details. The raised platform around the bridge torpedo sight was in reality only a few centimeters off the deck. Revell's design places this platform much too high up. Correcting the error is a simple matter of removing the two supports and gluing the platform directly to the deck.



Continuing along the theme of demolition, I removed the portholes in the wheelhouse sides and ventilator trunks. These were a feature of the up-armored S-26 boats, but building this variant would require extra work modifying the rear of the wheelhouse with windows. I also opened up a hatch in the forward gun tub at the aft centerline based on the photos from Chip Marshall, and trimmed down the tub cover. (The elaborate Revell part belongs in a science fiction kit with the wierd propellors.)

Careful thought must be given to how the model will be supported before the deck is glued to the hull. I bought a pair of high class brass pedistals at the hardware store in the lamp shade department.

I made a single brass cockpit door template using the kit part as my guide. This will be used to scribe the missing door frame in the cockpit interior. The wheelhouse door was hinged and did not slide as suggested by Revell's part. A fine point, perhaps, since this will be barely visible on the completed model, but I removed the door-tracks and I rounded the corners (after the photo was taken).

I discarded Revell's 2cm ready ammunition boxes. The originals did not have a sloped top and the Revell parts are too small. The originals measured 80cm long x 45cm tall x 60 cm wide. In 1/72 this is about 11mm x 6mm x 8mm. I used my table saw to form scale parts from sheet Plexiglass. Hinge details will be added later. Plexiglass is very easy to work with and comes in handy when sheet styrene is too thin, but special care must be taken when painting it.

Revell's Kulotte bridge armor has a mold seam visible on the cockpit side. The armored coaming around the cockpit was not divided horizontally, so this seam must be removed. This is a difficult task requiring concentration, a steady hand and a narrow file. Work slowly and methodically. Each facet must be filed flat, straight and to the same thickness.

Doh! Revell put the torpedo tube door hinges on the wrong sides. I cut off the tube ends. My research indicated the tubes were slightly too long and the removal of the ends brought them to scale. I also removed some of the crude tube details.

With the kit "stripped of anything that does not look like a Schnellboot," the process of actually building the model can begin! Building is best done in sub-assemblies, each of which is fully completed before moving to the next, and stored carefully until the final assembly.

I started with the boat's main armament, the two torpedo tubes. Not much of the tubes will be visible on the completed model, and each additional part must be made twice so consider adding details here optional! However, because the torpedo tubes were the boat's reason for existance, I decided to detail them.

The shortened tube ends were wrapped with a brass strip to simulate the breech. The breech locked by rotating a gear mounted on the outboard side. I simulated the gear cover with a short piece of sprue cut to half-round profile.

The large box on top of the tube was not centered, as on the kit, but positioned slightly inboard to accomidate the torpedo loading tackle. Correcting this is a simple matter of filing down the outboard side, being careful to stay parallel. I added square clasps made from 1/700 ladder stock. Tube bracing was made from copper wire and positioned about 1/3 from the bow end.

The raised disk in the center of the tube door was the Berlin manufacturer's name plate. The kit's nameplate was out of scale so I replaced it with a sheet styrene disk. I also filed down the oversized door hinges. (A U-shaped handle will be added to the door during final assembly of the boat; it is liable to break in the meantime.)

The compressed air cylinders which ejected the torpedo from its tube bolted to the lower inboard side of the tube, not the deck. The kit's cylinder must therefore be separated from the valve mechanism and glued to the tube. Use a fine round file to add the appropriate curvature to the cylinder's mating surfaces. Glue with liquid cement.

I simulated the bow door crankshaft with a piece of wire on styrene mounts. The loading tackle fairleads are disks punched from sheet styrene and mounted on more bits of sheet styrene.

I made a new firing valve from styrene disks, brass tube and a piece of sprue. Once these are in place, I will add the trigger and maintenance footplate. The tube can then be set aside for final assembly.


This excellent 1:50 scale model of S-7 is on display at the Deutsches Museum, Munich.


Click thumbnail image to view full size picture!
















Continuing a long tradition of sailors in captivity carving model ships to while away the time or trade with their prison guards, a Kriegsmarine POW built this early S-38 class boat somewhere in the USA.







Richard Mundt disproves the theory that a good model can't be built from the crude 1/40 scale Robbe kit. This detailed scale model is also radio controlled. Richard is currently hard at work on the Azimut kit in 1/35 scale.












Here is a preliminary view of an S-Boat that will be featured in a computer simulation. Check for more details later!