Wednesday, September 10

Review: U-Boot Im Focus decal sets in 1/144th and 1/72nd scales

New U-boat decals? in 1/144th, 1/72nd and even 1/5ths scales? Who makes ‘em? The people behind U-boot Im Focus the Luftfahrtverlag-Start team? Sign us UP!


Review:
Decals for the "U-Boat in Focus" Edition 2-11
from Luftfahrtverlag-Start

1:72nd scale set + (Bonus 1:35th)
Type VII C + Bonus Decal for a type XIII boat
Printed by Cartograf
€ 16.50 incl. 19%. Excl. Shipping

1/144nd Scale set
Type II B + Type VII C
Printed by Cartograf
€ 16.50 incl. 19%. Excl. Shipping

Both sheets are available at this link directly

I will let you in on a little secret. One that some of you might know… When the aircraft modellers are offered  new set of decals to change the look of their kite so they can be unique and have that scheme that “no one else has and they just gotta do first” (come on you know we are all guilty) there is always a complaint that “why didn’t you do this scheme”. You just can’t seem to please everyone and no I’m not being a pain. We sometimes just do not know how good we have it.

 Each set has one A5 booklet and one decal sheet
On the other hand when fans of the Wolfpacks of the Third Reich see new decals (new anything for that matter) to add to their favourite kit they just simply jump at it. The U-boat fraternity of fans has been starved of additional aftermarket compared to the aircraft and don’t even get me started on the tank guys. :-)

The research:
So when the team from Luftfahrtverlag-Start headed by Axel Urbanke get behind the community with the series of U-Boot Im Focus and other titles then rightfully there has been much fanfare about their works. These pictorial series is now at number ten already. Although there are interviews and plenty of research and letters with photos exchanged in the making of each of these books there is also a part in each where the community of fans can write it and put the authors to rights when there might be a mistake or even a grey area.


Just six of the ten books in this series 
This keeps the team honest and works in their favour. It also creates interest in the community and this circular movement generates more material from the weirdest places sometimes. It is then not just the team at Luftfahrtverlag- Start but many others contributing to the material. This is why when decals are mad to fit the submarines you know they can be trusted. OK that is a long-winded explanation of the research these guys do out of the way…

The decals:
Today we will look at the decals in 72nd scale for the Type VII C  U-Boats and a Bonus Decal for a type XIII boat as well as the 1/144th scale set for just the Type II B + Type VII C boats. We will look at both of the packages and instructions as well as the decals themselves before looking at each of the boats on each sheet with a brief rundown of their life and demise.

The great thing here apart from the most popular scales being selected is the bonus sheet on the 72nd scale set to suit the Bronco model of the late war coastal type XIII boat which has many fans. Although this one served near the coast it is a popular kit for the armour guys wanting to dip their toes in the water (pardon the pun).

The decals both come in a clear zip-loc bag in a stiff envelope safe and sound directly from the company. They both have a one-piece fold out A5 brochure in which you get a look at each of the submarines in small pictures of each of the boats and a history of each of them. More on the instructions/ guide book later.

They look great to me.

The 72nd scale set - no printing perfections and the colours are just right
Printed by Cartograf these decals are very fine in detail and artwork. The colours are strong but not too much and the whites are opaque. They look like they will not bleed colour through. Having used Cartograf before I know they hold snug into the kit which will be great with the riveted sides of the hull and conning towers of these boats. I am completely confident in the thickness of these decals and the almost lack of any carrier film to have to deal with.

The 1/144th set -Just look at the decals on such a small decal - Notice we get three colours to choose from on the famous U-96 (Das Boot) schemes because of conflicting colour theories? nice to have the option isn't it?
The 1/72nd sheet with 1/35th scale bonus sheet.
The 1/144th sheet
The instructions/ Guide book:
Now one problem for me was that these are in German - and my German isn’t that great. The good thing is that I was kindly sent me the text of the guides and I have translated it into English for those of you wanting to know more here.

For the 72nd and 144th decals you can see these books in the U-Boot Im Focus collection to get more information on the exact boat. Now I have some of these books but seeing that most of these are unpublished elsewhere it would be pretty crummy to reproduce them for a review. There are some pictures of these on the net but apart from a few here and there I’ll stick to the text.
These are the U-boats featured in the books and the decals for easy reference:
1/72nd and 144th decals
•           U-93, for details, see "U-Boot im Focus" Edition 2
•           U-96, previously not covered by any item in "U-Boot im Focus"
•           U-257, for details, see "U-Boot im Focus" Edition 6
•           U-258, for details, see "U-Boot im Focus" Edition 5
•           U-403, for details, see "U-Boot im Focus" Edition 2 + 5
•           U-454, for details, see "U-Boot im Focus" Edition 7 + 8
•           U-575, for details, see "U-Boot im Focus" Edition 4 + 8
•           U-581, for details, see "U-Boot im Focus" Edition 10
•           U-588, for details, see "U-Boot im Focus" Edition 2 + 6
•           U-595, for details, see "U-Boot im Focus" Edition 4
•           U-653, for details, see "U-Boot im Focus" Edition 10
•           U-702, for details, see "U-Boot im Focus" Edition 6
•           U-929, for details, see "U-Boot im Focus" Edition 8
•           Unknown VII C boat with shark's mouth, Details see "U-Boat in Focus" Edition 11

Bonus 1: 35 - U-4709, Type XXIII,
Details see "U-Boat in Focus" Edition 7

Ok so now you know where to find them here is the roll call of what you will find on each of these sheets – some of the schemes are duplicated of course – but I have included them so you can see just what is on your preferred sheet:

 1:72 Decals booklet Text and schemes:
U-10 (type II (B)
Built by Friedrich Krupp Germania shipyard AG, Kiel
Entry into service 9. September 1935
Patrols 8 (9.7.1939 - 4.21.1940)
Sinkings: 2 ships with patrols by Kptlt. Commander Georg-Wilhelm Schulz - until 10/39 Then Oblt.z.S.  Joachim Preuss: 1/40 - 6/1940
Fate: after prolonged “Schulbooteinsatz” or training on 30th of July 1944 in Gdansk the boat was put out of service. As a result U-10 was used as a spare parts store for other boats In April 1945

U-24 (type II (B)
Built by Friedrich Krupp Germania shipyard AG, Kiel
Entry into service 10. October 1936
Patrols 19 (8.25.1939 - 7.11.1944)
Sinkings: at 7 ships
Patrols:
Kptlt. Commander Udo Behrens 8-10 1939
Kptlt. Harald Jeppener-Haltenhoff 10/11 1939
Oblt.z.S. Udo Heilmann 12/1939-5/1940
Oblt.z.S. Klaus Petersen 10/11 1942
Oblt.z.S. Clemens Scholer 11/1942-4/1943
Kptlt. Klaus Petersen 5/1943- 4/1944
Oblt.z.S. Martin Landt-Hayen 4-7 1944
Oblt.z.S. Dieter Lenzmann 7/8 1944
Fate: after use in the Black Sea U-24 was blown up in the retreat of the German forces on 25. May 1944 in the port of Constanta/Romania

U-93
Built by Friedrich Krupp Germania shipyard AG, Kiel
Entry into service 30. July 1940
Patrols: 7 (10.9.1940 - 1.15.1942)
Sinkings: at 8 ships
Commander: Kptlt. Claus Korth - until 9/41 & Oblt.z.S.  Horst Elf
Fate: On 15th of January in 1942 the boat appeared in a convoy north of Madeira when depth charged by the destroyer HMS “Hesperus" and then was forced down. 6 Dead and 40 survivors. Commander saved. (Usually they saved the commander from the sea for questioning as a priority)

U-96
Built by Friedrich Krupp Germania shipyard AG, Kiel
Entry into service 14. September 1940
Patrols: 11 (12.4.1940 - 2.8.1943)
Sinkings: at 27 vessels
Commander Kptlt. Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock - until 3/42
Oblt.z.S. Jürgen Hellriegel - until 3/43
Oblt.z.S.  Wilhelm Peters - until 2/44
Oblt.z.S. Horst Willner - until 6/44
Oblt.z.S. Robert Rix
Fate: from 1. April 1943 the boat was pulled from front line use to serve as a Schulboot and then as in the 24. and 22. U-flotilla. At the end of the war the boat was taken out of action on 30th of March in 1945 in Wilhelmshaven when sunk during a bombing raid.

Immortalized by "Das Boot" here is U-96 on both of the sheets - in the three different colours it is said to have featured the sawfish in - pick your own preference
U-257
Built by Bremer Vulkan-Vegesacker Werft
Entry into service 14. January 1942
Patrols: 6 (9.21.1942 - 2.24.1944 )
Commander: Kptlt. Heinz Rahe
Fate: on 24. In the North Atlantic Ocean after depthcharging February 1944 by the frigates "HMCS Waskesiu" and "HMS Nene" the boat surfaced and then was immediately forced down. 30 Dead and 19 survivors. Commander went down with his boat.
U-403
Shipyard: Gdansk Shipyard AG
Entry into service 25. June 1941
Patrols 8 (3.1.1942 - 8.18.1943 )
sinkings at 2 ships
Commander Kptlt. Heinz-Ehlert Clausen - until 6/43
Kptlt. Karl-Franz Heine
Fate:
on 18. Before Dakar August 1943 by water-bombs of the 344 a French Wellington. Squadron from the air. The entire 50-member crew went down with the boat.

U-454
Built by Deutsche Werke AG, Kiel
Entry into service 24. July 1941
Patrol 10 (12.25.1941 - 8.1.1943 )
sinkings at 2 ships
Commander Kptlt. Burckhard Hacklander
Fate: on 1. When Ausmarsch August 1943 Northwest Cape Ortegal (north Spain) by water bombs " an Australian Sunderland sunk the Royal Air Force. 32 Dead and 14 survivors.

The last survivors clinging to U-454 before getting picked up
U-581
Built by Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Entry into service 31. July 1941
Patrols 2 (12.13.1941 - 2.2.1942 )
sinkings at 1 ship
Commander Kptlt. Werner Pfeiffer
Fate: on 2. The boat has been february 1942 southwest of the Azores, in the central Atlantic by water bombs of the British destroyer HMS Westcott" forced to appear and is then sunk. 4 Dead and 41 survivors, including the commander.

U-588
Built by Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Entry into service 18. September 1941
Patrols 4 (8.1 . - 7.31.1942 )
sinkings at 7 ships
Commander Kptlt. Victor Vogel
Fate: 31. In the North Atlantic Ocean by water bombs July 1942 the Canadian corvette HMCS Wetaskiwin" and "the Canadian destroyer HMCS Skeena" recessed. The entire crew went down with the boat.
U-595
Built by Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Entry into service: 6. November 1941
Patrols: 3 (23.7. - 11.14.1942)
Sinkings: at no
Commander: Kptlt. Jürgen Quaet-Faslem
Fate: on 14. In the Mediterranean November 1942 severely damaged by water bombs from a pair of British Hudsons northwest of Oran. No crew losses.

U-653
Shipyard Howaldtswerke Hamburg AG
Entry: into service 25. May 1941
Patrols: 9 (12.13.1941 - 3.15.1944)
Sinkings: at 4 ships
Commander Kptlt. Gerhard Feiler - until 9/43
Oblt.z.S. Hans-Albrecht Kandler
Fate: on 15. March 1944 U-653 in the North Atlantic Ocean through water bombs by a Swordfish from the British aircraft carrier. The entire 51 crew went down with the boat.

U-702
H. C. Stulcken shipyard son, Hamburg
entry into service 3. September 1941
patrols 1 (29.3 . - 4.3.1942 )
Versenkungserfolge no
Commander" Neeme Korv.Kpt.  Wolf-rüdiger of Rabenau
Fate: since 3. Missed April 1942 in the North Sea. May ran the boat on a Treibmine. Another source lists the possible sinking by a Soviet U-boat. The entire crew is missing or fallen.
Unknown VII C-boot
No information on Sharkmouth. The present recording of the boat should be 1941-42, probably in the Atlantic Ocean.

 BONUS - type XXIII 1:35th scale decals

U-4709
Friedrich Krupp
Germania shipyard AG, Kiel
Entry into service 3. March 1945
Commander Oblt.z.S.  Paul Berkemann
Fate: of this type XXIII boat was on 4. May 1945 sunk on the Germania shipyard in Kiel.

U-4709 - the 1/35th scale boat served up as a bonus with the 72nd scale set..


1:144th scale Decals booklet Text and schemes:
U-93
Built by Friedrich Krupp Germania shipyard AG, Kiel
Entry into service 30. July 1940
Patrols: 7 (10.9.1940 - 1.15.1942)
Sinkings: at 8 ships
Commanders:
 Kptlt. Claus Korth - until 9/41
Oblt.z.S. Horst Elf remain
Fate: on 15. January 1942 in a convoy north by Madeira by depth charges of the destroyer “HMS Hesperus" to surface and then forced down. 6 Dead and 40 survivors. Commander saved.
U-93 in happier times
U-96
Shipyard F. Krupp Germania shipyard AG, Kiel
Entry into service 14. September 1940
Patrols: 11 (12.4.1940 - 2.8.1943)
Sinkings: at 27 vessels
Commanders:
 Kptlt. Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock - until 3/42
Oblt.z.S. Jürgen Hellriegel - until 3/43
Oblt.z.S. Wilhelm Peters - until 2/44
Oblt.z.S. Horst Willner - until 6/44
Oblt.z.S. Robert Rix
Fate: from 1. The boat has been April 1943 Frontverwendung pulled from training and then as in the 24 and 22. U-flotilla at the end of the war and taken out of service on 30. March 1945 in Wilhelmshaven when sunk during a bombing raid.
U-257
Built by Bremer Vulkan-Vegesacker Werft
Entry into service 14. January 1942
Patrols: 6 (9.21.1942 - 2.24.1944)
Sinkings: at no
Commander: Kptlt. Heinz Rahe
Fate: on 24. In the North Atlantic Ocean after being depth charged in February 1944 by the frigates "HMCS Waskesiu" and "HMS Nene" to appear on the surface and immediately be forced down. 30 Dead and 19 survivors. Commander went with down with his boat.
For details, see "U-boot in Focus" edition 6

U-258
Shipyard Bremer Vulkan-Vegesacker Werft
Entry into service 4. February 1942
Patrols: 4 (9.1.1942 - 5.20.1943)
Sinkings: at 1 ship
Commander: Kptlt. Wilhelm von Massenhausen
Oblt.z.S. Wilhelm Koch (only 3. Feindfahrt 1-3/ 43)
A B-24 of the 120. Squadron sunk U-258 on 21st of MAY 1943 to the bottom in the North Atlantic Ocean through Bombing attacks.
Boat with total 49member crew perished.
For details, see "U-boot in Focus" edition 5

U-403
Shipyard Gdansk Shipyard AG
Entry into service 25. June 1941
Patrols 8 (3.1.1942 - 8.18.1943)
Sinkings: at 2 ships
Commander Kptlt. Heinz-Ehlert Clausen - until 6/43
Kptlt. Karl-Franz Heine
Fate: on the 18th of August in1943 off the West African coast on high Dakar by water bombs of a 344th sqdn. French Wellington.
Fate: The entire 50-member crew went down with the boat.
For details, see "U-boot in Focus" Edition 2 and 5
U-454
Built by Deutsche Werke AG, Kiel
Entry into service 24. July 1941
Patrols: 10 (12.25.1941 - 8.1.1943)
Sinkings: at 2 ships
Commander Kptlt. Burckhard Hacklander
Fate: on 1. When Ausmarsch August 1943 Northwest Cape Ortegal (north Spain) by water bombs “an Australian Sunderland sunk the Royal Air Force. 32 Dead and 14 survivors, including the commander.
For details, see "U-boot in Focus" Edition 7 and 8

U-575
Built by Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Entry into service 19. June 1941
Patrols: 10 (9.8.1941 - 3.13.1944)
Sinkings at 9 ships
Commander Kptlt. Gunther Heydemann - until 7/43
Oblt.z.S. Wolfgang Boehmer
Fate: on 13. March 1944 northwest of the Azores by water bombs of the Canadian frigate HMCS Prince Rupert" and "The US destroyer "USS Hopson" and "USS Haverfield" with the help of Avenger aircraft of the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier "USS Bogue" and bombs from a Wellington and a B-17 (phew). 18 Dead and 37 survivors, including the commander Oblt.z.S.  Boehmer.
For details, see "U-boot in Focus" Edition 4 and 8

U-581
Built by Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Entry into service 31. July 1941
Patrols: 2 (12.13.1941 - 2.2.1942 )
Sinkings: at 1 ship
Commander Kptlt. Werner Pfeiffer
Fate: on the 2nd of February 1942 southwest of the Azores, in the central Atlantic The boat has been forced to the surface by depth charges of the British destroyer HMS Westcott" and then it sunk. 4 Dead and 41 survivors, including the commander.

U-581
U-588
Built by Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Entry into service 18. September 1941
Patrols: 4 (8.1. - 7.31.1942)
Sinkings: 7 ships
Commander Kptlt. Victor Vogel
Fate: U-588 was sunk on the 31st by depth charges dropped by Canadian warships, the corvette HMCS Wetaskiwin and the destroyer HMCS Skeena east northeast of St. John's, Newfoundland.
Forty-nine men died with U-588; there were no survivors.

U-595
Built by Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Entry into service: 6. November 1941
Patrols: 3 (23.7. - 11.14.1942)
Sinkings: at no
Commander: Kptlt. Jürgen Quaet-Faslem
Fate: on 14. In the Mediterranean November 1942 severely damaged by water bombs from a pair of British Hudsons northwest of Oran. No crew losses.

U-653
Shipyard Howaldtswerke Hamburg AG
Entry: into service 25. May 1941
Patrols: 9 (12.13.1941 - 3.15.1944)
Sinkings: at 4 ships
Commander Kptlt. Gerhard Feiler - until 9/43
Oblt.z.S. Hans-Albrecht Kandler
Fate: on 15. March 1944 U-653 in the North Atlantic Ocean through water bombs by a Swordfish from the British aircraft carrier. The entire 51 crew went down with the boat.
U-702
H. C. Stulcken shipyard son, Hamburg
Entry into service 3. September 1941
Patrols: 1 (29.3 . - 4.3.1942 )
Commander: Neeme Korv.Kpt.  Wolf-rüdiger of Rabenau
Fate: Missing after 3rd of April 1942 in the North Sea. The boat may have ran into a floating mine. Another source lists the possible sinking by a Soviet U-boat. The entire crew was pronounced missing or dead.

U-929
Shipyard: Neptun Werft AG, Rostock
Entry into service 6. September 1944
Sinkings: at none
Commander: Oblt.z.S.  Werner Schulz
Fate: the boat was still in the training phase at the end of the war in the Baltic Sea in the 4. U-flotilla. On 2. May 1945 it was sunk in Warnemuende the crew itself. Raised and scrapped in 1956.
For details, see "U-boot in Focus" edition 8

Unknown VII C-boot
To this boot with no information on shark's mouth or “Haifischmaul”. The present recording of the boat should be 1941-42, probably in the Atlantic Ocean.


OK that is the complete list!
When it comes to getting things right there are just a few book researchers around that go the extra mile. Luftfahrtverlag-Start are at the sharp end of the stick and support to point out where they are wrong from the great U-Boat loving community always seem helpful. Through this research and feedback I am 100% confident in the accuracy of these decals artwork. The fact that Cartograf have printed them as well leave me filled with more confidence.

If you want a different take on your U-Boat then these are they a very sane choice! Get in quickly before your shipmates do.

Adam Norenberg

These new U-Boat decal sheets are now available on the Luft-Start website… They "might" (will) sell out quickly so get in there fast as they are limited editions.. Thanks to Axel and Benedicte for sending them to us for review.