U-Boat Biber

Published on
February 6, 2011
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
Company: Italeri - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: MRC - Website: Visit Site
Box Art

Most people are aware of the large WWII German U-boats as they appear in movies, video games and on TV very frequently. These are typically the large Type VII and Type IX boats. Many don’t realize the Germany also had a very active midget submarine effort going where one or two man subs attacked and sunk shipping.

While there are several different types, the one we are looking at is a one man sub named Biber (Beaver). There were 324 built towards the end of the war. While not very successful (they sank or damaged 9 ships versus losses of 70 subs), they do hold a spot in the history of the Kriegsmarine.

Italeri has produced the first injection molded kit of the Biber in a nice 1/35th scale. The kit comes with 2 excellent sprues of plastic for the sub, a sheet of photoetch, decal sheet and an acetate sheet for the windows. There are also two figures included on the sprues. The sprues caught my attention first- they are excellent. Bibers were built in three sections and then welded together. Italeri has some of the most perfect weld lines I have ever seen. The photoetch fret has parts for hatches, the splash shield instrument panel and the brackets for the rails for the torpedoes.

I broke the assembly down to the torpedoes and the sub it self and started with the interior of the sub. Looking at pictures on www.uboat.net, I added some additional valves, etc to the cockpit. There is not much room and it is cramped. The PE instrument panel/decal arrangement looked great. I will say that after you finish the build, you can’t see much at all even with the tiny hatch open. You trap the rudder and exhaust and close the hull and the fit is good all the way around. Little putty here or there at most is needed. You then add the keels, prop shaft and lots of PE all of which fits wonderfully. I also built the stand here as it gave the sub a place to rest.

There has been some written about the windows – I like them. There are 4 pieces of thin, precut acetate. You punch them out, run a bead of CAC around the inside frame and press in place and they fit perfectly. I then used the left over cut out acetate as templates for cutting masks from Tamiya tape. Worked like a charm with a little trimming.

Then only difficult part of the build comes in the brackets holding the torpedo guides. There are three per side and they have a few bends in them. It takes some time and patience but looks good. I added the top of the conning tower and left off the hatch but added the periscopes. I then primed the kit and set aside to dry.

There are two options for the torpedoes’. These represent different versions and I went with the G7e type. I just liked the looks of the type. Assembly was simple and we were ready for paint.

There are three choices of decals/schemes including a wild scheme from a unit in Norway. I have a lot of built U-boats and wanted this one to be more the “norm” so gray it was. I used the excellent paints from White Ensign Models and used their Hellblau color. The torpedoes were painted with copper/brass noses and tails and metallic gray in between. I added a wash to emphasize the panel lines; Dullcote and then pastels completed the kit. I added the hatch last. I finished off the torpedoes and added them- fit was also very good and we have finished our Biber.

This is a beautiful kit and worth every penny of the cost- I may buy another and try that Norwegian scheme next. A hearty recommendation and my thanks to go Bob Lewen and the fine folks at MRC-Academy and to IPMS/USA for the sample. Would love to see a “Neger” next…hint, hint.


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