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Kit Review: Combat Models 1/72 Scale WW1 U-9 German U-Boat

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  • Member since
    December, 2010
Kit Review: Combat Models 1/72 Scale WW1 U-9 German U-Boat
Posted by Phillip1 on Saturday, June 21, 2014 3:44 PM
Fellow Modelers, I recently purchased Combat Models vacuform 1/72 scale WWI U-9 German Submarine model (No. 72-111). Before I bought it, I was amazed by how little information there was on the Internet concerning this kit. I am starting this thread to share my opinion of the model, and fill in the blanks for anyone who has the same questions I did. Also included are some good photos of the real U-9. Let me start with a little background information… I have wanted a large model of a WWI German U-boat in my collection since I got back in modeling in the early 1990’s. I had hoped the successes of Revell’s 1/72 WWII Gato, Revell of Germany’s WWII 1/72 Type VIIC U-boat and their 1/72 WWII Type IXC U-boat would eventually lead to a WWI U-boat offering. Unfortunately there still is no decent size injection plastic, resin or fiberglass radio controlled WWI U-boat kit to be found, even with all the many international manufacturers and small-time garage-kit makers in business today. The only company I know that has done anything with this subject is Combat Models (known today as Robert’s Models). Located in West Hazelton, PA, they only produce vacuform models. They also offer another WWI German U-boat, U-35. Both of the kits are old and have been available for more than 20 years. I have never built a vacuform kit before, but I know from following build logs that a tremendous amount of work and creativity is required to build one. My decision to purchase was mainly based on the belief this kit will be the only option (other than scratch-building) available in my lifetime (ha). I placed my order over the phone. In addition to the submarine kit, I also ordered the resin detail set that goes with it. If you order both there is a 15% discount. My total cost was $77.00 ($41.00 model /$21.00 detail set/$15.00 shipping). The kit was “made to order” and it took about five weeks to arrive. The parts did not come in separate box, only the one they were shipped in. Below is a parts breakdown and description: Vacuform Parts Photos 1 through 2: These are the two main vacuform sheets that contain all the parts. There are a total of 15 pieces (4-hull/2-conning tower/2-war badges/2-deck sections/5-rudder and diving planes). The sheet thickness is a little less than 1/16” thick (.0625”), but varies across the parts. Some sections are thick and sturdy, but a few areas on the edges are paper thin. There are two corrections to the hull that will have to be made. First, the kit’s stern is rounded, and U-9’s stern cut off sharp and flat where the two torpedo tubes were located. Secondly, the anchor well on the right hull is located too far back and will need to be re-located. Other than that the overall shape appears to be generally accurate, based on the information I have.   Photos 3 through 7: These are close up shots of the vacuform parts to give a better idea of the shape and detail. Some of the details that I know are wrong include the shape/location of the hull flooding holes and the access hatches on the saddle tanks. There is a lot of panel detail on the deck sections, but I do not know if it is accurate. I believe the forward and rear dive planes are too small and should be replaced with styrene sheet.      Instruction Sheets Photos 8 through 12: The kit includes a large instruction sheet in two halves (34” X 46” when pieced together). I believe it was given in this size so the drawings would match the model dimensions (1/72 scale). It shows side, top, bow and stern views and U-9’s specification information is included. On the back of one of the sheets are step by step instructions for building the model. These are basic, but do include some good construction tips.      Resin Detail Set Photo 13: This last photo shows all the parts of the resin detail set. Included are two anchors, two propellers, two machine guns, four hatches, two bollards, five bitts, four closed chocks, five open chocks, and five roller chocks. The quality of all the part is poor and a lot of work would be required to make them usable. It also appears that several of the parts (i.e chocks and machine guns) were not on U-9.  Summary Overall I do not think this is a bad kit, and I am not disappointed with it. It will take a good bit of work to build, but the potential is there. The following photos are the best ones I have been able to find of U-9. Photo 001: This probably the best image I have found.  Photos 002 through 004: Several water levels views.    Photos 005 through 006: In both of these views U-9 is in the background and can barely be seen. They are included because in the first one U-11 is very visible, and was an identical sister-ship to U-9. The second photo shows good deck details on some later submarines that were probably common with U-9.   I welcome any comments, experiences, tips, or opinions anyone has concerning Combat Models or building vacuform kits in general. I hope someone finds this information helpful. Thanks Phillip1
  • Member since
    February, 2010
  • From: Maine
Posted by Stage_Left on Saturday, June 21, 2014 5:16 PM

Hi Phillip- this sounds very interesting to me. Although I'm not a ship modeler per se (my main interests are 1/72 aircraft and 1/35 armor), my general interests are all over the board. This captures my attention for four main reasons: it's from the Great War, it's a Great War submarine, it's vacuum-formed, and it's 1/72. I enjoy scratchbuilding and modifying kit parts from standard injection-molded kits, but I've yet to attempt anything this intensive and I'm very much looking forward to watching how you progress on this.

Dave

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Saturday, June 21, 2014 6:15 PM

Maybe - just maybe - the centennial observances will see a surge of new WWI kits. Airfix already has a series of older kits with new packages on its website, and Tamiya's 1/35 British tank, with a set of infantrymen to accompany it, is due next month.

It could easily be argued that the U-boats of WWI were, in the context of world affairs, among the most important naval vessels in history. I'm not inclined to tackle a 1/72 vacform, but I'd love to see a plastic kit in 1/144 - or, for that matter, 1/350.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    September, 2005
  • From: Illinois: Hive of Scum and Villany
Posted by Sprue-ce Goose on Sunday, June 22, 2014 7:48 PM

Phillip

Thank you for starting this thread.

I was doing a forum search to check on U Boat builds as I wondered what U Boat kits were available and am very surprised that a WWI kit is offered.

I'd love to have a kit of that sub, but don't have room for a 1/72 sub kit,

I see someone posted a suggestion for a 1/72 model  on the Revell "Share Your Dream" website

http://ideas.revell.de/ideas/item/957/

  • Member since
    February, 2011
  • From: St louis
Posted by Raualduke on Sunday, June 22, 2014 10:04 PM

Vacuum formed good luck pal

  • Member since
    February, 2011
Posted by Hokey on Monday, June 23, 2014 6:41 AM

Raualduke

Vacuum formed good luck pal

Does that mean vac form models are hard or?

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Mansfield, TX
Posted by EdGrune on Monday, June 23, 2014 9:17 AM

Vacu-formed models require a different mindset than many modelers who assemble mass-market kits have.    

You will need to come up with formers, strengtheners, and stiffeners to give the model some strength and stability.   Plenty of filling, sanding, scribing, prime and repeat.

Vacu-formed kits are more of an 'enhanced' scratchbuild.

  • Member since
    February, 2011
Posted by Hokey on Monday, June 23, 2014 9:20 AM

EdGrune

Vacu-formed models require a different mindset than many modelers who assemble mass-market kits have.    

You will need to come up with formers, strengtheners, and stiffeners to give the model some strength and stability.   Plenty of filling, sanding, scribing, prime and repeat.

Vacu-formed kits are more of an 'enhanced' scratchbuild.

Oh! LOL prolly way outta my league!

  • Member since
    March, 2005
Posted by philo426 on Monday, June 23, 2014 9:31 AM

Yes I know of combat models kits.I used the fuselage of their 1/48 He-177 for my JU 287 project and they do require a lot of work but can be made into nice models if you take your time.I will be watching this build log closely as I have a feeling it should be an interesting project!

  • Member since
    March, 2005
Posted by philo426 on Monday, June 23, 2014 9:50 AM

  • Member since
    December, 2010
Posted by Phillip1 on Monday, June 23, 2014 10:34 PM

Gentlemen-This is the kind of discussion I was hoping for.

philo426-Your plane looks nice.  I know that was a lot of work.

Spru-ce Goose-You are welcome. I went to RevellAG's website site and voted for the WW1 1/72 U-35, but it was VERY low in the vote count, confirming there is just not a lot of interest.  The overall length of the U-9 in 1/72 scale is about 31.375" (not too long).

jtilley-I agree with you on the WW1 subjects.  I believe the WW1 German U-boats came closer to beating Britain than they did in WWII, but there is just not that much information available on them.

Stage_Left-I am still trying to talk myself into making this my next project.  If I do (and I post a progress build) maybe that will be enough to get you to take the plunge.

EdGrune-Yeah, you have to really like the subject matter to build a vacuform.

Phillip1

  • Member since
    August, 2008
Posted by tankerbuilder on Monday, June 30, 2014 8:53 AM

Hey ;

 I do admire your spunk . My first Vac-u-form kit was a  british kit of a Beechcraft type airplane . this was many years ago . Now , when I do boats in 1/96 for client projects I prefer these type kits

.It offers a way to " get it right " instead of resin or injection models. which for the most part are incorrect to start with .

  • Member since
    September, 2005
  • From: Illinois: Hive of Scum and Villany
Posted by Sprue-ce Goose on Friday, July 04, 2014 10:12 PM

Phillip1

Gentlemen-This is the kind of discussion I was hoping for.

Spru-ce Goose-You are welcome. I went to RevellAG's website site and voted for the WW1 1/72 U-35, but it was VERY low in the vote count, confirming there is just not a lot of interest.  

Phillip1

Just checked again.........Someone wants a 1/72 U Boat................Hmm.
  • Member since
    July, 2012
  • From: Douglas AZ
Posted by littletimmy on Wednesday, July 09, 2014 9:55 PM

According to my sources U-9 had one machine gun. In 1915 all surviving boats in the class (exept U-21 and U-22 ) were fitted with one Tk 5cm/40 gun. U-9 gun was removed when she was converted to a minelaying boat (march to december 1916) She carried 12 P or Tk  mines in  two rails  with semi-circular cross-sections. These ran along both sides of the upper deck and met  at the stern about 4 m forward of the mine launching posistion aft.  As a minelayer she needed extra buoyancy in the  Baltic (weight unknown) and needed 1.5 tonnes reserve buoyancy in the north sea.  Trials with net-cutting equipment were also carried out on this boat in 1917.

She survived the war only to be broken up at Morecambe sometime after April 23 1919

I will follow this build with great interest !!!!      

 Dont worry about the thumbprint, paint it Rust , and call it "Battle Damage".

  

 

    

  • Member since
    November, 2014
Posted by OdysseySlipways on Sunday, November 02, 2014 12:33 AM

WOW! someone actually attempted to produce the U-9 with what little there is to find on it!

I have been searching (of and on) for information on this sub for the last few years seeing if maybe something new may pop-up but really haven't found anything.

i did find a book with a really decent (well, the best i have found out there so far) 2 page spread of the sub. i thought i had the book here next to me in my pile of books, but it looks like it may be downstairs and will try to look for it tomorrow. i don't recall the book itself, but it was one of about 8 books this company produced, one was on subs, another one was on old warships, another on planes and so on. the booklets were 8.5" x 11" and were about 50-75 pages. History at War? if i find it i'll post what book it is.

i think you'll also find the main deck is wrong also as it doesn't narrow as they have it being but it may just a little bit but it is hard to tell with the perspective of these photos

the drawings also show the water level wrong as it doesn't sit that far out of the water, the main hull just barely sits above the water as you can see from all of your photos.

you may wish to expand your search to include her sister ships. they might not be exactly like the U-9 in all aspects but they may shed some light in areas where they are.

i will say it looks like you have 3 pictures i don't, the first and the last 2, but the last 2 look familiar.

  • Member since
    March, 2016
Posted by ToddPZ on Sunday, March 27, 2016 10:03 PM
Hello my name is Todd Zirkle,I am new here and being the glutton of punishment that I am.I ordered one of these kits as they are the only game in town as far as WWI U-Boats go (I am very enamored with U-Boats of both World Wars). Would it be possible to see pictures of the combat models kit I ordered one and would like to see if I have all the parts?Thanks
  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Wednesday, April 06, 2016 8:33 AM

Phillip;

 On my computer I get all " Photo not Found " with a little kitty in the background .  T.B.

  • Member since
    December, 2010
Posted by Phillip1 on Wednesday, April 06, 2016 12:23 PM

ToddPZ/Tank Builder,

I removed photos of the Combat Models' U-9 submarine due to limited space on my Photobucket account.  I sold the model on Ebay and then deleted all photos I had from my computer.  The more I researched U-9, the more I realized what Combat Models provided was not only crude but incorrect.  My advice is run as fast as you can.  I think you will understand once you get the kit.  I do not mean to come across as a "Debbie Downer" because I consider my self a positive modeler, and try to cut some slack to every manufacturer. 

I will say I am a huge fan of early WW1 German U-boats, and if anyone ever releases an injection kit in a large scale (72 or larger) I will be the first to jump in the pool.  Sorry I could not provide any help (or inspiration) here. Good Luck!

Phillip1

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