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Das Werk 1/72 S.M Unterseeboot U9


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1:72 S.M Unterseeboot U9

U9 Class: U9/U10/U11/U12

 Das Werk

Catalogue # DW72001

Available from Modellbau Koenig for € 99,-

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Introduction
Otto Weddigen. Does that name ring any bells? I’ll bet I doesn’t. Which is strange. Since during the first world war, his name was about as ‘famous’ in Germany as for instance Von Richthofen. The U9 of the U9 class U-boat was his mount in which he sank three British armoured cruisers (The HMS Hogue, Aboukir and Cressy) in less than one hour. This happened on September the 22nd 1914. Even though these three ships were deamed ‘obsolete’ and were manned by reservists, the sinking made Weddigen a hero of the nation overnight. In this event 1.450 british reservists with families died, resulting in fury and outcry in Britain and a big dent in the British military morale. There is one amazing story about a british sailor called Wenman "Kit" Wykeham-Musgrave. He was on board the HMS Aboukir when it was struck and sank. He jumped and swam like mad to escape the suction caused by the sinking. He then was picked up by HMS Hogue which was in turn torpedoed! He then swam to HMS Cressy which then was torpedoed as well! You just don’t make this stuff up right? Perhaps he was smart to cling on to a piece of driftwood (which was not torpedoed) and finally picked up by a Dutch trawler. He survived the was and died of old age in 1989. Weddigen was awarded the Iron Cross, 1st Class and his crew each received the Iron Cross, 2nd Class. Weddigen however did not survive the war and died in his second U-boat: the U-29 which was rammed on march 18 1915 by the HMS Dreadnought, cutting the U-boat in half. No crewmember survived. 

Sinking of the Aboukir:

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When I started digging into the history of Otto Weddigen and his U-9 I found that there is an amazing amount of memorabilia remembering his heroics. Postal cards, coins, medals, porcelain plates, etc… Here’s one original postal card I bought to display with the (eventually) finished model. 

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The WW2 U-boats are very popular in terms of modelling subjects. Their sleek shape, wolfpack strategy and the Das Boat movie have all helped I’m sure to boost their popularity. But it all started in WW1. Included with the model in a book covering the whole design history, technical data, crew, service history, weaponry, etc.. of the U-9 class. The text is side by side in German and English. Yes there is a lot written on the U-9 class in terms of their service record, but I could not find a whole lot of books or drawings. I’m sure Pete Hamann (the designer of this kit) had to struggle with the lack of information as well. In the included book there is a chapter that deals with the design process of the kit. In 2008 two Scottish divers discovered the sunken wreck of the U-12 (of the U-9 class) near Eyemouth. In 2019 Pete Hamann asked two divers to dive on this wreck and take measurements. How cool is that? This way Pete was able to fill in the blanks where information was scarce or even completely missing. 

 Divers exploring the U-12 wreck:

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The U-12 is interesting in the fact that I was the first submarine to carry and launch a plane at sea. This being a Friedrichshafen FF.29. I searched for a 1/72 model, in order to model it on the U-12, but was not able to find one.

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The team involved in the production of this kit was assembled by Harald Bauske. CEO of Modellbau König in Germany. I see some similarity to Peter Jackson from former Wingnut Wings and Harald Bauske. Both release(d) subjects that appeal to themselves and are not only guided by what will sell well. Pete Hamann is the steady 3D designer, researcher and engineer in the outfit. Also involved in this kit are of course the two divers that went down to dive on the wreck of the U-12 to take measurements and Felipe Rodna who is responsible for the boxart. You may have heard from him, since he also delivers work for a range of books, like Osprey, Panzerwrecks, Canfora and others. 

 

The kit
A big box and a limited amount of sprues. Four in total. That was my first impression. The size of the hull is large. The real U-9 measured 57,4 meters in length. Not much smaller than it’s WW2 offspring the U-VII, which measured 67,1 meters. The engineering of the hull is pretty clever. The first building stage let’s you glue a series of spars on one side of the hull. This ensures rigidness along the entire hull. You get the option to pose the torpedo doors open, but I would advise to scratch your own torpedo tubes behind them to prevent showing a black void. The surface detail on the hull is nice and sharp. Rivets and overlapping plating will make the finished model interesting to look at. 

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Hull detail:

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The inside of the hull is re-enforced by rods and a cross section. Another nice detail are the thinned edges of the holes along the hull:

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Once the rods are installed, you'll get something like this. Very strong and rigid:

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The front bulkhead has the two forward torpedo hatches. The are ejection marks on this part, but like with all the other parts in this kit, they won't be visible once assembled:

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The instructions are designed and drawn up with taste for design and are very clear, leaving you not guessing anywhere. I think every self respecting model maker should provide instructions that show their love for the model and subject, but maybe that’s just my advertising and design background speaking. 

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There's also a sting in the tail. The U9 was capable of firing two torpedo's from the rear. I would advise to go ahead and install the screw rods and braces, but not all the other parts (like rudders and planes) until after painting. This model is quite large and not easy to wield around the workbench. This will save you some cursing after breaking stuff off:

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These are the parts I'm talking about:

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The rigging you see here keep the beams in place that protect the planes and screws. I would advise on using Easyline or even Uschi's elastic rigging line, which is really thin and doesn't put too much strain on the delicate parts:

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You can choose open commanders' railings or closed with tarp. I'd suggest using the tarps, since that is the way the U9 moved on the surface and is therefor portrayed almost always with tarps up:

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The back of the booklet shows the team involved in the development of this kit. The divers that took measurements, the boxart artist, (3D) designer and initiator:

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Sprue B, with the upper deck, display cradle, bulkheads, torpedo doors, props, smoke stacks, planes, rudder...

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Crisp detail on the rearward torpedo chutes:

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The wooden commanders' deck:

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The upper deck with some nice detail. These decks were made of linoleum. There is some speculation to the real colour and I wonder what wear would show up like on these decks:

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The mid cross section of the hull for extra strength:

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Instructed in the first step of the building process is the construction of the display cradle. Very nice, but I won’t be using it. 

This is how I will build and pose my model. The two brass pillars are bought on AliExpress for about 7 euro's. The wooden base is from my stash. The postcard was bought on Ebay. Take a look. They are affordable and easy to find. The badge is a replica from a ww1 Kriegsmarine cap, as worn by this crew. Also bought on Ebay: 

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Now... If this isn't your cup of tea, you can also go for the entire dry dock! Uschi has jus finished a wood/paper, lasercut model of a ww1 dock, designed especially for this kit. It includes ladders, scaffolding, the whole dock and the wooden rests it sits on:

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The second step let’s you build the upper deck with the two smoke stacks (exhausts) for the two petrol engines. These were retractable for underwater operation, and so, on the model they are retractable as well. 

 

The construction of the conning tower is pretty straightforward. Beware that the exact colour of the wooden decking in the conning tower is not known. If you look at all the photographs that mostly survive on postcards, you’ll see that you get to opt between open conning tower railings and closed (with canvas tarp). Surface operation would have the tarp up to protect the crew from water and wind. Underwater operation would have the tarp removed to prevent drag in the water. 

Sprue D with hull re-enforcement rods and the main conning tower parts:

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Check out the lovely draping of the tarps here:

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In the next couple of steps you will add the details, like the 8mm machineguns. On on the aft deck and one at the bow. This part can be upgraded a little by adding and scratching a bag for the empty shells. After you’ve installed the rudder and sail planes, you’ll be rigging! Rigging? Well, this being a WW1 subject you didn’t think you’d escape rigging, didn’t you? The sail planes are protected by a structure that involves rigging. You’ll need to drill holes in tiny turnbuckles and use something like EZ-line to add the supporting, strengthening rigging. In the final stage of construction you are to place the radio masts. If you look at the front of the construction manual, you’ll see that these need a lot of rigging too. Strangely this rigging is not explained inside the construction manual. I might even replace the plastic masts for copper tubing to make sure the tension of the wires don’t bend them over time. 

 Sprue C with most of the detail parts:

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The two tiny machine gun. One for the forward deck and one aft:

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The little turnbuckles. You will need a small drill o open up the holes:

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This is one of the masts. I hope they will be strong enough to withstand the tension and force of the rigging. How little it may be.. :

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As I’m writing this, I’ve set aside all my ongoing other projects and couldn’t resist building this kit and I have to say it practically builds itself. The fit of the upper deck on the hull. The hatches and retractable chimney. All fits like a glove. No flash and sharp detail. At the rate I’m going I can have all components built in one week, which is lightspeed for me. 

 

 

Schemes

In terms of schemes life is simple. Only four U-boats of the U-9 class were made: The U-9, U-10, U-11 and U-12. All had the same scheme with a light gray upper hull and dark grey lower hull. I am by no means an expert, but make sure to consult as many photographs you can find when it comes to painting. For instance: I found the smaller smoke stack of the two, to be light grey (white almost). The U-9 class was powered by two petrol engines. One with 8 cilinders, and one with 6 cilinders. The latter used the smaller smoke stack.

Here is an image showing the two tone stacks. It may be a coloured image, but if you look on the internet, you'll find the majority of photo's showing the stacks in two different colours:

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The instructions show a clear profile of the U-9 class. Please consult your own research and reference for the U-9 you're building. For instance: some photo's show dark tarp on the conning tower, whereas some show a light grey as instructed in the kit: 

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The decals are printed on a small sheet. Simply because you won't have to apply a whole lot of them. They contain numbers for all four U-9 boats. Take note: there are two U9 decals to choose from. So again: check your references and decide for yourself which decal to use. The German Kaiserliche flag is also included on the decal sheet. Curious to see how that will turn out.

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What I really love about this kit, is that it comes with a book covering the  history, development, technology, crew and design proces of the kit. I was not able o find any books specifically on the U-9 class, so this really saved me time. The text is presented in both German and English, side by side. Rather like the Kagero books in both Czech and English. I is filled with photographs and drawings, not only making life easier as you build and explore this subject, but it also makes you fall in love with it's whole history. And le's face it: we all need to fall in love with the models we build, otherwise they end up on the shelf of doom! This is a really nice touch that adds value to lesser known subjects...

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Verdict

This kit might just open a whole new era and range of WW1 submarine subjects to the modelling world. At the same time this model will look great to a 1/72 GATO or U-VII. Pete Hamann again did a stellar job and went through great lengths to ensure the dimensions of the model are correct or at least as good as they can be. The fit is as good as it can be on a model. I was afraid the hull halves and upper deck would need clamps and force, but they really didn’t. Most positive marks are awarded to the fit, research, surface detail, cleverness of engineering and the additional book hat is included. If I had to nitt-pick I would have loved to see a proper rigging diagram for the wiring to the masts. 

This being kit DW72001, I can't wait to see what DW72002 will bring!

 

Kind regards,

Jeroen Peters

 

A Special thank you to Modellbau-König for the review sample. 

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Very nice review, Jeroen! I wasn't that moved by the subject in first instance but I have to confess that I'm now looking where I can squeeze this kit into my "hobby spending budget".... One of the perks of being married! :lol:

Is this a limited edition or did they do a large production run?

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13 hours ago, One-Oh-Four said:

Very nice review, Jeroen! I wasn't that moved by the subject in first instance but I have to confess that I'm now looking where I can squeeze this kit into my "hobby spending budget".... One of the perks of being married! :lol:

Is this a limited edition or did they do a large production run?

Thnx! Not a limited run and widely available. 

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Looks like a nice, well though-out kit.

It’s nice to see these works of passion being released. And the price, whilst not cheap, is not out-of-reality either.

I really hope they sell enough to keep the passion flame burning :thumbsup2: !

H7bert

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I would like to do a sub, myself.   But I'd want to make certain I had a good weathering plan.  Otherwise, they can be a bit plain, or you can go to the far end and highlight every weld line and end up with the dreaded checkerboard look.

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  • 4 months later...

Hello,

I have been looking at this thread for a little while now. The U9 kit is really impressive. I am however interested in getting hold of the information booklet that comes with the kit. Das werke say that It is no longer sold separately. Does anyone know where I may be able to get a copy.

I am interested in the information as I am currently developing a Kit for RC of the SM U-23 class. This boat is similar, and getting any extra information would be great.

 

https://forum.rc-sub.com/forum/builder-threads/146223-scratch-build-project-sm-u-23-class-world-war-one-u-boote-zero-bubble-model-design/page5#post150549

 

Regards

David Hughes

Zero Bubble model design.

David Hughes

Zero Bubble Model design.

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