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Biber "German Midget Submarine" 1:72 Special Hobby SN72006 The Biber (Beaver) was a German Naval midget submarine used in WWII. It was crewed by one man and carried to externally mounted 53cm (21") torpedoes, or could carry mines. Like many projects at the time the Sub was hastily developed to meet the threat of an Allied invasion of Europe. Construction of the prototype which began in Feb 1944 only took 6 weeks, design was said to be influenced by the British Welman Submarine one of which the Germans captured in Norway in 1943. As the submarine carried its weapons externally it made the width less and easy to transport by land (see later review for the trailer). The hull was made from 3 sections in steel with an aluminium conning tower on top which contained armoured glass view points. The submarine was difficult for the one man to operate as he had to control the hydroplanes, rudder and periscope at the same time, while trying to keep track of course, speed and depth; plus any target! In addition no trim system was fitted. All of this was not helped by long missions where they pilots used drug or caffeine laced drinks in order to stay awake. For propulsion the Germans used a 32hp petrol engine for surface running. Despite concerns over carbon monoxide issues the engine was used as it was cheap and plentiful. Underwater a 13hp electric motor was used. Underwater endurance was not great, and even more so when batteries were taken out to help obtain neutral buoyancy. Despite many attempts to launch the boats operationally they were only responsible for the sinking of one Allied vessel the Alan A Dale which was sunk off the Dutch port of Terneuzen. All 65 on board survived. Even though only one allied vessel was sunk, an inadvertent discharge in port buy one sub manged to sink another 11 (good going!). It would seem the Biber like the Welman were both ineffectual at best and you wonder if the resources would have been better placed elsewhere. The Kit Inside the box are five sprues of grey plastic, a small clear one and a small sheet of decals. The sub is on one sprue on its own, there are two sprues with the torpedoes on them, and two sprues for the stand. The quality of the parts is first class and you can clearly see where the different parts of the pressure hull bolted together. There is no real interior but then even with the main hatch open you will not see much inside. Construction starts with the crewman's seat being made and added to the helm console, This is then installed in the conning tower. The clear view ports are then added into the conning tower. The tow hull halves can then be joined. The rudder and stern planes are then added. The side racks to hold the weapons and their support structure is then added. The top of the conning tower is added along with the main hatch, and then the periscope and what looks like air intake for the surface running petrol engine. Two skids are added to the underside of the hull along with the propeller shaft and prop. The torpedoes are then made up. These are simple constructions of two halves with the side fins, rear propeller and front impeller being added. Lastly the stand is made up from four parts. Decals There is a small decal sheet in house from Special Hobby. They look to be in register and should pose no problems. There are schemes for 5 Subs. Unknown vessel, K Flotilla, late 1944. Four tone camo vessel, K Flotilla, 263(3 Biber Flotilla) Hollen Base Norway, Spring 1945. Unknown vessel with Sharks mouth, Early 1945 found washed up with pilot dead. Unknown vessel K Flotilla, captured by allied forces, likely France 1944. Biber 87, K Flotille 1945 Conclusion This is a well detailed if not a great number of parts kit which will build up into a great looking kit. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
Royal Class MiG-15 is finaly confirmed for this July https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1032856756729271.1073742155.116570475024575&type=1 It will include: big black R.C. box MiG-15 single seat (most probably both 15 and 15bis fighters) a new tool MiG-15 UTI Midget trainer (thread here: http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234953053-172-mig-15uti-midget-by-eduard-release-in-2015/ ) 3 or 4 kits PE, resin-brasin parts and masks superfabric seatbelts Royal Class bonus - still unknown