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X20 1/35 Merit X-Craft

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Hi all,


I received an 1/35 Merit X-craft for Xmas (well I bought it they wrapped it). It also came when the Eduard PE kit.

I have a healthy respect for what these sailors went through manning this craft.

After going over a lot on this site of the merit kit. I have got a bit of a plan and idea.


This is the first maritime vessel I have attempted. As I mainly do 1/35 and 1/32, this will fit well with my current collection.  


I think I will plan on doing X20 that was used for beach recon pre D-Day.


Couple questions, well three.


X20, is there any photos that are 100% of it on the web? Only asking as they all look the same.


The two saddle tanks (I believe to be explosives) My guess these were not on the X20 while conducting its recon mission?


The colour. I’m a bit confused on what colour or comb of colours. Also Black is not always black. Did the RN have a colour code or match.


I will keep all post on my progress.






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Brett, I have an old copy of 'Above us the waves'.  A real page turner to read, and, as you say, Much respect to the men who manned these machines.

X20 & X23 were stationed at Fort Blockhouse, Portsmouth, for the D day ops. X20 was commanded by Lt Ken Hudspeth for Operation Gambit.

They set off at 09:30 on Friday 2nd June, in the company of H.M.T. Sapper.

Along with a large amount of extra equipment carried inside, outboard were, it says here, 'Extra buoyancy chambers - a cross between a side cargo

and a large Dan buoy carried Port and Starboard. So no explosive 'saddle tanks'.

Two small CQR anchors were stowed in the casing for'ard. Bollards were incorporated fore and aft. And an eighteen feet long sounding pole had to be secured.

An echo sounder was fitted into the hull and an upper deck compass repeater was rigged'.

It says they felt like a floating General store that hadn't sold a thing for years!

I can't find a picture in the book of X20, but there may be an updated edition on sale, mine is from 1954. All the pictures in here are B & W anyway.

There are pictures of X 21 hatches and a waterline shot of X24, neither is much to go on though.

They were painted a dark colour. The shades seem to vary, so maybe dark or Admiralty grey? Who is going to say your choice is wrong?

It looks like you have a challenge on your hands here. I hope I've been of some help. Pete


(No, I have no idea what a Dan buoy or a CQR anchor looks like! I'm an Aeroplane bloke.)


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Dan buoy [IWM - RN minesweeper]



CQR anchors are still widespread: stick into a search engine.  They look like a plough

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Another useful reference book is Paul Kemps Underwater Warriors, with a detailed descriptions of the x-craft paint schemes and equipment.


All the best Chris

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Lads, excellent information. I will start looking for the Paul Kemps book. Not going to start this till I have all the available information. 

I think X20 is a long shot atm. Large amount of information and picture reference needed, that I believe may not be out there. So It looks like X24  that did Operation Guidance. OP Source I think has a far few X-Craft out there. But haven't seen any of X24. 

Once again thanks for the help.



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I think that you are on safer ground with X 24. At least she had a conventional rig of a two ton weapon each side.

For those that don't know, Guidance was for an attack on a large floating dock in Bergen Harbour which was being used by U boats.

The first attempt was on 9th April 1944 when she left on tow by Submarine H.M.S. Sceptre. 

The four man crew was commanded by Lieutenant Max Shean, R.A.N.V.R. Although the tow crew (usually three) were under Sub Lt John Britnell R.N.V.R

Sheans' crew took over in the Shetlands.  The tow took two and a half days until they were thirty five miles from the target.

The operation went well, except, due to having to work using the periscope underwater, the charges were laid under a 7500 ton Merchantman.

This ship, the Barenfels, was pretty much the same size and was almost next to the actual target. It was thought that the ship was carrying explosives,

As half the Bergen waterfront was destroyed. Sadly, 50 Norwegian hostages were taken and shot by the German occupiers.


In September they had another go, This time under the command of Lieutenant H.P. Westmacott, DSC, R.N.

This was Operation Heckle. Sceptre was again the tow Submarine and it took 72 hours just to get to the Shetlands due to severe weather.

The operational crew took over on the 7th. During the night of the 8th they surfaced and the induction trunking was seriously damaged.

Tragically, not long after this, the Diver, Sub Lt D.N. Purdy, R.N.Z.V.R. was washed overboard and lost.

Twenty four hours later they managed to transfer Sub Lt Robinson R.N.V.R. of the passage crew across to fill the vacancy.


On the night of September 10th they slipped the tow and the target was in sight early next morning. They'd spent 80 hours on tow!

Despite the periscope electrics misbehaving, they dropped the charges as planned under the dock and were away by 08:50.

They found Sceptre around 20:30 that night. They were back in the Shetlands by the morning of September 13th.

The book does not say if reprisals were again carried out.

These operations were the only offensive ones undertaken by a '20' class. After this, operations moved East.


I make no excuse for including this much detail. It may read like a 'Boys Own' tale but it tells of the incredible bravery of these men.

I have a picture in my book of X 24 flying a skull and crossbones flag from the periscope in Loch Cairnbawn.

The man next to the flag is Sub Lt John Britnell, who commanded the passage crew on Operation Guidance.

Bless them all :poppy:




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Thanks for the info Pete,

Totally agree, the dedication and bravery they demonstrated is unparalleled.  I love the history that comes with the kits I do. It's only in the last couple years that I have been operating in the maritime environment. I understand how dangerous it can be. Those lads, fought not just the enemy but the sea as well. 


I have locked in X24 also because the RAN and RN connection.

Will start the kit when I get the book, which I'm ordering tonight.







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