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Micro-Mir's 1/350 K class submarine (early), built as the unfortunate K4.

 

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The K class are often cited as technological horror stories, but the Royal Navy did eventually solve the many issues with this incredibly ambitious concept, if you count 'not suddenly sinking' as successful resolution. But it was a time when anything seemed possible and it was thought that a high speed "submarine cruiser" could make everything else obsolete. Turns out this theory was correct, but it required the power of the atom.
 

Doctrine was the real problem - the idea was the Ks would essentially be destroyers that could submerge to lie in ambush, but were expected to fight just as much on the surface, thus the guns and deck torpedo tubes. The result was a vessel that "had the speed of a destroyer, the turning circle of a battlecruiser and the bridge of a picket-boat", and led to several tragic collisions that cost many lives.
 

starboard side IMG_7446

 

Micro Mir's K Class kit is available for rebuilt 'swan bow' boats or this version, as built. Its a nice kit with good fit but suffers from a lack of sources. The Maritime Museum plans are available online, but they don't show good external side views and depict the K's as built - modifications immediately started!

 

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There are few good photos available, by far the best being the famous photo of K4 beached showing the starboard side:

 

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The kit has the port side exactly the same, which isn't possible as the hull beam torpedo tunes are staggered. I fixed the tubes and repositioned the ballast tank openings to match other photos.

 

portside IMG_7443

 

kaground.jpg 340px-K-Boat_Launch.JPG

 

 

 

The kit comes with photo-etch but its designed for a K after rebuilds that moved the 4" guns onto the superstructure deck. As built the Ks didn't have a hand rail or ladders, instead there were hand and foot holds which I drilled out. So all I ended up using was the propellers which look very nice. I also:

 

  • Added flood and drain holes as required
  • Added railings made from brass rod and EZ Line
  • Scribed various deck details
  • Filed out the funnels
  • Cut out and faced the funnel wells
  • Built the main deck hatch on the starboard side of the superstructure
  • Added life rings per photos from rolled up brass rod.

 

IMG_7489


The kit's main sprue comes with guns, propeller shafts and masts, and then there is an extra sprue with the guns, propeller shafts and masts again, but better cast. All the guns are identical, so I improved two of the 4" with some small details and rebuilt the other as the superstructure's 3". The masts and shafts are nicely done but I replaced them with brass rod, using Albion alloys 0.4/0.6/0.8/1mm tube for the masts. Until rigged and painted they worked, retracting into 1mm tubes set into the hull. I painted them duraluminum to look like greased metal, but they may have been simply grey. The spread aerial was worn by on fitting out trials, I can't tell from photos if it was used in service but I thought it would be good practice. The triangle is nickel silver wire and the aerial itself 0.08 fishing line.
 

IMG_7490

 

The kit provides the bridge windows as decals, but I drilled out the round ones and built the square ones out of photoetch ladder with Krystal Klear glazing. The bridge has an interior with pelorus and hatches, but its invisible. Oddly the decal sheet has nothing that fits the name plate on the kit stand, so I used 1/72 8" RAF letters which fit nicely.

 

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Paints are Humbrol satin 123, 164 and 165 with each used to weather the others. I ignored the kit paint scheme and followed photos - K's had black decks. Flory was used for washes on the details.

Note the kit depicts the submarine in an unlikely configuration - funnels up but the boiler air intake doors (between the funnels) closed. So she can't be under way.

 

IMG_7483

 

starboard side IMG_7458

 

I chose to build K4 not for the famous photo, but because she lies with K17 and her entire crew just over the horizon from my house. Brave men.

 

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Great build (I particularly like the weathering) and thoroughly researched. The background details and photos are fascinating - thank you for this.

I'm currently building my first sub (Revell's 1/350 scale Type VII U-boat) and your model has given me lots of inspiration.

Well done!

David

 

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Really great looking build, colours and weathering. I like the story too and will have a read up on that. U-33 similarly lies on the bottom near my home and generated my interest in u-boats. This definitely makes me want to look into WWI submarines now too.

Thanks for sharing.

Where do you get your base from?

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8 hours ago, Valkyrie said:

Really great looking build, colours and weathering. I like the story too and will have a read up on that. U-33 similarly lies on the bottom near my home and generated my interest in u-boats. This definitely makes me want to look into WWI submarines now too.

Thanks for sharing.

Where do you get your base from?

 

The base is the one in the kit - I painted it wood effect with brass bits by Humbrol, shading by Flory. The pintels were rather too long and spindly for my taste and made the model easy to knock over, so I cut them down by about 25%, drilled them out and fitted brass rods through them into the base and keel for strength. I also filled the base with Liquid Gravity for heft, and added a slab of plastic card to the bottom to keep it all in.

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Cracking job very well displayed and a very interesting history of the boat.

beefy 

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What an amazing subject and thank you for the historical overview which add value to the enjoyment of your model. Based on your overview, I am very glad I wasn't around in the Navy at the time and didn't get to serve on one of these....

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