Home  |  What's New  |  Features  |  Gallery  |  Reviews  |  Reference  |  Forum  |

Andrea Miniatures’ 1/32 scale
Type VIIC U-Boat

by Suresh Nathan

Type VIIC U-Boat Conning Tower


Andrea's 1/32 scale Type VIIC U-Boat Conning Tower is available online from



Andrea Miniatures of Spain has a series of 54 mm submarine-themed products ranging from a full 32nd scale 6 foot monster to sections of the UVII-C reproduced. They are all multimedia resin, white metal, photo-etched brass and dry transfer affairs. I picked up this kit about a decade ago and never dared to attempt it for fear that my modeling abilities were not up to scratch. I finally picked up the courage to attempt it and here is how it went.

The Kit

The first thing that confronts you when you get the kit is the box art which is a build of the kit by Baldomero Sáiz (the model designer) and Raúl Latorre (the figure designer). That just about demoralizes you into putting the kit back on the shelf. About five years later, I decided to do a trial fit. The upper section of the conning tower did not fit the lower section. This was upsetting considering the cost involved. I wrote to Andrea in Spain and they gave me a full replacement – no questions asked (Bravo Andrea!). You can see in the illustrations that this part is bright yellow as opposed to the beige resin of the rest of the kit. That’s as far as I got.

Recently I decided to get to it.




The kit is made of three main resin sections. The hull is a framework of resin atop which sits a photo-etched brass deck in two pieces (that don’t line up-more on this later). In the original design you could see the framework of the hull through the deck which I felt looked unrealistic. I therefore cut out and repositioned the framework so they could not be seen through the grills. The rest of the kit went together with a lot of superglue, accelerator and filler (see below). Many of the parts don’t fit well (no this isn’t a snap-tite kit) and will require cutting and re-shaping to get it to fit right. In particular, the coning tower (as opposed to the hull) deck plates have to be reshaped so that the seams line up nicely. The long railing at the bottom was a challenge to do and required some fancy solder work to get it to look right. I was successful with the first attempt but botched up the second. So I re-did the whole thing in superglue again. This proved to be a bad idea because it must have come apart at least 10 times in construction!


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


If there is a focal point in this piece, it’s the main AA gun. While acceptable, I felt the gun barrel and muzzle had a squashed oval cross section and so replaced it with brass rod and a muzzle turned in a lathe. Also, the tripod was missing (decided to let Andrea off the hook this time) and so I soldered a new tripod in brass.



Construction took a lot out of me so I set it aside and did a few other lighter projects…….



Painting and Markings

I returned about 6 months later with primer. I had read and experienced that these kits are best primed with a lacquer-based paint and so used Tamiya grey lacquer as a primer. Other primers tend not to stick too well to resin. This showed up a number of flaws and lost rivets which required re-filling, sanding and replacement of rivets. In addition, I had discovered that the kit instructions had omitted to include the little detail about hollowing out the circular antenna housing. The kit was primed again and pre-shaded with black paint.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


I chose the indistinct banded camouflage scheme as per the box art (not very original but I figured with all the markings provided, this combination referred to a very specific ship). Nevertheless, there are 6 camouflage patterns and 4 marking options – ample except that there isn’t enough documentation to decide which to use. If you’re not particular about the historical implications then just go for whatever combination you like (but then these things tend to haunt you later).

Next came a layer of Future floor wax and the sawfish decals. These are dry transfers and go on like skin.



I used a turpentine wash of burnt umber Humbrol paints and minimal dry-brushing in a combination of browns. Also I used a filter of red brown oils along panel lines. Finally the kit was complete with all riggings, pennants, flags, wiring, lights, etc. Of interest, the kit instructions call for 2 mm rods drilled into the main hull to support the rigging. I just did not like that solution and experimented until I came up with the idea of using stiff rods to simulate the rigging.



These seemed to do the trick and now the rigging seems to float in space.





This is a very special kit and I wanted a special base. I had toyed with the idea of a wolf’s den but realized the geometry of the coning tower did not allow for a convincing portrayal. Hence I decided to show the sub passing by a wharf. This gave an interesting backdrop to the piece.

I created a wharf after consulting my references using scraps of would glued together with white glue. After filler I sanded the whole thing down.

I used spray lacquer for the base and marked out the outline of the sub on the base. The idea was to paint the base with a representation of the hull so that the viewer would just see this through the water.

The wharf was pre-shaded and painted essentially the same as the hull. The hull was painted on the base and dark green used to simulate deep water.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


The kit was glued in place with epoxy resin. You can see how the camouflage carries onto the base.

Acrylic paste was tinted with Tamiya clear blue and used to model the water – ripples, waves and all. I used to use polyester resin for this but acrylic paste is a lot more user-friendly, cleans up with water and smells great (as opposed to resin)! Once secured, I completed the rigging and painting of the kit and wharf and detailed the wharf with scratch-built bits.



When dry, the water was highlighted and another layer of clear acrylic paste applied.





The figures were all works of art.



I decide to reposition the heads differently from what was recommended by the manufacturers to show the senior officers talking and the junior officers looking out to sea. I felt this was more congruent. The figures were painted with Vallejo for the uniforms and oils for the faces. Keep in mind that these are 54 mm and when magnified can show up surface imperfections that can’t actually be seen in the real thing!



Although heavier than normal, the figures secured sufficiently well with white glue.




All told this was a challenging build especially considering it was essentially out of the box. Would I do it again? Heck yes.



Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2007 by Suresh Nathan
Page Created 23 October, 2007
Last Updated 24 December, 2007

Back to HyperScale Main Page

Back to HyperScale Main Page