German Type VIID Minelayer U-Boat, AFV Club, 1/350 Scale

Review by Martin J Quinn

Description: High quality injected model
Scale: 1/350
Price:   MSRP $27.00
Contents & Media: Injection Molded Plastic with small photo-etch set
Advantages: Crisply molded with fine detail. Common scale (1/350)
Disadvantages: Delicate photo-etch not for the faint of heart or ham handed
Recommendation: Highly recommended

The I-19 comes in a sturdy box with an attractive painting of the sub on the surface at speed, with an aircraft perched on her bow, ready to launch. I am always a fan of good box art, and this one is really nice.

Once you open the box, you’ll find 5 sprues, containing the hull halves, decks, sail and other assorted parts. There is also a small photo-etch set included in the kit. The hull is approximate 12 1/4 inched long and just over 1 inch wide, both of which scale out pretty much perfectly to the real thing, which was 365.5 feet long and 30.5 feet in beam. These were BIG boats – the B-1 submarines were only 20 feet shorter than a Fletcher-class destroyer and actually 17 feet longer than a Sims-class destroyer.

Back when I got into building ships, there was a pecking order to the major Japanese manufacturers, especially the “Big 4” that were part of the 1/700 waterline consortium. Tamiya was king of the hill, in terms of detail and quality, followed – in order – by Hasegawa and Fujimi. Aoshima’s offerings came in a distant fourth. They usually had the softest detail and lowest quality. Since then, Aoshima has come a long way. The I-19 is an excellent kit, at least in the box, with very nice detail. Some of the areas that I thought were particularly well done:

  • The hull plating
  • The scribed decks
  • The aircraft include with the kit

There is a small stainless steel photo-etch set included in the kit. A fairly large instruction booklet is included with the model as well. The biggest drawback is that the English text if very limited. Study the direction closely, there are options to build the kit, and you have to follow the correct set of instructions all the way through.

I purchased my kit directly from Japan from Cyber-Hobby, so it came package with two aftermarket frets of photo-etch made for the B-1 Class submarines Aoshima is releasing (they’ve also released an I-27 and I-37, with another boat to follow). This set is much more extensive than the set included in the kit, but is very delicate and requires you to follow both the kit instructions and the PE instructions to properly place everything. Additionally, the price of the photo-etch set, if purchased separately, is almost as much as the model itself. Since no one is likely to come out with a supplemental fret for these boats, it may be your only option.

After building a 1/350 Type XXI and a 1/144 Type XXIII U-Boat this past year, I’ve become more interested in submarines – partially because of the new releases in 1/350 scale and partially because they can be a nice break from complex surface ships. The B-1 Class Cruiser subs are particular interesting because of their large size and interesting history. While I haven’t started building this kit yet, it looks very good in the box.

Highly Recommended!

~November 2010