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Bronco 1/35 scale German Type XXIII U-boat

Kit:CB-35104 // Scale:1/35 // Price:$109.99
Bronco Models, from Dragon Models USA, 626-968-0322
Detailed torpedoes; posable hatches; bonus life raft
Fragile handrails and stanchions; unclear instructions; gap in the bottom of the hull
Injection molded, 215 parts (2 cast metal, 12 photoetched metal), two magnets, string, decals

Although the Type XXIII U-boat was an advanced design, only 61 of them entered service — and just six ever went into combat. Considering its relative obscurity, a 1/35 scale model of the Type XXIII is a bold offering from Bronco.

The kit has two detailed torpedoes, posable hatches, crisp molding, a bonus life raft, and a display stand. Markings are provided for five boats.

I built the display stand first so I could use it as a construction jig to hold the hull while I installed other parts. The torpedoes are well detailed and go together with no  trouble. Installing the photoetched-metal triggers in the tiny slots was difficult; they are poor gluing surfaces. I painted the torpedoes with Testers Metalizer aluminum.

Building the torpedo tubes, I painted Part A1 Tamiya panzer gray (XF-63) before installing it in the hull.

On the aft section of the hull, I chose not to install the propeller until after the hull was painted. Then I painted it with Hawkeye’s Hobbies brass (now out of production) and set it aside. The purpose of parts C9 and C12 is not made clear.

I’m not sure how the magnets for the torpedo doors are supposed to work. The magnets are very strong, and I thought they would be impossible to separate in the limited space available with the fragile pins on each end. I decided to pose one door open and display a torpedo instead.

The fore mooring plate is offset .062" fore and aft. This left the holes for the two pins C17 offset as well. I filled and redrilled the holes for the pins. As with the aft section, I installed Part C9 without knowing its purpose.

Before joining the hull sections, dry-fitting revealed a gap on the bottom that needed to be filled; I wet-sanded the hull to clean up the seams. I left the diving planes off the hull until the other hull parts were installed — they would have been easily broken off.

The conning tower’s upper hatch can be posed open with a ladder, but there’s nothing else for the interior. The forward hatch has a small thimble-size tunnel if you choose to have the hatch open. Installing its hinges was a challenge; the illustrations are too small to see which way they go.

The handrails were fragile; two of them were broken even before I could get them off the tree. Threading string though the stanchions posed a problem; if pulled tight, the fore stanchion would bend. So I pulled it as tight as I could without bending the stanchion. Oh, well — these cables were never taut.

I painted the model with Tamiya panzer gray, medium gray (XF-20), and flat black (XF-1). I chose the markings for Option No. 1, U-2322, to see how they looked on the model. They were a little short and somewhat translucent. However, the decals went down without using decal solvent.

The first combat tour of a Type XXIII U-boat came in January 1945; U-2322 achieved the first victory of these boats when it sank the coaster Egholm in the North Sea on February 25. Germany surrendered less than three months later, so I didn’t weather the model at all. I painted the stand with Krylon Make It Stone! textured paint. 

Outside of the tiny, fragile parts, and the gap in the hull bottom, Bronco’s Type XXIII goes together smoothly. I spent 25 hours finishing mine, and I am happy with the results.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the December 2013 FineScale Modeler.

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