Das Boot

Steve Ski

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Oct 9, 2012
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WWII German U-boat Crew on the Bridge
120mm Resin Scale Kit, Sculpted and Designed by Jeff Shiu

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From the movie, Das Boot, Jeff Shiu has sculpted this set of figures which also includes the gun deck. After finishing my own Sub Gun Deck, I saw this as a natural progression into the submariner arena. I'm really just beginning to get my feet wet, pun intended, lol. Though this kit is older and is a limited production run, it may still be available, I'm not sure. As per Jeff's notorious ability to sculpt figures with action and very usable poses, this set is no exception, and this is my first go at his work.

These figures have great action poses and several of the face's bare close resemblance to the actors themselves. I like the chosen dynamic poses, all showing action and suspense, making for a great vignette. So, off we go, taking a "deep dive" into the submariner arena once again.

This set comes with instructions for constructing the deck railing along with a properly angled guide piece to obtain the correct support angle before attaching the top rail. Also included are photo cards with color references for uniforms and gear as well as a general guide for placement of the figures.

Working the Deck and Railing

When opening this kit, you'll find everything bagged separately including all the deck parts ready for clean-up. The amount of slag within the resin grid platform was minor and clean-up went rather quickly as with all the deck parts. Before I started working the railing, I drilled several holes on the underside of the deck now to avoid damaging the railing later. I chose to go with a chunk of scrap wood from the shop as my base which will be painted flat black and I used large pins made from rebar tie wire to secure this deck temporarily. Keep in mind, there is a set angle that needs to be accounted for, so it may need to be adjusted as the figures are cleaned up and test fitted. The scene needs to show rocking and rolling at sea, so I did not secure the deck completely.

The railing may require a third hand, but you'll manage if you take your time. I checked and verified all the uprights and the mid sections before I drilled each part for pinning. This rail system is just like my Sub Gun Deck, it won't survive unless you pin every joint, IMHO. But my deck was soldered, not super glued. I left off the middle floater piece until final assembly. I did, however, use a round file for the tops of each vertical support to accept the top rail more easily.

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Once you have the base assembled and the rail system installed a good coat of primer makes this portion done for now.

Prepping the Figures for Paint

Time to make some resin dust and get this set going. Each figure has its own bag of pieces ready for clean-up and assembly. The first one out of the shoot is the reporter character, I'm assuming that's who this is because he bares such close resemblance to the actor. Kudos to Jeff on this one! Clean-up went smoothly for the most part and by using a little bit of Tamiya putty I was able to align the arms and boots. The coat flaps are depicted as flopping in the wind, so if you attempt to secure them now you will have a difficult time painting the face later. I set the coat flaps aside for now and will do the same for the other figures as required.

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Mike-the-Kiwi said, "Give em names." Well, I haven't come up with names for these characters just yet, but I'm working on it. I think once clean-up is completed and the painting starts to run smoothly these characters will begin to come alive, then they will have names.

A word of caution, and this is not a gripe session, just factual issues I found when I examined the entire set and an honest assessment of the quality of this kit; this set I received had several issues with heavy seam areas (more than I would have expected), arm assemblies were not accurate for a smooth fit, and two of the figures had serious fascial discrepancies, and a third face was only minor. Now, I know we've all seen this before, but the depth of some of the eye sockets and a partial nose missing leads me to believe quality control was overlooked. This is not a cheap kit, it's expensive, so I would have expected a more careful examination of the items included before shipping. My set may have been an anomaly, and I will leave it at that.

Ok, let's get these issues fixed and back on track. Using tiny dabs of Tamiya Putty, I was able to reshape the eyes and reconstruct the nose and fill in the deep caverns alongside that nose. One eye was just a small BB like globe in the middle of the socket which I will fill in and reshaped. After working these discrepancies everything should begin to fall in to place leaving only a primer coat to reveal anything I may have missed.

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An assembly issue to be aware of is having to do with how the coats and flaps that are to be attached to the figures. I'm not a sculptor, nor do I work with resin casting, but I can understand after close examination that this was the only way to cast and produce these intricate designs. This process will take some patience and persistence, but after clean-up it should be fine. Just keep going, cause it ain't gonna get done looking at it.

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Something I found a bit odd was some of the boot tips were molded separately and one leg portion was also molded separately. That seemed to me to be an unnecessary step adding more time and work to get this set cleaned, primed, and ready for paint. So, having never run into these types of mold issues before, duly noted, move on.

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There is still a bit more clean-up work for each of the figures shown and one more figure to work over before I prime them all and examine for any issues I might have missed. Regardless of the mold issues, this is an awesome action filled set and all credit to Jeff for his imagination, sculpting skills, and willingness to keep producing. Ruck On!

Thanks for watching and more to follow soon. Cheers, Ski.
 
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Well, as far as names go, the Captain would just be, "the Old Man," "der Alte", in German. That's probably most fitting.
 
Prepping the Deck

With the figures cleaned up and primed it's time do more work on the deck section. I made alterations to the flag pole and added two more wood seats to finish the deck. I put aside the flag included with the kit and printed a smaller one due to the original being way out of proportion. I was just too big. I had intended to use some hemp string for the flag rope, but used strands of copper wire twisted tightly to resemble rope instead. It was much easier to keep the flag in a "windy" configuration and also have the tail end of that rope appear "flapping" in the wind.

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Now that I had the main body set up, I pre-drilled all the mounting locations for each figure. This took some time to get the positions correct without looking awkward or unrealistic. Keeping the spacing between each figure without their coats interfering with each other was the issue. So far, they look good and the positions look natural. As you can see, these figures have great poses and the faces have a lot of character, that cannot be denied. The scene definitely portrays intense action on the part of the crew.

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Being satisfied with the crew placement, it's time to chip and weather the deck before painting the figures. We are now picking up steam and forging onward. More to follow soon.


Thanks for watching. Cheers, Ski.
 
Facial Work, Lt. Werner

Now that the gun deck has been worked to a semi-final stage it's time to start oiling some faces and get this set going. Lt. Werner, the war correspondent, is first on the bench. I think Jeff got really close to the facial expression and features of this actor. The scene depicts a wind-swept and water-soaked deck which comes across nicely with this face in particular.

Using my standard mix of Winsor & Newton oils of Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, and Burnt Umber, for the basic flesh tones, I started with the area around the eyes and worked my way around the face. I always use acrylics for the eye work themselves because of the drying time. If corrections are needed the process goes much smoother using acrylics; oils would get messy in such a tight space.

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I kept the flesh oil application very light initially and will add the red cheeks and rosy tones in a few days. The beard still has a lot of work needed as does the eyes and the area around the mouth. Most of the final touches will be feathered in when the sheen has faded making it much easier to see the areas needing direct attention. It is important to remember that sub crews did not see daylight for extended periods of time so the flesh tones should reflect that fact. I don't want them looking ghostly white, but I can't justify a tan appearance either, lol.

It should also be noted here that this figure is squinting, so the eyes will not be so clearly visible. Yes, they are painted as per usual, but the working areas is very small on this particular face. Lt. Werner will be set aside for now as I get started on the next figure in the line-up.


More to follow soon and thanks for watchin. Cheers, Ski.
 
Very nice work in deed Steve. Out of the run of the mill project & nice to see.

Good "short" read as well only just over 600 pages. Great story.

Laurie

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Contrast and Depth

Well, I was going to start Number One's face, but had an itch to continue to adjust Lt. Werner's details for depth and contrast. The beard looks a bit on the light side, but that will be toned down. I know the character Lt. Werner actually has more of a red tone to his hair, but I like the blonde tone much better on this figure. Who knows, this may change yet again. Also, the eyes are bit off, but that will be adjusted later.

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To get an idea of how Lt. Werner will look in his dark rain coat I went ahead and added a base tone to the rest of the figure. For the rain coat I Used Tamiya's XF-63 German Grey and a mix of XF-8 Flat Blue and XF-2 Flat White for the jacket and trousers. This particular mix was left over from my initial Sub Gun Deck crew paint session and I prefer the slight bluish tone rather than the light grey. The scarf was given a coat of Red Brown XF-64.

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I will make small adjustments to the face as time goes along, but for now, Lt. Werner will stand aside until all the rest of the figures have reached this stage. I prefer to keep the momentum going when painting faces and not get sidetracked if at all possible.

More to follow soon. Cheers, Ski.
 
Very nice work on the figures Steve. Undergoing the same with 6 British soldiers.

With your next photos could you place a coin next to the figure.

Difficult to visualize the scale.

Laurie
 
Thank you, Laurie. I hope I can remember to add a coin, lol. For quick reference this figure is roughly 4.75 inches tall. I personally prefer the larger scale figures, but I have been known to return to the midget world of 1/35th, from time to time.
 
Thank you, Laurie. I hope I can remember to add a coin, lol. For quick reference this figure is roughly 4.75 inches tall. I personally prefer the larger scale figures, but I have been known to return to the midget world of 1/35th, from time to time.
Thanks Steve.

Have 6 soldiers for the Falklands, 1/48, to paint. Any offers ?

Laurie
 
Number One

Well, this may not actually be Number One, second in command, because that poor kid couldn't grow facial hair to save his life, so it was more than likely an NCO or another Second Lieutenant. At any rate, he's Number One for now.

Now that most of the rough-in facial work has been done there's quite a bit more touch up needed, but that will be done later. The hands are still very rough in appearance, much has to do with the casting. It's a very delicate area to try to clean up without breaking nearly every finger, so I will be doing my best to hide the deficiencies. Seam lines on the fingers is not what you would expect from a top line producer, but here they are. If it's not seam lines, its serious slag, and it was not a fun process to get it even this far along. Onward and forward, right?

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Just as I did with the first figure, I painted the trousers and coat a bluish grey base tone for perspective and dark tan on the boots. I still need to add red tones to the face, but for now I'm moving on to the Second Lieutenant figure.

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It's a shame this face is partially covered by the left hand, because this face has great features that could be better exposed. The next figure has a pair binos in his face, so his details will be obstructed as well. Heavy wind and water splash would make me cover my ugly mug too, I recon, HA!

More to follow and thanks for watching. Cheers, Ski.
 
2nd Lieutenant

I enjoyed my break from the bunker, but now it's time to get moving on these last three figures. Back at the bench I was able to start work on the 2nd Lieutenant and get the face in order, but not completed. The first photo is a light shadow setting to start the process. After working the flesh tones in the same manner as the prior faces I applied the base tones for the uniform. Things are starting to move along much faster now.

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Deck photos will be posted soon. I have pretty much completed everything that needs to be done on it, so I am happy with that. Feel free to comment, more to follow soon.


Cheers, Ski.
 
Chief Engineer Fritz

Moving right along to the next figure, Chief engineer Fritz has received his initial facial work using the same process as before. It can be challenging to get a decent paint job done on a face with such exaggerated features, but I think he's close. There are still quite a few details to feather in as well as glint in the eyes and a few minor adjustments. I've set him aside now to dry while I start on the Captain figure.

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Not shown here I've also placed a base coat on his rain jacket and trousers, etc., just to get the ball rolling for later. More to follow real soon.

Thanks for watchin. Cheers, Ski.
 
Captain Willen Brock has the Con!

The last figure to work is Captain Brock. He's still looking rather rough, needing cheek work and more attention to the beard and eye areas, but the base work is set. He does have a slight pale look to him right now, but I will fix that as well.

I went ahead of myself and started working the rain coat just for fun to see how the color tones would work. There's a lot of surface area to cover, but I like the initial tones. I've also worked the cap a little. I always work from top to bottom, so I'll hold off on the coat for now and get this head completed before moving any further on the rest of the figure.

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I had pretty much finished the deck a few weeks back, for the most part, but still needed to close out the sliced portion and also take care of some minor clean-ups here and there. Photos will be much better when this is all completed, but here's just a rough idea of how the deck looks right now. I added a seat that was missing from the scene and corrected some of the flag issues, mainly the provided flag was way too big and the rigging points were not represented.

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I used copper wire for the heavy cable rigging and flag rope which made it much easier to resemble a flag blowing in the wind. I didn't go overboard, lol, on the upgrades of this deck, but I did want to spruce it up just enough to present a better picture of the scene.

Once I go back and finish off all the faces and cap I will work my way down each figure in sequence. It's much easier to run a production line when most of the figures have the same uniforms, etc. More to follow soon.

Cheers, Ski.
 
Capt. Brock Is Ready for Duty

Well, after the long "Battle of the Resins," I can now say I am happy this figure is finished, for the most part. Looking closer at these pics I can see shadows that need definition and a few lines needing more amplification. The punch list is growing, yikes!

When painting this dark color tone with oils it's sometimes difficult to see the flaws that may have been missed during the primer coat portion. This color tone and the high gloss when painting with oils can really mess with your perception and must be constantly observed from multiple angles to make sure areas are treated as they should be, natural shadow fall, highlights, etc. My personal experience has shown that it can be a bit taxing at times to catch all of it correctly, specifically with these dark tones. However, I do like how these coats and trousers are folded and formed, making them a great canvas for blending the oils. This part is always fun for me, personally.

Using my standard "rattle can" Dull Coat I am now able to more easily see those flaws, and the slag, that I have missed. Correcting some of these issues will not be addressed as the repainting is more trouble than the issues involved. This really has not been my most enjoyable set of figures to work with.

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I will be breaking from the expected glossy water effect on all of these figures, including the deck. I know this set is portrayed on the deck at sea with heavy winds and everyone assumes there's a sea spray at a quick glance, but is there really? Since the upper portion of the deck is all that is visible I can pretty much work this as I see fit, right? After all, glossy figures are a pet peeve of mine and I won't willingly do it, if I can help it. Oh, did I mention that I hate glossy figures? HA!

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So, for now Capt. Brock will be set aside as I bring the rest of the crew up to speed. I have my punch list, so hopefully all the stray boofs will be wrangled into the coral before these figures are mounted onto the deck. I'm off to work the next figure while the momentum is present, minus winter prep outside, as with what usually happens in Sept/Oct time frame.

Thanks for watching, more to follow soon. Cheers, Ski.
 
2nd Lieutenant on the Deck

Moving right along with the second figure completed, I do see a few more issues to address, so those will be added to the punch list as well. Once again, I forgot to snap a few photos during the process, oops. Sometimes I get on a roll and just get too far along. Note to self, take pics!

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The jacket has a slightly more bluish tone than the Capt.'s coat, but a slight variation is not a bad thing. I really did not like covering up the eyes on this figure, but that couldn't be helped. One note, these binos do not align with the eyes and there is no real way to correct that issue, so it stays.

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Ok, two down, three more to go, and I better keep it rolling along, and take pics, too. Thanks for watchin.

Cheers, Ski.
 

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