The Trumpeter model of the U-552 is a 1/48 plastic model, yet it still measures about 52" long. The kit includes 30 trees holding over 1100 pieces, 1 piece of PE with about 35 pieces, and 1 sheet of decals with over 100 separate decals. The hull is made of 3 pieces, the port side is cast in gray plastic and will be painted, the starboard side is made of clear plastic, and the entire stern of the boat is made of clear plastic, showing off the electromotive drives and the rear torpedo room. The assembly sequence follows the ship from bow to stern, the forward torpedo room, the forward officers sleeping area which includes the radio and sonar rooms, the center control area, the aft sailors accommodation area. the engine room, and finally the electromotive drive area and the rear torpedo room. Each of the sections is built separate from the adjacent sections and then finally fitted into the hull in order.
These first two pics show the box from the top and side. The side view gives some idea of the figurines included. There are 48 figurines which also have to be assembled and painted.
I took this pic just to show the size of the various Trumpeter boxes that I have built.
On the bottom is the Missouri box, which had a 2 piece hull. The bow section (maybe 6") is a separate piece and when joined to the rest of the hull, a 53" hull results.
The box in the middle is the Bismarck, which has a 1 piece 50" hull.
The top box is the U-552 box, which is a 1/48 scale, yet still 55" long.
Here are pics of the hull as it came out of the box
Pic 1 is the port side of the boat
Pic 2 adds in the clear plastic starboard side. Note that these two hull pieces stop about 14" from the stern end of the boat.
Pic 3 adds the stern piece. This is a clear plastic piece all around (kinda like a cone) that covers the stern of the boat.
Pic 4 shows the 3 pieces held together with scotch tape. The total sub is 54 inches long.
The first things to be assembled per the book are the torpedoes. The torpedo itself is made of 2 pieces, the tail assembly is made of 4.
The first pic shows the tail assembly parts and assembled. Note the propellers are counter rotating. The completed torpedo is just over 5 1/2 inches long. The second picture shows the completed torpedo with a scale reference.
Next comes the construction of the Forward Torpedo Room.
These first two pictures show the assembly of the ceiling of the forward torpedo room. The first shows the ceiling without any of the parts attached and the second shows the completed ceiling. There are 23 parts attached. The large hole on the left side of the ceiling is the end of the opening thru which the torpedoes are loaded.
Next comes the assembly of the 4 torpedo tubes. Each of the tubes is made of 12-15 pieces (some pieces are shared). The forward bulkhead is also shown. it is made from 3 pieces and the control box in the middle is covered with a decal.
I Am a little forward of what you have seen so far. The amount of detail included in the kit is incredible, a tribute to the Trumpeter people. You will see soon a toilet including a separate seat and a separate cover. The castings are really something to see. As far as the painting, everything that is not the base gray of the molded plastic is painted by me. There are a lot of pieces where the base gray of the plastic is so close to recommended paint color that I left the unpainted plastic as is. If you look at the torpedo tubes and the main body of the torpedo, these are unpainted areas. Everything else is painted, mostly by hand, sometimes with a 10/0 brush. I'll get some more pics up soon. Thx. Jim
Here is a pic of some of the pieces that make up the forward torpedo room accommodation spaces. The rear bulkhead is 15 pieces, the real wall ( 6 beds ) is 12 pieces, the floor is 4 more pieces, the torpedo storage platform is 3 separate pieces, and the 4 torpedoes are made of 24 pieces.
Here are the rest of the pieces that complete the forward torpedo room. The roof of the section has 24 attachments. The round cylinders are for compressed air. I don't know what the structure at the top of the pic was for, see later where it is mounted.
This pic shows all of the pieces that make up the forward officers sleeping area, along with the sonar and radio rooms. As in other areas of the model boat, the captains cabin has been removed for clarity purposes.