Dutch O-16 Submarine, Pacific Crossroads 1:350
The Inter-War Dutch submarine fleet could be split into two categories: O, (Onderzeeboot) boats, designed for the home waters and K, (Kolonien), boats, for deployment in the vast East Indies colonies. The main differences between the two types were size and range, which was greater for the K boats due to the operational area. The O-16 was the first submarine which combined the range, size and speed of the colonial boats with the handling and armament requirements of the boats designed for the European waters. The keel for the O-16 was laid down in December 1933 at K.M. De Schelde shipyard in Vlissingen. She was launched on January 27th 1936 and commissioned on October 26th. In early 1937 O-16 sailed to the United States, visiting Norfolk and Washington D.C. with stops at Bermuda, the Azors and Lisbon. In 1939 she was attached to the Dutch East Indies submarine fleet. When war was declared on Japan on December 8th 1941, O-16 was already on patrol in the South China Sea and commenced attacking Japanese forces that were invading northeast Malaya. On December 10th she damaged a troopship. Two days later O-16 attacked several troopships in the Bay of Soengei Patani on the East coast of Malaya, sinking three in shallow water and damaging a fourth. With only one torpedo left she sailed for Singapore. On December 15th O-16 struck a mine exiting the Gulf of Siam during her voyage to Singapore. She was nearly broken in half and 41 men perished. Only one crew member, Boatswain Cornelis De Wolf, survived. In October 1995, the wreck of O-16 was found and three years later was filmed and photographed.
This kit is the first submarine from Pacific Crossroads and it was a very pleasant surprise when it arrived in the post, as I wasn’t expecting it, so thanks for the this Boris. The kit comes in a very sturdy cardboard box with a picture of the O-16 moored alongside a Far Eastern jetty in a very dramatic light and a War Cross medal with Nederlandsch 1941-42 Bar in the right hand corner. On opening the box the modeller is presented with a very well protected hull form, wrapped in bubble wrap, a clear plastic box with all the other resin parts carefully protected, a sheet of etched brass, (although like the other kits from Pacific Crossroads it still looks like copper), a small poly bag containing a small decal sheet and the turned barrel of the main gun. The instructions come with a short history section, reproduced above, some period photographs and colour plan view of the starboard side and top. The instructions themselves are in a pictorial form of coloured drawings. They are very clear and well annotated, showing which parts go where. The modeller will have to scratch build the radio and periscope masts, but there are clear plans for these at the rear of the instructions.
Whilst the protection of the main, single piece hull is very good some of the bollards had broken off, but these can easily be replaced with suitably sized rod or even aftermarket parts. The detail moulded into the hull is very nice, but there are some scratches on the sides that will need to be sanded down a bit. The wooden slat decking appears a little over scale and would benefit from a light sanding to reduce the depth a bit, this goes for the deck piece that covers the external torpedo tubes too. The hull isn’t connected to heavily to the moulding block so once removed it shouldn’t be too difficult to clean up ready for the build.
The rest of the parts comprising of the single piece tower, propellers, complete with shafts, external torpedo tubes, aft pair of dive planes, rudder, and ships guns, two AA and the single main are all very nicely moulded and will need only a minimal clean up after removal from the casting blocks. As stated above the main gun comes with option of using a turned metal barrel. This will require the resin barrel to be removed and a small hole drilled into the gun to fit.
The single etched sheet provides the rest of the parts required to complete the build and included the various railings for the hull and tower, two cranes, one fitted forward and one aft, vertical ladders and two “accommodation ladders”. There are also two aerial spreaders/supports, the bow cable/net cutter, watertight doors for the tower, aft AA gun gratings, two plates that cover the external, trainable torpedo mounting, which can be posed either open or closed and the two foreplanes. Two quite large plaques are provided for attaching to whatever base you decide to mount the completed model on.
The build is quite simple, but I can imagine a little fiddly, but one everything is removed from the casting blocks and cleaned up it shouldn’t cause too many problems for the more experienced modeller. I would assemble the masts first in preparation for fitting at the appropriate point. Once these are done the tower can be fitted to the hull, followed by the trainable torpedo tubes, which are fitted into the well on the foredeck and cover by the separate deck piece. The propellers/shafts are then fitted, along with the aft diveplanes, which come complete with prop guards, and rudder. The ships guns are then fitted to their appropriate positions before the etched parts are fitted. The railings are particularly fine and along with the aerial supports great care should be taken to fit them in their appropriate positions without damaging them. The three periscopes and main mast can then be fitted before painting begins. Of course this is only one way of building the model and the modeller should choose what’s best for them and the way they tackle it.
The small sheet contains two Dutch flags, which I presume are fitted either side of the tower, although some research will be need to determine the correct placement, and two very small, (I missed them completely, until Boris pointed them out), white identification codes. Make sure you don't lose them when dipping the sheet in water.
For the first submarine release Pacific Crossroads have chosen an unusual and exciting example. Even the colour scheme will make it stand out from the crowd in a display. Whilst every effort has obviously been made to ensure the parts are well protected there are bound to be some breakages as evidenced on the review sample, but there is nothing that can’t be scratch built to replace these small fragile parts. If you like submarines, you’ll love this and it really should be included in any collection.
Very highly recommended