Nautilus Models Wood Deck for Revell 1/72 U-Boat
reviewed by Timothy Dike
The new 1/72 Revell Germany Type VII U-boat has created quite a stir in the modeling world. It is a pretty nice kit right out of the box, but serious models are rarely content to just assemble a kit. Already aftermarket companies are producing upgrades for it. But this has got to be one of the coolest accessories  I've seen in the ship modeling world in while. Although originally built with steel decks, the Type VII U-Boats were changed to wood to preserve the scarce resources. Getting that wood look is kind of hard to achieve unless you are actually working with wood. Nautilus has just what you need to get that effect with this Laser cut wood deck replacement. Wood has long been the material of choice for large scale scratch builders but can be difficult to produce precise shapes for smaller items. That is where the Laser cutting and etching comes in. Shapes can be sharply defined and reproduced with a high degree of accuracy.
This set consist of a bow and stern deck replacement, conning tower platform, and resin cast hatches and bollards. Additional backing and joining plates are included to facilitate the assembly. The wood is about 1/16" thick, which scales out to about 4-1/2" in 1/72 scale. All the deck cutouts are nicely shaped and an improvement over those in the kits plastic parts. All the slots (flooding holes) in the deck are cut clean through. You might have noticed those in the kit are only recessed. Since the wood did not extent all the way to the bow you are given the option of using part of the plastic kit supplied part with the wood. I would recommend this as it will be obvious where wood ends and steel begins. An etched border is provided on the replacement part to mark this locations so  you will only need to complete the cut and then cut the plastic part to match.
The upper deck parts also well etched. With the holes in the deck all the way through these parts are also a great improvement of the kit parts. A 3-D appearance is obtained by the laser etching which has removed half the thickness of the wood in some places. And lightly etched the surface for panel lines. The wood planking for the inside of the conning tower is also included. 
The resin parts look pretty good. The hatches fit nicely into the etched cutouts in the deck and look much better than the molded on one in the kit. They also give you the option of showing the hatches in the open position though you will have to cut the opening out and provide your own interior details.
The instructions consist of a parts list and written text describing how to use the set. An overall of the wood parts and details for cutting out the steel portion of the deck part are noted. While this is probably adequate for most modelers who will use this set, a few more illustrations would be nice, especially a nice 3D exploded view.
This is set # W1515A with a suggested Retail Price is $37.95.  This set is available direct through Nautilus Models for $40 including Priority Mail to US customers. You can also find it through Hobby Shops served by Stevens International. There are additional view of this set on the Nautilus Models website. A full build review of this set with the Revell U-Boat will follow in the near future.

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