Dolphin Models 1/400 Sciré Kit Review
Review by Felix Bustelo

 The Adua class of submarines was comprised of 18 short-range single hull boats that served the Regia Marina very well in World War II. The Adua boats were essentially a sub-group of the 600 class series (these also included the previous Perla class and the prototype Sirena class) but they were the most numerous. The earlier Adua class boats (also known as the "Africans" as they were named after places in the Italian African colonies) took part in the Spanish Civil War and were used extensively in the Mediterranean during Word War II. The Sciré was one of two submarines modified to carry S.L.C. assault craft, which required the removal of the deck gun. The Sciré completed four missions against Gibraltar and one against Alexandria. In total, her S.L.C.s sank or damaged over 22,000 gross tons of British merchant shipping and seriously damaged the Royal Navy battleships Valiant and Queen Elizabeth on December 19, 1941. The Sciré was eventually lost on August 10, 1942 while attacking the port of Haifa.

 This Dolphin Models kit of the Sciré represents the submarine as she appeared in 1940, prior to her S.L.C. modification (there is another kit of this fit also produced by Dolphin). My guess is that you can model any one of the 18 vessels in this class in their original fits. During the war, there were three different types of conning towers fitted to these subs.

 This kit is a multimedia kit, with resin, white metal and photoetched brass parts. The upper and lower hull, conning tower and stand are cast in a tan resin. The upper/lower hull split gives you the option to build either a full hull or waterline model. The casting is well done with minimal cleanup and a good amount of detail in the parts. There are two locator pins in the lower hull (one fore and one aft) that line up with corresponding holes in the upper hull. This is supposed to help you align the two halves but when I dry fit the parts the upper half is slightly (1-2 mm) too far forward than the bottom half. While this misalignment is slight off, it is noticeable and the two halves are not flush. I would sand off the pins and use slow-setting glue to bond the two halves so you will have time to align them manually. Some filler will also be needed hide the seam and gaps where the upper and lower halves meet.

 The white metal parts include the rudder, propeller mounting, propeller spinners, dive planes, deck gun, anti-aircraft gun, antenna and periscopes. The casting of these parts are good and again require some sanding and removal of flash.

 The photoetch fret, which is produced by Eduard, provides a variety of parts. The submarine's wooden deck is comprised of two photoetch parts (a forward and rear deck section. The wood planking is very nicely reproduced in the etched brass. Also included on this fret are the railings, anti-roll hull fins, propellers, conning tower grab rails, direction finder, aerial supports, and the saw-toothed stave. Some additional parts are included on the brass fret, which are for use with the S.L.C. modified kit. No decals are provided with this kit.

 The kit instructions are printed on a single two-sided sheet of paper. The front page provides a history of the Sciré and some photos of the S.L.C. version of the sub. The reverse side contains a series of blow-up diagrams, a part list and painting instructions. The history text is in English and the part list and painting guide are in both Italian and English. Personally, while the assembly diagrams are easy to follow, I found the painting guide to be confusing. It states that the upper hull and its details should be painted dark green and all of the upper structure and hull in matte black or dark sea gray. Maybe it's me, but that just doesn't make sense. I had a co-worker who speaks Italian translate the painting guide and she told me that it states that the part of the hull below the water is to be painted dark green and the hull and upper portion above the water should be black or dark sea gray.

 This is a nice model with a good bit of detail, especially for a submarine in this scale (overall the hull measures about 5.75 inches or about 141 millimeters. The photoetched parts make a difference and it should build up into a fine model with a small amount of work.

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