I recommend this kit for any collection of unusual submarine models. This kit is for intermediate-skill modelers, and will result in a very nice representation of an M-class submarine that served in the Royal Navy in World War 1 and shortly thereafter. Assembly was straight forward, with no major problems. No alignment pins or sockets are present in the kit design, and many parts may require addition of shims, spacers, pins or wire for positive location. This is not a detraction from the kit, but something to think about when you start assembly. The resulting model looks proper in comparison to photographs and references.
Initial Impression in the Box
The kit arrived in an 11.75 x 6. x 1.5 inch box, featuring colorful artwork of the M-1 in a disruptive dark-gray and light-gray camouflage pattern. Poly bags enclosed the part sprues and the kit materials are not too tightly packed in the box. Three medium gray sprues, a decal sheet, a small brass photo-etch fret and an instruction sheet are included. No mold release traces were observed on any of the sprues. The plastic is moderately shiny, and surface detail is recessed. The instruction sheet is printed in black-and-white, with color paint guidelines, decal placement instructions, and color assembly highlights. The mammoth 12-inch gun is a prominent feature in the kit.
Construction was quite straightforward. I glued BBs into the lower hull to provide some weight to the model for security. Flash is present on some parts, but did not present any serious obstacles. Cyanoacrylates and extra thin cements worked very well. I certainly recommend that all of the parts have wire or plastic rods added and placed in corresponding drill holes. This is especially true for the prop shaft assemblies. Some parts required a bit of trimming, however no seam filling was needed. The assembly logic is clear enough in the instructions. Plan on careful rehearsal of what goes where. The order of parts assembly on the aft decks is particularly important. I did not use the stand base and pylons since my submarine collection has a different style of display cradle.
I left off the handrail assemblies on the forward part of the conning tower, just underneath the 12 inch gun (parts PE 16 through 23). I seemed to lack the vision and skillset to make them look right. The parts are very small and thin. The dive plane assemblies on both bow and stern are also very thin and detailed, but I was able to make those look acceptable after two or three dry fits. EZ-Line is the antenna material.
I finished the sub per the painting instructions. No specific manufacturer color references are given. For the upper hull, I used Vallejo Model Air gray-green and Model Air German gray for the lower hull. I applied a little bit of metallic wash to the 12 inch gun. I had no challenges with paint adhesion. The kit was washed prior to construction, as usual, the final assembly cleaned with Polly-S Plastic prep, and a light coat of gray primer applied before the final coats.
The large decals worked well, and responded well to Microscale solutions. The plimsol/waterline markings got out of control on the model and I could not straighten them out. I accept fault for the decal mess!
I am very pleased with this kit. Example of early submarines are hard to find and Mikr Mir deserves a great deal of credit for filling this historical gap. They have even produced and excellent 1/35 kit of Bushnell’s Turtle, ca. 1776! The M-1 does take a bit of extra work; however it is an excellent value. Assembly was quite quick, and outside of the PE issues and decal issues I had, the challenges and successes were well worth the time. Addition of after-market railings to the gun decks will also improve the final product.
I highly recommend this kit for any submarine aficionado! The M-1 looks great in my display case with my boomers, 688s, fleet boats, and Guppies, providing an excellent historical perspective. The mammoth gun gave me food for thought. The aft deck gun look like a pistol compared to the forward gun. Aiming the forward 12-inch gun was probably done from the conn by adjusting course: surface, aim, shoot, and dive. Imagine the recoil, if the gun was not damped, surely the props must have been in neutral or offline during firing to prevent damage to the engines and gearing!