SAirfix Humbrol’s 1/72 “E” Boat.

John Symmons

977 posts

Airfix Humbrol’s 1/72  “E” Boat.



After all the "wingy" things I decided for a change of pace with an Airfix 1/72 scale E-Boat. I’ve always wanted to build one of these ever since they first came out in the early 1970’s, as they fitted in nicely with the 1/72 aircraft. When the “E” Boat came out my mind was made up, but at that time I had other things on my mind.  Then in about 2005 I saw the Humbrol release in a local model shop and at R 400 thought it a bargain. My original idea was a sort of diorama with a Fieseler Fi 156 Storch Opel Blitz truck at some fictions jetty. This has now given way to a simple sea scape with he E Boat modelled as a water-line model.


This kit is imprinted as 1975 and the instructions as a Humbrol Product 1989. The model is quite large being nearly 18 inches long and the kit having almost 300 parts. It is offered in both water-line mode and full hull with the usual Airfix stand. The sprues came bundled together in one large plastic bag with the clear parts in a separate bag with the rest. All the parts are numbered, but no numbering diagram is supplied. This is a huge problem as the numbering system seems to resemble a random numbering sequence; like parts number 46 & 47 are next to each other, but numbers 48 & 49 which are needed to complete the sub-assembly are on completely different sprues & the sprues are huge. If you try this kit you’re going to spent quite some time searching for parts, and on mine numerous parts had become detached from the sprues Which didn't help. The clear parts are very good being very clear and with quite thin surrounds, and if you wish to detail the bridge the surrounds being easily removed so the windows fit the window frames flush.


When I opened the box I saw I’d already started it by gluing the two halves of the hull together together with the stern transom. the fit being far from perfect, the stern was OK but the bow was so far off that I’d left it un-glued. The bow was first glued up with plenty of heavy duty clamps and loads of forcing to make the bow fit as best I could, and left to really set solid. I usually don't like using clamp as it's all too easy to warp parts even more, but in this case I had no option. Next came the one piece deck and again the stern was OK but the bow was out about 2 or 3 mm. Loads of sanding, more clamps, and I some-how got it to fit, sort-of. But with some large gaps especially around the torpedo cut-outs. I’m not really one who likes using fillers especially for such large gaps, so I used stretched sprue and liquid cement to fill the gaps, being able to burnish the sprue pieces into the gaps to help save sanding later. The bow opened up again when the deck was finally filled so that gap was also filled with sprue and sanded to shape. All-in-all it came out looking quite good, but it didn’t bode well for the rest of the parts fitting as they should.


When I was happy with the hull & deck I added a few of the deck fittings that needed painting the same colour as the deck such as the torpedo mounts and brackets and the break-water, all of which fitted with-out any problems, which sort-of gave me faith that the fit problems were confined to the hull.


That’s it for now I’ll post more as the build progresses. Just a few shots of the repaired bow and some of the hull to show the size of this thing.



Starboard side repaired this side fitted the better of the two.



Port side. This side needed several goes at filling the gap as I'm sure yo can see.



The bow with repaired port side gap.


The hull with some fittings assembled. Those tall vent things on the stern are just pushed on; not glued.


This is to showthe size compared with Airfix's Ju 87 & Me 109E.


Again another for size with the 600th scale KG V and the Graff Spee hulls.


Remember we do this for fun                                  John the Pom


1214 posts

1975/76 would be correct for the tool, based on when it first appeared in the West of Scotland. I've never actually built one myself though.

Though I fly through the shadow of the valley of death, I shall fear no evil, for I am at 65_000 feet and climbing.

Paul Brown

772 posts

Community Moderator

Definitely a mid-seventies first release, the Humbrol marks were added after humbrol's parent company, Borden, acquired the Airfix title and tooling from Palitoy in 1986.


2616 posts

Community Moderator

 The kit was announced in 1975 but wasn't issued until 1976. Your Type 14 box first appeared in 2004.

Owner of the Airfix Tribute Forum

John Symmons

977 posts

Wow! Thanks guys: I reckon I brought the kit somewere about 2006/7, and seems I've got tjhe paragraphs seperated now.

Remember we do this for fun                  John the Pom

John Symmons

977 posts

To continue:


One thing I realised after I’d glue the deck onto the hull was that I’d forgotten to glue the sky-lights to the underside of the forward deck. I thought about using crystal clear to glaze the sky-lights after painting, but decided to cut a hole under the hull and fix the sky-lights through the hole after painting. If I’d thought about it earlier I’d have done it this way anyway as it saved masking the sky-lights. I still had to mask the forward port holes as these were assembled when I glued the hull together. These will be masked using artist masking fluid by a local artistic medium manufacture.


Started in on the main deck sub-assemblies, and the middle and rear ones virtually click very firmly into place, you could easily not glue these pieces onto the deck, they fit that firmly; possibly so modellers could motorise the model and or install radio control, as there’s certainly room for it. The model is basically a two tone grey colour scheme being a very light grey for the sides and deck structures and a very dark grey for all the upper or top surfaces. I’m using Vallejo Sky Grey No 154 for the sides and Dark Sea Green No 163 for the top works and deck. I was going to use Medium Sea Green but it looked a bit wishy-washy being too close to the Sky Grey for my liking.


When assembling these three main sub-assemblies I left all the clear parts off to ease painting as they can easily be added later. The main bridge was assembled using the roof as a jig to ensure everything was at the correct angle. I wasn’t sure what colour the bridge interior should be so started with RLM 02, then I checked the Revell “S-Boat” and saw they recommended stone grey. One thing that struck me as odd is the bridge door opens into the wind, I’d have thought it would have been better for it to open from the other side: but what do I know: The bridge interior is a bit spartan and could easily be dicky-ed up. I didn’t try anything as I had no references to go by. All you get is the main steering and compass consol, and a helmsman. One thing that’s worthy of mention is the 5 supplied crew figures. These are possibly the best crew figures I’ve ever seen by Airfix, or for that matter by any model manufacturer, and when you think of the vintage of this kit they are really outstanding, just crying out for some extra care in painting. I’ll have to see if I’m up to the task as figure painting is not my forte. The deck structures were brush painted, but I’ll be airbrushing the hull and other sub-assemblies later.


Hole cut to assemble deck sky-lights.




Deck sub-assemblies all hand painted by brush.


That's it for now.

Rememberwe do this for fun                                 John the Pom

John Symmons

977 posts

Continuing the build.


Some other sub-assemblies were built up namely the mines or depth charges and their racks. The cannon’s band-stand was added to the aft structure and the 20 mm cannon assembled but not added to the band-stand to ease the painting. The torpedo tubes were next the front and rear being able to be assembled so they opened, the hinges are a bit fiddley but it ca be done; personally I feel this is 1970’s play value so mine will be glued closed; ( If it moves you can bet your bottom dollar that someone will move it, and then it’ll break.) now if there were a spare torpedoes for the tubes or even one torpedo then one tube could be assembled open showing the loaded torpedo. The torpedo bulkhead has to be slid over the tubes before the rear doors are added. I added the side panels to the bulkhead using the deck as a jig to aline everything and then the tubes glued to the bulkhead again using the deck as my jig, the tube sitting on the deck plates assembled earlier.


One thing this kit did seem to suffer from is the mould release angle . This was especially noticeable with the depth charges that had a definite barrel shape, but nothing a few minutes with a flat sanding stick couldn’t cure only thing is there’s eight of them. This mould angle thing appeared several times giving flat pieces a bevelled edge, unfortunately it’s something that can’t be avoided, which is why round things are often moulded in two halves.


The sub-assemblies were sprayed with Tamiya’s surface primer then there final colours. Luckily there’s a fine line on the hull for the boot topping and this was masked and brush painted black after the light grey for the hull sides. The paint crept under in a few places, but nothing that can’t easily be corrected with a brush. If you look on the photos you can see the black is a bit jagged in a few places. The depth charges were painted a slightly lighter grey than the deck and dry-brushed with rust and gun-metal to give some texture.


I mentioned the figures before and decided to try my hand at doing then justice and started to brush paint those, unfortunately Airfix only gave black for the figures, and as I wanted to add a few more crew to the 5 supplied I dug out the Revell German Naval figure set. I’ve always reckoned Revell figures as being some of the best available but I’d say these Airfix figures are easily there equal if not better and they’re in had plastic. The Revell, ones being in that horrible soft slippery vinyl stuff, ( Why do they use it, it’s really terrible to handle and paint? The only good thing is it’s easy to cut. but almost impossible to scrap or sand to remove mould seems.) Revell do give quite a good painting scheme so this is what I used with some artistic licence with the blues and greys.


That’s about it for now I’ll continue next time with the crew painting and maybe the start of the rigging.


These last two show the sub-assemblies just placed on the hull. I seem to hve forgotten to paint the machine gun pedistal, easily rectified with a brush She's beginning to look the part.


Remember we do this for fun                    John the Pom


1214 posts

I guess this, ah, ship has sailed but in 1/72 scale a torpedo head is just a cylinder with a domed end and sprue or wire for the contact pistol.

Though I fly through the shadow of the valley of death, I shall fear no evil, for I am at 65_000 feet and climbing.

I built one of these maybe twenty five years ago and for it's age I still think it's a great kit. I built the later version of the E Boat, or S Boat as it is properly named by all accounts, about ten years ago and that's a very different affair. I'd recommend building both, it's a nice comparison showing the development through WW2 while based on a similar sized hull. It just shows that some of the old Airfix models, this one forty years old, are worth producing, and building, especially since I don't think this type of E Boat has been produced by anyone else.


1214 posts

I guess this means it's time for the "both are correct" post! Wink


E-Boat is an Allied designation, short for "Enemy War Motorboat".

S-Boot is the German designation, short for "schnellboot", which translates as "fast boat".

Though I fly through the shadow of the valley of death, I shall fear no evil, for I am at 65_000 feet and climbing.

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