1/144 Royal Navy Submarine HMS Meteorite
Mikro-mir are continuing to expand their eclectic mix of 1/144 kits, this time with some unusual submarines!
See site for sprues, decals (also has photo etch, not shown_ and interestingly an conning tower not used on this kit..)
The German Type XVII U-boats were small coastal submarines which used Hellmuth Walter's high test peroxide propulsion system, which offered a combination of air-independent propulsion and high submerged speeds.
In the early 1930s Hellmuth Walter had designed a small, high-speed submarine with a streamlined form propelled by high test peroxide and in 1939 he was awarded a contract to build an experimental vessel, the 80 ton V-80, which achieved an underwater speed of 28.1 kn (52.0 km/h; 32.3 mph) during trials in 1940. In November 1940 Admirals Erich Raeder and Werner Fuchs (head of the Kriegsmarine?'?s Construction Office) witnessed a demonstration of the V-80; Raeder was impressed, but Fuchs was slow to approve further tests.
Following the success of the V-80's trials, Walter contacted Karl Donitz in January 1942, who enthusiastically embraced the idea and requested that these submarines be developed as quickly as possible. An initial order was placed in summer 1942 for four Type XVIIA development submarines. Of these, U-792 and U-793, designated Wa 201, were built by Blohm & Voss, commissioned in October 1943, and achieved 20.25 kn (37.50 km/h; 23.30 mph) submerged. The other pair of Type XVIIA submarines, U-794 and U-795, designated Wk 202, were constructed by Germaniawerft and commissioned in April 1944.
The U-793 achieved a submerged speed of 22 kn (41 km/h; 25 mph) in March 1944 with Admiral Donitz aboard. In June 1944 the U-792 achieved 25 kn (46 km/h; 29 mph) over a measured mile. Construction of operational Type XVII submarines - the Type XVIIB - was begun at the Blohm & Voss yard in Hamburg. The Type XVIIB, unlike the XVIIA, had only a single turbine. The initial order was for 12 submarines, U-1405 through U-1416. However, Blohm & Voss were already struggling to cope with orders for Type XXI submarines and the Kriegsmarine reduced the order to six.Three Type XVIIB boats were completed by Blohm & Voss of Hamburg between 1943 and 1944: U-1405, U-1406 and U-1407. U-1405 was completed in December 1944, U-1406 in February 1945, and U-1407 in March 1945.
A further three boats (U-1408 to U-1410) were under construction, but were not complete when the war ended. Another six Type XVIIB's (U-1411 to U-1416) were cancelled during the war in favour of the Type XXI.All three completed Type XVIIB boats were scuttled by their crews at the end of the Second World War, U-1405 at Flensburg, and U-1406 and U-1407 at Cuxhaven, all in the British Zone of Occupation.
U-1407 was salvaged in June 1945, and transported to Barrow-in-Furness, where she was refitted by Vickers with a new and complete set of machinery also captured in Germany, under the supervision of Professor Hellmuth Walter. Because she was intended to be used solely for trials and possibly as a high-speed anti-submarine target, her torpedo tubes were removed. She was commissioned into the Royal Navy on 25 September 1945 and renamed HMS Meteorite.
During 1946 Meteorite carried out a series of trials under the guidance of Walter and his original team from Germaniawerft, Kiel. The trials raised considerable interest in the possibility of HTP as an alternative to nuclear power as air-independent propulsion and the Admiralty placed an order for two larger experimental Walter boats based on the German Type XXVI, HMS Explorer and HMS Excalibur, to be followed by an operational class of 12 boats.