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In-Box Review
Biber Midget Submarine
Italeri 1/35 Biber Midget Submarine
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by: Gremlin56 [ GREMLIN56 ]

Originally published on:
Model Shipwrights

This inbox style review is of Italeri Model's latest 1/35 scale release, German Midget Submarine Biber.

The Biber, (Beaver), was a German midget submarine that went into service in 1944. A total of 324 were built but despite the relatively large number of units produced they were not able to pose a significant threat to Allied shipping. Work load for the crewman was high and the Biber was difficult to control.

Lack of trimming tanks added to the handling problems and to top off this fun package a petrol engine was fitted which added carbon dioxide to a rather unhealthy atmosphere inside the Biber. Its range was approximately 100 nautical miles and the Biber could carry two torpedoes or mines.

Length was nearly 9 meters which makes for a nice sized model in 1/35th scale and based on the experiences I had with Italeri’s 1/35th S-boat I have been watching out for this model with keen anticipation.

So why do I feel rather cheated after receiving my Biber?........

the kit...

On opening the box which is about half filled with three sprues of light grey plastic, a decal sheet, a PE sheet, a sheet of acetate for the vision ports and the instruction sheet the first thing that smacks you in the eye is a correction sheet....

Correction sheet? Yes, first thing my rather jaded modeller’s eye fixed on was a correction sheet telling me how to trim the PE parts so that they would fit properly. This did not give me a warm fuzzy feeling and gave advanced warning of more hidden surprises yet to come.

The instruction sheet is the now usual Italeri’s CG sheet that does its job admirably, (see photo).

Two of the three sprues contain the large torpedoes that look suspiciously like the “fish” supplied with the 1/35th S-boat with some reworking done to their stern sections. The reworking lacks the crispness that other parts of the model do have, giving the torpedoes a waxy look. PE parts here might probably have been a better option.

The last sprue contains the Biber and the parts for a very rudimentary inside for the conning tower, (mind you, the real Biber was extremely Spartan inside). The conning tower has 4 big vision ports and a round vision port in the entrance hatch and here I come back to the included acetate sheet which has three square windows and four round vision port windows.

The round windows look like they might fit although you really only need one, the square windows would appear to have come from another model. A very cynical reviewer might even suggest that Italeri have added the wrong acetate sheet to this model....

The hull parts do have weld detail added but the effect is not as tasty as the welds on Bronco Model’s Seehund, and to be rather brutally honest the Seehund package would appear to be the better deal.

The Italeri Biber is yours for € 29, - and that is not really a bargain considering the high quality of models being produced in Asia and Eastern Europe and Russia nowadays for nice prices. The package gives the impression of being a rush job but with Christmas comfortably far away on the horizon there is no real reason for the rush. I will need a lot of tempting to make me buy their 1/35th MTB’s that are lined up for release after seeing this offering “in the flesh”.

The model is supposed to make six different versions and the decal sheet contains markings for two versions with shark jaw markings and markings for a grey version with choice of numbers 1, 2, 3 or 4 on the conning tower. Six versions, er, um, yeah...

Highs: Big, plenty of room for scratch building and improvement. Nice addition to the growing collection of 1/35th WW II naval vessels. With some work it will still make a nice build
Lows: I am a 54 year old grumpy model builder who is becoming increasingly spoiled by high quality/low cost models of nice, wanted or exotic subjects from Asia and Eastern Europe. Italeri need to get into gear if they want to keep competing with the competition
Verdict: Rushing models out with rather glaring faults for premium prices isn’t a good idea. I will award 70 points out of a possible 100 for this model.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 5609
  Suggested Retail: £29.00 MSR
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Aug 29, 2010

About Gremlin56

Copyright ©2021 text by Gremlin56 [ GREMLIN56 ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


An excellent review!
SEP 08, 2010 - 05:39 AM
I have heard that you could ask to your local importer or to your favourite shop the correct acetate sheet to assembly the kit correctly.
SEP 09, 2010 - 03:29 AM
Nice review. To be honest, I like your cynicism and your lack of sugar coating. I'd prefer a reviewer be brutally honest than worry about offending anyone. If it has problems or is junk, then say it! Good article.
SEP 09, 2010 - 10:25 AM
Thank you for a nice review, Julian. Good to get the feedback raw without any diplomacy. Probably wait a little and see some build reviews before tackling this one.
SEP 09, 2010 - 11:42 PM
I will be building mine for the "Big fish" campain beginning the 1.st. of october. I do think that a decent result is possible with some care - but oh boy the figures are bad! Cheers/Jan
SEP 09, 2010 - 11:55 PM
Hi Julian, I got the correct windows forwarded on by the supplier, Netmercharts in my case. Do you know which is the correct end for the torpedos or would either do? Also are there any major external fittings missing? Thanks Al
OCT 11, 2010 - 06:34 AM
Hi Alan, Think I'll scratch some windows for the "Beaver". Torpedo stern units? I haven't been able to find a single photo of a torpedo with the "frame" thingie around it. I will be using the plain Jane stern units. External fittings? You have posted a couple of interesting photos with several leads around the tower that will be really easy to scratch. The colour inside the tower would probably have been "elfenbein", a creamy white colour. The silver paint in one of your pic's is probably a conservative repaint job. cheers, Julian
OCT 11, 2010 - 07:35 AM
Hi Julian, Thanks, I'll try and get down to IWM again, I didn't have a lot of time on my last visit and some more pics would be handy. Al
OCT 11, 2010 - 09:18 AM
5 years after this was posted... bah, that's not too late for a reply! I mirror your sentiments about the quality of this kit. Other places (IPMS USA) gave it a rave review, but all I can ask is "Why?" I started my own Biber a few years ago, but only got a few steps in when I gave up in disgust at the poor quality & fit. Into the box it went, but a long time later I hauled it back out and completed it in summer 2014. I still wasn't too impressed with the quality, but with a bit of love it turned out (moderately) okay. LINK
AUG 12, 2015 - 07:17 PM

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