In Over Its Head - 1/35 Italeri U-Boat Biber

In Over Its Head - 1/35 Italeri U-Boat Biber

2nd May 2022

Welcome to the Free Time Hobbies Workbench. Here you can find great builds and techniques from around the web. We highlight different model builders to show you cool models and how you can do it yourself!


So, “1/35 scale” and “submarine model” aren’t usually two terms you hear used together. Today, though, we have one from veteran modeler Geir Andersen. The catch? It’s a German midget sub from WWII!

The one-seater Biber (or Beaver) came in at less than 30 feet long. It held two torpedoes and could carry mines. Development took only six weeks in early 1944 as the German’s rushed to find a solution for the Allied landings in Europe.

As a result, it had many design problems that made operating one a dodgy proposition. Adding to the problem, the first operator’s course was rushed from eight weeks down to three.

In attacks from December of 1944 until January of 1945 the Bibers only sank one ship. In fact, an accidental torpedo release from a Biber resulted in the sinking of 11 other Bibers. High rates of loss due to enemy fire and malfunctions eventually led the to the abandonment of the program.


Mr. Andersen chose to build his 1/35 Italeri Biber as a well-used but maintained craft. He weathered the sub sensibly while leaving the torpedoes nearly pristine. This was to imply that the submarine was returning from one mission and gearing up for the next one.

The torpedoes were painted in striking brass at bow and stern. Being nearly as long as the submarine, they are a natural focal point.

His detailing of the interior shows what a claustrophobic nightmare it must have been to pilot the Biber. The display of gauges and knobs shown inside are intimidating.


Mr. Andersen’s subtle weathering of the submarine can be easily replicated. By taking a small brush and randomly applying a rust color to high-use areas you can imply deterioration or damage. From there, small amounts of oil paints can be applied to those rust areas. Using thinner and a brush, you can draw the oil paint down to replicate rust streaking. This streaking technique can be used in several effects to make great weathering.

Be sure to check out Geir Andersen’s other builds here!


U-Boot Biber - 1/35 Italeri Submarine - iModeler

U-Boat Biber submarine (Italeri 5609) - 1/35 scale model - YouTube

AK Interactive : Basic Weathering Series : Episode.5 : Streaking - YouTube

Lost German Midget U-boat base found. BIBER U-boats were here ! - YouTube

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