Introduction:For something completely different we will look at this recent kit from Italeri of one of the lesser known weapons of WWII as used by the Italian Navy. These small assault craft “Siluro a Lenta Corsa (Slow Running Torpedo), known as “Maiale” (Pig) were based on the standard 533mm torpedo, lengthened to 6.7m (later 7.3m) and were “riden” into action by two operators in diving gear with detachable warheads and powered by a small 1.6HP electric motor giving the SLC a range of 15 miles at 2.3 knots.
The operating theory was quite simple although a little more complicated in reality but basically the SLC was transported as close as possible to the target by a modified submarine and then the operators would guide it to the target. Once in position the warhead was detached and hung by cable under the keel of the target ship, the timing device was activated while the operators retreated to relative safety.
A number of successors were achieved against British Navy targets at Gilbraltar and Alexander harbour in Egypt causing the loss of the H.M.S Valiant and H.M.S Elizabeth as well as numerous support vessels before the armistice saw the end of operations.
This is a rather simple kit of the SLC with just 43 parts in light grey plastic with 22 etched parts, a small clear sheet and a further 6 plastic parts for the two operators with the standard of moulding being excellent very few if any pin marks evident anywhere they can be seen after assembly.
The SLC has the main body in two halves with the top section separate and these include some of the piping that runs along the sides of the body and while these are crisply moulded they lack the proper round profile due to the limitations of injection moulding. Cutting off the lines are adding them back from thicker wire or rod solder would greatly improve the appearance but the rest of the detail is nicely done.
Added on top of the body is the front operators station with instrument panel that has an etched frame and decals for the two large compass and depth indicator dials as well as the forward coaming with nice rib detail and the clear sheet is used for the front “window”.
There are few smaller parts added to the centre section which give a nice busy feel to the small model and a three part central fast dive tank that sits on top of the body.
At the front there is a choice of the shorter single warhead with separate nose cone or the longer double warhead used on some SLCs again with the separate nose cone with additional smaller details for the top warhead hooks and nose attachment screw.
The most detailed part of the model is the rear section with the rudder and dive planes moulded clear of any pin marks with numerous etched parts to add the finer details including the three bladed screw which will need the blades given a quick twist for the right profile.
Around the dive planes is a finely ribbed guard also provided as a large etched part that has to be bent to form a circle around the rear of the body and to help with this you are provided a round cone shaped plastic jig. Before bending the parts they should be annealed by running through a candle flame until bright red and then cooled naturally (don’t dip in water) and this will make forming the circle much easier.
Smaller etched brackets are also provided to finish off the assembly and the four operator foot rests on the side of the body are also proved in etched metal to give a far better appearance than could possible be done in plastic.
Assembly is quite straightforward as there are not many parts and the fit is good overall with the rear rudder/dive plane/screw assembly taking the most time and effort.
Also included are the two operator figures in the rubberised dive suit, one with the face mask in place and the other holding the mash in his left hand. The detail in the figures is excellent with the creases of the dive suit captured nicely and both included separate parts for the re-breather unit and the separate air hose to the face mask.
Both figures are in standing poses and so can’t be seated on the SLC itself and are designed to be posed next to the SLC along the lines of the box art.
The wooden “stand” used to support the SLC on dock is also provided in four parts and these have nicely rendered wood grain effect free of any pins marks thankfully which gives a ready place to display the model.
The instructions are in the form of B&W photos of the actual model during assembly with the parts called out by number but these are much clearer than other attempts at this style of instructions probably due to the fewer parts in the kit.
The small decal sheet has the dials as mentioned plus numbers 227 for one SLC as well as a name decal to add to the stand provided with the kit.
While this is not my normal choice of kit I have to say I was quite impressed with the level of detail in such as small model further enhanced by the etched parts provided.
The inclusion of the reference booklet will allow those wanting to go to town on the detailing to do so without buying additional reference books and the kit will build into an impressive model.
It is just the thing for anyone building a dockside diorama as it will fill a corner nicely or just as a small diorama on it’s own with the figures included.
Highly recommended for anyone wanting something a little different but still with plenty of detail to get into. 7.5/10
Reference booklet included with kit provided plenty of detailed photos for those wanting to add as much details as they want.
Thanks to Italeri for the review kit.