Background - The inter-war Dutch submarine fleet could be split into two categories: O (Onderzeeboot) boats designed for home waters and K (Kolonien) boats for
deployment in the vast East Indies colonies. The main differences between the two types were size and range which was greater for the K boats due to the operations
area. The
O-16 was the first submarine which combined the range, size and speed of the colonial boats with the handling and armament requirements of the boats
designed for European waters. The keel for
O-16 was laid down in December 1933 at K.M. De Schelde shipyard in Vlissingen. She was launched on January 27, 1936
and commissioned on October 26. In early 1937,
O-16 sailed to the United States visiting Norfolk and Washington D.C. with stops at Bermuda, the Azores and Lisbon.
In 1939, she was attached to the Dutch East Indies submarine fleet.

When war was declared on Japan on December 8, 1941,
O-16 was already on patrol in the South China Sea and commenced attacking Japanese forces that were
invading northeast Malaya. On December 10,
O-16 damaged a troopship. Two days later, O-16 attacked several troopships in the Bay of Soengei Patani on the east coast
of Malaya sinking three in shallow waters and damaging a fourth. With only one torpedo left
O-16 sailed for Singapore. On December 15, O-16 struck a mine exiting the
Gulf of Siam during her voyage to Singapore. She was nearly broken in half and 41 men perished. Only one crewmember, Boatswain Cornelis de Wolf, survived. In
October 1995, the wreck of
O-16 was found and three years later the wreck was filmed and photographed.
The Kit - This kit is a slightly older release from Pacific Crossroads of Dutch warships that served in the Dutch East Indies and the Pacific Theatre of Operations. Now
here is my running Pacific Crossroads disclaimer:  I wrote the English-language ship history for this kit and other Pacific Crossroad kits, both released and planned, as a
service to Boris Mulenko, the person behind Pacific Crossroads; I am even acknowledged in the kit’s instructions. As a matter of fact, the introduction to this review is
that ship history verbatim. That is the extent of my involvement and I had no role in any other aspect of the creation of this model kit. The kit represents
O-16 as she
appeared in at the time of her loss in 1941. The kit is comprised of resin parts with photo-etch and turned brass parts and a decal sheet.

The largest part is the full hull which is overall done well. There is an adequate amount of detail given that this is a submarine. Cast into the hull are mooring bitts,
torpedo hatches, deck hatches, bilge keels and wood planking. Photos I have seen of
O-16 show a series of small limber holes at the bow which are not present in the
resin hull. I find the wood planking to be rather heavily done. Most resin kits I have seen have planking simulated with shallow recessed outlines. Here the recessed
outlines are deeper where, in my opinion, they should be more subtle. Perhaps painting and dry brushing techniques will help soften the appearance of the planking.
There is a recess in the wood planking to fit the sub’s sail. Since
O-16 had a set of external torpedo tubes fitted forward, there is a gap in the deck to facilitate attaching
this part. A separate deck piece is provided to fill in the gap. The deck piece also suffers from the same simulated wood planking issue as the hull. The external tubes are
adequate and come on a casting runner. The openings at the bow for the forward dive planes need to be clean out a little to remove some excess resin. The hull comes
on a fairly substantial casting runner which will need to be removed carefully and some clean-up along the keel will invariable be required.

The sail is the next largest part in the kit and again it is done well with an adequate amount of detail, particularly in the open bridge which has some fittings integrally cast
into it. The model gives you the option to build it with the 40mm Bofors displayed or stowed underneath hatch covers. The casting is pretty clean but some bits of
excess resin along the bottom edge will need to be removed.
The smaller resin parts include the propeller shafts and propellers, forward and aft diving planes, rudder, 88mm deck gun, 40mm Bofors and hatches. The running
gear and diving planes come on casting runners with several thin attachment points, which will be easier to remove and clean up. The propeller shafts have the struts
and propellers all cast together into one part, which simplifies construction a bit. The small parts are all generally cast well but the guns could use some extra detail,
like hand wheels, that are not provided with the kit. A turned brass 88mm gun barrel is provided to replace the resin version and it goes a long way in improving it.

The photo-etch for this kit is pretty complete. Overall the photo-etch is well done with some relief etching and it provides a mix of pre-measured railings, structural
components and a variety of fittings. The railings have individual stanchion ends and are comprised of those fitted to the main deck and to the sail. The structural
elements include water-tight doors for the sail, optional doors to close off the external torpedo tubes, vertical ladders, platforms for the sail, base plate for the 88mm
gun and alternate forward diving planes (in case you didn’t want to use the resin versions). As for the fittings, you get the net cutters and supports, loop antenna,
helm, handling davits and rigging support. A pair of nameplates to display the model is also included. Part numbers are etched into the fret. The small decal sheet has
the white lettering “O 16” for bow and two Dutch flags, but draft markings are omitted.

A four-page color assembly guide is provided with the kit. The ship’s history and specs are on page one (I will not comment on these for reasons already stated).
Page two contains four CAD drawings of the model with the brass parts highlighted to distinguish them from the resin parts. The images are generally well done but
overall I find the assembly guide could have focused a little more closely in certain spots. For example, the middle image shows were photo-etch parts 7 are to be
fitted but it is not clear how they should be folded or assembled. Part 23, the base plate for the 88mm gun, is omitted from the instructions other than barely
appearing below the gun in the image. I recommend carefully studying the pages before beginning assembly. Page three has templates with measurements in
millimeters to make your own periscopes and antennas to fit onto the sail. While this is helpful, you will have to make a total of three of one of the periscopes (I think
they are periscopes) which are tapered and have a ball at the top. These would have been nice to have had done in turned brass. The last page has a color plan and
profile drawing depicting the tropical color scheme of light gray, green and anti-fouling red wore pre-war. The image is taken from the Lanasta Publications “Dutch
Warships of World War II”. After hostilities began, the sub was painted overall black above the waterline, which is what the photo in the review’s banner and the kit
box top shows. There is no paint references provided, so you will have to do your own research or best guess. At the bottom of the page are some reference photos,
which are interesting but not necessarily helpful. However one of the photos show the overall black paint scheme.
Well this kit is certainly unique as there are no other models of a World War II Dutch submarine in 1:350 scale of which I am aware. Pacific Crossroads continues to
provide interesting kits of Dutch Navy vessels. Overall the kit is good but in my opinion not their best effort. In the end it should build into a nice model with a little
effort and care. This kit can be purchased directly from Pacific Crossroads, which is a Steel Navy sponsor with a link on the main page.
Felix Bustelo
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