Saturday, June 26, 2021

German Räumboote and Italian MAS boats

The next additions for my Black Sea/Baltic Sea project are a pair of German Räumboote and four Italian MAS torpedo boats. First up, we'll look at the Räumboote.

Fresh from the yard, before I added some weathering

The German Räumboote, or R-boats, were motor minesweepers that were also used for convoy escort, coastal patrol, minelaying, and air-sea rescue.The Germans built over 300 of these vessels in several series during World War II. There weren't any major differences between the series,just some size and minor armament variations. Due to their general utility, they served in every theater including the Baltic, Mediterranean and the Black Sea. This makes them useful additions to a fleet for anyone wanting versatile ships that could be used in multiple areas. 

I picked up a pair of  Warlord Games Cruel Seas R-23 R-boats for my ships. These are early versions of the R-boat and later versions had a little more armament. The out-of-the-box model came with a forward firing 20mm gun and an aft 37mm. I considered adding another 20mm gun amidships, but there isn't really enough room on the model without some major work. 

Port side view with a little weathering
The hulls are one-piece resin and required some clean up. The weapons were straight out of box, as were the extra crew I added on one boat.
Starboard view
There are a number of camouflage patterns that can be used with these ships (just do a quick internet search to see what I mean). I decided to go with a splotch pattern camouflage, since it seemed easiest and seems pretty common. Overall, they turned out good and should be useful in games.

Next up are the Italian MAS, Motoscafo Armato Silurante (torpedo-armed motorboat), boats. These boats are similar to the British Vosper motor torpedo boats and smaller than the German S-boats. During World War II, the Italians sent a flotilla of these boats to the Black Sea and to fight on Lake Ladoga near Leningrad (today's St Petersburg). 

MAS lined up for inspection
These boats were fast (max speed 45 knots), but lightly armed with two 450mm torpedoes and an aft facing 20mm gun.
Arranged to show off all sides

These little boats only had modest success against the Russians. The boats in the Black Sea were eventually transferred to the Romanians. 

A close up view of the MAS

Like the R-boats, these are from Warlord Games. Unlike the R-boat, these boats are all metal and only have a few basic parts (hull, mast, and 20mm gun). So it is pretty easy to put together, but there was some clean up needed on all the parts. I think my paint job turned out as well as the ones on the Warlord website. Although I used a gray-blue color for the crew overalls, rather than the white used by Warlord. Thinking back on my old Navy days, I know that white is not a great color for a working uniform.

Overall, both sets of boats went together well and painted up nicely. They are good additions to the project. 

A before weathering photo on the ocean mat


  1. Great looking "boats" Dave. I like the camo on the German ones, and the red/white markings on the Italian ones as well. What do those red/white markings indicate? A "danger" area on the boat? Very interesting that the Italians fought Russians - at least on the sea.

    1. Hi Dean, The red and white lines were recognition stripes so that the Italian airplanes wouldn't attack them. The Italians did fight the Russians on land, air, and sea. But I'm only interested in the last two.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, the ships are fun to paint up. There is a lot you can do with the R-boats.