Cutaway Type VII U-Boat WIP

The boxes are some of the batteries. There is another set of them under the forward officers’ quarters.

The control room has a periscopes and will be in the next compartment I do. I do not have any good reference material for the conning tower, so I will probably not add any details there (there’s a second periscope there.)

there is an addon for cross section
where you can sweep across and see cutaway
but you need one model only

not certain you can use it but would give another point of view

also you did not use any glossy in your mat I think
is it or your are planning to add more realist materials later on ?

happy cl

I’m using booleans for all the cutaways. I can easily move them around to see more or less of the interior. The add-on you mentioned might be interesting to experiment with. Do you know what it is called? I’ve never seen it.

Is there a particular material that seems flat to you? I’m using the Principled BSDF shader as the basis for all of my textures, so there should be some gloss to just about all the parts. Some parts only have temporary textures on them because its too early in the project to finish them. Is there a particular piece or section that you feel is too flat?

if you are happy with the materials look
don’t worry

i find most materials look a bit flat
almost no glossy reflections
did you use an HDRI map ?

mind you most objects are inside the hull
so i guess not much HDRI can reflect inside !

look at the engine in green
it looks really flat no glossy reflections or texture/bumps at all

may be use the AO node or some Noise / bump on the texture
not the old AO the new AO node in latest built!

or the other node pointiness for dirt map equivalent

to make it look more rough with more light shadow effects

Cross section addon

have fun

happy cl

here is another kind of view
this is a semi transp WWII Merlin engine I did
it gives another dimension to the 3D model

happy cl

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I see what you mean about the general glossiness. I’ll look into it. Most of the shaders are procedural and have a common set of controls. Adjusting them should not be too much of an issue.

I do use HDRI (Pro Lighting Skys) for my lighting, but the light bulbs inside each compartment also add some lighting.

I haven’t played with the AO node yet. I’ll look into it.

Thanks for the link to the cut-away shader. It looks clever. I won’t be doing an animation, so it probably won’t be useful for this project, but its good to know it exists.

I had thought about playing with a semi-transparent view like your engine. I was concerned that exterior details would make it difficult to really tell what was going on inside the sub. I’m already having some issues trying to decide how to cut away areas that have details several layers deep (like the officer’s compartment below). I want to show that there is an oil bunker between the pressure hull and the crew compartment. I also want to show the battery arrangement below the crew area. The result is an oddly chopped up cut-away that shows a variety of layers. I’m not sure it works though.

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a bit tricky with several layers
might require to use some volume effect
check the new princi volume in latest build

but might also need to increase number of layers transp in render panel

happy cl

The control room is pretty much done. Textures here, like the textures in other compartments, are primarily procedural for now. They’ll get properly done later (Once I’m done creating group instances of equipment.)


last pic is sub upside down ?
and what are all these tubes above ?

happy cl

The last picture is right-side-up.

The tubes in the stern are exhaust and mufflers for the diesel engines. The large tube running towards the conning tower is the air intake for the diesels. There is some additional plumbing that runs along the top of the pressure hull that I haven’t modeled yet.

have not seen these pipes above sub VII yet
wiki does not show anything like that !

do you have reference photos for these ?

there are some sites for the coning tower details

to complete it would be worth adding that too I think

keep up the good work

happy cl

I have some books with very good drawings that show much of the plumbing between the pressure hull and outer hull.

Thanks for the links to those conning tower details. I will probably be able to include some of that in the model (depending on how much of that area I cut away).

Model update:

Forward bunk room, radio room and sonar room are done. Only more compartment to go…


So the pipes shown are not outside the sub but in between the pressure and the outside hull skin !

then it is possible I have not seen much dwg showing that on web

if this was a late model there was probably some sort or radar antenna too I think on the conning tower
and may 2 periscope !

it you can it would be nice to give more details for the different electronic equipment and what they were doing

happy bl

@Mark06GT This is amazing! I am a dev working on Would you consider selling this model for me to use in the sim?

I’ll send you a PM with my email address so we can talk directly with one another.

One thing that I absolutely love about computer graphics is the way that it can cause history to come back to life. These cutaways are, of course, amazing. It really drives home the point that men actually lived – and, died – in these horrible conditions. And, you simply could not visualize it any other way.

Hi There,

Amazing work.

Would you mind listing the books you used for reference.

Thanks for you help.


  1. Lots of Google image searches for “U-Boat”, particularly the U-995
  2. Virtual on-line tour of the U-995
  3. DVDs purchased from (contains many photographs and videos of the U-995)
  4. Books:
    a) “The U-Boats” Douglass Botting, ISBN: 0-8094-2724-9, 0-8094-2675-7 (Mostly text, not too many good photos)
    b) “The U-Boat” Eberhard Rössler. ISBN: 0-85368-115-5 (Lots of history & data as well as some pretty good drawings in the appendix)
    c) “Anatomy of the Ship, The Type VII U-Boat” David Westwood, ISBN: 0-87021-886-7 (Small book, but lots of very good drawings)
    d) “Submarines of World War Two” Erminio Bagnasco, ISBN: 0-87021-962-6 (Covers U-Boats as part of larger work concerning submarines in general)
    e) “U-Boat War” Lothar Günther Buchheim (also the author of Das Boot), ISBN: 0-517-60671-2 (Many of his personal pictures from when he was aboard a U-Boat)
    f) “U-Boats under the Swastika” Jak. P. Mallman Showell, ISBN 0-87021-970-7 (Mostly historical information, but some decent photographs of various boat details)
    g) “U-Boats in Action” Robert C. Stern, ISBN: 0-89747-054-0 (Typical Squadron/Signal publication with some detailed photos and line drawings)
    h) “U-Boats of World War Two, Volume I” Robert . Stern, ISBN: 0-85368-813-3 (Small book, almost entirely photographs)

Of all the sources, the top 3 were:

  1. The Internet (especially the virtual tour of the U-995)
  2. “The U-Boat” by Rössler and
  3. “The Type VII U-Boat” by Westwood
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Wow, thanks for taking the time to reply so thoroughly, really appreciate it.


Are you working on something particular?