Well, I have turned my bookshelf upside dow, added "Vom Original zum Modell - Uboottyp VIIC" and found some useful info there.
That booklet includes a list of official changes to the pattern boat U 93, and the date of the official release of the corresponding order.
The order to leave off the netcutter is dated 01 Mar 1941.
As I read it, any boat put into service before that date should have a netcutter, and any boat started but not finished at that date *might* have one, to lose it at the next overhaul, depending on the flow of information and on the shipyard.
Boats probably did not leave the yard in camo, that would be applied during the next overhaul, during which it would also lose the netcutter.
Given the rather low availability of research material, I think it is probable that there were no VIICs (but some VIIBs, for example U 100) with camo *and* netcutter. However, if an early boat were modeled with both, I think it would be difficult to prove that it did NOT look like that on, say, Christmas 1940
EDIT: A few hours after writing this, I see the instructions for ULAD's VIIC Decals #1 at Hannant's, and U 82 is shown with a netcutter and camouflage. YES!
Edited By hakkikt on 1153682021