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  1. Patrol Torpedo Boat PT-579 / PT-588 (05165) 1:72 Revell PT Boats by their very name are Patrol Torpedo Boats. They are smaller fast attack craft designed primarily to launch torpedoes at enemy vessels using their fast speed as a their primary advantage. Elco were the makers of the longest, and most produced of these PT Boats made for the US Navy. Even though the main armament was four torpedoes later towards the end of the war some boats received two eight cell Mark 50 rocket launchers. These launched 5" spin stabilised Mark 7 and Mark 10 rockets. These had a range of upto 11,000 yards. These were equivalent to a 5" shell from a destroyer and the PT Boats carried 16 in their tubes with 16 reloads. This gave these Boats quite a punch. The Kit This is re-issue of Revell's new tool kit from 2018 with new parts to reflect the different armament of these boats, namely the rocket launchers and the 37mm M4/M9 autocannon which was not in the previous kit. In addition this kit features the lightweight 22.5" Mark 13 torpedoes on lightweight roll-off type racks, over the Mark 8 21" torpedoes in Mark 18 tubes which again were on the earlier release. As well as the main hull parts there are a further 11 sprues of grey plastic and a clear sprue. Construction begins with the hull. The left and right parts are joined with a centre bulkhead being added to stiffen things up. A small insert is added into the bow. The lower hull part at the back is separate and this needs to be added in. The transom will need to be added in, though or some reason this is not mentioned in the instructions! its not there in step 3 but appears in place in step 7? The inside parts of the deck houses must be added to the main deck and this can then be joined to the lower hull. The upperdeck is then fitted out with a myriad of deck fittings, hatches and other parts. Moving to the bottom of the hull the prop shafts and rudder are added. The stand for the boat can then be made up and used if need. Finally on the transom the exhausts are added. Moving to the top the model the superstructure is made up along with its internal parts. The side gun mountings are also made up and added at this time. For the aft deck the 40m Bofors and its mount are built up and added on. On the foredeck both the 37mm auto cannon and 20mm Oerlikon are completed and mounted. Next up the main armament of the 22.5" Mark 13 torpedoes are added along with their roll off racks. The radar mast is made up and mounted to the main deckhouse roof which can then be added to the model. The double machine gun units can then be added to the mounts previously installed. Last up the 5" rocket launchers are made up and mounted to the deck. Markings The decal sheet has markings for PT-588 & PT-579 from Engine Torpedo Boat Squadron THIRTY NINE (PTRon 39), Pacific Fleet, Samar, P.I., July 1945. Conclusion Its good to see this out representing the later model of the PT boat with the increased firepower. Highly recommended. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
  2. Here is PT495. It was an 80' Elco MTB and it is configured as it looked during the Battle of Surigao Strait in Oct of 1944. It was part of MTB Squadron 33 (RON33). She was named "Gentleman Jim" after a crewman who was KIA in July of '44. Later, on the night of Nov 19/20 '44, while transport a group of Alamo Scouts to a landing behind Japanese lines, the 495 boat survived a near miss from a bomb dropped by a Japanese float plane. One crewman died and all the rest were wounded, including my friend. With the help of one of the Scouts, he survived and returned to the States for a lengthy recovery.The kit is the 1/35th Italeri PT596 that was backdated using information and photos provided, in part, by a crewman who was aboard that night that I got to know as a result of my research. This was built not long after the 596 kit was released so most backdating items were built from scratch or made from molds I made. The colors are WEM. Please excuse the odd backgrounds. All lettering and markings were painted using custom stencils. These photos were used to strip away the backgrounds while generating some posters I made for my crewman friend and his family. Comments welcome.
  3. Elco 80' PT-109 Italeri 1:35 PT-109 belonged to the PT 103 class of MTB’s, hundreds of which were completed between 1942 and 1945 by Elco. PT-109's keel was laid 4 March 1942 as the seventh Motor Torpedo Boat (MTB) of the 80-foot-long (24 m) 56 ton class, built by Elco and was launched on 20 June. She was delivered to the Navy on 10 July 1942, and fitted out in the New York Naval Shipyard in Brooklyn. The boats were manned by 3 officers and up to 12 crewmen. The Elco boats were the largest PT boats operated by the U.S. Navy during World War II, built with strong wooden hulls of two layers of 1-inch (2.5 cm) mahogany planking. Powered by three 12-cylinder 1,500 horsepower (1,100 kW) Packard gasoline engines (one per propeller shaft), their designed top speed was 41 knots (76 km/h). For space and weight-distribution reasons, the center engine was mounted with the output end facing aft, with power directly transmitted to the propeller shaft. Because the center propeller was deeper, it left less of a wake, and was preferred by skippers for low-wake loitering. Both wing engines were mounted with the output flange facing forward, and power was transmitted through a Vee-drive gearbox to the propeller shafts. The engines were fitted with mufflers on the transom to direct the exhaust under water, which had to be bypassed for anything other than idle speed. These mufflers were used not only to mask their own noise from the enemy, but to be able to hear enemy aircraft, which were rarely detected overhead before firing their cannons or machine guns or dropping their bombs. The principal offensive weapon was her torpedoes. She was fitted with four 21-inch (53 cm) torpedo tubes containing Mark VIII torpedoes. They weighed 3,150 lb (1,429 kg) each, with 386-pound (175 kg) warheads and gave the tiny boats a punch at least theoretically effective even against armoured ships. Their typical speed of 36 knots (67 km/h) was effective against shipping, but because of rapid marine growth build-up on their hulls in the South Pacific and austere maintenance facilities in forward areas, American PT boats ended up being slower than the top speed of the Japanese destroyers and cruisers they were tasked with targeting in the Solomons. Torpedoes were also useless against shallow-draft barges, which were their most common targets. With their machine guns and 20 mm cannon, the PT boats could not return the large-calibre gunfire carried by destroyers, which had a much longer effective range, though they were effective against aircraft and ground targets. Because they were fuelled with aviation gasoline, a direct hit to a PT boat's engine compartment sometimes resulted in a total loss of boat and crew. In order to have a chance of hitting their target, PT boats had to close to within 2 miles (3.2 km) for a shot, well within the gun range of destroyers; at this distance, a target could easily manoeuvre to avoid being hit. The boats approached in darkness, fired their torpedoes, which sometimes gave away their positions, and then fled behind smoke screens. Sometimes retreat was hampered by seaplanes dropping flares and bombs on the boats. The Elco torpedo-launching tubes were powered by a 3-inch (76 mm) black powder charge to expel the torpedo from the tube. Additionally, the torpedo was well greased so it would slide out of the tube. Sometimes, the powder charge caused the grease to ignite upon firing, and the resulting flash could give away the position of the PT boat. Crews of PT boats relied on their smaller size, speed and maneuverability, and darkness, to survive. Ahead of the torpedoes on PT-109 were two depth charges, omitted on most PTs, one on each side, about the same diameter as the torpedoes. These were designed to be used against submarines, but were sometimes used by PT commanders to confuse and discourage pursuing destroyers. PT-109 lost one of her two Mark 6 depth charges a month before Kennedy showed up when the starboard torpedo was inadvertently launched during a storm without first deploying the tube into firing position. The launching torpedo sheared away the depth charge mount and some of the foot rail. PT-109 had a single, 20 mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft mount at the rear with "109" painted on the mounting base, two open rotating turrets (designed by the same firm that produced the Tucker automobile), each with twin, .50-caliber (12.7 mm) anti-aircraft machine guns, at opposite corners of the open cockpit, and a smoke generator on her transom. These guns were effective against attacking aircraft. The day before her most famous mission, PT-109 crew lashed a U.S. Army 37 mm antitank gun to the foredeck, replacing a small, 2-man life raft. Timbers used to secure the weapon to the deck later helped save their lives when used as a float. The Model This large kit naturally comes in a large top opening box, with an artists impression of PT-109 at speed. On opening there is an internal lid which opens outwards from the centre. On the lid are the instructions, decals and information booklet. Pulling the internal lid apart the large single piece hull is revealed tightly held on a separate shelf. Pulling the hull and shelf out there are 5 large sprues of grey styrene and the single piece deck, a sheet of etched brass, a clear sheet of acetate with the various windows and windscreens pre-cut, and a small poly bag with screws and two thicknesses of string, one black and the other brown. All the parts are beautifully moulded with no flash and only a few moulding pips on some of the smaller parts. The one piece hull is a fantastic bit of moulding and must have come from one heck of a large mould, being nearly 700mm long and 180mm wide. There’s no sign of any sink marks and only a couple of gate marks on the keel which will be easily removed with a couple of swipes of a sanding stick. The flanges for the fitting of the propeller shaft supports and exit troughs have finely moulded bolt heads. The single piece main deck is just as well moulded, with planking, small mushroom vents and hatch coamings all included. Again there are no apparent sink marks and only the flashed over holes are faintly visible, but most of these will be opened up anyway or covered over with paint. Any ejector pin marks, and there are surprisingly few are all in locations that would not be visible once the parts are put together. The build starts with the drilling out of the indicated flashed over holes on the main deck, and the removal of the central sprue from within the deck opening. The hull is then fitted out with various drain hole outlets, fittings and keel strakes that go from the bow to the stern within a deep groove moulded in the hull sides. To the transom the six mufflers and control rods are fitted, three per side. The three prop shafts are then applied with their supports and fitted to the moulded indentations on the underside of the hull, the three propellers and surprisingly small rudders are fitted. Moving back to the deck the twenty three skylights, each consisting of an acetate clear part and styrene frame are fixed into their respective positions along with the bow foot rails, bridge step and bridge deck. The deck is then screwed into place on the hull part with the self tapping screws provided. The screws are covered over with circular blanks. The foredeck hatches are then fitted, with the option of having them open or closed. Giving those who want to go the whole hog and scratch build an interior to show it off. The next parts to be fitted to the deck are the torpedo tube mountings and front rails, along with three vents on the foredeck and two stops to the port and starboard beam amidships. The build then moves on to the bridge superstructure. Starting with the bridge front/roof section the windows are fitted as is a small skylight, using the acetate parts. To this is added the wheel house bulkhead, also with an acetate window fitted to the wheel house door, the steering wheel, and side bulkhead. In front of the steering wheel the throttle controls are fitted, as is the instrument panel made up of decal instruments, clear part and outer styrene switch controls. Two etched grab handles are also applied to the forward bulkhead either side of the wheel. The starboard bridge side with added life ring, handrail vents and clear window is then added to the bridge assembly. The port side is made up of the main side piece, with one half of the forward gun tub, to which the inner upper gun tub is added along with the radial seat beneath. With the outer parts fitted that pretty much completes the bridge. Construction moves aft to the engine room deck with the fitting of the six piece deck house/skylight, the windows for which are taken from the acetate sheet, the forward and aft hatches can also be posed open or shut. Either side of the skylight two ventilators are affixed to the deck. The completed assembly is then fitted to the aft end of the main deck opening, with the bridge assembly fitted to the forward end. The bridge assembly has further parts added, which include the rear bulkhead with additional shelves, and storage locker, entrance steps and curved entrance ways. Forward of the bridge an etched step and support is added to the starboard side, whilst on the bridge roof a compass binnacle, made up of styrene and acetate parts along with decals, is fitted, with a second right to the side of the instrument panel. The final part of the superstructure, the centre section is built up of the roof, with a hatch fitted to forward starboard position, fore and aft bulkheads, starboard side, and port side, with the aft gun tub with the inner radius and radial seat added. All windows are taken from the acetate sheet. Once the main parts are built up more detail parts are added, these include the port handrail, boat hook on the starboard side rotating ventilator aft, life ring and hook right aft and what look like starting handles, but I presume these are for manually rotating the normally powered gun tubs, are fitted to each side of the roof. The completed assembly can then be fitted to the main deck, with another etched footstep added to the port side and a styrene handrail to the outer part of the aft gun tub. Once the superstructures have been affixed to the deck two ammunition lockers with optionally open lids, three 20mm ammunition cans and rear wind deflectors are fitted to the engine room deck. With the hull, deck and superstructure complete the build moves on to the weaponry. This consists of the four torpedo tubes, each made up of two halves, four control rods, and rear gas release ring with associated accumulator, rear door, with each of the eight wingnut fastenings added separately, additionally there are a number of smaller fittings added to the top of each tube. At the front a cover can be fitted instead of the torpedo nose. Unfortunately no full torpedoes are included in the kit. The tubes are then fitted to their respective positions and the styrene “wiring” fitted. The .50cal machine gun mounts are made up of the central pedestal, gun mount, to machine guns, ammunition belts, inner and outer mount rings and the gun railing which prevents the gunners depressing their guns too far and shooting of parts of the boat when firing. Each of the two assemblies are then fitted to the gun tubs, followed by the two part outer shells of the upper tub. Aft of the engine room deck is the 20mm cannon mounting. This consists of the two piece main pedestal, hand wheel, deck plate, cannon, trunnion arms, shoulder fittings, ammunition drum and the ring and bead gun sight. Behind the cannon mount is another gun depression prevention rail. If the modeller so wishes the kit also comes with the 37mm Army cannon which the crew fitted the day before the fatal voyage. This consists of the barrel, breech, breech handle and muzzle, to which the breech cage and recuperator is fitted, followed by the trunnion and trunnion mounting plates. The elevation wheel is then added to the right hand side. The two trails, trail plates, grab handles and trail locks are then built up. The completed assemblies are then fitted to the axle assembly. The barrel assembly is then fitted to the axle pintle followed by the fitting of the shield and shield support rods. The completed cannon is then fitted to the foredeck on the baulk timbers represented by styrene parts and lashed to the deck with the brown rope in accordance to the instructions. The last elements of the weaponry are the smoke generator fitted to the transom and the two depth charges fitted to the foredeck. These are made of four parts and fixed to the three part rack. Using the black thread they are tied to the rack, again in accordance with the instructions. The final parts to be added to the model are the multi-part windscreen, port and starboard navigation lights, aerial, siren horn, main mast, with associated supports, Aldis lamp and pedestal, bow hawse pipe assembly and the various cleats and bits around the outer deck edge. Etch The small sheet of etched brass contains the small skylight frames, bridge front window frames and covers, bridge steps and supports, 20mm cannon ring sight, bow hawse pipe assembly, ammunition locker clips, instrument panel, torpedo tube panels, windscreen frame and struts, ensign pole bracket and siren bracket. Decals Since there is only one option with this kit, naturally there aren’t too many decals. Other than those mentioned above for the compass binnacles and instrument panel, there are also the hull depth markings, ensign and PT-109s codes for either side of the bow, the life rings, bridge front and the 20mm cannon pedestal aft. There are also two large decals for the stands nameplates. Conclusion Continuing their large model boat series I guess Italeri had to release one of the most famous PT boats in naval history, even though it was through its association with LTJG J F Kennedy who was to become President of the USA. As is the case with all the series this will build into an wonderful and quite large model. Whilst quite well detailed out of the box, there is plenty of scope for additional detail to be added, particularly internally as there are a few open areas that can be viewed from the outside. It is also crying out to be built as a radio controlled model, which could be done with very little conversion. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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