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Shar2

MTB PT-109. 1:72

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MTB PT-109

Revell 1:72

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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 petrol 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 fueled 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 maneuver 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

Although based on the old 1963 release, I believe that this kit is from new moulds, and this certainly look the case when looking at the sprues as they are the more modern enclosed style and the dated on the inner hull sections has definitely been changed. The mouldings are nicely done, although the detail does seem to be a little soft and the plastic is quite glossy. There are no major imperfections, but there are quite a few flow marks in the deck section and only a few moulding pips. There are eleven sprues and three hull sections in a medium grey styrene, three sprues in clear styrene and a small decal sheet.

 

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The build begins with the gluing together of the two hull halves and the midships bulkhead. The small insert on the lower bow is then added, as is the stern section which includes the propeller shaft and rudder holes, plus the transom which is moulded integrally. The crew rest area is made up from six parts and glued to the underside of the deck section, along with the interior steering position. Depending on whether you want to build PT 109 with the bow mounted 37mm howitzer or not will determine which holes you will need to drill out before add the deck tot eh hull. Three cleats ate then attached to the deck and the model turn over to fit the three propeller shafts, propellers and rudders. The six mufflers and their control rods are then attached to the transom.

 

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The superstructure is then built up using individual sides and bulkheads, most of which will need the clear window parts to be added before gluing into position. The roof sections will also need holes drilling out before being glued into position. The deck above the engine compartment is then fitted with a three piece skylight, 20mm cannon guide rails and four ventilators, this assembly is then glued in place, as is the gun deck immediately aft. The upper steering position is then assembled from the sides and bulkheads to which internal detail is added such as the boats wheel, internal bulkheads, searchlight and console. The forward roof section is then added as is the steering positions windscreen and aerial mast

 

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Each torpedo tube consists of four parts and once all four tubes are assembled the can be fitted to their respective positions on the deck, either stowed, or in firing positions. Each of the twin 50 cal machine gun turrets are assembled from four parts, with additional two parts of the guide cage around the top of the each turret. The 37mm consists of seven parts and is fitted to the foredeck, while the 20mm Oerlikon is an eight piece assembly fitted to the quarterdeck. There are two three piece depth charges fitted one per side on the foredeck. While on the quarterdeck the smoke discharger and ensign staff are glued into position. Lastly, the folding mast is fitted to the main cabin roof and can be posed raised or stowed.

 

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Decals

Since there is only one option with this kit, naturally there aren’t too many decals.  Other than those 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, bridge front and the 20mm cannon pedestal aft.  There are also two large decals for the stands nameplates.

 

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Conclusion

It’s nice to see this kit being updated, and for the most part it looks like a nice kit that can easily be detailed to the modellers own wishes and there are already etched detail sets from Eduard to help with this. Seeing as the plastic is quite glossy i would definitely prime before painting. It would make a nice introductory maritime model for those modellers new to the genre of narrow seas boats.

 

 

Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit logo-revell-2009.gif

 

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Building this at the moment, and not a particularly great experience if I'm honest.

 

The deck was warped, which probably isn't a huge surprise as it is such a big piece - and whilst I wrangled it flat over the course of a couple of evenings with warm water and patience it still doesn't sit quite flat on to the top of the hull and there are gaps which will need to be filled and sanded. 

 

My biggest gripe with this kit is the positioning of the sprue gates and injector holes which just don't seem to have been thought through at all. The sprue gates are unnecessarily thick for the most part, and poorly placed on the whole - making nipping, sanding and shaping considerably more hassle than it really should be. There are injector marks clearly visible on several panels which really shouldn't be there - meaning more pointless filling and sanding.

 

Apart from that, it goes together quite well, although painting will need some thought given to modulation so that it doesn't just come out as a big green blob! Given that Kennedy's boat didn't exactly have a long service life before getting cleaved in twain, opportunities for weathering will be limited as the boat just wouldn't have had time to get in to much of a state. Similarly as it was made of mahogany, the usual chipping techniques to raise interest would seem a bit odd.

 

On the whole, it's ok ... but not much more than that in my view. Could have been a *lot* better given that it is a new tool.

 

Edited by Grumpygeek

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