This rather large build was a long time in coming for Michael, due in no small part to the large scale in addition to the research and extra detail that he carefully put into his build.
Michael's efforts were rewarded with a very nicely presented Display of the famous PT 596 on patrol duty.
The PT history
Developed in the 1930ís with a large majority of variants produced accommodating different gun, torpedo, mine rocket configurations. With hostilities ending in 1945 the PT boats ended up as firewood and only a handful made the way back to the united states and various places around the globe.
The PT 596 by Italeri was a well appreciated release into the large scale boat market. I have always had an interest in the PT boats with favourite movies like PT109 and They Were Expendable which drove my enthusiasm to build one of these impressive looking boats.
The build commences
Upon purchasing the PT I found the box size to be quite intimidating. It was big , to me as an armour modeller who builds military vehicles I found this to be the biggest models ever to work with. Removing the lid I found the box to be jam packed with sprues. Italeri excelled by proving a descent sized display mount to show the boat off.
The boat was built out of the box in sub sections for ease of painting and weathering. This was by no means a shake and bake kit as there was a lot of work to build the PT. The propeller drive shafts had been replaced out with aluminium tubing .All components had been built to the instructions and no issues with fitting any of the components.
During the early stages of the build we found Italeri had released a crew for the PT596. This is the main component to bring any model subject alive .The 40mm bofors was built first. The gun crew figures had been test fitted only to find they required major conversions. The legs on the gun crew had to be lengthened by around 2mm to ensure the feet aligned to the gun pedals. The arms for the bofors crew also needed a lot of surgery to get the hands right on the traverse handles .This left me quite amazed for the figure set had been released into the market without someone test fitting the plastic figures on this model .The 50 cal gun figures also needed the arms cut at the sleeve joins and repositioned. The plastic heads on all the figures had been below acceptable standard and they all ended up getting the chop and replaced with resin heads.
One of my favourite things with the Pt was the numerous images of the 50 cals with the shells hanging from the guns and I am a huge fan of the 50 cal. The visual intention I needed to do with this boat was to use the Mission Model 50Cal rounds hanging out of the 50 cal gun tubs. That was easier said than done, 4-5 hours it took to get all the 50cal links together only to have trouble with the links coming apart whilst trying to insert into the guns and lay into the ammo trays. They looked good but the links kept coming apart. It was at this point I could not retain interest in building the PT.
I stopped work with the PT and ventured back into building armour subjects to reassess what I could do with the 50 cal shells. 2 years later we start back work on the PT and we end up using Tamiya 50 cal gun links retrieved from the Tamiya weapons sets from the 70ís. At $7.00 Aust from Hobby Easy it was a bargain.
These links worked well and they had been flexible enough and small enough to trim and use. The poor offering of the plastic links provided in the kit was a real let down , well below acceptable standards. The rounds do not even look like what the 50 cal shells should be. Moving on there was only 1 other weapon adjustment and it was with the Oerlikon barrel being changed out with an Armourscale barrel. The anchor was glued in place excluding the rope as various photos from reference books did not show the anchor used to a great extent. Once the hull and deck had been glued together it was a matter of working with large pieces to the smallest as working with a big model care had to be taken not to bump and break any small components.
The torpedo assemblies had been assembled and painted separately with fine copper wire tied around each torpedo with superglue holding the wire in place at the tie off points where the release handles are. They had then received a coat of Humbrol primer and flat black before being glued to the deck.
The rope was laid in place on the deck and glued with small amounts of sparingly amounts of superglue and white glue. The clear plastic parts for the windows for the cabins and deck lights had been some of the last items glued into position after painting.
The colour booklet and box art did not give an accurate idea on what an operational colour for the PT596 was. This led to researching the net to find 2 books released by Squadron Signals on PT Boats In action and the Elco 80-Foot PT Boat both by David Doyle. The books had been full of colour WW2images and extremely helpful to get represent accurate colours.
The paints used.
Tamiya XF-7 Flat red for the Hull, XF-65 Field grey, XF-1 Black , XF-26 Deep Green for the side of the hull and upper superstructures. The top of the deck was painted by Humbrol 91 Black green. The torpedoes got sprayed Tamiya X-12,Humbrol grey 106 and Humbrol gold 16 for the propellers. All mixed with a 50 % ratio of thinner. All components got sprayed in sub sections and glued into place on the boat.
The hull and cabin rooms all received a coat of Tamiya flat black before screwing the hull and deck together. The exhausts had been painted and glued on after the model was fixed to the base.
The machine guns, 40MM Bofors, Oerlikon and 37mm cannon had all been painted with Humbrol metalcote and buffed lightly to get a nice gun sheen. Humbrol steel was dry brushed over the 50 cal barrels and gun housings.
Heads painted separately with a base colour of Humbrol flesh and a mix of oil paints: pink, white, burnt sienna and yellow.
All Humbrol colours, product numbers unknown. Finished with a dark wash of black and burnt umber mixed with white spirit to bring out crease detail and applied with a 00 brush, all glued to the model with small amounts of superglue and white glue. Testors Dulcote was used to remove any shiny spots.
To try and represent a lot of wear and tear on the deck a combination of AK washes had been applied with a 00 paint brush and 502 Abteilung thinner around the top deck and lightly on the side and rear of the hull. Oil paint chipping with various colours was implemented in all sections, this was to highlight individual areas of the boat in their own way. With a model this big it took a couple of nights to chip all the sub sections.
Kit decals had been used. I ended up having nothing but trouble with them. They shrivelled up on the model. Poor quality and a waste of time to sum up. They ended up being lightly sanded off with wet and dry and I managed to pick up Archer AR35238 PT Boat decals.
I applied Base coat of Humbrol gloss on the model and applied all decals with warm water and Mr Gunzy Mark softener and a tissue to soak up the water on the model.Once the decals dried I used Testors dullcote to flat clear all the decals and now complete.
This is one of the best models by Italeri and it is a credit for what they have achieved. If they improve the 50 cal links to the guns, decals and figures this will be a valuable improvement to enhance a very attractive and eye catching model. Completed August 2013