A few months back one of my reps brought in the instruction booklet for the new 1/35 Italeris' PT-109. The guy is a WWII aficionado. To the point he has a complete mini museum under his house and after reading through the 36 page instruction book and little reference book that came with the kit I knew I had to get one and I knew I had to have a crack at making it a working RC model...
I've always liked the history behind the boat and JFK and I loved watching the McHales Navy as a kid, for me the star of the show was the boat. But in my early teens I glibly tossed aside my love of the WWII era and dove at full warp into Sci-fi and so gave away dozens of tanks, aircraft boats and hundreds of soldiers all of which was 1/72 and predominantly from airfix that I had built painted and collected for around 3-4 years. However in the last couple of years I find that my interest in things other than Sci-fi bubbling to the surface. Though to be frank a lot is based on the WWII era which I put it down to researching my Grandfathers war time history and service in New Guinea. None of which was ever openly discussed as I grew up. Also there is the modeling desire to have replicas from the heroic childhood films I enjoyed countless times at the cinema. Indeed many of those grace my DVD collection. Hmm perhaps there really is something to this 'arrested development' theory :wink:
Anyway moving on... For my recent birthday last week Sandy gave me a voucher from one of the local hobby stores I frequent so I thought why not put her money where my mouth is and get the PT-109 and convert it, although the Dragon 1/72 scale Saturn V kit was whispering to me and converting the PT-109 I reckon will be one mother of a learning curve...
Apart from the model I asked one of the blokes at the shop what he had that could help me on my way and what motors he'd suggest. I had already decided that two motors running from one speed controller was the how I was going to go. But I am considering that three props off three 340 motors might yet be the way to go as long as I can get the three rudders to work as one of the one servo?? More on that later. As a first foray into a working target I figured the Italeri version was pretty good as it's a decent size, a good scale and one of the better representations of the Elco boats that has been done and the box art is impressive too.
On opening the box I was pretty impressed with the workmanship and molding I could find virtually no flash and any injection artifacts are few and far between and those that are there will be easy fixes. The hull is molded in one piece. However I still plan to add some bracing in there just to be sure.
The detail on the main deck is pretty good too. In past kits I have either seen no planking or it was sadly over stated. Italeri seem to have got that part right as there is just enough planking detail visible to really show how it should have looked. Well for me anyway.
It comes with some extras as well, such as a PE fret, clear inserts for the deck sky lights and windows and finally somebody included the 37mm canon the crew mounted and roped to the forward deck.
The sprue trees show just how clean these parts are and thee are enough parts to keep me happy tinkering, sanding and sniffing glue.
As I mentioned above the instruction book is 36 pages of well drawn and large instructional images and they have included an amendment sheet to correct some errors from the instructions. There are some areas that could have done with some written explanations on things but on the whole following the instructions shouldn't prove a daunting task for anyone.
the decals look nice and clean and they have the main deck held down with screws. I can't remember if the original runs had screws to hold down the deck but you would almost think that they had RC in mind. The only disappointing thing is no figures are included so I may have to do some web searching for some. The little glossy reference book they also have in the box is good but I am going to need to google some stuff to get a better handle on weathering etc as they were mostly a ply construction I will need to pay extra heed to any rust/water stains. It would be an interesting experiment to put some lights in it to for future dusk/night runs. Italeri do an enhancement kit but as the 109 didn't have any radar nor the smaller torpedoes all this kit would do is turn it into a generic squadron boat where as I want to have it look just like it did before she was rammed by the Japanese destroyer.