Detailing The Italeri 1/35 Scale Elco PT 109 Kit by Stuart Hurley, Page 1
Thanks to Jeff Davidson, Al Ross and David Waples, who have been most generous in supplying advice and reference material. These are the refinements I have added to my kit based on available references. They are for the most part easy changes, which will enhance a kit which is still impressive from the box. The build is work in progress, and it is planned to add more information if it becomes available.
2014 January 20, day room cabin trunk rounded starboard aft corner refinement added, see page 2. It takes a dedicated modeler to tear up a finished project for the sake of accuracy!
2013 September 30, images of the finished model added. Thank you for sharing your project with us Stu!
2013 May 24, changes to the forward torpedo tube mounts and dead lights section added to the second page.
2013 May 15, day room cabin interior and engine hatch brackets sections added.
2013 May 9, engine room hatch and aft windshields, 20mm oerlikon gun, helm, and day room cabin re-visited sections added.
2013 May 2, turrets and .50 cal. armament section modified.
2013 April 30, turrets and .50 cal. armament sections added.
2013 April 22, page added.
Luckily, just before I started the kit I read on the internet that the hull is incorrect, Specifically it is too flat and should flare up at the stern, and curve down at the bow. I have tried to incorporate these features by shimming up the stern under the deck and paring away the contour at the bow to give the correct dip. The deck crown contours have been subject to criticism also, being too flat. I have addressed this by adding props made of thick kit sprue under the deck to raise it a little more in the center. This makes the flexible deck more robust but has caused some problems with the fit of the chart house.
103 Class Hull Outlets
The kit would have you add hull outlets the same both sides. I noticed that this is incorrect but did not have the depth of reference material that answered all the questions. With help from Jeff, David and Al, and after trawling through many photos, I finally came up with what I think is correct. I found no photographic evidence of the three holes near the stern shown by Italeri for which they provide etched surrounds, although they are on the Elco general arrangement drawings.
I added the channel and connector for the bow light. The wiring is to be added later.
The foot rails are incomplete, so sections were made up to fill the gaps where the depth charges are situated. I noticed in photographs that the rails were short of one element at the aft end so added those also. Some cleats are missing so two were made up for this area.
I felt that the triangular tube locking plates were a little heavy so replaced them, adding bolt details.
The edging strip for the front of the chart house is featured as a heavy square section but should be L shaped. I replaced this.
The throttle pushrod cover center section is incorrect and should be a higher profile alongside the day room and then should run right up along the side of the engine hatch coaming. The middle section was cut away and built up with card, and hand hole details were added. I built out the engine hatch coaming both sides and added the prominent flange to the cover
There should be a LUX pull box and a small inspection hatch on the shelf between the day room and the engine hatch centered on the engine room access hatch, with the pull box to forward.
There should be a small scupper above the engine hatch shelf in the stbd. wind shield behind the day room
The 20mm pedestal fits too far aft. The edge of the footplate should slightly overlap the center two decklights. I don’t have photo evidence of this, but the Elco drawings show it. The deck at the stern should have a slight up angle as seen in Elco plans. I added some strip to the transom to shim up the deck to try to simulate this feature.
The mufflers have some brackets missing which can easily be added. I added some weld detail and refined the flaps. The exhaust system with pushrods was built up on a false transom section made of thick card to be painted and fitted at the end of the build. The model is so big that handling becomes difficult.
The smoke generator has an incorrect profile and looks a little short. The mounting is simplified. I cut off the base and added a circular section and banding from strip. The blocks were built up from thick card. Some tie down bolts still need adding but you get the idea.
Because it is a focal point, I decided to replace the armor cockpit as it was a little thick, and lacked some bracket detail. Some detail was also added around the base of the helm. A grab rail was added above the door and a vent on the stbd wing. The areas beneath the bridge footsteps were opened up. On the port side the boat hook stows underneath. Some other small details were added such as the pads for the hook and eye fittings on the ammo storage locker, the bolts and wiring grommet on the navigation horn and trim strips around the base of the turret.
These are impressive when built up but have a few errors which I decided to fix.
The main problem is, that in the kit they are handed. The tubes were all ‘right handed.’ Only the breech doors were handed and opened inwards. The tubes had the door mounting holes on both sides. The kit instructions have a drawing which is correct but it seems that they got confused. To correct this, the large cast cover on the left side of the left hand tubes need to be mounted on the opposite side, and a section of retaining hoop inserted into the gap.
The tripping lever covers are incorrectly mounted on the outside rear of both left and right tubes. These need to be filed off and new one building onto the top just behind and to the right of the depth setting covers.
The depth setting cover and the large bolted cast cover need strengthening webs added to their top surfaces. Some large wing nuts also were added to the tripping lever covers and the two valve covers.
Referring to photos, I added some bracket and seam details to these. The latches are still to be added.
Day Room Front And Rear Bulkhead Modifications
The appearance of the rear turret and day room seemed strange to me and I looked at it for quite a while until I realized what was wrong. What I noticed first was that the tilt of the turret seemed exaggerated. The first alteration I made was the angle of the top edge of the turret barrel. It is not in line with the forward ring as it should be, and this has the effect of tilting the gun ring too much forward. I altered this simply by filing away the rear of the lip and test fitting the ring until it sat in the same plane as the front turret. You can check this by laying a straight edge across both turrets.
Things were better but still not quite right. I realized that the front and rear day room walls were not vertical, the structure was all-square, and this had the effect of making the turret angle look wrong. I have not built the previous PT596 kit, but it looks to me that these features are a carry-over. Correcting the angle of the bulkheads have knock on effects elsewhere but think I have come up with a good compromise. I had already built up my cabin when I started these corrections, so had to remove the front and rear walls. If you want to include these modifications in your build, this is how they were done. I think they make a worthwhile improvement to the look of the kit.
Starting with the rear windshield parts, the port shield butts up to the turret, so has the angle for the turret and wall. Align the port shield over the stbd. and you can see the difference, which needs to be cut out. Mark and cut the triangle of plastic away from the stbd. shield. Save it, and glue onto the right hand wall rear edge. Mark up the vertical cuts for the turret inner edge where the rear wall meets, and both forward edges to the same size as this piece.
Cut out triangle pieces from the turret inner edge against which the rear wall fits, and the front edges of the side walls. At the front, I reduced the angle a small amount to ease the problem with gaps around the bridge steps. The difference will not be noticeable. Turning to the front wall, the window is set too high, in line with the side apertures, so needs to be lowered.
Test fit the front wall, and mark a line across between the side facing strips on the roof panel. From this line mark two vertical lines clear either side of the window. Make two vertical cuts up to the horizontal taking care with the window aperture. When they are free, score across between them on your horizontal mark and gently snap out the window section. Add some strip the full length of the cuts to the inside of the wall so the cutout piece can rest on them, re-insert the piece and position the window so the top edge falls about half way down the leading side window. Mark across the excess at the bottom and cut off.
Remove the deck locating tab and the piece you have left can be used to fill the gap at the top. Keep the tab for filling the slot in the deck. Note there is a gentle curve across the wall to fit the deck camber.
When making good all the joints you will probably lose the rain strip but this can be replaced easily enough. You need to make one for the rear window anyway. Don’t forget to add the window drain ducts. The one for the front window is to port; the one for the rear is stbd.
Assemble the day room, trimming and fitting as you go. The roof caps need to be reduced. This can be done with a file and finished on a flat surface to the wall angle. The front is reduced so that the overhang is about 0.3mm and the cutouts at the corners need filling in. The rear is about 0.5mm with the cutouts preserved. This then represents the capping strip, which ran along the back face from the turret to just short of the side strip.
The side roof facing strips are too high in profile and not deep enough. They sit a little low on the roof panel but there is also too much of a gap between them and the window rain strips, which I think make the windows look wrong. Not wanting to face moving any more windows, the compromise for me was to extend the facing strips downwards. This helps in making their relationship with the windows correct and looks better. I decided to ignore the slightly low position in relation to the roof and filed them down to a flatter profile. If preferred, plastic strip could be applied along the top edge to correct the relationship with the roof.
Add a strip across the front wall, in line with the side strips and meeting up with them. This was a similar facing piece to cover a gasket between the removable roof panel and the wall. It hopefully also covers the top joint in the window mod.
As I said, these changes cause problems elsewhere. The shelf between the engine hatch and the rear wall is a little too wide anyway and now needs a section cut away to allow the day room to fit. There will now be a small gap at the front wall around the bridge wing steps. On the stbd. side there was a wooden doubler fitted on the outside, over the top of the watertight door in the day room. Adding this from card helps with filling the gap. The rest can be made up with strip. The other side can also be made good with inserts of card or strip. When fitting the day room to the deck, the location of the side tabs should be unaffected. There is a cutout at the base of the rear turret barrel, which can be filled to match the contour of the engine hatch shelf.
Day Room Cabin
As well as the bulkhead modifications described above, other features were added or changed on the day room. The boat hook locations were changed to match photos, and on the roof, the pads for the crank handles were changed. An early style two-part grab rail was built up from wire for the stbd. side, and bolt detail was added to all the pivot points for the mast. Etched brackets along the roof join were added from the conversion set. The forward stbd. window was converted to a deadlight and the internal ladder added. Photo evidence shows that the early boats had a port-opening hatch. The hatch as supplied in the kit is of the cast style which is incorrect, and should be a fabricated wooden cover with square corners.
The surround of the roof cowl was reduced and adjustment thumbscrews were added.
On the famous photos of 109 shipping out, there is a large box in the position normally occupied by the Stewart-Warner heating unit. This box is evident on all the early boats around this time. Jeff Davidson eventually found reference drawings referring to a rubber raft stowage cabinet. Using the drawings I was able to build one up from card.
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