|Recently I was asked by Garth Connelly to do a build review of the Merit 1/48 scale late war 80’ Elco PT boat. I was also asked to build it out of the
box and to use the acrylic paint set that is also distributed by Merit and contains the colors needed for a measure 31/20L camo scheme which calls for
dark green # 2, dark green # 3, dull black, deck green, and anti-fouling red for the hull underside. I agreed to do the build and am now giving my
feedback from this project.
The kit consists of plastic parts, clear acetate parts for the deck structure windows and searchlight lens, and photo etch parts for the two tables on the
sides of the front and rear structures, the radar antenna, radio antenna, navigation light panels, 40mm gun sights, and ammo locker hardware. The parts
have very little flash and very few sink marks. The small amount of flash that I encountered was easily removed, and there were only a few sink marks
that would be visible after assembly, but which were easily filled and sanded. Many of the tubing and railing parts had several sprue gates on them, so
extra care must be taken when removing the parts from the sprue and when cleaning them for assembly and painting. The fit was mostly excellent, but
you need to make sure you check the fit of the torpedoes in their respective racks to ensure that you will be able to slide the completed and painted
torpedo into the completed and painted rack. You need to take the paint thickness into consideration to avoid damaging the painted torpedo. The most
fitting trouble I encountered was putting the 50 cal gun assemblies together, as they have several parts that must be exactly located, and then the gun
assembly then attaches to the gun ring and front tubular structure. If you take the time to dry-fit the parts and confirm the hole sizes that you drill
before you assemble the parts and sub-assemblies you will not run into any trouble with the build. There is a minimum of seam filling needed, but you
will need to fill the seams for the 50 cal gun tubs and the four torpedoes, all of which are similar to an airplane fuselage in shape and will not look
authentic with visible seams running down their length.
Although there are injection sink marks on the inside of the 50 cal turret assemblies, they are not visible when the machine guns are attached to the tubs.
My biggest squawk for the entire build is the color info sheet, which is unclear regarding which areas are dull black and dark green, and has incorrect
color call outs for the deck color and the nav lights (port & starboard). The dark green and black portions of the camo scheme are virtually
indistinguishable in the drawings, and some areas of the colors have the color tag, but others do not. With the dark green color and the dull black colors
being almost the same on the instruction sheet, it will be difficult to determine where one color stops and the other begins. For an experienced modeler
that shouldn't pose too great of a problem but a novice will be confused, in my opinion. The colored instruction sheet also only lists where to put the
bow water depth markings decal and the flag decal, but doesn’t list the location of the numbers for the hull sides, deck structures, or the transom
numbers and transom water depth markings. Again, an experienced modeler wouldn’t be troubled by the omissions, but a first-timer may run into some
problems. The construction sheet also has its own problems, the main ones being that in step #3 on page 5, the center prop shaft part number is J14,
which is incorrect. The correct part number should be H14. On step #22 on page 13, the two deck hatch numbers are reversed. J14 actually is the
more forward hatch, and H4 goes just in front of the front deck structure. The two parts are very similar in size and shape, and I only caught the
problem when I dry fitted both parts. The illustrations could be a little bit clearer with the 50 cal gun assemblies also. Luckily I built the Italeri 1/35
scale kit and was familiar with how everything should attach.