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Joe Caputo
154 articles

Revell 1/72 British Vosper M.T.B.

January 15, 2014 · in Ships · · 9 · 5.9K

To me this was one of the more confusing boats of a late WWII (?) design to be modeled. It's a British design, U.S. built, for Russia, but doubtful that it saw WWII service. Somewhere along the line, one or two were "requisitioned" for McHale's Navy, the old TV show starring Ernest Borgnine. Shortly after, decided to kit their British Vosper Motor Topedo Boat as McHale's PT-73. Over the years, this became a sought after collectable. I believe there may have been a short re-issue. I decided I would do my own version of this well known kit. I've enclosed a picture of the original box art, as well as that of a picture of the McHale kit. My modifications were U.S. torpedos and paint scheme.

Reader reactions:
5  Awesome

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9 responses

  1. beautiful work joe

  2. Nice boat you have built there Joe.
    I can remember building the Airfix one many years ago.
    Well done sir.

  3. Nice clean build Joe.

  4. Wow, that's a bit of info I was unaware of, thanks Joe. Nice build too, I like the "two tone" gray on the deck fixtures.

  5. I remember the show and thanks for the info. about the boat that was used. Very nicely built and a great story to go with the model that you adapted.

  6. I remember the show as well, still watch it on one of our cable channels. Got to see the real thing on a tour of Universal Studios when I was a kid and was very surprised to find it was a British craft. The real PT-73 was a 78 foot Higgins boat built in New Orleans. She was destroyed by her crew to keep her from being captured after running aground in the Phillippines.

    Revell just did a re-issue of the 1/72 PT-109 as well.

  7. Joe,
    Great build, I love it, and a very interesting story. I had no idea I was looking at a British boat when I watched the series on TV. I did a little searching on IMDB and came up with an interesting bit of trivia concerning this boat. You may already know all about this but here is what I found.

    The vessel used for shots of the PT-73 underway was a 72-foot type II Vosper MTB (Motor Torpedo Boat), a British design built under license in the U.S. for export to Russia. The war ended in August 1945 before the boat--the real number of which was PT-694--could be sent to the Soviet Union. The boat was then purchased by billionaire businessman Howard Hughes and used as a chase boat for the one and only flight of his Spruce Goose aircraft. The boat was then sold to Universal Pictures--as there were few other real PT oats left in existence at the time--and some liberties were taken in reconfiguring it to look like a PT Boat. Vosper PTs did not have machine gun turrets on either side of the pilot house (though ironically, the real PT-73--a Higgins design--did) as the PT-73 in the show did. Other irregularities are the main mast aft and a small mast right in front of the cockpit. Shots of the crew aboard the PT-73 were filmed on a full-scale mock-up in a soundstage. "PT-73" was later sold to the mayor of Hawthorne, California, and was converted to a sport fishing boat. It was destroyed when it broke loose of its mooring near Santa Barbara and washed up on the beach during a storm. The real PT-73 was a 78-foot Higgins boat assigned to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 13, which saw service in the Aleutians and in the Southwest Pacific theater. On 15 January 1945 it ran aground and was destroyed to prevent it falling into enemy hands.

  8. Thanks Frank, (and all the rest) WOW ! Who would have ever thought of using IMDB to research a model ! And what a history it has ! I'm glad we all enjoyed it and learned a little too . I've done this one and another conversion, but have yet to do one OOB. Yes, there's a couple Airfix Vospers, as well as Tamiya, on the shelf.

  9. Nice build, Joe, and a lot of interesting history. I used to live in Southampton where the Vosper factory was (I think it's recently closed down).

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