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Elco 80 – Part One

This is 's mighty "Elco 80" PT (Patrol Torpedo) boat (No. 5602). With a length of more than two feet (70cm), it's a substantial model in 1/35.

In World War 2, the USN had contracts with two companies for the production of their PT boats. The first, Higgins, produced the craft at 78 feet in length, the second, Elco, in lengths of 77 and 80 feet, respectively. The Elco 80 was the most numerous type built, and Italeri has chosen to represent a late-War vessel in the Pacific Fleet: PT 596 of RON 39, Samar (Philippines) 1945.

In addition to the finely moulded kit parts, there is also a useful PE fret, a delicate set of decals, and an interesting 46-page photographic reference manual, which includes a history of the type, and colour walkarounds and profiles.

However, I've also used (No. 561) aftermarket PE/resin detail-up set, which includes a further six PE frets and two dozen resin parts. The paints are excellent USN range, in this case #20G Deck Green (US16), #2 Green (US23), #3 Green (US24) and Norfolk 65A Antifouling Red (US14). Other colours/finishes are from stock.

The vessel is bristling with ordinance, and very nicely made it is too - a 20mm Oerlikon, a 37mm M4 rapid-fire cannon (adapted from a Bell P-39 by all accounts), a 40mm Bofors, and a double set of twin 0.5" Brownings. Also represented are the M13 torpedoes and double sets of eight 5" rocket pods.

A couple of minor points here. What looks like a rubber dinghy is in fact a Carley balsa float, which was balsa wood section wrapped in wide grey strips of canvas. It could be used in a dinghy-like manner or the tie-downs could be released and the timber frame/net would drop down into the water where crew could stand and rest their upper bodies against the float sides. Italeri has the colour correct as grey but the unit has been incorrectly referenced as a "rubber" dinghy by some other sources from time to time, although Italeri simply refer to it by its part number. However, the life rings are incorrectly called out as in orange, whereas the late-War (1944-45) USN life rings I've seen are wrapped in a dirty white canvas strip, secured with other similar strips at four intervals.

The injection moulding here is superb, with many of the parts as delicate as the PE that is meant to refine the kit parts themselves. While I used about two-thirds of the Royal Model sets, the kit parts were in other respects perfectly suited. I should mention however the Browning "nests" which build wonderfully from the RM sets into complex, intricate units, and other individual resin parts, such as the butterfly valves on the exhausts, are finely cast.

Although complete as a static model, I've called it Part One because the whole project is to include a set of ten crew (Italeri No. 5606), with everything then set into a dynamic seascape. I wanted to photograph and present the model at this present stage as I wasn't sure what detail might otherwise be lost to observation when the project is in its final form, hopefully in the next month or two.

14 additional images. Click to enlarge.

11 responses

  1. Beautiful! Looks great and your attention to detail is stunning. I have a Meng 1/48 Elco 80' early version I am still planning and gathering data on. I hope to do a Solomons boat with a mix of torp racks and tubes. I have seen some pictures on NAVSOURCE with that configuration. Still trying to find a suitable cannon from a P-39 or P-400 in 1/48 to put on the bow. May have to scratch build it. Anyway thanks for sharing very inspirational!

  2. Yet another fantastic piece of work, da man!

  3. Some very nice detail on that puppy! Looking forward to seeing it in context with crew.

  4. Very nice build Rob! Congrats, Michel.

  5. Another excellent build sir!

  6. Looks great Rob !

    When I was a little kid, my Dad had one of those balsa wood life rafts you described. It had a nylon net in the bottom of it. My friends and I used to play in it for hours... on dry land of course !

  7. Excellent workmanship and attention to detail as we've come to expect from you, Rob. Really looking forward to the final crewed version in the seascape, it should bring it even more to life. Just the thing for cruising round the Norfolk Broads.

  8. This is just jaw-dropping work, Rob. Well done!

  9. Lovely! I have one almost completed and this thing is a serious beast! Outstanding job. I now have the motivation to finish soon as I complete my Mossie 16!

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