Revell Gato Build: Photo Etched additions

As I plan out the build of my Revell Gato Submarine configured as the USS Lapon, I’ve had to research the additions and conversions I’ll need for accuracy.  This has been quite fun, and educational as it has bearing on the boat constructions and modifications over the war years.  So let’s review the available PE sets for this model.

First, of course are the Eduard sets.  There are three different offerings, and not every one is needed to complete a superb model.

First, what Eduard calls simply Gato Class Submarine 1/72 (53023).  This part includes all the detailing for hatches, guns, superstructure, decking for the Fairwater, and other small parts.

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Next is the Gato Class Floor Plates (53028).  This set replaces the metal deck portion topside.  There are two methods of installation.  They can be installed directly over the plastic deck, or you can cut the deck out and install plastic spacers, then apply the PE sets over these.


Finally, Eduard offers a side decking set called Gato Class Fuselage Hing plates (53029).  Quite simply, these wrap from the edge of the deck down the side of the deck assembly.


White Ensign Models also offers 3 different PE sets for the Gato model.  Originally doing business in the UK, they are now based out of California, USA, and market PE sets exclusively.

The first set is a Prop Guard set.  And here is another place that detail prevails.  The kit is modeled with permanent Prop guards on the aft end.  In 1942 the USS Thresher was attacked and hooked by the Japanese with a large grappling hook on her prop guards.  With some radical maneuvers, she was able to shake free.  Following this incident, the Navy authorized the removal of the prop guards, and temporary guards were installed as ships were entering port.  This PE set, 7242 makes up this temporary prop guard.


Next is a PE set for Radar and Antennae.  Again, this requires knowing which radars and antennae were present on the specific boat at a specific time.


Finally, White Ensign has a PE set that helps modify the fairwater to the “Covered Bridge” design.  This requires cutting down the kit fairwater and installing the PE framing.  It includes parts to build up the Periscope shears, and requires adding brass piping for the periscopes.  One thing about this set, it allows for modifying the Periscope and Radar mast configuration to the later modifications where the SJ radar was moved to the back of the periscopes.  A very good PE set for this mod.


While Eduard includes PE sets for the metal portion of the deck, there is a company that produces a PE set for the wooden portion.  RCSubs produces several PE sets, some of which are like the Eduard sets.  But their Wooden deck set includes PE for the Fairwater that allows for the rounded addition to the after cigarette deck.  One thing to keep in mind about this, the set simulates a wooden deck here, and many of the boats had the wooden deck removed and steel decking installed to support the larger 40MM Bofors instead of the 20MM guns.  In the US, this set can be obtained from Free Time Hobbies.


So for my build, I’ve purchased the Eduard Big Ed set, and the White Ensign Fairwater set.  I don’t know if I will cut the decking for the Eduard PE.  As for the fairwater, I’ve purchased another modification which I will discuss in my next blog post.  The White Ensign set will be used to modify the periscopes and antennae to the 1945 configuration for the Lapon.

In my next post I’ll discuss the Nautilus Models conversions and the Iron Bottom Sound conversions.

Stay tuned.

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