Polar Lights 'Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea' Submarine Seaview Build Review
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||July 2002||Manufacturer||Polar Lights|
|Kit Number||5099||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Simple construction, fast build||Cons||Minor Fit Problems|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$18.00|
Many of us grew up on Irwin Allen science fiction during the 1960s and 1970s. Many of the episodes were even aired in black & white, prior to the transition to color television. One of Irwin Allen's more prolific outlets of creativity was the series 'Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea'. The platform for this adventure was the submarine Seaview, a futuristic looking vessel that featured windows in the bow, advanced propulsion in the stern, and yet retained the missile tubes of a ballistic missile boat.
From the decks of the Seaview, we explored the ocean depths, survived attacks by giant squid and octopus, only to be confronted by monsters that were also used on the Lost in Space set. Irwin Allen knew how to tell a story in a short time slot and on a limited budget.
The Aurora kit of the submarine Seaview was never the greatest fitting model, nor was it overly complex. Polar Lights has reissued this kit, and while the fit hasn't changed, it was clear that the molds had been cleaned up - there wasn't a spot of flash on my example. The model is comprised of approximately 20 parts molded in dark gray and clear plastic.
Assembly is extremely straightforward: dry fit, sand, dry fit, sand some more, dry fit, etc. The hull halves went together easy enough, but the deck housing the missile tubes took a great deal of fiddling and fitting to get it right.
The one part of this kit that really doesn't fit well no matter what you do with it is the clear bow window part. This was true way back when Aurora released the kit and it is true today. Even after a load of trimming and fitting and filling, there was still a slight step on the upper edge of the window. The one thing that made working with this window easier was removing the clear spotlight off the bottom of the window part. Without the light in the way, it was much easier to fit the window. Once the window is in place, the spotlight was installed and the hull bottom installed.
The mounting pins for the propulsion system didn't work well for me. I wound up removing all but one pin on each side and found that the fit improved significantly. Careful when inserting the rudders that are embedded at the ends of the propulsion tubes, they're supposed to extend out of the tubes - these parts are easily pushed in beyond their molded-in slots.
I chose to leave the antenna/periscope part and the clear part for the conning tower windows off the kit. In the case of the antennas and periscopes, I never liked posing a submarine with all of its hardware up. In the case of the windows in the conning tower, they weren't going to fit anyway, so after assembly and painting, I filled in the windows with Crystal Clear and now I have perfectly fitting windows.
I chose to paint the Seaview in a medium gray after I had masked the windows in the bow with Scotch Magic Tape. After a good coat of medium gray, I shot some surface highlights with a lighter shade of gray for a subtle contrast. I finally filled in the ballast vents and other details with black.
The base was shot in an overall dark gray with highlights in green and in medium gray. The effects were designed to be subtle but to provide contrast against the Seaview perched above.
Okay, this kit is a slammer. You can build, paint and finish this kit in an evening or two. It is just the thing to cure that creative constipation or just to take a quick break from your more intense endeavors. Either way, if you're a submarine buff or grew up on Irwin Allen scifi, then you'll want to add a Polar Lights Seaview into your lineup as well.