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PT Boat Conversion Kit

Italeri 1/35 PT Boat Conversion Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review August 2013 Manufacturer Italeri
Subject Motor Torpedo Boat PT Boat Conversion Kit Scale 1/35
Kit Number 05617 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Nice mix of options to render other service boats Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $41.95

First Look

PT Boat Conversion Kit
PT Boat Conversion Kit

When the US Navy contracted with the Electric Boat Company (ELCO) to produce the now-famous PT-boats, the 80' boats were built in several production blocks with each block receiving some improved weaponry and mission equipment. When Italeri produced the PT 596 (last production block) in 1/35 scale and then followed this with President John F. Kennedy's PT 109 (first production block), they created a variety of weapons that represented weapons that would be mixed and matched across the various production blocks.

For those who missed it, here's the in-box review, the build review, and even the display base build for the PT 596. I forget why I couldn't finish this project, it wasn't because of the model, more like a life event. The deck guns, torpedoes and radar mast are safely stashed away and I really only need to get this project back on the bench, dust it off (literally) and finish it. Then there are the figures, the Jeep on the pier, the fuel drums, and other miscellany. With this new set, I have a few other ideas now...

The one thing that was consistent about these PT boats is that they remained in the same configuration as-produced up until they were delivered in theater. From there, crews improvised their weapons fit based on combat experience and available items that could be 'requisitioned' or bartered. Take Kennedy's anti-tank gun strapped down to the foredeck - clearly they had been frustrated by the lack of effective weapons to use against the smaller Japanese barges and patrol boats. The PT 109 had .50 caliber machine guns, torpedoes, and depth charges. The improvised deck gun would have given them the punch to engage these smaller targets.

So you have either the PT 109 or PT 596 kits (or both) but you want to make one of them into a particular configuration not in either box. This set can help. This kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on two parts trees plus one fret of photo-etched parts. Among the options in this box:

  • 1 x 20mm Oerlikon gun
  • 1 x 40mm Bofors gun
  • 4 x depth charges on individual racks
  • 2 x styles of radar masts with optional stowage cradle
  • 1 x life raft and cradle
  • 2 x life preservers
  • 1 x boat anchor
  • 1 x Mk.8 torpedo
  • 1 x Mk.13 torpedo

Now you have the extra parts to replicate more configurations and render a different boat for your next project. I can see that Mk.13 on a trolley on my pier when this project is finished. Stay tuned!

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!