Italeri 1/35 Vosper MTB 74 Kit First Look
|Date of Review||December 2011||Manufacturer||Italeri|
|Subject||Vosper MTB 74||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||5624||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Easy build||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$185.00|
On 28 March 1942, the British launched 'Operation Chariot', an amphibious raid on the Normandie dry dock at Saint Nazaire, France. The objective was to put the dry dock out of commission to force the German navy to use its Baltic ports for repairs, putting the damaged German ships in harm's way of the Royal Navy's Home Fleet. The raid consisted of HMS Campbeltown, an obsolete British destroyer loaded with explosives, and a group of smaller vessels carrying British commandos. MTB 77 had been specially modified with mufflers to silence its engines and relocated her torpedo tubes to allow for launching special torpedoes into the alternate entrance doors into the dry docks while HMS Campbell neutralized the Normandie dry dock. The raid was successful and the facilities were put out of action for the rest of the war, though with heavy losses by the British raiders. MTB 74 was also lost in the raid.
Italeri released the standard 70' Vosper MTB kit in 2011 and followed that release with the reconfigured Vosper MTB 74 from Operation Chariot in 2014. Italeri has now reissued the MTB 74 together with its Vosper MTB crew as one kit in this release. The kit comes in a large box (just like its predecessors) and on opening the box, you'll be impressed with the protective packaging of the kit. The hull and main deck are mounted into a tray that has folding retainers that securely hold the unit in place with the lid closed. When you remove the folding retainers and tray, you see that the tray was providing another layer of protection for the rest of the parts trees underneath.
Molded in light gray styrene, the kit is presented on six parts trees plus the hull and main deck. One fret of photo-etched parts and a sheet of dye-cut clear acetate parts round out the kit.
The first thing you'll note in comparison to the other kits that came before this is that the Vosper really liked its port holes. There are 12 in the main hull and another 12 flush-mounted in the deck to illuminate the engine room. While the instructions have you install these at the beginning of the project, the wise modeler will wait and install these at the end of the build and painting to make life much less complicated.
The main deck is very nicely detailed which means that after painting, there will be some nice features to provide contrast for weathering and detail painting. The bow hatches are positionable, but if you do pose either of these open, you won't have any detail inside to show so best to leave these closed.
The recess in the main deck is the lower portion of the pilot house and the kit provides a complete set of controls and instruments as well a support equipment before the pilot house is enclosed. A duplicate set of controls for driving the boat are mounted at the rear of the pilot house for operations outside/standing.
Speaking of torpedo tubes, when you look closely to the support framework of these tubes, you'll see that Italeri has really improved their injection molding technology as the 'C' channels are really nicely done, especially while they are integral to the tube halves without sacrificing detail elsewhere. Very nice indeed. Two torpedoes are also included that will be stuffed into the tubes when completed.
The figure set was originally released separately as kit 5616, and includes seven figures. The poses of the figures do differ a bit from what is presented on the box art, but their roles/duties on the deck are essentially as shown. No color information is provided with the instructions, so you'll need to work from the box art to paint these figures.
A display stand is included in the kit.
This is another really nice kit and should build up as nicely as PT-596 though this kit is a little less complicated. The use of photo-etch is straightforward and doesn't require very many parts to be either folded or shaped. The camouflage carried by MTB 4 provides a distinctive alternative to the overall gray boats seen in their standard Vosper issue.
My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!
Here is a list of colors Italeri identifies for use with this kit:
ANA 617 - MERDC FD