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Revell 1/108 Harbour Tug Boat Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2006 Manufacturer Revell/Germany
Subject Harbour Tug Boat Scale 1/108
Kit Number 5207 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice to see this classic on the shelf again Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $14.00

First Look


When a 747 completes a long flight and arrives near its final destination - Gate 14 - it may not complete that trip under its own power. If the adjoining gates are crammed together, a tow tug will grab the aircraft by the nosegear and carefully wedge the 747 between other aircraft. Likewise, most departing aircraft are pushed back from the gate by that same tug as the ground crews can see and maneuver the aircraft around the ramp until it is clear of other obstacles.

On the water, the same applies to tankers, freighters, combat vessels, etc., they can travel for thousands of miles, but they just aren't maneuverable enough to wend their way to their assigned berth. Enter the tug boat.

These specialty craft are designed to push, pull, and maneuver these large ships into confined areas where the vessel may damage themselves and others around them trying to dock themselves. Like the aircraft tugs, these tug boats are all power and rugged enough to get the job done especially under less than ideal conditions.

Here is an old classic from Revell - the Harbor (Harbour) Tug Boat. It is patterned from the Small Tug class diesel tug boats built for the US Army during WWII. Here is a link to one that has just been restored. (Thanks to Tom Cervo for clarifying the kit's history!)

Released several times as kit number H314, these molds have been around for quite a few decades, but as you can see here, they are still in very good shape. I'm not certain what color styrene was used in the previous boxings, but there is not doubt about this release!

One of the legacies of plastic modeling was the term 'box scale'. In ancient times, model companies would produce a standardized retail box for their kits and the kits themselves would be scaled up or down to fit inside that box. It wasn't until more modern times that models were produced in standard scales so that the aircraft carrier you were building wasn't the same length as your tug boat. Nevertheless, this kit hails from ancient times, hence the 1/108 scale.

As you can see in the photos, there are fewer than 100 parts to this kit, but it is impressively detailed. In the hands of an AMS modeler, you could have a field day and be safe in knowing that you can't get too carried away with this sized kit. Just take your time, dry fit the parts before gluing, and keep your eyes open for any molding flash, which is common with older molds.

Even if you build the kit straight from the box, a modeler with good painting skills can really make this model very appealing with the variety of colors that would appear on this vessel from the black hull and red superstructure to the white rails and the rope bumpers.

In this release, markings are provided for the London-based 'Lucky XI'.

I am happy to see Revell turning out many of their older nautical classics. These are subjects that have not been covered by any other plastic manufacturer. Another good example is the Chris Craft released during Revell's 50th Anniversary.