Cybermodeler Online

Celebrating 24 years of hobby news and reviews




The appearance of U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Defense, or NASA imagery or art does not constitute an endorsement nor is Cybermodeler Online affiliated with these organizations.


  • Facebook
  • Parler
  • Twitter
  • RSS
  • YouTube

Building, Detailing, and Converting the 1:35 Scale Italeri PT-596

Building, Detailing, and Converting the 1:35 Scale Italeri PT-596 Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2016 Title Building, Detailing, and Converting the 1:35 Scale Italeri PT-596
Author T. Garth Connelly Publisher CreateSpace
Published 2014 ISBN 978-1500279219
Format 82 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $24.95


In 2007, Italeri released their first 1/35 scale PT boat kit representing PT 596, a late-war configuration of the Elco 80 foot torpedo boat. The kit was so well done that I dove headlong into the project ( look here) and even scratch-built a pierside base to display the model ( look here). I had the model almost completed but I lacked good information and figures to finish the job. Italeri and other have since produced figures for the boat, and last year I decided to overhaul my work and get the model finished, but I still needed a little time and information. While Italeri had provided a small booklet to help modelers, it just wasn't enough for my tasks. Then I was contacted by T. Garth Connelly who had written a book on the subject.

Here is Building, Detailing, and Converting the 1:35 Scale Italeri PT-596 which the author produced several years ago and consists of some very useful information whether you're building the kit as PT 596 or another Elco boat. First published in 2011, this book is the second edition released in 2014. It is a compilation of information for not only building the PT 596 boat, but also back-dating the kit to represent several different examples. Some of the variants covered here include: PT 109, PT 191, PT 374, and PT 559.

In addition to looking at the differences between these boats, the title also looks at guns that were used on the Elco boats including the 20mm gun mounts, 37mm gun mount, 40mm gun mount, experimental bazooka mounts, and more. It would have been useful to have similar coverage of the torpedo tubes/launchers as well.

One of the interesting examples presented was the conversion of the PT 596 kit to the earlier PT 109 which included a 37mm anti-tank gun lashed to the foredeck. Ironically Italeri released the 1/35 PT 109 kit with that 37mm gun the year after this book was first published. Nevertheless, many of the details used to convert the PT 596 kit will be useful for those who have not yet built their PT 109.

The title is nicely illustrated with a mix of period black and white photos as well as color images of the models featuring the aforementioned conversions. Many of these color images call out specific details worth noting in your own projects.

The title is rounded out with a discussion of colors/camouflage patterns carried by these boats as well as a very handy discussion of the various masts and radars installed on many of these boats (another useful bit of information to help with the PT boat accessory set that includes many of these mast and radar variants.

At the end of the title is a list of kits and aftermarket accessories that will help your project. As mentioned above, this title was released before the Italeri 1/35 PT 109, so it is not only missing that kit, but the Italeri figures and Conversion set. In addition, some of the figures listed in the resources like those from VLS are no longer in production, so it would be nice to see this title updated.

If you haven't started your PT boat project or, like me, haven't finished one, this is a handy reference to help you fill in the voids of information that will help you build an accurate representation of PT 596 (or the Elco 80' boat of your choice).

My sincere thanks to T. Garth Connelly for this review sample!