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148th PT boat from the Merit "Early PT" kit

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I've helped Merit on a couple of projects and they sent me one of their "Elco 80" model kits. I decided to build mine up as PT-157, which is close to stock and has some interesting markings and history (she was the boat that picked up Kennedy and his crew, for example). I'll be posting text here, but as I don't really feel like posting images in multiple places I'll mostly be linking to the direct ModelWarships post where the thread originated.

So, first post:

Merit's kit isn't molded as any one specific PT boat, just with features of the early PT-103 class boats. It differs visually from the late PT release in having the torpedo launching tubes as opposed to the open roll-off racks and a heck of a lot less deck clutter. The later boats bristled with weapons, but the earlier boats were a cleaner, faster looking design.

PT-157 was launched at the end of 1942 and served throughout the rest of the war in the in the Pacific theater war. At the time I want to depict her, Cdr. Robert Kelly of "They were Expendable" fame was in command of PT Boat Squadron 9 and used her as a flagship or sorts during various missions.

PT-157 is fairly close to the kit in fit, but there are some notable changes that will make this enough to be unique:

* 20mm gun replacing the twin .50 cals in the forward tub

* removal of the aft cockpit bulkhead. Two photos of Kelley on 157 and this one of him on PT-159 in the same squadron are the reason for this.

Some other smaller details I'll cover as the build gets going.

First order of business: the deck. There are two things that make this take longer than one would initially expect and these are because Merit designed their deck to work on both the early and late war boats. So first is the matter of the 56 holes one has to drill for placement of the torpedo tubes, guns, and other gear. Additionally, the later boats had a doubler plank/plate of plywood around teh perimeter of the deck that was not present on the earlier boats. I decided this was worth removing as it was some simple work with a coarse grit sanding stick. I think this took me all of 10-15 minutes to do.

The day cabin and engine room covers were next. The later is a single piece whereas the day cabin has the aft gun tub as three separate pieces but is otherwise a single, slide molded piece. Fit on to the deck was near perfect:

My link (Direct picture link)

My link (Direct picture link)

Second Post:

Charthouse and Cockpit assembly major components complete. There was some detail on the starboard cockpit bulkhead of the earlier boats that was missing and I felt quick and easy enough to add that would give some character.

My link

It's all just done by eyeball and not exact. Based on the below photo and

at the

My link

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