Models: Patrol Torpedo Boat – PT-109

Treasure Harbor

109 ways to kick butt!

Ahoy! Off the port bow, there be a yard of gold in my sights! Full steam ahead as I take look back at my first ever boat model. Will this one floating away with treasure or will it sink before returning to port? Grab a sailor’s hat and let’s find out.

Well here it is, my pride and joy, my first boat model. What can I say about this wonderful thing? Suddenly a record skips a beat, it’s not even finished all the way actually. That’s right, this is one of the models that for one reason or a few others that I stopped working on. It seems like I am always battling the A.D.D. and that might have been the case for this model kit. Wait, what am I talking about again?

Treasure Harbor

Note your model does not actually fire

Yes, of course the classic Revell PT-109 Torpedo / Scout boat from the ever popular WW2. Now this is an easy to build kit, a great starter kit for boat enthusiasts too. The kit can easily be found and is a good size with lots of fun details. It also comes with a display stand that I found quite useful. In looking back at this kit I am going to have to cite my lack of knowledge of military items as a huge factor in why I did not finish this one. That’s right folks I don’t know the exact bullet size of the canons on the boat nor do I care. I don’t wake up in the middle of the night wondering what company manufactured the railing parts or what kind of weld was used to bolt them to the deck.

Treasure Harbor

My model got shipwrecked on my modeling table.

Prior to this I had manly been working on factory accurate car models, making sure each spec was the right color, sheen, texture and shade. Having a dad with factory car manuals and a library full of accurate reference material did not help either. So when I switched over to military items such as this boat I was lost at sea if it were. I looked around like most people do when attempting to build something and found a lackluster set of pictures, accounts and history of these boats. I had nowhere to begin, I knew hardly knew many boating terms any ways. Where the hell is the starboard side I would yell out followed by inappropriate remarks about dingys, to be young again.

Treasure Harbor

Gray paint is in for WWII!

Maybe I got too flustered in my search to make an accurate one or that I had many other models to build and got into an assembly line mode of working as a fake model shop, trying to get models done as fast as I could. It’s true that I am a slow builder and artist but at least I enjoy doing it. Now for this one the blasted thing looked gray all over to me. What shade I did not know, the color gray is one of the hardest colors to match from photographs. Light, shadow and color balance really affect what the color looks like. As you can see in each of these photos the color looks slightly off. Back then I only had a simple point and shoot camera so that did not help either. But you can see how hard it is to color guess something.

My approach for this one was to simply make a slightly weathered boat. Maybe that had been sitting at dock too long after a battle getting repaired. Or maybe it was about to be turned into a a floating party deck, I don’t know I did not plan the thing out too well. Maybe that is why I never finished it. I had no clue how to weather a boat at the time, I hardly been around boats growing up in Ohio. A boat was just something I saw in a movie or on TV. I was so confused. I think the idea of just painting everything boring standard grey made me less interested in completing this model kit. However, It was fun to put together and I would like to re-build this one sometime. And it should be a staple of models to build in the hobby.

As a kid I watched the 1963 movie PT-109 staring Cliff Robertson movie a few times with my dad. He knew more knowledge about the boat than I did so as a son trying to please his father I built the kit as he said. He helped me with some color choices but I did the rest. Based on the photos and what I know now about modeling I would say I am about 50% done with this kit at this point of the pictures. I still have the kit, its locked up at my parents’ house on a cool stand that came with the kit. I don’t know what happened to the torpedoes on the boat though but I am going to blame one of our cats. They were my biggest foe when building models!

If you get a chance check out the movie it will inspire you to build the model and to learn more about the boat. JFK had a huge impact on the world and was a real inspiration. Everybody that tries to do something new and for peace seems to get the bad end of the deal at the end. I know there is a lot of talk about the killing of JFK but the thing that I always go back to is the shooters name. Look at all the big assassinations, the public always seems to refer to them by their first, middle and last names, and I think that is not only funny but also kind of worrisome.

For a kid the PT boat is a fun ship. From a far it looks like its heavily armored and gunned but up close its littler more than a gray speed boat with 4 torpedoes that got around 3 mpg! Check online for many, many videos explain the history of these boats. Americans love their propaganda videos so go get inspired to build this fun kit.


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