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Cosmetic diferences between Gato - Balao

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Postby 87-1046108477 » Sun Mar 23, 2003 10:36 pm

I am wanting to build a model of the USS Razorback, a Balao class boat. I am finding on some sites the Gato and Balao classes are nearly identical. From a modling standpoint, is there a difference?

Edited By Wartoy on 1048473422

Postby Airmail » Mon Mar 24, 2003 8:09 am

Yes, there are cosmetic differences between the Gato and Balao, but also differences within each class and even for the same boat over the years which were sometimes modified during retrofits.

We asked a similar question regarding main gun location when we were researching and building our Bluefish [3/03 SCR] and received several replies pointing this out [e.g., some main guns were on the forward deck and some aft and a few had two deck guns]

We found the best inexpensive source of photos and drawings to be 'Fleet Submarines of WW-II by Tom Walkowiak from Floating Drydock. My quick scan of it during morning coffee did not show a photo of the Razorback [SS394] however.

So you have two options. Look for a photo of a nearby serial number and hope that is close to the Razorback in configuration. Or second, get a more detailed [and more expensive] book] which might have a photo and/or have to do significant research at various US Navy, Submarine, etc., web sites and libraries to get hold of an actual photo of the Razorback. Best of luck on your research, Lou Divone :)
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Postby JWLaRue » Mon Mar 24, 2003 4:54 pm

Unless I am mistaken, the one fundamental and visual difference between the Gato and Balao classes is the way that the periscope shears were built.

The Gato has a fairly substantial external support structure used to hold and support the two periscopes. This is a somewhat boxy looking set of "T" shaped support beams.

The Balao replaced all that external structure with a bascially self-supporting pair of conical housings for the two scopes.

I would consider this to be the one consistent visual differentiator.

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