Last Monday I took possession of the latest entry in the sub kit market, the HMK Cool-Stuff 1/72 scale USS Permit (SSN-594). If you’ve followed the development on subpirates.com, you know that Joel Stadnick started out to scratchbuild the USS Jack (SSN-605). As these things often do, the project morphed into a standard Permit hull as well then a full blown production kit based on the responses he received to his work.
The kit features an epoxy GRP hull and sail with full scribing. Joel used a black and red gel coat during the layup process to color the hull halves. This is a neat feature that should help hide scrapes and scratches, especially on the lower hull when the finish paint is marred. Indexing lips are included as separate epoxy strips to aid assembly. There is even a set of clips for the upper hull that capture the lower hull indexing lips for perfect registration. Even without them the hull halves I received matched perfectly.
The sail comes with several resin sail tops and support decks to depict raised or retracted masts. The full set of reinforced cast resin masts includes scopes, antennas and snorkel. The snorkel has hollow tubes so it can actually be used to draw air for a pump ballast system.
All appendages are cast in resin and contain stainless set screws and shaft screws. The planes have set screws molded into them to allow removal. A white metal linkage set is included along with brass bearings for shaft support. The upper rudder shaft is actually a tube to enable the builder to install a light bulb and wires for a working anchor light.
The running gear is complete with a length of 3/16” stainless steel shaft, oilite bearings, dog bone coupler, wheel collars and stainless set screws. The prop is a very stout cast epoxy unit reinforced with carbon fiber. It has a separate resin dunce cap piece. The sizing and fit mates up to the stern of the hull perfectly. WTC saddles and upper hull formers are included as well.
The kit comes with a full 1/72 sheet of Deep Sea Design plans along with a white metal detail part set featuring cleats, bollards, windlass, etc. A stainless photo-etch set has grates, hatches and MBT vents to completely represent all the hull details.
While the kit comes as an as-built Permit, for an additional fee you can purchase the circa-1979 add-on kit. This will enable you to dress your boat out with a GRP epoxy towed array fairing, two piece resin towed array extraction tube, modified port stern plane stabilizer, GNATS sonar jammer dome, and observation periscope. There are also two resin sail caps with the integrated BRD antenna mini-sail and snorkel mast with IFF/UHF antenna. These features give enormous character to the sleek and clean Permit silhouette.
All in all this is a beautiful piece of kit engineering. Considering this is Joel’s first attempt at scratch building, the results are phenomenal. The glass and resin work is of high quality with smooth, blemish-free finishes. The only minor gripe I can offer up is the photo-etch set is a bit thin in thickness. And there is no instruction manual at this point though one is being developed and will be included soon. However, without one the kit builder with intermediate skills would have little trouble turning out a marvelous boat.
HMK’s standard USS Permit kit price is $500 USD plus shipping. The circa 1979 add-on kit is an additional $50. Contact Joel at firstname.lastname@example.org
for more information. And watch for future kits from HMK Cool-Stuff…they're winners!