Like many of you I have had a Revell Gato or two lying around my shop for years awaiting inspiration. Through a circuitous route I find myself back working on it with some accountability partners. Porteous, Kisler, and I have decided to finally put our kits and AM parts to good use and create our own wolfpack. John Knasas' beautiful boat is our main inspiration. He's done such a good job with his, and it performs so well in the water, we figure if our results are half as good we'll be doing alright.
The pack will consist of Gato (Knasas), Harder (Porteous), Trigger (Kisler) and Flasher (me). Suitably alliterative wolfpack name to follow. Why Flasher? Well, the first "grown up" book I ever read was Grider's 'War Fish' and I've always been thrilled by his account of his first patrol as CO, her fifth. If you're unfamiliar with the story of the "flaming action patrol" by all means check it out of your local library. Flasher during her fifth war patrol had her own slightly modified look which will pose a few interesting challenges -- but not so many that it will bog me down. I've been lost in detail hell on several boats recently and this project is ostensibly about fun. Why not Wahoo you ask? Hopefully she will come some day too in a slightly larger scale.
So, Flasher circa 5WP is an Electric Boat Gato-class so the Revell kit, which really is nice, is a great starting point. What it will require is some effort to convert the fairwater to Flasher's clean covered wagon look. The first thing I did was lop off some of the details on the kit parts. First to go were the square raised panel lines along the bottom of each side. These weld lines are on the boat the kit was primarily modeled after, Cod, but are not on Flasher's fairwater -- nor very many others that I have observed. Some scraping with a #11 X-acto and I was feeling much better.
I also cut off all but one of the pressure proof lockers molded into the FW sides. Why they made the moldings part of the kit I'll never understand. During 5WP Flasher only had one large one under the forward 20mm platform starboard of the CL. The rest I shaved down or drilled out. Then I opened the large doors on the side. Now she's looking like a Gato!
To fill the new holes left by the pressure proof lockers I employed a trick learned from the pages of the SCR many moons ago. I found some suitable styrene stock of the FW wall thickness and punched out circular plugs to fill the holes. I found some brass tubing with the matching ID of the holes and cut a piece around 1" long. Then I filed one end until it was sharp enough to cleanly bite the plastic. Placing it on the stock I hit it with a hammer until it cut out some neat disc shapes. They fit the holes with minimal trimming. All it takes is some Tenax from the backside and the holes are gone requiring minimal putty.
Now if I can find my Nautilus Model's MBT flood template I can finish scribing the openings and doors I started back in 2007!