Photo Album 19 - PT109

About me
Photo Album 1 - The Road to Minsk
Photo Album 2- The Road to Minsk
Photo Album 3 - The Road to Minsk
Photo Album 4- OS2U Kingfisher
Photo Album 5 - Flakvierling
Photo Album 6 - Building the Flakvierling
Photo Album 7 - Dauntless SBD
Photo Album 8 - Dauntless SBD
Photo Album 9 - Channel Gazing
Photo Album 10 - Stuka and Matilda
Photo Album 11- ME-109 and Spitfire V
Photo Album 12 - Anzio
Photo Album 13 - Anzio
Photo Album 14 - Bastogne Aftermath
Photo Album 15 - Normandy Ambush & more
Photo Album 16 - The First Time I Saw Paris
Photo Album 17- Aachen 1944
Photo Album 18 - Aachen 1944
Photo Album 19 - PT109
Photo Album 20 - "Corner Kick" Curtiss P-40
Photo Album 21 - Building "Corner Kick"
Photo Album 22 - Black Widow
Photo Album 23 - Assorted models
Photo Album 24 - Somewhere in Saudi (A-10)
Photo Album 25 - Top Gun Air Show
Photo Album 26 - Top Gun Airshow 2
Photo Album 27 - The Mother of all Battles
Photo Album 28 - The First Night - F-111
Photo Album 29 - My kids are in on the action - Christian's Dioramas
Photo Album 30 - My kids are in on the action - Nicole's Dinosaurs
Photo Album 31 - Coming Soon - Operation Market Garden
Photo Album 32 - The War Room
Photo Album 33 - Antique Ships Restoration Project
Photo Album 34 - Restoration Project II
Photo Album 35 - Restoration Project III
Photo Album 36 - Restoration Project IV
Contact Me
Related Links

JFK'S PT-109


Above: The completed model inside one of my showcases. Churchill gestures assertively in a poster behind the showcase. Painting 1/72 men proved very challenging, but no more challenging then finding suitable figures in this scale to use as Navy crewmen. Many Australian and British infantry lost arms, legs and heads to come up with the figures seen here.The casting resin used for the water is very tricky, and has to be mixed and poured just right. I had used it twice before, in a C-47 floatplane model and for my OS2U Kingfisher - but in both these models the depth of the water was about 1/2 of that used for PT-109. I would learn to regret having made the water here so deep. More on this later.


Above: Jack Kennedy had decided his ship lacked firepower, and so he shipped a 37mm anti tank gun he had found "lying around" on the island of Tulagi (he "borrowed" it indefinitely), across the channel from Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. I could not find clear pictures of how the gun was fastened to the deck, so I based my model on some fleeting shots from the movie "PT-109". This 1/72 scale 37mm was made completely from scratch. Lt. (jg) John Kennedy and his crew never got to use the gun - on their first patrol with the new weapon, their PT boat was sliced in half while patrolling the Blackett Straights at 2AM on the night of August 2, 1943, by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri.  The raft is made of clay, with fabric "tool" to simulate the webbing.
Right: The foredeck of PT-109. PT boats were wooden ships, usually about 70-90 feet in length. PT-109 was 80 feet long and built by ELCO. In 2002, PT-109's remains were found by guess who - Bob Ballard. The disposition of the wreck is yet to be resolved by the US Navy.


Above and below: The completed PT-109 sits on my shop desk, awaiting immersion in the resin.


Continued from right: I pondered and cursed for a while. In teaching my son how to rectify model errors, I have always told him no error is beyond repair...but I was not sure about this one. With only two layers of resin left, there was no way to cover up the bubbles without painting the layer completely, thereby negating any depth and hiding all the algae and coloring below. Unacceptable. I came up with an idea. Usine a propane torch, I melted a lot of the bubbles away. Others I covered with "floating" algae, and some were just painted over. Still others I punched out with a nail, and then added acetone to dissolve the resin and fill the hole. Using these methods, I covered up about 75% of the bubbles. The rest are still there, a reminder that I am still fallible after all the care I take and experience I have !


Above: A close up of the rear deck, showing the 20mm Oerlikon anti aircraft gun. A lot of detail had to be added to make the gun presentable, not the least of which is the canvas bag below the gun designed to catch the spent shells fired from the gun. The bag here is made of clay. The armrests are made from small electrical wire. The 20mm was useful against aircraft at close range; unfortunately this range was also usually within the range of the incoming aircraft's guns as well. The 20mm Oerlikon was license built in the US and has its origins from an early German design, eventually bought by the Swiss firm Oerlikon Contraves. Variants are still used today.


Above: The center cabin section and wheelhouse of PT-109. The boat's controls can be seen behind the splash shields, as well as the scratchbuilt searchlight, antenna and twin .50 caliber guns. All the controls, including the torpedo sight just visible behind the windshield, were all built from scratch. The original guns from the kit were very poorly detailed, so I used 1/48 scale .30 caliber guns to simulate the larger 50's in the smaller scale. It worked out ok! Just for kicks, I made a swivel for the guns - they rotate and elevate freely. The boat's horn, seen at far left, is from an HO scale locomotive.




Above: Two pictures of the Celluclay land/seascape. The posts for the dock are real twigs and are inserted while the Celluclay is wet. Care must be taken that they line up correctly. The completed dock is shown in the next picture with the diorama frame in place. I built the dock exactly as it would be done in real life - one plank at a time. Still to be added is the bottom color for the lagoon floor, and also the plant life and some detritus of war, such as barrels and tires. The toy jeep in the front will be converted and added at the top right of the diorama. I made the depth too large - so many layers of resin were needed to fill it that the probability of mixing one layer incorrectly was multiplied...and that is exactly what happened with the third to last layer. The boat was already embedded, so there was no going back. The layer in question had too much accelerant, and when dry, I discovered to my horror that several dozen bubbles had appeared, completely destroying the layered look of color and depth I had wanted. The next step is explained at left.