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VonL

Classic Revell Submarine Quextion

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Ahoy, ship dudes - I've always dug that odd-scale Revell USS Growler kit (1/180-ish?) and built it twice as a kid. Would like to build it again, this time as SS-377 in her WWII configuration: A Balao class boat launched in DEC 1944, that was rebuilt after the war as a Guppy-II. Nautilus Models offers those nice resin sails/mods for this kit and there are some others emerging on Shapeways. Not sure how to pick the most accurate variant, cuz' the ship's pix don't seem to show any differences...that I can detect.

Suggestions-???

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The best source for visual information on the Balao class is: http://navsource.org/archives/08/pdf/0829295.pdf   Also, photos of SS-377 in all configurations are available at Navsource (http://www.navsource.org/archives/subidx.htm).  It is under the Fleet Submarines heading.

 It is unclear from your posting:  do you want to build Menhaden (SS-377) in the "as built" configuration or in the Guppy II postwar conversions?  Depending on your answer, there are a few points that differ for each.  If you are doing the "as built" fleet boat, from Nautilus your only choice is the Icefish conning tower (180-003).  You will also need a 1/180 5/25 gun (Nautilus 180-050) for the rear deck and a Bofors.  Because the Revell USS Growler (aka Flasher and (incorrectly) aka Lionfish) kit has incorrect limber holes and two propellers that turn in the same direction, and an incorrect deck layout for a Balao, the Trumpeter 1/144 is a better starting point. That of course depends on how much accuracy you wish to obtain in your build.  Your decision, build what you want.  For the Trumpeter kit, Nautilus also made conversions, which are now unfortunately OOP.  So, maybe it is better to stick with the Revell kit.  You will need to drill out the upper half round limber holes and sand away the slot outlines below those.  SS-377 was built in Manitowoc, which employed the Electric Boat plan set, outwardly distinguished by the limber holes as half rounds with no slots.  The below deck boat (outline on forward deck) was only on the earliest Gato class boasts. Sand it off.

Several fleet submarines were modified (in slightly different ways) to “Guppy” conversions.  Guppy = Greater Underwater Propulsive Power, with the y for alliterative purposes. These featured streamlined enclosures over the conning towers , snorkels, and bow streamlining. Postwar, Menhaden was converted to Guppy IIA with an Electric Boat step sail and then subsequently fitted with a high Atlantic fiberglass sail. In that case, for the Guppy IIa, the only choices are the somewhat out of size Shapeways 1/200 USS Gato Fairwater v2, made by diStefan 3Dprint or (the better choices) the much more extensive line available from Iron Bottom Sound at: http://ibs.eastcoastarmory.com/Csets.htm   They carry in 1/178 (Revell kit) scale the EB Step sail, the high Atlantic sail and a bow conversion kit to replace the fleet submarine "Bull nose" with the rounded Guppy bow.  All are cast in resin. They also carry correct propeller sets (in white metal) for the Revell kit,  depending on how much you want to detail correctly.   You will also need to fashion a deck safety rail slot, that ran along the deck. 
 

The high Atlantic sail purpose was to get the bridge crew up higher, as the storm driven waves in the North Atlantic (and North Pacific as well) would soak watch standers on the bridge of the lower step sails.  It had an internal metal frame and fiberglass skin, to keep down the weight of the sail and improve roll stability. 

 I am currently building both a resin 1/350 scale Guppy II with the Electric Boat step sail and a Guppy III with the high Atlantic sail and the three PUFFS sonar fins.  These are both combinations of hulls from the old Yankee Modelworks resin Guppy kits with the more accurate Tom's Modelworks resin sails.  If you have additional questions, email me; I am listed in the SIGS section in the IPMS Journal under the SubCommittee (submarine) section).

Edited by TomDougherty
Clarify points

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On 12/22/2019 at 9:10 PM, TomDougherty said:

The best source for visual information on the Balao class is: http://navsource.org/archives/08/pdf/0829295.pdf   Also, photos of SS-377 in all configurations are available at Navsource (http://www.navsource.org/archives/subidx.htm).  It is under the Fleet Submarines heading...

Tom - Thanx much for this; a lot to digest, for one who is not a sub expert! General intent is to do the good ol' Revell kit in the as-built WWII configuration (with some artistic license). Not sure that I really wanna go all the way down the rabbit hole with her deck, but the limber-holes mod is do-able. Thanx for the Nautilus resin recommendations and especially for the weapons loadout - I had not yet stumbled across that.

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