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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2022 10:59 am 
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Location: Macclesfield, N.C. USA
Good day fellow modelers,

First, let me say that I'm very happy to be back here on Modelwarships, I have had to take a couple of years off from building pretty much everything. So, some of you may remember me as "Jim Varnell ABH2USN", for some reason my old login would not work anymore, but anyway I have made a new profile and I'm back now. As most of you know I have been having some pretty serious health issues and I had to take time away to process and make lifestyle changes, and learn to cope with the ever-changing symptoms of Parkinson's, as I have had to come to grips with this and other health issues I had time to reflect on my life and my hobby as a whole. My lifetime diorama project is still in the works, nothing has changed as far as that massive project goes. But, my wife was ever supportive as always asked me some time back, "What was my dream diorama project I would absolutely love to do? After much thought of her question, I responded in a nano-second and said "Pearl Harbor". I told her that it was always a dream to build a 1/700 scale complete harbor, but it was most likely never going to happen because of the cost of some of the ships involved. Then she said well if this is something you want to do then you need to get started with it and start getting kits and materials together, do the research and gather the most correct information possible, so this past December 7th, 2021was the day I selected to begin this project.

The plan was to gather the most readily available kits on the market and photo-etch kits to match, then work on getting kits that are more difficult to find, which has been somewhat hard with some kits and not too bad with others. The best part for me is the research, as I am a History nut I enjoy doing the research into the NAS on Ford Island, and the Shipyard as well, studying as many reference photos as possible, books after books after books, yes I'm old school, I research books as well. Yes, the internet is great for finding information as well as reference photos but you just can't beat a good book for reference materials.

So now where to begin? I decided to start with the (12) 77' Elco PT Boats that were at Pearl Harbor, most in the area of CinPac near the submarine base, they are listed as:
PT-20 - PT-30, & PT-42
These are in various stages of construction, all are resin castings I made and are being completely scratch-built.

The next set of vessels I am going to be working on are the modified Wickes Class modified DDs, to DMs and DMSs. there were 8 Destroyer minelayers, and 4 Destroyer minesweepers, these are all going to resin castings I will make using a USS WARD DD-139 mold I have made, I have already made one casting with is to be the USS SCHLEY DD-103, the USS CHEW DD-106 I have a plastic kit for already.

I have several photo-etch kits for several of the ships and even more to get. I have also purchased several photo-etch buildings as well as some 3-D printed buildings as well as the famous Hammerhead crane PE kit, as well as numerous others. I think I have enough to get started with.

Some of the structures, drydocks, piers, and airfield are going to be lit up for nighttime operations, this will be done using LEDs, and fiber optics.

Now that the wife is totally all in on this project I am excited to get it going, I plan to start table No.1 this coming September, which is most likely going to be 1/2 of Ford Island, I think that I can build all of Ford Island on (2) 4' x 8' tables, but I don't care how many it takes, as I will be attaching all the tables together in the same format as one would in model railroading. I do however plan to have plexiglass dividers between the tables to separate the landscape and terrain. I have learned that if you don't you can destroy a large-scale diorama if you have to disassemble it for whatever reason. My plan is to have it displayed at our local Military History Museum, but not all at once, as they can't accommodate the size.

I will be posting pictures of most things of interest, as well as naval vessels as they are completed, I most likely won't post step-by-step pics of the construction process as we all know how time-consuming that can be. If anyone has questions about something concerning the project I will be very happy to explain the process, as well as if anyone has suggestions on how to make this a better project I'm open to all.

I am again very happy to announce this new project, and I am very eager to get the first table constructed, I am also very happy to be back in the mental state to get back to the hobby that has given me so much joy over the years.

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Jim Varnell
ABH2USN


"BATTLE STATIONS"

1/700 Scale PEARL HARBOR Complete Base Diorama
Every Ship and Vessel present on 7 December 1941

1/350 USS ALASKA CB-1 (75% COMPLETE)
1/350 USS TEXAS BB-35 (10% COMPLETE)


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2022 2:28 pm 
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Welcome back, Jim! Your project sounds both exciting and daunting! How wonderful you have a spouse who's supportive of the hobby. Good luck - will be following along with interest.

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"Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday." John Wayne

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2022 8:23 pm 
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Ditto that. Looking forward to it.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2022 11:18 pm 
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'ABH2'......WOW :jump_1:

This has been a B I G dream of mine as well, since I was a kid, but my Mom NOR my Wife would EVER allow that!

I do look forward to your progress and how you use your lighting on such a Large project

All the Best...and Looking forward to this 'Aviation Boatswain Mate - Handler 2' from an OS1 (84-05). As a matter-of-fact, I Believe that one of my Last Uncles was an ABH, I need to call him on that!! :shipcaptain:

mmaresm


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2022 5:19 pm 
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Martin, Thank you, it's good to be back. I'm so ready to get this diorama off to a fantastic start, and you know that with my speed at building ships I will have some great progress to show in the near future. I did, however, forget to mention that since my diagnosis my wife has had me move my workbench downstairs to the den, it's smaller but still effective, so I can be looked after and if something happens she is close by to assist me if needed.

I hope that you and everyone here are doing well and I to look forward to your builds as well.

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Jim Varnell
ABH2USN


"BATTLE STATIONS"

1/700 Scale PEARL HARBOR Complete Base Diorama
Every Ship and Vessel present on 7 December 1941

1/350 USS ALASKA CB-1 (75% COMPLETE)
1/350 USS TEXAS BB-35 (10% COMPLETE)


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2022 5:30 pm 
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Dan K wrote:
Ditto that. Looking forward to it.


Thank you Dan I hope you are going to impressed with this project.
mmaresm wrote:
'ABH2'......WOW :jump_1:

This has been a B I G dream of mine as well, since I was a kid, but my Mom NOR my Wife would EVER allow that!

I do look forward to your progress and how you use your lighting on such a Large project

All the Best...and Looking forward to this 'Aviation Boatswain Mate - Handler 2' from an OS1 (84-05). As a matter-of-fact, I Believe that one of my Last Uncles was an ABH, I need to call him on that!! :shipcaptain:

mmaresm


OS1 I hope to do it justice, and you never know if your wife might allow you to do a smaller version like battleship row. I believe that Jeff Sharp did that and his example might be something to show your wife and maybe, just maybe she might say go for it.

_________________
Jim Varnell
ABH2USN


"BATTLE STATIONS"

1/700 Scale PEARL HARBOR Complete Base Diorama
Every Ship and Vessel present on 7 December 1941

1/350 USS ALASKA CB-1 (75% COMPLETE)
1/350 USS TEXAS BB-35 (10% COMPLETE)


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2022 6:38 am 
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Welcome back, Jim! I've been away doing loads of other things as well (such as writing and publishing novels), but I'll have to mind this topic in future.

:thumbs_up_1: :cool_1:

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Sean Nash, ACG (aircraft camo gestapo)

On the ways:
1/200 Trumpeter HMS Nelson
1/700 Tamiya USS Yorktown CV-5

In the stash:
1/35 Italiari PT-109
1/35 Tamiya "Pibber" Patrol Boat
1/350 Trumpeter USS Yorktown CV-10


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2022 8:52 pm 
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Goodwood wrote:
Welcome back, Jim! I've been away doing loads of other things as well (such as writing and publishing novels), but I'll have to mind this topic in future.

:thumbs_up_1: :cool_1:



Sean,
Hey buddy, good to hear from you, I hope you enjoy this project, and good to hear you're keeping busy as well.

_________________
Jim Varnell
ABH2USN


"BATTLE STATIONS"

1/700 Scale PEARL HARBOR Complete Base Diorama
Every Ship and Vessel present on 7 December 1941

1/350 USS ALASKA CB-1 (75% COMPLETE)
1/350 USS TEXAS BB-35 (10% COMPLETE)


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2022 9:06 pm 
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ABH2USN Varnell wrote:
Sean,
Hey buddy, good to hear from you, I hope you enjoy this project, and good to hear you're keeping busy as well.


Cheers! I'll be releasing my third novel next month, hopefully on my birthday...

_________________
Sean Nash, ACG (aircraft camo gestapo)

On the ways:
1/200 Trumpeter HMS Nelson
1/700 Tamiya USS Yorktown CV-5

In the stash:
1/35 Italiari PT-109
1/35 Tamiya "Pibber" Patrol Boat
1/350 Trumpeter USS Yorktown CV-10


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2022 11:37 pm 
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Minor update on this project, I have resin cast a few Wickes Class DDs and have designated them as follows:

USS GAMBLE DM-15 (Ex-DD-123)
USS RAMSAY DM-16 (Ex-DD-124)
USS MONTGOMERY DM-17 (Ex-DD-121)
USS BREESE DM-18 (Ex-DD-122)
USS TRACY DM-19 (Ex-DD-214)
USS PREBLE DM-20 (Ex-DD-345)


I have (3) more casting to make to complete the Destroyer Minelayers, then another (4) Wickes Classcastings to complete the Destroyer Minesweepers. I will also have to make an additional (2) castings to make USS HULBERT AVD-6 (Ex-DD-342) & USS THORNTON AVD-11 (Ex-DD-270)These are classified as Small Seaplane Tenders, the USS HULBERTwas Reverted back to a destroyer in November 1943


I am planning to make a mold of the USS VIREO AM-52 This vessel is of the BIRD CLASS Minesweepers, several of this class were converted into other specialty vessels as well. I will need to make 8 castings, these are to be as follows:

USS TURKEY AM-13
USS BOBOLINK AM-20
USS RAIL AM-26
USS TERN AM-31
USS GREBE AM-43
USS VIREO AM-52
This is the master for the casting mold

I will need (3) more castings to convert into the following vessels
USS WIDGEON ASR-1 (Ex-AM-22)
USS AVOCET AVP-4 (Ex-AM-19)
USS SWAN AVP-7 (Ex-AM-34)


I know most everyone starts with Battleship Row, and I too most likely will with Ford Island, but I just want to be different I guess, I want to work on the vessels that are going to take the longest to make as I have to scratch build them, plus I want to challenge myself. I want to start the flush-deck destroyers and the conversions as soon as I complete the PT Boats, which I should have completed by next week, currently, I have 8 completed, and ready for primer and paint, (4) still need torpedo tubes and depth charge racks/launchers. I will take pictures of all the PT Boats once the building process is completed prior to painting the boats. Also, I post pictures of them completed with paint and decals.

_________________
Jim Varnell
ABH2USN


"BATTLE STATIONS"

1/700 Scale PEARL HARBOR Complete Base Diorama
Every Ship and Vessel present on 7 December 1941

1/350 USS ALASKA CB-1 (75% COMPLETE)
1/350 USS TEXAS BB-35 (10% COMPLETE)


Last edited by ABH2USN Varnell on Sun Aug 21, 2022 11:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2022 2:50 pm 
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I'm looking forward to this project. It is similar to my long term project of building the ships of the Pacific Fleet circa late 1941in 1/700(just the ships, no room for a diorama of the whole harbor sadly). Trying to find models of all of the ships has been a challenge (how do we still not have 1/700 plastic kits of the pre-war cruisers like the Northampton and Brooklyn classes?!) so I've been trying to buy at least one of each class if I can with plans to at least cast the hull for the others I'll need.

Keep us updated

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2022 10:35 pm 
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Location: Macclesfield, N.C. USA
Here's my 100% scratch built PT Boat flotilla which were at Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. These represent the 77' Elco boat's. The first run of PT Boats for the US Navy where mostly experimental and the basic design Was set around the 77' Elco's and crews would set up the weapon systems to suit the needs of the crew.
Attachment:
File comment: Here's the 12 PT Boats for the Pearl Harbor diorama, construction is complete and next is prime and paint.
IMG_20220821_215457942.jpg
IMG_20220821_215457942.jpg [ 322.78 KiB | Viewed 717 times ]


This is my take of PT-27, photos of the craft show that the crew had a larger caliber deck gun on the fantail and it would have been a trial and error kind of test.
Attachment:
File comment: Close up of PT-27
IMG_20220821_215250065_HDR.jpg
IMG_20220821_215250065_HDR.jpg [ 295.2 KiB | Viewed 717 times ]
Attachment:
File comment: Head on of PT-27
IMG_20220821_215307500_HDR.jpg
IMG_20220821_215307500_HDR.jpg [ 124.08 KiB | Viewed 717 times ]

Head on view of PT-27
Attachment:
File comment: This is PT - 42
IMG_20220821_215339975_HDR.jpg
IMG_20220821_215339975_HDR.jpg [ 220.22 KiB | Viewed 717 times ]

And finally this is PT-42, all the pics I found show that the bow deck guns were WC-30 cal. On a horseshoe pole stand, but they were all prior to December 7th. Until I reviewed my PT BOAT reference book and found it was sporting (2) 20mm AA batteries on the bow.

These little crafts are not 100% accurate but I think I captured the closest representation of PT-20 thru PT-30, & PT-42

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Jim Varnell
ABH2USN


"BATTLE STATIONS"

1/700 Scale PEARL HARBOR Complete Base Diorama
Every Ship and Vessel present on 7 December 1941

1/350 USS ALASKA CB-1 (75% COMPLETE)
1/350 USS TEXAS BB-35 (10% COMPLETE)


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2022 11:07 pm 
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ArizonaBB39 wrote:
I'm looking forward to this project. It is similar to my long term project of building the ships of the Pacific Fleet circa late 1941in 1/700(just the ships, no room for a diorama of the whole harbor sadly). Trying to find models of all of the ships has been a challenge (how do we still not have 1/700 plastic kits of the pre-war cruisers like the Northampton and Brooklyn classes?!) so I've been trying to buy at least one of each class if I can with plans to at least cast the hull for the others I'll need.

Keep us updated


Abram,
I know exactly what you mean in regards to pre-war ship classes, however, I have found an eBay seller (lixili_1) who sells a brand of resin kits with some fantastic complete PE sets. The brand is SSMODEL, they also do 3-D printing, also, another brand I found is called SNAKE and they have a resin model of USS NORTHAMPTON for $59.99, they also have the BROOKLYN Class for the same price. I have the Brooklyn and its very nicely detailed.

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Jim Varnell
ABH2USN


"BATTLE STATIONS"

1/700 Scale PEARL HARBOR Complete Base Diorama
Every Ship and Vessel present on 7 December 1941

1/350 USS ALASKA CB-1 (75% COMPLETE)
1/350 USS TEXAS BB-35 (10% COMPLETE)


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2022 3:47 am 
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Hello:

I had a similar (but much smaller scale) idea of making Battleship Row in 1/700 scale. I grew up around Pearl Harbor, and saw the Arizona memorial even day going to school. I got all of the ships I need (mostly the Hi-Mold resin ones, that's what was available at the time). I just need the time and the room. Once I got them all out, laid it out on the floor, took a big step back to take in all in, and finally realized the size of things.

Even "just" the area around Ford Island over to sub-base is 2 miles, or about 15' in 1/700 scale. That's about eight 4'x8' sheets of plywood. If you want to include middle and west loch, then that's even bigger. I don't even want to think about moving a single 4'x8' sheet and trying to keep it all intact. Getting the kits for Battleship Row wasn't trivial, even though they're fairly well known. I can imagine that getting all of the other ships will be hard. Plus the shipyard, dry docks, etc. Hats off to you. I wish you well, and look forward to your updates. It might motivate me enough to get going on my project.

Cheers
Mike


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2022 12:04 pm 
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Mike,
I totally agree about the size it is going to be massive, but when I had my house built a few years ago, I had this diorama in mind, I have an "unfinished" upstairs that is my model room, the way I will accomplish this is building Ford Island towards the left side and the shipyard to the right, with the water area in between will be the walkway to access everything and for viewing. I am also going to exercise "artistic expression" and condense some of the land mass around the shipyard and locks. If I was to build everything to the exact 1/700 scale, I would need to have an entire warehouse to showcase it, it would involve (42) 4' x 8' tables.

I can have 8 tables end to end equaling 64' on the front side (right), then I can fit 2 rows of 7 tables for 58' each for a total of 116' to the left side, It's basically a giant horseshoe. I plan to build each table in my slipway downstairs, as far as the layout, I can fit one table at a time. I too have found getting all the ships a bit daunting, but I have learned to do resin castings, this has allowed me to make ships that there is no kit for. It requires a massive amount of research, which is something that I have been doing pretty much my whole life, I spent 10 years in the US Navy and that allowed me access to research of the ships of that era, as well as seeing a few of them in person.

I was able to go to Pearl Harbor and had access to the base and everything there, actually has allowed access to the research facility and which books would be the best to add to my collection, I have been building model warships my entire life and I have built several hundreds of them but learning to design my own molds and how to cast resin has really taken me to the next level. Now, if I could only figure out how to make my own photo-etch I would have it made. I am looking into learning how to do 3-D printing and maybe then I can really get things going with my modeling.

I have another diorama project that I had planned back a few years ago, and it's another lifetime diorama that I started but had to put on the back burner when I got sick with Parkinson's, it is a modern-era diorama that comprises parts naval bases and shipyards from all over into one massive diorama. I started the first table and it is Newport News Naval Shipyard on the Elizabeth River. It has been upstairs, untouched for 3 years now and I will be dismantling it to put it on another new frame as the original is damaged from the move to the new house.
I was documenting every step of the build process and all the ships that are built for that diorama which is a couple hundred ships and submarines.
If you are interested in viewing it, it is under my old screen name "Jim Varnell ABH2USN".

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Jim Varnell
ABH2USN


"BATTLE STATIONS"

1/700 Scale PEARL HARBOR Complete Base Diorama
Every Ship and Vessel present on 7 December 1941

1/350 USS ALASKA CB-1 (75% COMPLETE)
1/350 USS TEXAS BB-35 (10% COMPLETE)


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2022 12:17 pm 
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Today I am planning to prime all the PT boats and once dry start airbrushing them after I get detailed paint work completed over the next few days. But, I am going to start work on the Wicked destroyer modifications for the Destroyer Minelayers and Destroyer Minesweepers. I will post pictures of these as soon as I get them completed.

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Jim Varnell
ABH2USN


"BATTLE STATIONS"

1/700 Scale PEARL HARBOR Complete Base Diorama
Every Ship and Vessel present on 7 December 1941

1/350 USS ALASKA CB-1 (75% COMPLETE)
1/350 USS TEXAS BB-35 (10% COMPLETE)


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2022 12:36 pm 
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what makes you think that some of the pt boats had radar at about the time of the PH attack? http://www.navsource.org/archives/12/05idx.htm


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2022 4:44 pm 
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ABH2USN Varnell wrote:
OS1 I hope to do it justice, and you never know if your wife might allow you to do a smaller version like battleship row. I believe that Jeff Sharp did that and his example might be something to show your wife and maybe, just maybe she might say go for it.


LOL! It’s amazing to me how many people have the same story as I do about wanting to build Pearl Harbor for as long as I can remember. The way I try to describe this obsession to my wife is, it’s just like all the people in the movie “ Close Encounters of the Third Kind” where everyone is strangely obsessed with a strange looking mountain but have no idea why. They are so drawn to it that they make drawings and models of it just to try to figure out why it has captured their continuous attention.
Good luck with this project Jim! I love it and will be watching with excited eyes.
Jeff


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2022 10:23 pm 
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DavidP wrote:
what makes you think that some of the pt boats had radar at about the time of the PH attack? http://www.navsource.org/archives/12/05idx.htm


David, I have been researching every single ship, boat, and craft, for the past year if you look at nav source and look at PT-27 the first picture shows what appears to be a dome structure on top of the mast, the picture states circ. 1942, the same picture is Paul H.Silverstone's "US WARSHIPS OF WORLD WAR 2", but it is circ. December 1941, also you have to remember that the 77' ELCO PT Boats specifically were test vessels in the first year of their service. Nowhere did I ever say it was a radar dome, I have pictural proof of this dome and it is in your reference that you shared.

Now, what I have done is represent this dome structure as best I could, hell it could be anything in the dome and if you noticed in the pictures of my boats only PT-27 and PT-42 shared the same dome, furthermore, PT-13-36, PT-49-58 were all transferred to the Royal Navy on completion as MTB-307-316, this transfer took place in early 1942, and the Royal Navy could have had the domes attached for testing purposes, but the fact of the matter is that the domes were present as early as December 1941 and several sources show these domes present, not to mention several PT Boats started sporting these domes and other styles such as "Egg" and "Plunger ball" domes as early as mid-April 1942.

This is my best explanation for the Domes I represented on PT-27 and PT-42. I am trying to be accurate as much as possible, but where you are building from photographs, and some are not the "clearest" you have to allow for "artistic interpretation", hope this answers your question as to why I added the dome.

Just know that research is everything, and I have been researching Naval Vessels faithfully since 1989 when I joined the Navy and spent countless nights haze grey and underway with nothing to do but read naval history books and study "Jane's Fighting ships" and "Conway's US Navy Warships" as well as several trips to the Naval Archives in the Washington D.C. Navy Yard, Philadelphia Naval Shipyard Archives.
Hope this puts your mind at ease. Best regards.

_________________
Jim Varnell
ABH2USN


"BATTLE STATIONS"

1/700 Scale PEARL HARBOR Complete Base Diorama
Every Ship and Vessel present on 7 December 1941

1/350 USS ALASKA CB-1 (75% COMPLETE)
1/350 USS TEXAS BB-35 (10% COMPLETE)


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2022 11:21 pm 
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that style of dome was for radar. https://www.ptboatworld.com/PT_Boat_Info/Radar.htm


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