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USS Gunnel SS-253 by Jim L - Trumpeter - 1:144 - PLASTIC


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USS Gunnel SS-253

 

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This model is a bit of a departure for me. I haven't built a plastic model in about 50 years but this model caught my attention. My father served on the USS Gunnel SS-253 during World War II. He was a torpedoman in the after torpedo room. He died when I was 12 years old of a service connected disability related to his service in the South Pacific. He made 7 War Patrols on the Gunnel. This model is being built in his honor.

 

The Trumpeter model is actually of the USS Gato SS-212, the class leader. This kit is of very high quality, in my opinion and has lots of detail. Unfortunately no 2 WWII boats ended the war looking the same. The Gunnel went through several overhauls during her brief lifetime and each one changed her look. The model is being build to look like she did when she finished War Patrol 8 on July 24, 1945 which will require quite a bit of bashing.

 

For openers, the shape of the conning tower was radically changed over the course of the war to reduce its silhouette. She was painted several times and each time a different color scheme was used. She finished the war with Measure 32/9SS which is how I will paint her.

 

Her main armament also changed considerably. She started the war with a 3"50 cal Navy deck gun mounted forward of the conning tower. At the end of the war she was sporting a 5"25 which gave it a very significant increase in firepower. She also had upgrades on her anti-aircraft capabilities. On the aft cigarette deck she had a single 20mm Bofers and on the forward deck she had a single 40mm Bofors. Targets were getting scare later in the war and it was more economical to sink surface targets with shells from the Bofers vs the 5" or torpedo. I will build the guns using White Ensign photo etch.

 

For those of you who are interested, I've written an online history of the Gunnel and her crew.

 

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Thanks J.Pett!

 

I actually found that booklet awhile back and it is loaded with great info and photos. There are 2 very good photos of the Gunnel on Page 21 which show the profile of the conning tower.

 

Recently a bunch of folks from the Ship Model Society of NJ took a field trip to the USS Ling museum in Hackensack where I was able to get a lot of photos topside. The biggest challenge will be the photo etch which I've never used before but like with wooden models I like the opportunity to learn new techniques.

 

Thanks again for the tip on the booklet.

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