Italeri continues to expand its series of 1/35 scale patrol/torpedo boats with the release of a Vosper MTB. The kit comes well-packed in a large box containing hull and deck as single pieces; only the hull rear plate is separate. The deck features a planking effect so subtle it disappears under even the lightest coat of paint. None of the parts show any flash, but a fine parting line around each piece makes for a lot of cleanup. Also, some parts are marred by minor sink marks and ejector pins.
A die-cut sheet of clear plastic provides glazing for all the windows and portholes. While some alternate decals are provided, placement diagrams are only provided for Boat 77. The large instruction booklet has clear assembly diagrams, but I found the rigging information, spread throughout the booklet, to be confusing. Like Italeri’s other big boat kits, the Vosper is accompanied by a small color booklet of history and detail photos.
Assembly starts with the hull. Inserting a large brush handle through the portholes from the inside made it easier to center the photoetched-metal rings to the outside of the hull. I did not install the porthole glazing until after painting the hull and deck so I didn’t have to mask the clear parts. The die-cut clear parts fit very well; I attached them with a liquid PSA (pressure-sensitive adhesive) available from Micro Mark. It looks like white glue and dries clear but remains tacky indefinitely, allowing plenty of time to work.
When opening up the holes in the deck in Step 4, I found a few of them that were not needed. Fortunately, Italeri had filled in the markers for those. The instructions have you screw the deck to the hull in Step 5, but I found it easier to add most of the deck fittings before attaching the deck to the hull. I added the torpedo tubes and masts only after the deck was attached.
The two front-side clear pieces (4CS, 5CS) for the pilothouse were a little too narrow to fit well. I centered them in the openings to minimize the gaps as best I could. I attached the photoetched-metal clear-view screen parts using the same PSA glue.
The only other fit issue I had was with the pilothouse itself. There were small gaps between the sides and the top/front piece (10C). Clamping all of the parts with rubber bands eliminated the small gaps (another advantage of not having the deck on the hull at this stage).
The Vickers gun turret is basic but adequate. The instructions show that the sight mechanism can be made to elevate and depress by melting over the pins at the joints, but I found the pins too short to do this effectively. So, I just glued everything.
The two stowage lockers aft of the gun tub did not want to sit as shown in the instructions. I also found that my anchor interfered with the life raft when placed in the locating holes. I cut off the pins on the anchor mounts and shifted the anchor slightly to clear the raft.
The Yagi antennas for the main mast are provided in photoetched metal. While they look alright on the model, advanced ship modelers will probably want to replace them with wire or stretched sprue.
With the masts in place, it was time to add the rigging. Italeri provides a thin black thread for this that works well. However, to add to the confusing rigging instructions, the starboard main-mast guy-wire in the detail of Step 28 is numbered Wire 9 when it should be Wire 8. I also found that the port guy wire for the main mast (the real Wire 9) rubbed against the torpedo tube. I wanted to add a little sag to the long dipole antenna wires, but the thread in the kit would not stay straight without tension. So, I used 14-pound fishing line.
My finished Vosper matched the dimensions in Warship Profile 7: HM MTB Vosper 70ft, by David Cobb (Profile, no ISBN). Also helpful was Squadron/Signal’s Vosper MTBs in Action, by T. Garth Connelly (ISBN 978-0-89747-412-2).
I spent about 32 hours building the Vosper, mostly spent painting and rigging the model. You will also need some photoetched-metal skills, though nothing is overly difficult. Right out of the box, the kit produces an excellent model with plenty of opportunities for advanced modelers to add details.
A version of this review appeared in the May 2012 issue of FineScale Modeler.