The Merit 1:48 scale Late War eighty-foot Elco PT boat
T. Garth Connelly
Earlier this year, I heard that a company, Merit International, was going to be releasing two 1:48 scale kits of the eighty-foot Elco PT boat. One kit is of the eighty-foot Elco as a new-built boat would look in 1945. The other kit is of the first production series (PT-103 to PT-196), or simply put, the series of which PT-109 was an unit.
I saw comments on some of the internet scale modeling sites which stated that these two kits were nothing more than scale-downed “re-pops” of the now out-of-production 1:35 scale Italeri PT-596 and the newer 1:35 scale PT-109 kits. I did not put much stock in those comments, nor did I particularly think they had any validity.
That was because I did not think that a “giant” such as Italeri would stand for someone doing something like that, especially since the PT-109 is still in production and is still, for some reason, popular.
Those comments were the last words I saw about these kits until this past week. Last Wednesday evening, I received an email from Tony Chin of Merit International. The email stated this:
Dear Mr Connelly
My name is Tony Chin and our company, Merit International is about to
release 1/48 scale series of Torpedo Boats from different countries.
I came up with the idea a few years back because PT Boats models are
either too small in 1/72 scale or in my opinion, too big in 1/35 scale
granted they are great model kits. I must admit that I had been using your great web site as reference during our research. While our first
model kit will definitely have mistakes, we hope that we have
minimized the mistakes to an acceptable level. Like Italeri, we have
chosen the Elao 80', late type as our first release because it is
laden with so much weapons and lots of conversion possibilities. The
1/48 scale model still measures 20 inches and has more than 500 parts
I have attached a copy of our paint guide for your reference.
Advance review sample without box is available if you are interested.
If interested, kindly provide a shipping address.
We look forward for your reply.
All the best
I have to say, I was shocked and honored to receive that email. I have never had a model manufacturer reach out to me and ask for my assistance. I responded that I would be glad to help them, as much as I could. True to his word, Mr. Chin sent me a review sample of the kit. It was just the deck, hull and the sprue-trees without the decals and a small fret of photo-etched parts.