The Gato class of submarines, were the main stay of the submarine force of the US Navy during World War II. Seventy plus vessels were produced in the early 1940s with the vessels remaining in service until the late 1960s. Crew conditions inside this vessel type were poor, with the care of the sailors manning the vessel being a secondary consideration. Propulsion was via diesel electric engines, which allowed the vessel to travel at 21 knots on the surface and 9 knots submerged.
This offering from Hobby Boss of a USS Gato class submarine, is supplied in a cardboard tray with a card lid. The contents are individually bagged inside, with no obvious issues that I can detect visually. Before we get into the main body of the review, it should be pointed out that this 1/350th scale submarine requires very few parts to complete.
The hull of the submarine is made up of two pieces, with one of the sides having the deck moulded with it. Detail is acceptable, and assembly should be relatively easy due to pins that cross the full width of the vessel and so providing very positive locations. There are a number of photographs on line of the Gato class submarines, and checking the mouldings against these images the match would appear to be good. The bow planes are shown deployed, but with a little effort on the part of the modeller you could show them retracted - if you do opt to show them deployed the arm that holds the blade in place, will need to be scratched, as they are not present in the model. The stern controls are shown in a neutral position, but they appear to me that they could be assembled in the position of your choice. The props and prop shafts are simple assemblies, that do the job. A simple deck gun is provided, but I am sure better representations are available via the market market route.
The Conning tower is an area of detail, that I am not convinced is correct as the shape does not appear to match on-line reference, with one part not looking tall enough. I know that photo etch usage is popular in these small scale vessels, and a guard rail around the deck would make a big improvement to the look of the finished model. The last aspect provided has nothing to do with the finished model itself, but you do get a display stand, with a photo etched plate making for ease of display. SS 212 which is the vessel represented here, served from January 1943 to September 1945, and went for scrap in the 1960s. The very minimal number of decals provided, are nicely thin and I cannot feel them on the carrier paper.
Submarines by their very nature have very few structures but even I was surprised at how few parts were needed to construct this model. The main hull of the model, looks to be a very good match with on-line images. But I have concerns about the shape of the conning tower, which just does not look right to me, and I cannot overcome my concerns about this area of the model. With that said moulding quality appears to be very good, and I believe the fit of parts will be easy to tackle.