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1/32 Scale Linberg PT-103 Class Boat Build


Active member
Ahoy there.


As I'm working on my 1/32 scale Lindberg PT boat rebuild I am also working on another 1/32 scale Lindberg PT boat model that will also be radio-controlled.

I think this kit is out of production - again.

I'll share with you some of the many modifications I'm doing on this model. However, I am *NOT* intending o do all the major modifications that are needed to make this a really good looking facsimile of an 80' Elco boat.

Here are a few of the problems with this kit.

#1. The hull is 3/4" too short to be 80' in real life. That in turn throws everything else, especially the foredeck layout, off.

#2. The hull is the wrong shape for an 80' Elco boat especially at the bow. The shape is better suited for the earlier 77' Elco boats.

#3a. The chartroom, bridge and dayroom are overly simplified and the chartroom does not have the transverse roof curve it should have. #3b. The large engine room vent is the wrong type for a PT-103 Class boat. This kit is supposed to represent John F. Kennedy's PT-109 and it should have four tall vents.

#4. The hull and thus the deck does not have any camber. The middle of the deck should be slightly higher than the edges when viewed from the bow or stern.

#5. For some strange reason the two .50 caliber gun tubs are not the same diameter. I was lucky in that this is my second kit and I was able to swap out a gun tub from my earlier built boat. Thus one boat has two of the larger gun tubs and the other has two of the smaller ones but at least each boat has two gun tubs the same diameter.

#6. The guns. Super simplified renditions that are very toy like.

#7. There are two very large round hatches on the rear deck. These were for access to he rudders. They were not present on any real boat.

#8. There are two fairly large recesses on the removable center deck. They are for the turn-buttons that hold that deck in place. I filled those in too.

#9. The splinter shields at the bridge/cockpit area are mostly wrong.

#10. The foredeck hatch closest to the chartroom is in the wrong place and needs to be moved to the right.

I could go on and on but you get the idea.

One thing I should mention is that the good people at Lindberg sent me the parts required to build a PT-103 Class boat when I emailed them and asked about buying them. They sent the parts gratis.

So, let's start by improving the looks of the main deck.

Here's an image of the kit deck showing all the wrongly positioned foredeck hatch.

Here's an images showing the rear deck modifications to fill in the surplus openings.

Here are two images showing the modifications I made in order to move the foredeck hatch to its proper location and to also move the removable center deck aft 3/4". Ideally I should add 3/4" to lengthen the rear of the hull but I'm not going to do that as it would mean a lot of work adding the 3/4" to the deck and scribing the planking.

A quick note about the planking. You can omit scribing planking since on many boats it wasn't visible. I added the planking simply for aesthetics.

Here are three images showing the modified main deck and the scribed on planking.

More to come soon. Thank you for looking. I welcome comments.

Cheers from Peter
Nice start Peter, you obviously have a passion for the PTs. What references do you suggest to someone who may want to make the casual corrections, not really hyper detail stuff.

Wouldn't it be easier to do the 77' boat?
Removable Middle Deck

Ahoy there again.

Here is an image of the modified removable middle deck section. To save weight I cut out the area under the forward chartroom cabin and the dayroom cabin located about in the middle. You can also see the filled in turn-button recesses between the four holes on the right. Those four holes are for the four engine room vents.

Here is an image of the parts for the scratch-built replacment engine room cover.

Here is an image of the parts that Lindberg uses for the wrong cover for a boat like PT-109.

This image shows how I modified or scratch-built the various splinter shields around the bridge/cockpit area.

Here is an exploded view of the parts for the bridge area.

Here's a cloer view of some of those parts.

Here are the parts dry fitted to test fit.

Thanks again for looking. Comments or questions are welcomed.

Cheers from Peter
Nice start Peter, you obviously have a passion for the PTs. What references do you suggest to someone who may want to make the casual corrections, not really hyper detail stuff.

Wouldn't it be easier to do the 77' boat?

Ahoy there Moon Puppy.

Yes, I have a fair passion for PT boats and also for MTBs (Motor Torpedo Boats).

I got the 1/32 scale Lindberg PT-109 kits because at that time it was the only large scale styrene kit. The new Italeri PT boat kits (PT-596 & PT-109) makes this kit totally obsolete.

As far as the hull goes, yes it'd be easier to build a 77' Elco boat and i'd do it if I had plans for one.

The 77' Elco gun boat (converted from the PT boat) with lots of guns on it is interesting because it was such a boat, PT-59 iirc, that John F. Kennedy commanded after PT-109 was lost by being rammed by a Japanese destroyer.

The only problem with building a 77' Elco boat from the Lindberg kit is that you'd use only the hull, the four torpedo tubes and the extremely basic guns plus just a few other parts. Everything else has to be scratch-built.

There are a lot of good books on PT boats. However, there's a PT boat forum that is just utterly fantastic for information. A number of WW2 PT boat veterans hang out there and they tell many tales of their experience and/or clarify any questions you might have. The forum itself is at:


As far as making casual corrections to the Lindberg kit goes. Well, unless you already have one or can get it really cheap I'd pass on it and get one of the two Italeri PT boats. They are fantastically detailed even out of the box and they have all the guns plus the gun gurads that prevented excited gunners from shooting their own boats. Lindberg doesn't give you any of the gun guards and they're fairly intricate.

Thanks for your interest.

Cheers from Peter
Difference between early and late engine room vents

Ahoy there.

This is not so much a progress update as it to show you the difference in the engine room vents between the early 80' Elco boat (of which PT-109 was one) and the later war version. In the 1/32 scale Lindberg kit you get the later vents arrangement which is wrong for PT-109 which this kit claims to be.

Here is the layout for the early 80' Elco boats.

Here is the later layout for the 80' Elco boats.

Thanks for looking and/or commeting.

Cheers from Peter
So they increased the size of the main or center vent, and removed 2 of the smaller vents? So much to know if you are going to do a PT boat. Cool stuff Peter.
So they increased the size of the main or center vent, and removed 2 of the smaller vents? So much to know if you are going to do a PT boat. Cool stuff Peter.

Ahoy there James.

It really depends on what you want in a PT boat model. A lot of people want to model a particlar boat as it appeared at one particular time. With this second build, actually it's my third 1/32 scale Lindberg build, I wanted a boat that looked a bit more like the early 80' boat should.

The 1/32 scale Lindberg kit is really more of a toy than it is a serious model. For many years though it was the only large scale injection molded PT boat kit. The newer Italeri kits are light years ahead of the Lindberg kit in evert respect except the Lindberg kit comes with two brass prop shafts and two brass prop shaft housing that if they aren't warped you can use with radio control gear to run your boat. Plus tthere are two operable rudders in the Lindberg kit but the shafts of the rudders and the mounts for them should be lengthened to prevent water from coming in when the model is run at speed.

It's a real challenge to make the ancient 1/32 scale Lindberg PT boat look really good but it's very satisfying to do so. It's a shame that Lindberg didn't just scale up their excellent 1/64 scale PT boat kit to 1/32 scale which would have been very easy for them to do. Instead they cut corners by using tthe hull from their Chris Craft Constellation kit.

I think my next update will be on improving the bridge/cockpit area as it's exceedingly simplified on the Lindberg kit. Since I've already modified so much of that area my before images will have to be taken from the instruction sheet immages.

Cheers from Peter
Ahoy there.

Converting Vents to Locking Turn Buttons for the Removable Middle Deck Area

I thought I'd show you how to convert the engine room vents so that they can be used to lock down the removable middle deck area of the model. This area needs to be removeable if you plan to radio-control the model. This technique can also be used on the 1/35 Italeri PT boat models.

This image shows the parts laid out prior to assembling them.

The upper square piece of styrene gets slightly rounded for most of its length and is then cemented inside the round styrene tube that's next to it. You can see how it fits in tthe row of parts just below it. Then below that you can see the assembly as it would go into the vent. I simply cut off the locating tab on the bottom of the vent and then drilled it out to the same size hole as is in the removable deck for the vent to sit into.

This image shows the parts from their underside. You can see the locating tab on the left hand vent and the hole in tthe bottom of the right hand vent for the locking tab assembly.

This image shows the assembled locking tab in the open position which is the position the vent would be turned to to unlock the removable middle deck area from the model.

This image shows the vent turned so that the tab would be under the main deck area thus holding the removable middle deck in position. One vent on each side will work to hold the removeable middle deck in place.

I hope some of you find this helpful. Thank you for looking and/or commenting. Comments are most welcome and encourage further sharing of the build.

Cheers from Peter
Ahoy there me hearties!

The Chartroom Cabin Assembly, Cockpit and Helm

Okay, here is an area where a lot of scratch-building and/or modifications are needed to get something even remotely accurate for an 80' Elco boat.

Let's start with the helm as it's the simplest to correct. Actually you don't correct it, you just use something else since the helm provided by Lindberg is way to large. I was lucky to get one from a Revell Thermopylae clipper ship model that had been virtually destroyed. On my other build I'm going to use one half of the double helm from the large scale Revell U.S.S. Constitution. You can see that the Thermopylae helm is much smaller and better looking than the Lindberg kit one.

The Chartroom and Cockpit area.

In the lower portion of this image you can see the instruction sheet and what the kit parts look like. Nothing like the cockpit area of the real 80' Elco boat. I changed the angle of the forward end of the chartroom, lengthened the chartroom roof slightly (the raft should be able to fit on it and the kit roof was too short) and started scratch-building the instrument panel area in the cockpit at the rear of the chartroom.

The open area on the starboard (right) side of the cockpit next to the circular object (the .50 cal gun tub) is the area where the door to the chartroom goes. That area needs to be finished as does the actual instrument panel.

Thanks again for looking and/or commenting. Comments are appreciated.

Cheers from Peter
Alot of good info on this old kit! I have the 1/32 Lindberg to build up & there's so much wrong with it not being a correct version of 109. I didn't know it would work for PT-59! :woohoo: B) Might have to look into that :good: