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Built Review
1350
110 Foot Sub Chaser
US Navy 110 Foot Sub Chaser
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by: Todd Michalak [ TRM5150 ]

During the Second World War, there was the belief that coastal sub-chasing vessels were needed to counter the growing thread of submarine warfare. From the First World War on through the Second, a simple design was used in which many variants were expanded upon. One such variant is the 110 foot SC-497-class submarine chasers. These boats were considered off-shore and anti-submarine vessels and spawned a wide range of variants throughout their existence. While many countries, in one form or another, developed similar sub chasing designs, the United States were predominant in this area of construction. As part of the Lend-Lease program during WWII, many of these boats were put into the hands of allied forces. Such is the case for fifty of the SC-497-class boats which were transferred to France to aid in the war effort. Even with the construction of 438 of these boats constructed, none of them are credited with a recorded enemy sinking.

The 110 foot (110’-10” to be exact) SC-497-class boats constructed using wooden hull construction. Displacement of these vessels topped out at about 148 tons sporting an 880bhp diesel engine. The boats compliment was fairly consistent at three officers and twenty-five enlisted crew members. When it came to armament of these vessels, there was a bit of a mixed bag of additions, but typically, the general arrangement consisted of one bow-mounted 40mm gun, two .50 cal. machine guns, two depth charge projector "Y Gun," and two depth charge tracks. There were several tradeoffs where no depth charges were added and 20mm AA guns were substituted for the .50’s.

US Navy 110' Sub Chaser SC-497 Class


L’Arsenal is a French based manufacture and has been casting models in resin since the mid-1990’s; with the advent of newer technologies, such as CAD and 3D printing, the accuracy in scale models jumps to the next level. One of the more recent releases for L’Arsenal, is their 1/350 scale US Navy 110' Sub Chaser SC-497 Class kit. I have been fortunate enough to receive a sample of the Sub Chaser for this review.

The US Navy 110' Sub Chaser SC-497 Class kit comes supplied in a sturdy flip-top cardboard box. The contents inside have been secured safely with packing peanuts and all of the parts are protected in both plastic Ziploc-type baggies and bubble wrapping. Although in the 1/350 scale, a 110 foot boat kit is quite small, there is a decent selection of media parts to work with inside the box.

Contents

1 – Solid crème-colored cast resin Sub Chaser
35 – Crème-colored cast resin parts
3 – Photo Etch sheets
1 – Decal sheet
1 – Set of Instructions


The bulk of the kit is made up from the single-cast molding of the Sub Chaser. L’Arsenal cast the hull, deck and predominant superstructure parts in one mold. The boat comes attached to its original casting block. The casting of this boat is extremely clean and this main section of the boat is virtually free from and casting flash ruminants. Fine details into some of the deck features, such as vents and splinter shields have been incorporated directly into this mold. Looking over the other thirty-five cast resin parts included in this kit, I found minor flash and some faint seam lines which are indicative of most, if not all, resin castings. These parts make up the bulk of add-on features to the deck and underside to the boat model. Again, I noticed these parts have been rendered extremely well and aside from the minor typical cleanup associated with resin kits, are cast very well.

Among these extra resin castings, L’Arsenal has supplied ammunition boxes, vents of various sizes, rudders, propellers and shafts as well as gun mountings and the radar dome. Moving into the realm of the photo etch parts, the kit includes three separate sheets of parts. The largest sheet contains railings, one ladder, davits and the main mast for the boat. The second and third sheets armaments for the boat. These include a selection of 20mm AA guns and 40mm Bofor guns. Also included in this kit, is a single decal sheet with identification letters and numbers covering a wide variety of Sub Chasers that can be used to depict this class of boat.

The instructions to this model are presented in a four-page, color format with the worded instructions printed in both English and French. The construction is clear and easy to follow and parts are numbered correctly on both the parts legend at the beginning of the instruction sheets as well as throughout.

Please Note - This kit depicts a standard version of the 110 foot Sub Chaser built during the Second World War It appears to me that almost all of these boats were configured with slight differences both by the Navy and their crews on many aspects. Please check your references if you are looking to depict a specific identified ship from this class.

Construction


As part of my review, I wanted to construct the US Navy 110' Sub Chaser SC-497 Class, in an effort to explain construction of this model as well as the overall appearance once completed. He first thing I noticed getting this project underway, was the fact that there was little to no cleanup involved with the bulk part of the main casting of the boat itself. I chose to leave the boat attached to its casting block as this was a suitable base to work off of to keep the model standing up straight. As I somewhat mentioned previously above, the casting of this part is extremely crisp and free from flash. So after looking this part over for any imperfections, I was ready to begin construction. Some of the parts that would normally be attached to casting blocks, did break free from their blocks after packing. This is not an issue as I noticed the attachment points to these parts are extremely tiny, making the connection weaker than larger parts in many kits I have looked at. This is actually a good thing as the cleanup of these parts is limited to these tiny attachment points and goes quickly. As with most resin construction, superglue, PVA or two-part epoxy is needed to attach the parts.

One item I did notice was with the instructions; while clearly defined throughout, there was the omission of armament construction. This will make anyone who has limited experience working with photo etch parts hit a bit of a speed bump in the build. I was able to deduce the construction process quickly, but for the purposes of making the information more readily available, I have attached two diagrams of the construction from another of L’Arsenal’s kits.

After looking at the mast section supplied in the kit, which is in photo etch, I decided to have a go at putting together one made from small brass rod. The mast on many of the 110 foot boats is basic, having one mast section and one to two yardarms. There are more complex versions with some variants of the boat, but the basic version should suffice. I chose to do this because, while the supplied photo etch mast looked the part and even had the signal/radio lines running to the coning platform, there is a supplied resin version of a standard radar dome which is to be mounted atop the mast. To ensure stability during and after construction, I decided it was best to quickly solder up a new mast. The kit supplied parts would work just fine if so desired.

Conclusion


I really enjoyed the 1/350 scale US Navy 110' Sub Chaser SC-497 Class kit from L’Arsenal. The kit’s resin parts are cast extremely well and there is enough added photo etch to create a finely detailed model of a Sub Chaser from World War II. The model is presented in a full hull format, however, it can be displayed easy enough in a waterline configuration if so desired. The decals provided are printed clearly and cover just about any configuration of boat identification numbering from the inception of this class, to the point of its retirement from service. L’Arsenal has included a few extra 20mm gun parts in case something small flings off into the carpet never to be seen again.

This, as with most resin kits, is not something I would suggest to a beginner in the hobby of scale modeling. Working with resin can be tricky sometimes as is the delicate photo etch parts. But this is not to say that this kit is not worthy of making a first attempt given one’s skill level. With a little patience and time, anyone should be able to construct a beautiful scale display from this kit. For those of you who are avid resin builders or wanting Sub Chaser fans, this kit is sure to please! There are some minor suggestions that I could make, such as possible picking up a set of aftermarket 20mm guns and a metal barrel for the 40mm Bofor. The kit parts will work in this scale, but the details of aftermarket armament can only improve and already highly detailed kit. I will highly recommend this kit to fans of L’Arsenal and anyone interested in the subject of Sub Chasers.

References


Patrol Craft Sailor Association

Wiki - SC-497 class submarine chasers

NavSource

For a detailed look at 110 foot Sub Chasers, take a look at US 110' Subchasers In Action by T. Garth Connelly - ISBN 0897475879
SUMMARY
Highs: Highly detailed resin kit with a decent amount of photo etch parts. The casting is excellent and accurate to the standard designs of the SC-497 Class of Sub Chasers. Excellent price for a quality multimedia kit.
Lows: Only suggestions I would have would be to possibly scratch build or invest in new masts and the 20mm guns and 40mm barrel. The parts are fool proof in this scale and can only improve on an exception model such as this.
Verdict: An exceptional multimedia kit, providing an accurate and detailed representation to a WWII Sub Chaser. Some cost effective upgrading to the guns/barrels could be done. Highly detailed model for fans of this subject.
Percentage Rating
98%
  Scale: 1:350
  Mfg. ID: 35017
  Suggested Retail: 24.95 € / $27.97 US
  Related Link: L'Arsenal
  PUBLISHED: May 31, 2017
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 95.29%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 90.00%

Our Thanks to L'Arsenal!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Todd Michalak (TRM5150)
FROM: MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES

I am building what I like, when I like and how I like it; having fun doing it. I have been building and finishing models on and off my whole life but the past ten years things really exploded. Just about anything goes when it comes to hitting the bench, but wrecked armor, rusted hulks, ships or ...

Copyright ©2017 text by Todd Michalak [ TRM5150 ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Model Shipwrights. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Hi Todd, Thanks for the review...interesting little ship...will have to get one of these. Cheers, Joe
MAY 31, 2017 - 08:46 AM
I thought it was an interesting subject too Joe! I added a little color since finishing the review...might give a little watery dio a go soon!
MAY 31, 2017 - 08:54 AM
This is needed in 1/72!
JUN 11, 2017 - 11:43 AM
Hi Neil I absolutely agree!...would also be welcome in 1:144 scale. Cheers, Joe
JUN 11, 2017 - 12:06 PM
Looks a great little kit, and am definitely up for one, but agree with Joe this would be a great subject for 1/144 scale. cheers Si
JUN 13, 2017 - 08:27 AM
It is pretty tiny Simon...but detailed! 1/144 would be cool! Still would make a nice addition to a little dio!
JUN 13, 2017 - 11:25 AM
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