Another thing which impressed me was the way how the .50-caliber machine guns and the Bofors 40mm M3 would go together. The same thing can be said about the 20mm would go together. I was a little skeptical about that mount because of what I saw in a sample of the proposed box-art. In the painting, the 20mm on the foredeck appears to be on a Mark IV mount instead of the correct Mark X mount.
Mr. Chin sent me the kit instructions and what I saw in them relieved me. The 20mm from the kit is on the correct mount. It is also very accurate as well.
When asked why did Merit International decided to do a late-war Elco PT boat, Mr. Chin said this,
We were choose between the Elco or the Higgins boat as our first release and we have decided to make the Elco 80 first because:
1. Influence of JFK, "PT-109" movie and the overall historical fame of the Elco 80, although Elco 80 were not used in the movie.
2. The movie "They were Expandable" used Elco 80, although they should have been different Elco boats.
This made the Elco 80 a better choice because it will be better received by modelers.
We will make the first 2 releases as the "late type" and "early type" rather than a PT-109. Of course, modelers can easily customize the "early type" to become a "PT-109"
When asked about what resources did they use in the development of the kit, Mr. Chin said this,
We used a lot of materials from available books and web sites and we study work from modelers perfecting their build on various PT Boats model kits. We actually used a old 1/72 model for a basic scan and then use printed hull shape data to re-pot the correct shape and outline. We hope we will not offend anyone by doing this
The price of the kit, according to Mr. Chin, The MSRP is $93.00
When asked if there would be photo-etched brass details for the kit, Mr. Chin said,
There are some P/E that comes with the model kit but it is our understanding that no matter how well we fair, after market companies will always manage to create fantastic products to super detail the model. We have to consider overall retail price and ease to build vs. making the model kit too expensive and difficult to build.
Finally, Mr. Chin commented
Our next release is not be a "PT-109", it will be released as a Elco 80 "Early type". I do have one such "Nose Art" in mind for the release,... then again, I think it is better to leave it to the after market manufacturers to help. They are so good in coming up with something of interest and hopefully help expand the interest on the PT boats to the next level. In all, we are hoping to provide an affordable priced kit as the platform and let the aftermarket manufacturers and modelers to run wild with it. We hope the modeling community will support our concept. There will be a 3rd variant to the Elco 80 series of model kits and we will make a release in our "Built and Painted" series of models as well.
In conclusion, I think that ship modelers will embrace this kit and the next one from Merit International. What's more, from what I saw in the instructions and on the sprue trees, the kit(s) will be an enjoyable and stress-free build.
Additional photos are as follows: