Trumpeter 1/144
USS Gato SS-212 1944

Reviewed by Timothy Dike
 The USS Gato was the lead boat of a new class of submariness that were built in large numbers during world war two.The Gato class improved upon the previous Tambor class and were highly successful. These large submarines had a long range and could carry a large load of torpedoes. These subs were deployed mostly in the Pacific theater as the other Axis powers were not as dependent on shipping. The Gato were a formidable weapon limited in success only by the poor performing torpedoes used in 1942. Never the less, they proved to be devastating to the Japanese supply lines and even sunk their share of capital ships. 

This new kit from Trumpeter depicts the USS Gato late in the war. An early war version is also available. The Gato class evolved over it's lifetime with improvements being incorporated into later boats. In addition different yards produced slightly different subs so you will need to do your research before modifying this kit into other class members.

The molding on the hull is very crisp and there is plenty of detailing  The hull is molded as two halves and a separate deck. This will greatly reduce the number of seams that will have to be filled but will make it harder to modify this kit into other subs in the class. I'm told that the limber holes on this kit are typical of the first few subs in this class and that later ones varied. The ones on this kit are molded open and with just barely any flash to clean up. If these parts look like the early war version, rest assured this is a different part with more limber holes. Click images
to enlarge
The deck is one piece from bow to stern with some pretty nice molding. Again there are no major seams to fill here. The deck is finely planked and the effect is not bad. I think the gaps in the wood should be a bit more exaggerated but we can leave that for the after market companies. This part is also new and features the increased limber holes of the late war version.
The sail and it's parts are included on this sprue. Note this is a completely different sprue than the 1941 versions. The molding is nice with a wood grained deck, and molded on grab irons.
This sprue contains some really impressive molding. Items like the deck gun and hatches are very well done. There was a bit of flash on some parts that will have to be cleaned up. This sprue is common to both versions.
The pressure hull parts on this sprue are pretty extensive, especially for parts that are barely visible when the sub is completed. Their inclusion adds a whole new level of realism, and opens up the possibility of a cutaway project.
A stand is included for full hull display. 
The decals  include flags (with the correct 48 stars),  and hull numbers.
A 8 page instruction booklet is included to guide you through a step by step assembly process. The parts are all called out and placement is well illustrated throughout. A nice color sheet is included with camouflage markings for the ship and aircraft. Paint colors are called out as well.
A great resource for building this kit is available from Classic Warships publishing. It includes some great close up views to help you detail your kit the right way.

If you didn't like the new as built 1/144 scale USS Gato, then this late war version should suit you. This one has lots of possibilities and will build up into an impressive model for your mantle. This is kit #TSM-5906 "1/144 USS Gato SS212 1944 Submarine" with a list price of  $42.95, a nice price for a model of this size and detail. If your hobby shop does not carry Trumpeter kits have them contact Stevens International or try their Hobby Shop Locator to find one.