USS Nautilus (SS-168) 
by Martin Quinn 

1/700 USS Nautilus SS-168 (Tomís Modelworks)

Tomís Modelworks 1/700 USS Nautilus (SS-168)

In the summer of 2022, at the IPMS USA National convention in Omaha, I was given one of Tom's Modelworks new 3D printed USS Nautilus kits to review. You can find that review here.

Overall, first impressions were favorable, especially the detail.  I did run into some issues with the hull halves warping.  Rich from Tomís Modelworks quickly remedied that with a new upper hull.   The new hull was tweaked a little, per Rich, from the original, and I was very pleased with it. Not only was it easier to remove from the print raft, the detail was a little sharper than the original version. After sanding the burrs from the print raft off (I decided I'd build her waterline, after all), I attached the sail and the dive planes. The dive planes are made for the full hull version. After they dried, I cut them flush with the bottom of the hull, using a nipper.

While adding the photo-etch rails around the 20mm guns on the fore and aft parts of the sail, I found they came up short. An e-mail exchange with Rich Harden revealed that, yes, they actually were too short. A small supplemental sheet of PE, with corrected rails, was sent a few weeks later.

The second set fit better, but the forward rails still came up a little short. Further investigation with Rich showed that the curved forward rail around this platform was specific to Narhwal, not Nautilus. I had to remove the second set of rails, and ended up using some extra photo-etch in the kit.  In the end, I still wasnít 100% happy with the way this railing came out, but it was better than the first two attempts.

The railings that run around the raised gun deck were particularly troublesome, at least for me, to attach.  I ended up snipping them into smaller sections and adding them one at a time.

The model was painted Ocean Gray, using Sovereign Hobbies Colourcoats.  The simple rigging came from Infini, and the model was given a light wash with oils.  I secured it to a small covered base with acrylic gel medium, which was then painted with artists acrylics.

Overall, this is a nice little kit. Detail is nice. The 6in deck guns are particularly nice, as are the propeller guards.  Itís not without its faults, though.

In July 1941, Nautilus entered the Mare Island Naval Shipyard for modernization Ė which included external torpedo tubes (two bow and two stern-firing in the gun deck).  In my initial review, I missed the fact that the aft external torpedo tubes seem to be missing from the kit.  I also felt like there was some additional details missing that should be there Ė some poles fore and aft (apparently to support the rigging), and what appears to be a crane aft - which I added with brass rod and spare PE.  I would have liked to have seen these details included in the photo-etch set.

Thanks to Tomís Modelworks for the review sample.


Martin Quinn

Gallery updated 2/18/2023