USS Pegasus Hydrofoil (PHM)
White Ensign Models
1:350th scale model kit

Buildup and Review by Felix Bustelo


History

The Pegasus class of hydrofoil boats (PHM) was designed to operate offensively against hostile surface vessels. The theory was that squadrons of these fast patrol boats would be deployed to strategic points, such as the Pacific Northwest and the Mediterranean, were the Soviet Navy had to pass to gain access to the open seas.

Due to problems with the hydrofoil system design and escalating costs, the PHM project was cancelled. However, since some funding had already been approved, the USS Pegasus and five others (Hercules, Taurus, Aquila, Aries, and Gemini) were completed. All boats were built by Boeing Marine Systems in Seattle, Washington. The USS Pegasus was launched on November 9, 1974 and commissioned on July 9, 1977. Before her decommissioning on July 30, 1993, the USS Pegasus took part mainly in various trials and exercises.

phmcon2.jpg (180881 bytes)

Pegasus Class PHM
Hydrofoil Specifications


Displacement: 248 tons full load
Length: 133 feet (foils extended), 145 feet (foil retracted)
Beam: 29 feet
Speed: 51 knots foil borne, 12 knots hull borne
Complement: 5 officers and 19 enlisted men
Armament: 1x 76mm Oto Melara Gun System, 8 Harpoon Missiles

The Kit

fbpeggy1.jpg (15075 bytes)White Ensign Models appears to be on a Cold War United States Navy kick recently. The USS Pegasus kit is the third in this category with a few more planned for future release. White Ensign has earned a reputation for producing high quality resin kits and photoetch detail sets, so I anticipated that this kit would meet those benchmarks.

This is a very simple kit to build and is comprised of a one-piece resin main hull/superstructure assembly and 9 white metal parts. A small photoetched brass detail set is also provided.

The main resin piece is well done and required practically no clean-up; just a little bit of sanding along the keel to remove some remnants of the casting block. There is a very nice level of detail cast into the hull and superstructure but I found one minor omission. The Pegasus class of boats had vent grills on the either side of the superstructure towards the aft. My example had one on the starboard side but it was missing the one on the port side of the superstructure. The grill that was present on the starboard side was the only detail not cleanly cast as some excess resin clogged up the grid work. I correct the starboard vent and to add the missing port grill I used some generic radar grid from the Gold Medal Models 1/500 scale Naval Set, cut down to the correct size. In my opinion the generic grid from this set looked more in-scale and could pass for the vent grills.

fbpeggy2.jpg (14662 bytes)When I surfed the Net looking for photographic references I came across a site with some construction images (since then the URL is no longer active). One photo on the Taurus clearly shows a pair of stabilizers on the underside of the hull at the stern. This was overlooked in the kit but in my spares box I had something that would fit the bill. The photoetch fret from the White Ensign Models HMS Nurton minehunter kit has a pair of rudders that are about the same size and shape. Since I opted to buy the waterline version of the kit, I did not need them for that build. So I utilized them here for the missing stabilizers.

The white metal parts include the 76mm Oto Melara gun, the Harpoon missile tubes, the main mast array, the Mk. 94 GFCS radome, engine exhaust duct and the fore and aft foils. The white metal parts were also very well cast and required very little cleanup. All I had to do was remove some flash from the mast yards. Locator holes are cast into the deck and hull for the turret, mast, exhaust duct and aft foil. This simplifies construction and provides for a better bond when you glue the parts into place. I wish that a locator hole was cast into the hull for the fore foil. I drilled a small hole into the bottom of the hull and into the top of the fore foilís arm. I glued a small bit of brass rod into the foil and glued that into to the opening I made into the hull.

fbpeggy3.jpg (13037 bytes)The photoetched brass set is beautifully done with crisp relief etched details. The fret contains the railings, radome support legs, 12 bollards, two Harpoon launcher cradles, main mast brace and the jackstaff. A brass etched nameplate is also provided which can be used to display your model. The railings are all in pre-measured sections, which saves time and effort. The quality of the photoetch is up to the standards that I expect from Peter Hallís designs and White Ensign Models.


Construction

This model is a quick build and would take only a few days if you were able to work on it without interruption. Alas, I donít normally have such good fortune so I did a little here and a little there. Basically once I made corrections mentioned above and I painted the all of the parts and subassemblies, the kits just fell into place very easily. To mount the model I drilled two holes along the keel to accommodate two lengths of 3/8-inch diameter brass rod that I used as pedestals.

I painted the model using mainly Testors Model Masters paints although the kitís color guide provides Humbrol reference numbers. I used Testors Model Master Neutral Gray (#1725) for the hull, superstructure, deckhouses, gun and missile launchers Gunship Gray (#1723) for the decks, Aluminum (#1781) for the hull below the waterline and foils and Flat Black (#1749) for the boot topping. My photographic references show that the radome and the whip antenna were painted white; for these I used Humbrol Satin White (#130) because I have heard that this brand of white paint is much more resistant to yellowing. For the whip antenna I used a length of brass wire.

fbpeggy4.jpg (13010 bytes)Decals are not provided with the kit, so I used a combination of sources to decorate the model. For the larger hull numbers, I used the Gold Medal Models Naval Ship Decals (Part Number 350-1D). For the "E" efficiency markings on the turret and the smaller hull numbers that appear aft I used a sheet that Duane Fowler created for me when he started producing decals. For the shipís name on the transom, I created my own using a word processor, a standard HP laser printer and some compatible decal paper.


Conclusion

This kit was a fun and relatively easy build of a very unique subject. While there were some very minor flaws that are easily corrected, it is an excellent kit. If you like modern United States Naval ships or small combatants, then I would recommend you add this to your collection. I purchased my kit mail order from Warshipbooks.com but you can also buy it directly from White Ensign Models.

pegasus1.jpg (16564 bytes) pegasus2.jpg (19296 bytes)  
pegasus3.jpg (26562 bytes) peginst.jpg (138705 bytes) pegcolor.jpg (102315 bytes)
pegasus4.jpg (51136 bytes)

Home copper.jpg (2701 bytes)