Revell 1/72 PBY-5




$2.50 in 1971


One option


Scott Van Aken




Using new structural techniques, as well as practical experience gained by the Navy from its first monoplane patrol boats, the Consolidated PBY "Catalina" was designed to replace the P3M and P2Y seaplanes. Initial models produced in l937 were strictly seaplanes limited to waterborne takeoffs and landings with retractable outer wing floats. If repairs were required on shore, beaching gear was floated out and attached to a buoyed aircraft to permit it be towed up a ramp for necessary maintenance. In November l939 Consolidated flew the first of its amphibian designs that incorporated retractable, tricycle landing gear to give them greater flexibility as a warplane.

In May l94l, a lend-lease PBY flown by a U.S. Navy pilot on duty as an instructor with the RAF, is credited with locating the German battleship Bismarck to be sunk the following day by a British battleship/cruiser force. It was also a PBY that made the only attack on a Japanese ship when it bombed a midget submarine on 7 December l94l, and later spotted the Japanese invasion and carrier strike forces during the Battle of Midway in June l942. During World War II, the "Catalinas" performed a variety of essential duties, including long-range scouting and antisubmarine patrols, convoy escorts, SAR (search and rescue) and torpedo/bombing attack operations. It was in the latter functions that the PBY established its greatest legacy by sinking more enemy shipping than any other single type of aircraft during World War II. One squadron in particular (the Black Cats) with aircraft painted black for night operations only, were credited with sinking hundreds of tons of enemy shipping. Two squadrons (VP-63 and VP-9l) were equipped with magnetic detection gear in order to locate submerged submarines. Retro-bombs were also installed which, when fired backwards at a velocity equal to the speed of the aircraft, dropped straight down upon a target being over-flown by the aircraft. The aircraft was also heavily utilized by the US Coast Guard whose war-time job switched from stopping smugglers to sinking submarines.

The last of the Navy's PBYs were retired in l957. Many of the aircraft are still in active use today such as for forest fire operations in which they land on lakes and scoop up water in special internal tanks to be dropped on hot spots.


Though the date on the instructions is 1971, this kit is actually older than that, dating from the 1960s. Detailing is all one could expect from kits of this era when rivets meant detail. The aircraft not only has lots of them, and they are nicely done at that, but it also has a fairly good representation of the fabric surfaces of this aircraft. Like many of the models of its day, this one does have operating features, though they are limited to things like rotating props, movable nose turret, and retractable floats. The kit also comes with beaching gear. There is little in the way of cabin detail so you won't see much through those large side blisters. The cockpit consists of a floor, two pilots and two control sticks. The transparencies are not bad at all for this era, though a tad on the thick side.

Instructions are a combination of drawings and a written construction sequence. The colors needed are provided in the construction drawings, though only generic colors are provided. There is no separate camo/decal sheet as colors for the exterior and decal placement are provided throughout the construction sequences. This was an era when most builders didn't fill seams or worry about them, so 'paint as you go' was the norm. The decals are for an overall aluminum aircraft with yellow upper wings and stabilizers. They are well printed and the example in my kit are in superb condition, considering their age.



Though superceded for most builders by the very nice Academy PBY series, this one is still highly sought by collectors because of its markings. Were one to build it, it would still make into a very nice model. The other various boxings of the Revell PBY are relatively easy to find at swap meets, where I found this one.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly by a site that has over 250,000 visitors a month, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Previews Index Page