Iron Shipwrights 1/350 USS Nautilus SS 168








Scott Van Aken


Resin with photoetched parts





USS Nautilus (SS-168), 1930-1945.
Formerly named V-6 (SC-2)

USS Nautilus, a 2730-ton Narwhal class cruiser submarine, was built at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California. Commissioned in July 1930 as USS V-6 (SC-2), she was renamed Nautilus in February 1931 and redesignated SS-168 in July 1931. Prior to World War II, she was mainly operated in the Pacific, based at Pearl Harbor and at San Diego. Modernized between July 1941 and April 1942, her first war patrol included intense involvement in the Battle of Midway, during which she attacked a Japanese aircraft carrier that was at that time identified as Soryu but was more probably Kaga. Later during that patrol, while off Japan, she sank the destroyer Yamakaze.

Nautilus then began an active career as a transport submarine, a role for which her large size made her especially useful. She landed Marines to raid Makin Island, in the Gilbert Islands in August 1942; put scouts ashore at Attu, in the Aleutians, in May 1943; again landed Marines in the Gilberts in November 1943 and carried out several missions into the Philippines area in May 1944 - January 1945. During this time Nautilus also conducted anti-shipping and reconnaissance patrols off Japan, in the Central Pacific and in the Solomons area, sinking and damaging several Japanese ships. Ordered home after her 14th war patrol, she arrived at Philadephia, Pennsylvania, in May 1945 and was decommissioned the following month. Nautilus was sold for scrapping in November 1945.




 As you can see from the image above, this is one very detailed kit. The main part of the boat is a solid piece of greyish resin over 13 inches long. There is superb detailing on all the parts, but specifically the hull were every vent, hatch and deck plate is meticulously reproduced. There are a few small air bubbles on the bottom near the resin attachment, but nothing that cannot be easily taken care of. There are a number of other resin parts including the bridge, dive planes, propellers and rudders as well as guns, anchors and aerials. There is one huge and two smaller brass etched frets that includes prop guards, ladders, railings and other miscellaneous bits and pieces.

The instruction sheet is very good, comprising a two-sided sheet that breaks down construction into five steps. Each step is accompanied by photographs of the kit to ensure that you are able to get all the bits and pieces in the correct place without having to wonder what goes where.

One area in which Iron Shipwrights really shines is customer service. To quote from the instructions ".... a free damaged or lost part replacement plan; no matter if it was miscast, broken or eaten by Catzilla, we will replace it free of charge." It really doesn't get much better than that.

I really look forward to building this kit. For more information on this and other offerings from Iron Shipwrights, they can be contacted at the following e-mails: or .

Many thanks to Iron Shipwrights for providing the review kit.