Mikro Mir 1/350 USS Thresher
KIT #: 350-005
PRICE: $36.36
DECALS: Two options
NOTES: Prop has two too many blades


The USS Thresher was supposed to be the lead ship of an upgraded Skipjack class submarine design. Forsaking speed for stealth, the Thresher class (named after a species of shark and the even more dangerous Tambor class submarine, USS Thresher which was one of the most decorated subs of WW2) was supposed to be the quietest sub of its time and the first purpose designed hunter killer type submarine class whose main job was to sink Soviet submarines to keep the North Atlantic Sea Lanes open.

It was launched in 1960 and commissioned in 1961. The USS Thresher was to used as the primary test bed for the SubROC missile (a torpedo tube launched rocket powered nuclear depth bomb). By July 1962, the Thresher required some overhaul due to being the first of its class and it took nine months to complete which was longer than usual. In April of 1963, the Thresher was recommissioned and put through sea trials to ensure that it was fully operational.

On April 10, 1963, the USS Thresher was off the coast of Cape Cod along with the rescue ship USS Skylark to conduct dive trials. After reaching test depth of 300m and cruising at that depth for an hour, the USS Thresher reported a “minor problem.” No one is certain what it was, but the USN investigation led by the godfather of the Nuclear Submarine Mafia, Admiral Hyman Rickover, put the blame on a salt water leak caused by improper silver brazed piping in the engine room. Several submarines reported the similar incidents which caused dangerous engine room flooding. The theory is that the water from the flooded engine room caused the reactor to SCRAM and the resulting lose of power helped push the USS Thresher below crush depth (approx 730m based on SOSUS data).

No submariner would consider engine room flooding a “minor” problem which is why many view an alternative theory pushed by a retired USN submarine captain saying that the USS Thresher was lost due to ice buildup in pressure valves of the ballast tank which blocked compressed air from blowing out the water from these tanks causing the final dive.

For whatever reason, the remains of the USS Thresher hit the seabed in five major sections with the loss of all hands (129 sailors and dock workers) at a depth of 2600m below the surface. In 1964, the bathyscaphe Trieste II was sent down to recover any evidence of why the USS Thresher was destroyed, they managed to recover a piece of mangled pipe which was used as the primary evidence of a water leak.

In response to the loss of the USS Thresher, the USN launched the SUBSAFE program to ensure that submarines (especially nuclear ones) would not be more dangerous to their crews than the enemy. Only one US Submarine has been lost since the SUBSAFE program was launched, the USS Scorpion which was a pre SUBSAFE submarine.

In the early 1980s, Dr Robert Ballard was asked by the Naval Intelligence to conduct a survey of the wreckage of the two lost USN SSNs, (Thresher and Scorpion) under the cover story of finding the HMS Titanic.

SSN-593 USS Thresher is considered on eternal patrol and still on the books as a commissioned submarine with the USN. Later, the Thresher class was renamed Permit Class which would serve the USN for over 30 years before all of them were decommissioned during the post Cold War drawdowns of the late 1990s.


It consists of 21 plastic and photo etched parts including a two piece main hull. The plastic seems quite brittle and with a lot of flash with the detail fine for the scale but there will be a lot of clean up required before assembling the model. The photo etched parts in my copy of the kit are wrong as it has the seven bladed prop of the Permit class and not the five bladed prop that the USS Thresher had. Finally, three of the plastic parts are for the submarine stand where you would have to locate and drill out your own holes as there is no such things on the stand baseplate and submarine hull.

The kit comes with hull number decals for several of the Permit class along with the hull number of the USS Thresher as well as various hull markings. I've never used MikroMir decals before so I can't attest if they will be good decals. It comes with an small instruction pamphlet that has the painting instructions too (top half black and bottom half hull red.)


This is a short run kit that looks like it would only take a weekend to build. However, don't be fooled by the parts count or simplicity as I have seen simple short run kits take longer to build than complex kits. I suspect that this is not for beginners, but rather for more advanced modelers.

Dan Lee

February 2024

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