This 1/192 scale STURGEON-class cast resin model is one of two hefty kits made by David Merriman and once offered by his company, D&E MINIATURES. Dave Merriman is, without question, one of the most outstanding model makers of our time. His professional model work has graced Hollywood movies and film productions, museums, wardrooms, and countless magazines. A former submarine sailor himself, Dave knows all the nuts 'n' bolts of a submarine, as well as the wants of discerning model builders.

D&E offered two different 1/192 scale cast resin kits -- D&E kit 002 LOS ANGELES, and D&E kit 003 STURGEON. Both were superb submarine kits, detailed to exact specifications, right down to the louvered main ballast tank flood ports along the keel. Both kits came with a set of fold-out full-size plan and profile line drawings, dry-transfer decal sheet, information booklet, and optional resin mounting stands. Each kit included cast white-metal propeller, masts, and sacrificial zinc strips. 

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The STURGEON-class kit included optional parts allowing a choice between a standard 637-class, or the later "stretch-hull" variant of the class. It also included an optional towed array fairing and feed tube. I built my kit as a short-hull version, upgraded with towed array. I left off the hull number decals, keeping it as a non-descript unit in deployment. The only other details I added were grab handles up the sides of the sail, an AN/WLR-9 sonar fairing atop the forward deck, a GNATS fairing astern, photo-etched discs for main ballast tank vents on the forward and aft decks, and a rounded length of fiber optic as the stern anchoring light atop the rudder.

These professional kits were expensive, but they were ultimately accurate to the actual ships. Dave was going to follow up with his next kit as a 1/192 scale SKIPJACK, and I believe he may have been thinking of adding a 1/192 scale NAUTILUS SSN-571 to the list, but that was just when the R/C explosion was happening. Dave makes models to put bread on the table, and so he put his static kit molds on the shelf in order to spearhead the new wave of radio-control submarine modeling.

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Ken Hart