Scale: 1/144

Recommended to help build a Balao class submarine from

  • Trumpeter 1/144 scale  USS Gato SS-212 (1941) 
  • Trumpeter 1/144 scale  USS Gato SS-212 (1944)  


This model fairwater is intended to help convert your Gato class submarine model into one of 122 World War Two-era Balao class submarines, successor to the Gato class.  The Balao class had a differently shaped fairwater (sail/conning tower) than the earlier Gato class although the hull was nearly identical externally.  This model has features specific to USS Balao SS-285 as it appeared during 1945.  It can be adapted to other boats of the class with similar features.

This model was designed based on US Navy drawings.  The Balao fairwater is not the same size and shape of a Gato fairwater, it is much shorter at the aft end.  Some adjustment of your plastic Gato kit's deck part such as scribing planking will be necessary for best fit.

© Model Monkey Book and Hobby.  This 3D-printed item may not be copied or recast.

Although details varied widely between boats, the persicope shears and radar mast configuration depicted by this model is known to have been fit to the following Balao class boats:

  • SS-285 Balao
  • SS-286 Billfish
  • SS-287 Bowfin
  • SS-288 Cabrilla
  • SS-291 Crevalle
  • SS-297 Ling
  • SS-308 Apogon
  • SS-311 Archerfish
  • SS-319 Becuna
  • SS-321 Besugo
  • SS-383 Pampanito
  • SS-384 Parche
  • SS-402 Sea Fox
  • SS-404 Spikefish
  • SS-409 Piper
  • SS-413 Spot
  • SS-415 Stickleback
  • SS-426 Tusk


For excellent submarine references, see:

From "The Balao-class was a successful design of United States Navy submarine used during World War II, and with 122[5] units built, the largest class of submarines in the United States Navy. An improvement on the earlier Gato-class, the boats had slight internal differences. The most significant improvement was the use of thicker, higher yield strength steel in the pressure hull skins and frames,[6] which increased their test depth to 400 feet (120 m). Tang actually achieved a depth of 612 ft (190 m) during a test dive,[7] and exceeded that test depth when taking on water in the forward torpedo room while evading a destroyer.[8]

"Museums: Eight Balao-class submarines are open to public viewing. They primarily depend on revenue generated by visitors to keep them operational and up to U.S. Navy standards; each boat gets a yearly inspection and a "report card". Some boats, like Batfish and Pampanito, encourage youth functions and allow a group of volunteers to sleep overnight in the crew's quarters. The following is a complete list of Balao-class museum boats:

  • USS Batfish (SS-310) at War Memorial Park in Muskogee, Oklahoma
  • USS Becuna (SS-319) at Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • USS Bowfin (SS-287) at USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park in Honolulu, Hawaii
  • USS Clamagore (SS-343) at Patriot's Point in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
  • USS Ling (SS-297) at New Jersey Naval Museum in Hackensack, New Jersey
  • USS Lionfish (SS-298) at Battleship Cove in Fall River, Massachusetts
  • USS Pampanito (SS-383) at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park in San Francisco, California, which played the part of USS Stingray in the movie Down Periscope
  • USS Razorback (SS-394) at Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum in North Little Rock, Arkansas"

1/144 USS Balao SS-285 Fairwater, 1945

SKU: 144-Balao-fairwater