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Navy Underwater Demolition Team Strikes Again

Join the Navy and blow up things!!  The latest diorama shows the post World War Two U.S. Navy UDT version of the boat used to drop off and recover the best of the best.

I had this model back in the late 1960s as I remember the “frogmen” figures that inspired me to set a goal for becoming one of them, things didn’t work out along those lines but I completed over twenty years in the Navy retiring at the highly respected Chief Petty Officer’s position. This model reminded me of the inspiration so I took on the task of detailing the model and mounting it in a sea-bourne setting as it should be.

The boat model; I used all of the parts included in the kit with the exception of the .30 caliber machine guns that I replaced with ones from Academy Models along with adding ammo cans and splinter shields which in real life were at on time made from very thin metal. The painting was strictly by the book as Navy Standard Grey in various shades would appear to be weathered and worn by saltwater.  The inflatable boat was painted jet black with a coating of acrylic gloss to show lots of water inside and out, this was then secured to the landing craft with all of the correct lines and hopefully all the required knots as shown in the directions booklet.  Additional details were added including a ready service box on the forward bulkhead oppisite the coxswain’s station, these were and still are used to store explosives or flares on naval ships. Also sea-bags and a storage bag are seen toward the stern of the boat.

The figures; I used the three figures shown in the photos with little detailing or adjusting as the arms and legs were pretty well defined. The boat crew figures were painted Navy dungaree working uniform colors for the period and weathered by drybrushing all of the surfaces to show wear and tear. The UDT member in the inflatable boat was painted with flat black with a coating of acrylic clear gloss as this UDT member would be wet all of the time!

The base; Where to start? That is a real question to ask when you have just build a watercraft with all the props and rudders installed. I gave up the idea of showing all of that work in favor of the rough seas that would highlight the entire boat. I used a white packing foam sheet with a section carved out of the hull and used acrylic caulk for the water effects with blue and white acrylic paint for the coloring. Lots of glossy paint was used along with letting the caulk set up to the point where I could move it around to simulate waves and swells. The foam sea was then positioned on a finished section of shelving.

Please note, if sea-sickness should prevail over you while viewing the diorama, please refrain from getting sick in the boat!! Enjoy



  1. UDT Boat (409.2 KiB)

  2. At the Ready (197.3 KiB)

  3. The Business End (451.7 KiB)

  4. The Details (397.6 KiB)

  5. More Details- The Controls (309.3 KiB)

  6. More Details (354.7 KiB)

  7. The Sea-bags and tire (215.4 KiB)

  8. The Sea-bags and tire (215.4 KiB)

John Staehle

I have a fully equipped shop for the purpose of creating military diorama scenes as well as free-standing models. Additional projects include small modular railroad section construction.