The PT Boat Forum

Forum Category: PT Boats of WWII

Forum Name: PT Boats - General

Topic: Carl Musselman & Oysterbay Diorama

Hey Carl, I haven't been able to be around the forum a whole lot lately, so I'm a little late in viewing your original post. However, I've really enjoyed seeing your work in progress & am always excited when someone builds anything relating to Ron 33. Any reason you're not including the 488 boat as part of your Ron 33/Leyte Gulf display? My uncle was on the 488 at Layte & so I'm just curious.
I've got a bunch of his photos from Ron 33/LG, so contact me off-forum via my e-mail if you're interested in referencing any of his images.
Just a couple things to note. Ron 33 boats were repainted in the jungle cammo scheme at, or just before Leyte & so didn't wear the 2 tone striped cammo like Ducati's beautiful PT495 model while they were at LG. I haven't been able to nail down exactly when their cammo was changed though. Also Ron 33 boats were upgraded to SO3 type radar while at Layte, but again, I don't know when each boat's radar was changed. I've got my uncle's pictures which show a mixed bag of Ron 33 radar types nested together but that changed favoring the SO3 as it got later in the war.
Like I said, drop me a line if you want & I'll see if any of his images might help you out in your research & building.
Welcome to the group!

Posted By: Blake | Posted on: Jan 19, 2010 - 4:06pm
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered

Hello, Blake!

I've seen lists of Ron 33 boats and some didn't include 488 or that 488 belonged to a different Ron. so I figured something was in error, there, and left out the 488. I'm glad that you pointed this out, to me. Now, I'll have to plan on 9 boats instead 8 in my diorama.

My email is kapnkarl1 at

Posted By: Carl M | Posted on: Jan 20, 2010 - 6:07am
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered

Hi Blake. Thanks for the kind words. If you would like me to include any of your photos in my ron 33 photo album page I would be pleased to do so.

I depicted the 495 as she most likely looked during the Battle of Surigao Strait. Ron 33 had just made it to the P.I. when they were dispatched to the Strait. In fact, I think it was the night of the day they arrived.

From what I have been able to piece together, I think the boats were in a green/brown como pattern that extended across the deck while initially deployed in New Guinea. At some point the decks were painted Deck Green. Also at some point the 2-tone, striped camo was changed to green/green. Maybe the decks were painted Green at the same time.

If one looks carefully of the overhead photo of the 491, 490 and 495 nested along the Oyster Bay, you can just make out some of the original camo outlines under the deck-green paint.

Other photos, like the bow of the 493 as she was sinking during the BoSS shows a 2-tone striped pattern. Ray Wilbur, Sr. joined the 495 just in time for the battle and was wounded and sent state-side from an action a couple of months later. His memory described green/green boats during his time with Ron 33. A photo of 495 later in the war shows the jungle camo and SO-3 radar. A 488 photo also shows her with SO-3 radar as she is nested with other boats with SO radar.

It is also interesting to note that as initially deployed, i think from looking at various photos, that the boats had red and grey numbers but later, probably when repainted, switched to single color, white or light grey, numbers. The Oyster Bay nested photo shows the 495 with single color numbers and the 490 with 2-tone numbers. A photo of the 495 taken before July of '44 show her also with 2-tone numbers but later photos show simple numbers.

To make a long story short, I think if Carl is depicting Ron 33 between Oct and Dec '44, the 2-tone, green/green camo pattern and SO radar is correct. Sometime in '45 I think the boats began getting SO-3 radar and the multi-color jungle camo.

Posted By: ducati650 | Posted on: Jan 20, 2010 - 6:15am
Total Posts: 450 | Joined: Feb 19, 2007 - 10:01am

Ed, your research goes a lot deeper than mine & I know for a fact you have a lot better grasp on the Ron 33 history details than I do. I just wanted to point out variations that were possible to Carl before he got deep into his project & had to possibly undo something. One thing I've learned in building my Italeri boat is that it's almost impossible to have too much information. Sometimes it's hard to sort through it all, but it's nice to have none the less.
I'll try to send you copies of all the Ron 33 images I've scanned of my uncle's. I've been trying for almost 2 years to get them all cleaned up, but working on retouching & color correcting photos all day as part of my job as a graphic artist doesn't leave much desire to spend hours doing it at home in the evening even though it's a project I very much want to complete. that said I'll send you what I have.

Posted By: Blake | Posted on: Jan 20, 2010 - 9:20am
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered

Thanks Blake. I think you are very right. The boats changed so much and varied so much that you really have to nail down a specific time frame if you want to be accurate.

If Carl wants to do the Oct-Dec '44 time frame then he is on the right path if he keeps the basics the way he has begun with the 490 and 495. If he wants to depict a later time period, I think he could mix some boats with the features of the 495 and 490 with other boats in different patterns and configurations, like SO-3 radar.

I'm just amazed he can do anything in that small a scale!

I would love to get some of your photos as you get time and add to my Ron 33 album page. There is a photo of the 488 on it now.


Posted By: ducati650 | Posted on: Jan 20, 2010 - 11:04am
Total Posts: 450 | Joined: Feb 19, 2007 - 10:01am

I'm amazed too that he can work that small. I've been talking with Carl off-forum & he has sent me pics of some of his other builds & dioramas.......Outstanding is what I told him.
I'll try to get you copies of my uncle's pics even though I don't have all the scans cleaned up yet. The picture you have of the 488 nested is one of mine & I have a version of it about 80% retouched. I've rescanned it 4 times on my high-end drum scanner at work trying to get a better image, but the quality in the original just isn't there, so I'm trying to clean it up as best I can in PhotoShop. I'll send you a new file when it's done, so you can add it to your album. Also the cockpit shots you have are mine as well & I was going to ask you some questions about those. I'll drop you an e-mail off line

Posted By: Blake | Posted on: Jan 22, 2010 - 9:53am
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered