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Build Report: Aurora/Marco’s Miniatures “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” Seaview

Forum member Ernie Schafer shares this build report of a kit that is a departure from the usual- and very cool, too! I still have the lunch box somewhere from this show.

The Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea movies and television series were extremely popular during the 1960’s and inspired the imaginations of it’s many fans as well as kit maker Aurora to produce kits of the principal vehicles used in the show. Seaquest was the principal “star” vehicle of the show. The Seaquest blended elements of the future with the here and now; it was nuclear powered which at the time just coming into its own with the U.S. Navy’s submarine force. The design of the Seaview took inspiration from the manta ray with its flared out bow section and the long fins along the back of the hull look as if they would be more at home on a ’57 Chevy. Nevertheless the show has become entrenched in popular culture and remains a favorite among science fiction fans.

Aurora released a kit of the Seaview in the 1960’s and it was a popular item, although not always in Aurora’s catalog, and soon became a collector’s item. In the mid 1980’s Marco’s Miniatures released a poor resin copy of the aurora kit to offer an alternative to the hard to find Aurora kit. Every kit has a story, or so they say…this holds true for my kits anyway, so here is the story of my Seaview.

Many years ago I picked up a copy of Marco Miniatures kit of the Seaview not knowing that it was a resin copy of the Aurora kit. Now, this kit was atrocious, air bubbles, warpage, casting defects etc. Everything that prompts the horror stories of early resin kits was present in this kit. After spending considerable time working with the kit it finally beat me into submission and I put it back in its box and put it out of sight, and eventually out of mind. In the late ’90’s Polar Lights re-released the Aurora Seaview kit and I picked one up because I still wanted to build one, and because I would not let the defeat of the Marco’s Miniatures kit go un-avenged! I did pretty well with the Polar lights version, in fact I had it pretty much all put together before it became eclipsed by other projects. That is how it stayed for several years.

I rediscovered the Seaview a few months ago after having had my model area, kits and supplies packed and removed from the house for a major renovation project. Since I was not in charge of the packing, I had no idea what survived and what did not, so every time I opened a box it was a surprise. I discovered the carcass of the Polar Lights Seaview, now missing its’ tailfins and sail fins as well as several other bits and pieces…..I was somewhat discouraged as now the Seaview had beaten me twice….but….fear not, all was not lost! The old Marco’s miniatures kit had some how also survived the house remodeling chaos as well (this thing was just so ugly I don’t think you could destroy it), any way, since the Marco kit was just a copy of the Aurora kit I could combine the parts from it with the remains of the Polar Lights kit and possibly come up with one finished Seaview!

After assessing the remains of both kits it was obvious that indeed I had all the parts necessary to piece together a complete Seaview. The hull and sail are from the Polar Lights kit, as well as the display base (which I also found eventually), while the tail fins / propulsion tubes, sail fins, and the various snorkels, antennas and radar atop the sail are from the Marco’s Miniatures resin kit. The prominent viewing windows at the front of the bow are a clear insert, and before installing it, I painted the inside of it a bright yellow to give it the appearance of being back lit. Combining the pieces of both kits into one was not difficult at all and only a couple of area’s were problematic, the missile deck inset on the aft hull and the fit of the clear bow window insert both left a lot to be desired and required extra attention to alleviate the seams.

After a little research I determined that in the movie and TV series the Seaview was dark grey, at least as it was viewed on the screen, so this is how I choose to finish it. Model Master Navy Gloss Grey was used overall. The overall grey color left the model with no contrast so I mixed a little flat black into some well thinned Testors Dullcote and using a random spray pattern with my airbrush built up a random pattern of dark and lighter areas on the model at the same time as it was getting its’ final flat finish. Oh, and the seams around the missile deck that I could not fully eliminate; I covered those with some black decal stripes to both camouflage the seams and to add a little more visual interest to the Seaview. The portholes on the sail were filled with a dab of Future tinted with some black acrylic craft paint. As the finishing touch the base was painted, washed, and drybrushed with various browns and the resin name plate from the Marco’s Miniatures kit painted and attached.

At last I had a finished Seaview! It only took two kits and about 17 years but there it is. I feel blessed that I was able to not only have both kits, but was able to find just enough pieces from each to combine together into a finished model, and to top it off, I can honestly tell my wife I got rid of two more kits! Oh, and as for the remains of the Marco’s Miniatures kit….it’s now Waste Managements problem…I wish em’ luck.

About Ernie
My name is Ernie Schafer, I’m 42 years old, married and we have 3 wonderful kids. I have been building models most of my life, with several interruptions along the way. I returned to the hobby last January and shortly after found Agape Models which is now where I spend my online modeling time. I build mostly anything that intrests me, in almost any scale.