Higgins 78' 20th scale hull




I have had a few requests for the Higgins Hull. These were built in large numbers during WW2 at the Higgins Industries Plant in New Orleans, Higgins also built many landing craft and other pleasure and military craft and they were very good at building craft that could be beached without damage, making them ideal for landing troops at a beachhead. The Higgins, like the Elco, were bristling with armaments, radar etc. the main difference is that the Higgins 21" torpedo tubes used compressed air to launch the torpedo rather than a small explosive charge, this reduced the visibility of the craft as they produced no smoke, nor could the grease in the torpedo tubes catch fire as sometimes happened to the Elco's torpedo tubes. The Higgins 21" torpedo tubes were fixed in their firing angle and not "trainable" like the Elco and this meant that there was not as much set up time required before a torpedo could be launched.

The Higgins boat hull had extensive plywood bracing internally, a curved transom and much less superstructure than the Elco with no day cabin for the crew. So for the kit I have made provision for large hatches at the deck level, this is not strictly scale but we need to be able to get access to the motors, batteries and stearing gear, I have made all the stations with fixed tops so you can customise it any way you like and make it truly scale if you want to.

The engines were the same as the Elco - Packard V12 M2500's but were all direct driving the propeller shafts, so no Vee drive gearboxes. The engine exhausts were piped out to both sides to partly submerged mufflers with a closable flap at the rear opening, three on each side, and although the boat had three engines and three propellers it only had two, fairly large rudders, again the propellers were the same 28" Equipoise propellers as the Elco's.

In the 20th scale Hull I have allowed for three electric motors of up to 42mm diameter, this is larger than the 35mm motors in the Elco 20th scale.

I have recently completed a kit for a very large 1/12th scale (or 1" per foot), so 78" long (or 1981.2mm) this comprises 20 ribs of 3mm plywood plus all the deck runners, keel, servo, rudder and motor mounts and other parts required to make the full hull frame, (except for the long stringer timbers and the covering materials).


This drawing shows an early war (PT71) style boat fitted with 21" torpedo tubes.

The starboard side cutaway view.


The 78' Hull Lines


I have produced this hull with all 62 ribs (stations) in the original locations, these were 15" apart in the original boat, every third station in the model kit is in 2mm material and the two intermediate stations are in 1mm, so I will sell the main kit as just 20 ribs with all the keel, deck runners etc. and if you want to you can buy the optional extra 42 ribs separately.

The 20th scale 78' Higgins Hull kit with all 62 ribs (stations) in the original positions (*).


(*) Except for Rib 1 (station 1) which I have angled and attached to the outside of the keel, once the planking is finished and sanded flush to this rib it will get covered in a "block" of wood and shaped to create the large curved bow sprit that the Higgins boats had.


The transom was curved on the Higgins boat so I have extended the main and rudder keels up the stern to support the transom, this will also get planked over.

I think making all 62 ribs is maybe going a bit overboard but it looks COOL!


The 20 rib kit is on 10 sheets of 2mm Birch ply and the extra ribs are on 16 sheets of 1mm Birch ply.



This drawing shows a later 78' boat fitted with roll off racks and 22.5" aircraft style Mk13 torpedo's.

(c) copyright 2019 John Drain