Harry Abbott, owner/operator of Battlefleet Models, provides us with the opportunity to examine his new kit, "ATF FLEET OCEAN TUG", kit (s) # BFM708 and limited edition kit (with turned brass 50mm barrel from BMK, Germany) # 708A, and this MSW inbox review is the direct result. This kit is Harry's fifth design of the ATF, (with four previous attempts, all unsuccessful, per Mr. Abbott!), and it sure is a beauty! Any modeler who has experienced working with BFM's products, will immediately recognize the same design accuracy, resin quality, and notably, the extremely reasonable cost of a resin kit, with included upgrades (brass rod and photo-etch details). Note~BFM now has added for the modelers convenience, the option of PayPal purchasing on their site.
The Cherokee (AT-66) was the third ship of the Navajo class of ocean tugs built for the Navy. She was launched on 10 November 1939 by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., Staten Island, New York. She was sponsored by Miss E. Mark and was commissioned on 26 April 1940, Lieutenant Commander P. L. F. Weaver in command. Prewar days found Cherokee sailing on towing duties along the east coast and in the Caribbean.
As United States naval ships took up convoy escort duties in the western Atlantic to support beleaguered Britain, and as Iceland was occupied by American forces, Cherokee's operating area expanded to Newfoundland and Iceland. Similar operations continued until 23 October 1942, when Cherokee sailed from Norfolk, Virginia, for the invasion of North Africa.
The only tug to accompany the vast invasion fleet across the Atlantic to French Morocco, Cherokee served well off the beaches during their assault 8 through 11 November, and on 11 and 12 November, aided two of the destroyers torpedoed by enemy aircraft.
The tug remained in North African waters to care for the many ships concentrating there with men and supplies until 31 March 1943. Fitted with tanks, she served as yard oiler at Casablanca until 3 May, when she departed for Norfolk. After overhaul, she reported at Bermuda 20 June to provide tug, towing, and salvage services to the escort vessels and submarines conducting training there.
Cherokee was reclassified ATF-66 15 May 1944, and twice in 1944 crossed the Atlantic to Casablanca to take stricken destroyers in tow for the United States, carrying out these difficult assignments with distinguished seamanship. Upon her return from the second of these crossings in July, Cherokee took up duty towing targets for ships in training in Casco Bay, Maine, until 28 May 1945, and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, until 23 July.
Following the war she continued towing operations in the Caribbean, along the east coast, and to Brazilian ports until she was decommissioned 29 June 1946 and transferred to the Coast Guard the same day. She was awarded one battle star for her World War II service.
Displacement 1,235 t.(lt) 1,674 t.(fl) Length 205' Beam 38' 6" Draft 15' 4" Speed 16k.5kts. Complement 85 Armament
one single 3"/50 dual purpose gun mount
two twin 40mm AA gun mounts
two single 20mm AA gun mounts Propulsion diesel-electric, four General Motors 12-278A diesel main engines driving four General Electric generators and three General Motors 3-268A auxiliary services engines, single screw, 3,600shp
ATF Fleet Tug Listing
ATF-66 Cherokee ATF-105 Moctobi
ATF-67 Apache ATF-106 Molala
ATF-68 Arapahoe ATF-107 Munsee
ATF-69 Chippewa ATF-108 Pakana
ATF-70 Choctaw ATF-109 Potawatomi
ATF-71 Hopi ATF-110 Quapaw
ATF-72 Kiowa ATF-111 Sarsi
ATF-73 Menominee ATF-112 Serrano
ATF-74 Pawnee ATF-113 Takelma
ATF-75 Sioux ATF-114 Tawakoni
ATF-76 Ute ATF-115 Tenino
ATF-81 Bannock ATF-116 Tolowa
ATF-82 Cari ATF-117 Wateree
ATF-83 Chickasaw ATF-118 Wenatchee
ATF-84 Cree ATF-148 Achomawi
ATF-85 Lipan ATF-149 Atakapa
ATF-86 Mataco ATF-150 Avoyel
ATF-87 Moreno ATF-151 Chawasha
ATF-88 Narragansett ATF-152 Cahuilla
ATF-90 Pinto ATF-153 Chilula
ATF-91 Seneca ATF-154 Chimariko
ATF-92 Tawasa ATF-155 Cusabo
ATF-93 Tekesta ATF-156 Luiseno
ATF-94 Yuma ATF-157 Nipmug
ATF-95 Zuni ATF-158 Mosopelea
ATF-96 Abnaki ATF-159 Paiute
ATF-97 Alsea ATF-160 Papago
ATF-98 Arikara ATF-161 Salinan
ATF-100 Chowanoc ATF-162 Shakori
ATF-101 Cocopa ATF-163 Utina
ATF-102 Hidatsa ATF-164 Yurok
ATF-103 Hitchiti ATF-165 Yustaga
Kit Parts Listing
A: HULL (1)
B: PILOT HOUSE/BRIDGE DECK (1)
C: MAIN DECK (1)
D: BOAT DECK (1)
E: FLAG BAG (2) (required 1 - 1 extra)
F: DERRICK SUPPORTS (2)
best replaced with brass rod (provided)
G: STACK (3) 3 styles of stacks are included. Check your references!
K: 20MM (4) (required 2 - 2 extra) also on PE Fret
L: LIFE BOAT (2) check your references!
M: WORK BOAT (1) check your references!
N: LIFE RAFT (4) 2 Types are included, again, check your references!
O: ANCHOR (2)
P: SEARCHLIGHT (2)
Q: SEARCHLIGHT PLATFORM (2)
R: MONITOR ROOM PLATFORM (1)
S: TWO POST BOLLARD (7) (required 2 - 5 extra)
T: BRASS ROD 2 sizes .030 & .020
U: PHOTO ETCHED BRASS SHEET (1)
One thing that I've learned about BFM's ship kits...and that is the extreme quality present, all around, from start to finish. This kit ships in a very sturdy, hinge lid style cardboard box, packed tightly with the kit's parts, and instruction manual, all wrapped carefully in bubble wrap for complete protection. The small parts are sealed individually in their own plastic "tube style" bags, each bag joined with the next (see "Contents" picture). The main hull casting is wrapped double in bubble wrap for extra protection.
BFM's resin is top notch, clean white, with excellent casting and detail capture tendency. Upon initial examination, no pits, air bubbles, or other common-place resin kit downfalls are present in my review sample. A very impressive looking kit parts breakdown, which we will detail in the following paragraphs.
The Main Hull is a solid, one piece casting, very clean and crisp, loaded with details, both on the hull sides, and topside. Very clear freeboard and hawsepipe detailing, and on deck we have accurately placed bits, fore and aft deck winches, and a nicely detailed lower super-structure, holding nicely defined hatches, doors, and portholes. The only flash present on the main casting was a very slight amount of flake around the waterline, which was removed with a few swipes of 600x paper. Overall, an extremely nice start!
Next, we'll look at the deck structures, which include the Main Deck, Boat Deck, and combination Pilot House/Bridge Deck. All cast very clean and crisp, with accurate round bridge windows, port-holes, and door hatches. These parts mate together well, and together build a very accurate and great looking super-structure assembly. No flash present at all on these kit parts.
Moving on to the stacks, we have three, very distinct styles of stacks to choose from, all depending upon which Fleet Tug that you're building (check your reference photos!) All three have again nice cast details, with no flash at all on these samples.
Other small deck details include search-lights and search-light platforms, twin post bollards, vent hoods, a finely cast aft boom derrick support (which can be replaced with brass rod if desired), and twin anchors. Again, all cast well, and being the tiniest cast parts in the kit, there is minimal flash on some, easily removed, as it is but a fine "film" type flash (most was removed with a light scrape of an x-acto blade tip).
The weaponry onboard of this tug was quite impressive, and includes one 3/50mm Deck Gun (with an awesome, microscopic turned brass barrel included with the Limited Edition, BFM 708A kit), twin single 40mm guns and mounts, and two 20mm guns (Note~there are also 20mm guns in brass photo-etch included as an option). All guns and mounts are very well cast, and again, because of their tiny size, have a small amount of easily removed "filmy flash" on them. Harry has provided extras of these guns just in case of that unwanted and unforeseen accident!
Ships boats included are four life-rafts, two each of two different types, depending on which Tug you're building, two life-boats, and one small work boat, again, usage depends on the tug being built. Check your references! Raft detail is good, with clear details, and the life-boats have good "tarp cover" details on them for added accuracy. overall, a nice selection of small watercraft to add to your build.
Moving next to the photo-etch sheet included (a very nice inclusion, by the way!) by Toms Model Works, will add greater accuracy and an overall much better look of realism to your tug. Etchings are very clean and clear, of typical Toms quality and workmanship. Included on the sheet are different railing types, radars, platforms, anchor chain, hand wheels, and even a 1/700 scale crew! Also of note, the finer 20mm guns on the sheet, to replace the cast kit parts, if so desired. Again, check your references for proper detail usage.
The enclosed instructions consist of a seven page, manual, with ship history, specifications, and some fine reference websites listed for your research. There is also a general "working with resin" instruction sheet, complete parts listing, and a drawing layout showing the modeler proper parts placement. The last page of the sheet includes a very cool late war camo Measure 32 drawing for some of this classes ships.
Highs: Accuracy, detail, versatility, and quality, and value...all present in force in this kit!Lows: Maybe a bit clearer construction sequence for less experienced modelers...Verdict: Overall, a fine kit to build a wide selection of the Fleet tug in this class. BFM continues to produce quality, unique subjects at a tremendous value. Highy recommended from this modelers point of view!
Our Thanks to Battlefleet Models! This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
About Mark R. Smith (Gunny) FROM: PENNSYLVANIA, UNITED STATES
I have been building models of all sorts all of my life, concentrating mainly on the coolest one's when I was younger, but now I focus directly on all military subjects, from armor to warships. After years of counting rivets, I put away the calipers, dial indicators, and micrometers and now just ha...