Reviewed by Timothy Dike
September 2012
The Barnegat Class

After many lessons learned during the service of the earlier seaplane tenders, individual characteristics from several of them were desired to be combined into one vessel. These characteristics included; aircraft and weapons repair shops, aircraft crew and support crew facilities, weapons and fuel storage capacities, operating range and ability to conduct operations independent of other fleet vessels, air defense and fire support capabilities, and the ability to navigate and turn around in shallow or restricted waterways.

With all of these desired capabilities in mind, the US Navy’s Bureau of Ships designed and commenced the building of the USS Barnegat AVP-10 class of small seaplane tenders with the keel of the USS Barnegat being laid down in October 1939 and with her commissioning in July 1942.

Thirty-five ships of this class were built AVPs 10-13; 21-26, 29-41, 48-55 including four PT Boat Tender variants, AGPs 6-9.

After WWII sixteen AVPs and two AGPs were given to the USCG to be reclassified as 311' Cutters or Casco Class Cutters.

This new conversion set is the result of master modeler Carl Musselman's obsession with the Barnegat Class seaplane tenders. He started with an ISW USS Mackinac AVP-13 kit and ended up creating all new parts to turn them into various versions. Lucky for modelers who wish to do the same, Carl created masters and is casting new parts for them. The AVP-35-41 set reviewed here is typical of those sets. 

The conversion sets come with one of the four upper decks shown. I am showing these together so you can see the differences in the various sets. This review is for the AVP-35 (-41) set. The others sets are similar and use some common parts so you can use this review as reference for the other sets. As you can see from the photos, the casting is very nice. There is some light flash along the bottom that will be knocked off when you flat sand the part. The rest of the superstructure features really nice surface detailing with features like doors with detailed hinges and latches, Oxy-Acetylene bottles, ventilators, and all sorts of ammo boxes. A lot of work went into the master on this kit and the parts are carefully cast to preserve that detail. That extra work means you will have less scratchbuilding to do on your end.  Click images
to enlarge
Bridge, and Funnel
The bridge also features the nice doors and ammo boxes used on the superstructures. The bridge windows on the perfectly formed around the round face. The bridge and the 03 deck parts have details above and below their decks / sponsons. Framing under the O3 Level allows for alignment of it to the O2 level and the same feature exists for the alignment of the O2 Level to the O1 Level. These three pieces are almost a matched set and there is an option for 11 or 13 bridge portholes. The funnel includes a variety of pipes coming out the top of the stack. 
New gun tubs for the 40 mm guns are provided for the quad and twin 40 mm mounts. These are well done with exterior bracing and even wall thickness'.  The round tub with no cutouts is used on AVP-55 only.
New structures for the MK-52 Director House and Aircraft Pyro Locker are provided for wartime and post war appearances. These are very well cast with sharp features and really clean casting.
New catwalks, smoke generators, garbage can racks and a really awesome 6MC Reproducer are all included, nicely cast with very little cleanup needed. The elevated MK-52 tub and rounded platform shown in the last image are not used on AVP-35-41. 
The instructions consist of six pages showing each component and some display ideas. Photos of the completed ship with parts noted should be all that you need to finish yours.
Carl started this project as a modeler. He is one of the few that actually builds his own kits. Check out his build of the Oyster Bay on
This is one really detailed conversion kit. The casting is first rate and very impressive for a newcomer to resin casting. The amount of research that went into this kit is obvious by the end product. If your looking to do an AVP this set is definitely for you. Back-Aft offers it in several forms, this one is the Regular Sets for $45.00 US. You can upgrade to the Super Set for $65 to get a set of drawings, or the Plus Super Set for $89 and get a replacement hull with many new cast on details.

You can buy this set direct from Carl on the Back-Aft Models website. If your looking for a specific ship of the class, Carl can help there too.