Reviewed by Timothy Dike
November 2013
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. The 1950 version of the ship is the subject of this review.

This new conversion set is the result of master modeler Carl Musselman's obsession with the Barnegat Class seaplane tenders. Carl's father served on the USS Duxbury Bay (AVP-38) and after creating his own scale version he created these kits to allow others to do their own version. 

There are two options for this conversion kit. You can get it with or without the hull as USCG 311' Cutter 1950s 1/350 Conversion Set for $45.00. If you already have the ISW USS Mackinac kit, then you don't need the hull. However you can add one to the set to make it the USCG 311' Cutter 1950s PLUS 1/350 Conversion Set for $69.00. The hull is available separately for $30.00.
The hull is cast waterline style with much of the lower superstructure in place. It is cleanly cast with sharp details. The hull even includes some subtle hull plating detail. The stern towing rails are cast on saving you a ton of time scratchbuilding. There is some flash to be trimmed here, but overall this hull will need very little cleanup. |A base ring for a 5" 38 cal mount is provided however you will have to supply your own gun. Click images
to enlarge
The upper decks and superstructure are cast as a single part with plenty of molded on details like the lockers with hinges and the ventilator trunking . Portholes are cast open and are nicely recessed. You will have to flat sand this part a little to remove the resin wafer from the bottom. I use sheets of sandpaper taped to a glass pane to keep everything nice and level. 
The bridge is well cast with nice detailing on the surface. Nice clean evenly spaced portholes with the sunshade cast over them. The platform with the gun tubs and other parts will also need some flat sanding to remove the excess resin on the bottom. The funnel features nice detailing with opened up holes on top. 
These are the 40 mm gun tubs used on the cutter. Only the large one mounted on the bow would still have a gun installed in it.
New structures for the MK-52 Director are provided.
New boat davits and towing capstans are included as well as a nice 6MC Reproducer and crane pedestal.
These parts are specific to the 311' Coast Guard Cutter USCGC Bering Strait. They include new deck levels, two different oceanographic labs and two different Mk52 Gun Director Platforms. large and small. Torpedo Splinter Shields with two different cutout openings are provided. They are well cast with minimal flash. 
Carl has added some really nice decals with lettering to the kit. 
The instructions consist of seven pages showing the subassemblies using photographs of the process. 'These are well illustrated and descriptive as unlike many resin producers Carl actually builds his kits.
If you purchase the Plus Set you also get One Digital Booklet of General Plans featuring either USCGC Cook Inlet or USCGC Coos Bay. Include a note indicating which one you would prefer during Checkout. Regular Sets don't include drawings or hull.

Drawings are in digital form and can be purchased separately. Flight specific drawings are from micro film images from the NARA.

1. O1 Deck
2. O2 Deck
3. O3 Deck
4. Sponson Support Arch
5. Mk52 Gun Director Platform #1
6. Mk52 Gun Director Platform #2
7. Quad 40mm Gun Tub
8. Stack
9. Ventilation Blowers
10. Mk51 Gun Director Platform
11. Boat Davits Left & Right (2 sets)
12. Port Catwalk
13. Starboard Catwalk
14. Balloon Hangar/Shelter (Tall) 
14b. Balloon Hangar/Shelter (Short . Not shown)
15. Laboratory Compartment
16. Helium Bottle Storage Compt.
17. Torpedo Splinter Shields (Narrow Openings)
18. Torpedo Splinter Shields (Wide Openings)
19. Twin 40mm Gun Tubs
20. Waterline Hull (If included)
21. 6MC Reproducer (Not Shown)
22. Crane Pedestal (Not Shown)
23. Towing Bitt (Not Shown)
24. Towing Capstan (Not Shown)
A completed kit based on this conversion set can be seen in the Model Ship Gallery. 
If your tired of all gray ship, then this little cutter may spice things up a bit. The casting is very professional, especially considering Carl has only been at it for a couple of years. This conversion set is a great way to start you own Coast Guard Cutter. The USCG 311' Cutter 1950s PLUS 1/350 Conversion Set lists for $69.00 US. 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.