Cascade Modelwerks 1/700
San Clemente Class Super Tanker
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Reviewed by Felix Bustelo
A total of 13 San Clemente class supertankers were built between 1974 and 1978 by the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, which is a subsidiary of General Dynamics. These giant tankers measure 894 feet long with a beam of 105.8 feet and displace 89,700 tons. Two tanker hulls were converted to giant hospital ships, the USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) and USNS Comfort (T-AH-20).

This resin kit by Cascade Modelwerks is the only kit of a supertanker that I am aware of and it is a welcome addition to the growing list of merchant ship subjects that are becoming available. This is also the first 1/700 scale kit that I attempted to build as this is not a scale that I like to work in. Despite the small scale, this is a fairly good-sized model measuring about 15.3 inches long and 1.8 inches wide. This kit is also a nice mix of quality and simplicity comprising of only 12 resin parts and some bits of styrene for certain elements.

The waterline hull is cast in a gray resin with a lot of detail, including piping, winches, bollards and other assorted deck fittings. My sample was slightly damaged in shipping but it was easily fixed. A part of the bulwark at the bow was broken off.  Fortunately, the stray piece was in still in the bubble wrap, so all I needed to do was glue it back into place. An end bit of the starboard bulwark was also broken off which I repaired with some styrene strip. Due to the nature of resin, sometimes hulls can become warped. The hull in my sample was slightly warped but I remedied this by placing the part in some hot water and then clamping it a board overnight. The kitís hull captures the unique lines of a supertanker very well. The kit does not come with decals or photoetch. I purchased the Gold Medal Models 1/700 Scale Merchant Ship set and 1/700 Scale Watertight Door set to detail this model.
The smaller parts are all cast well in gray resin and include the cube-like island, pilothouse, a pair of bridge wings, the aft superstructure/funnel, 2 pairs of davits and a pair of boats. The detail is these parts are also good. The laser-cut square windows in the island and pilothouse are well defined and even. Notches are present on the aft side on the island to help align and attach four platforms that I cut from the length of styrene strip provided.  I cut square notches in the top three platforms in the middle to provide openings for the inclined ladders I added from level to level.   Scribed doorframes represent watertight doors but I added photoetch doors, using the doorframes as a placement guide, for a touch of additional detail. The davits are very well done and very thin for a resin part but I am a little disappointed with the boats, as they look a little toy-like.
Lengths of styrene strip, square stock and rod in two diameters are provided to make additional parts. The strip, as mentioned above, was used to make the platforms on the island's aft face. The square stock I used to make the king posts and the thinner rod for the booms and the yardarm. The thicker rod I used for the main mast. The proper lengths to cut these parts to are provided in the instructions.  For the cross piping, I substituted thin brass rod for the plastic as I found it easier to curve the ends into the proper shape and it would hold that shape better. 
The kit instructions are printed on a single-sided sheet of paper and consist of several blow-up diagrams illustrating various assembly sequences. A color guide to paint the tanker in a common generic scheme is provided but I would suggest that you try to find visual references to model one of the 13 tankers of this class. A template is also provided to cut a piece styrene sheet into a trapezoidal shape to fit as the pilothouse roof.
I found very few visual references for this class of tanker but after performing a Google search I found out that the Overseas Shipholding Group, owns and operates 4 San Clemente class tankers (Overseas New York, Overseas Chicago, Overseas Washington and Overseas Boston).  While the firmís website (http://www.osg.com/) lacked specific photos of these tankers, they do have a photo of the funnel of one of these vessels in a very distinctive bright blue color with the company logo.  I thought that this would be a good choice for my model and I decided to build the kit as the Overseas New York (Hey, I live in New York so why not?).   I painted the vertical surfaces of the hull and the deck fittings and piping black with a thin strip of anti-fouling red (Floquil Red Oxide) showing at the waterline.  The main decks I painted a color similar to the anti-fouling red, which is what is indicated in the kit instructions, so I added some white to lighten up the Oxide Red for this purpose.  The superstructure and funnel base I painted white and upper level decks a light gray.  For the funnel, I used Testors Model Master Ford Engine Blue, which was the closest match to the bright blue I could find.  For the funnel emblem and shipís name decals I called on Bob Santos to do me a favor as he as the capability of printing white decals.  I used acrylic gel to simulate the water and painted it with a mix of blue, green and white acrylic paints sealed with two coats of Future.

This is a very nice kit, which was very easily to build and looks good when completed. I am very happy to see some new merchant ship models on the market and this will make a nice addition to anyoneís merchant ship fleet. If you want to model something that is a little different, this is a good option.  Cascade Modelwerks is developing a Mercy Class hospital ship model using this kit as a basis.  My thanks go to Cascade Modelwerks for providing this review sample.



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