Building the USS Duxbury Bay AVP-38 Seaplane Tender Small by Carl
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Kerama Retto, Okinawa May 1945 with PBM Mariners of VPB Squadron 27

Reference and Inspiration Photos:
1/350 Resin Conversion Set by Back-Aft Models
The 1/350 USS Mackinac AVP-13 Resin Model Kit by Iron Shipwrights, Inc.
The Iron Shipwright, Inc. 1/350 scale resin kit is the only model that I have found of this class of little ships.  I am most grateful, to them, for even considering making a kit of the USS Barnegat class AVPs.  My father served on the USS Duxbury Bay AVP-38 in 1952 and 1953 while she was one of three white-painted AVPs which served as flagships for Commander Middle East Forces.  It was this configuration of the USS Duxbury Bay that was my very, first ISW modification.  The second model that I used this kit for was that of the USCGC Bering Strait WHEC-382, formerly the USS Bering Strait AVP-34.  The third AVP model was that of the PT Boat Tender version, the USS Oyster Bay AGP-6, and the fourth one was that of the USS Absecon AVP-23 the seaplane pilot training vessel.
This is my fifth USS Barnegat class AVP build and this build was very, different than the first four.  With this build of the USS Duxbury Bay, I have used mostly the custom parts that I either modified from the ISW kit or that I created from scratch, myself, and created resin copies of.  With the permission of Iron Shipwrights, Inc., I have begun to market these custom parts under my new business, that I’ve named Back-Aft Models, as conversion sets specifically for the ISW USS Mackinac AVP-13 resin model kit. DUXBAY-005
As reference for creating these custom parts, I have used very, detailed shipyard plans that were copied from micro film reels at the National Archives and Records Administration.  Besides General Arrangement or Booklet of General Plans drawings, this micro film reel file included drawings for specific equipment and physical features for several flights of USS Barnegat class AVPs. DUXBAY-007
This conversion set for AVPs 35-41 includes modified ISW parts for the O1 Level, stack, crane pedestal, gun director platform and the hull.  The original O1 Level piece details were removed and new features added to reflect this flight of AVPs.  These features included doors, portholes, lockers, and gun tubs.  The ISW full hull piece was cut to the waterline and its portholes filled in and re-positioned along with the watertight doors.  Some of the forecastle’s features were removed and new ones attached along with new chocks and bitts and hatches.  I added strakes and overboard discharge ports to the hull, as well.  The stack was modified with additional joint rings around it and the gun director platform was slightly modified, as well.  All of the modified parts, listed above, were then re-molded and resin copies made.

I created new O2 and O3 Level pieces from scratch as well as twin 40mm gun tubs and quad 40mm gun tubs.  Smaller, scratch-built pieces include smoke screen generator tanks, garbage can racks, ventilation blowers, 26MC reproducer loudspeaker, torpedo splinter shields, Mk52 gun director house and platform, bowser tanks, sponson support arch structures for the O3 Level, catwalks, and shielded seaplane fueling stations.

Hull and Superstructure Assembly

Construction began with attaching the torpedo splinter shields to the main deck (Torpedoes were stowed on the main deck, against the bulkhead, behind these shields.) and then the attachment of the O1 Level to the main deck superstructure.

The O2 and O3 Levels are attached to each other to create a sub-assembly and the sponson support arches are added along with the Mk52 gun director house, and Mk51 gun director and rangefinder platforms.  Steps were added to the port side of the Mk52 house and a piece of bulwark to the starboard side.  DUXBAY-012
On both sides of the stack, ventilation blowers and catwalk sections were attached and the O2/O3 Level sub-assembly was attached to the O1 Level and the entire model was given a coat of Mr. Surfacer 1200 primer. DUXBAY-017
Camouflage Paint Scheme
Measure 33; Design 1F

I owe the wonderful results of the dazzle camo paint job to Kenny Loup at Gator Masks!  I provided pattern drawings of this Measure to Kenny and he created custom 1/350 masks for me.  As a beginner to camo pattern painting and hating to mask anything, these vinyl masks took my worries away.
I used Life Color acrylic paints and thinner in my single action Badger air brush: Navy Blue 5-N, Ocean Gray 5-O, Pale Gray 5-P and Deck Blue 20-B.
Additional Exterior Features
QUAD 40mm GUN - From my Back-Aft Models set of custom quad 40mm gun tubs, I chose the appropriate one for the USS Duxbury Bay and attached it in place in the #2 Weapons Mount position.  Some AVPs had an additional 5”/38 gun turret, here, instead.

I used the Quad 40mm Gun and the Ammo Racks from L’Arsenal and near the end of the build, this gun tub received canvases to cover the racks and one portion drawn back with empty racks exposed.  The drawn back canvas and the reverse position of the Quad 40mm Guns were visible in the inspiration photo.


BOAT DECK DETAILS - I removed the molded-in boat cradles and replaced them with parts from Tom’s Modelworks USS Arizona Small Boat photo-etched brass set and Alliance Modelworks’ perforated beam set.  The inspiration photos showed this port side cradle as empty and that’s how I wanted to depict it.  I used the same method for the starboard boat cradle and that on the fantail stowage area for the Plane Re-Arming Boat. 
These AVPs carried up to six small boats.  Some of them special for tending to seaplanes, including 24' Personnel Boats and 33' Plane Rearming Boats.  In addition to these two boats, standard 40' Launches and 26' Whale Boats were used.  The boats were designed and created by Corsair Armada Productions for inclusion in the Back-Aft Models conversion set.

Miscellaneous tie-down cables and perforated beams depict the absence of the two boats that were stowed on the port side as well as an empty cradle atop the starboard 40’ Launch.

Other details in the area of the boat deck included the 1600 gallon bowser tank, lube oil and gasoline drainage tanks, garbage can racks in their at sea positions, 20mm ammo lockers, 20mm guns, cable reels and sky lookouts.

Another item used from the Tom’s Modelworks USS Arizona Small Boat photo-etched brass set was the seats for the 40’ Launch which had to be trimmed around its perimeter to fit within the hull of the boat and then some seat benches were removed to accommodate the bowser tank which was used to re-fuel seaplanes.  Two bowser tanks were supplied on the USS Duxbury Bay, one stowed amidships on the boat deck and the other on the fantail near the boat cradles, there.  One 40’ Launch was placed in the diorama and depicted as transiting towards a moored PBM.

GUN DIRECTOR TOWER - The Mk51 Gun Director Tower platform is a modified part from the ISW kit.  Some side detail was removed and the smaller platform extending from it was centered better on the aft side.  I used the photo-etched brass legs from the ISW fret as a template to position the 1/32” brass angled pieces and to cut them to proper length. DUXBAY-035

I then used brass rod for the cross bracing under the platform.  The ISW platform has a partially enclosed area beneath it which is appropriate for the USS Mackinac but, not for some other AVPS.  Instead of removing this enclosure, I used it as a gluing surface for the brass legs and to simulate an opened foundation structure, I painted the enclosure flat black.  I think it is a believable feature and can be easily overlooked. 

I attached the 26MC Reproducer loud speaker to the platform, attached the railings and created the canvas effect with Kristal Klear.  I used Mk51 Gun Directors from L’Arsenal.

TWIN 40MM GUNS - The Twin 40mm Gun Tubs are custom by Back-Aft Models.  I attached the ammo racks by L’Arsenal and then covered them with canvas using tissue.  The Twin 40mm Guns are by L’Arsenal.

FLOATER NET BASKETS - For the Floater Net Baskets I used a combination of White Ensign Models photo-etched brass baskets and L’Arsenal resin nets to replicate the configuration shown in the specific drawing from the NARA micro film reel images. DUXBAY-042
STACK DETAILS - The smoke stack is a Back-Aft Models modification of the ISW stack with bolting rings added around the stack’s circumference in two locations.  The stack platform is a photo-etched piece from a DRAGON USS Buchanan kit as are the flood lights on the sides of the stack. DUXBAY-045
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Updated 2013