JAG Collective
1/700 USCG Hamilton (WHEC-715)

HIGH ENDURANCE CUTTER (Early appearance)

Reviewed by Timothy Dike

The Hamilton class are the largest class of cutters operated by the coast Guard. they were designed for a dual role of search and rescue and in wartime, as long range patrol and escorts. They lost some of their offensive punch in 1992 when all ASW weapons were removed, but retained their distinctive 5"-38 cal single gun turret on the bow. These are the last active US ships to carry this weapon, most have since been modernized with new weapons, but this kit is designed to represent their early appearance..
The ship comes nicely packed in the distinctive "JAG" tube for extra protection. Inside the hull was secured with  poly bagged with bubble wrap to prevent it from moving around inside the container. The extra parts are also poly bagged and the photo etch is tucked neatly inside a cardboard sleeve with the instructions rolled up and inserted inside.
The hull is nicely cast in one piece with the superstructure molded on. The casting is fantastic, with plenty of detail. The gentle deck sheer is well represented on all decks. Even the large overhanging deck is molded clean. I am surprised that this kit can be molded so well considering the deep recesses that have to be filled during casting. But a quick look at the images to the right will reveal no flaws in the casting.
Click images
to enlarge
There will be very little cleanup needed on this kit, I could find no air bubbles to fill and it lays flat, so no straightening is required.
The extra deck level, mast and boat davits are all cast on separate runners. There is a thin layer of flash that will have to be trimmed away, but it is so thin that much of it fell away just by handling the parts. The HH-52 Sea Guard Helicopter is nicely molded with separate floats and a photo etch main rotor. I would have preferred the tail rotor to be photo etched as well, but the cast on resin is pretty thin by itself.
The kit includes a photo etch fret with the radar and railing included. Helo rotors are also included as well as the slanted deck braces and other miscellaneous parts. 
The decal sheet has a variety numbers for several ships, ao you can build any of the ships in her class. These include: Hamilton WHEC-715,  Dallas WHEC-716,  Mellon WHEC-717,  Chase WHEC-718,  Boutwell WHEC-719,  Sherman WHEC-720,  Gallatin WHEC-721,  Morgenthau WHEC-722,  Rush WHEC-723,  Munro WHEC-724,  Jarvis WHEC-725, and  Midgett WHEC-726. The colorful Coast Guard slash is well executed and should result in an eye grabbing paint scheme.
The instructions consist of the front and back of a "B" size sheet (11" x 17"), showing an exploded view on one side with a parts list and specifications and history on the other. There is also an elevation view of the ship. There is no mention of the helo in the instructions even though it does require some assembly. It is simple enough that most people can figure it out, but still should be included.

Conclusions: Excellent casting quality and everything you need to build a complete ship. This kit should be a good evening or two project, and that white paint scheme will help break up the monotony of that haze Gray fleet! I recommend this kit for anyone who has tackled a resin kit, and has some basic photo etch experience. 

Thanks to Gene Largado and Tom Gardner of JAG for the review sample.


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