USCGC Roger B. Taney
Review by Duane Fowler
In the mid 1930's the US Congress authorized the Coast Guard to build seven 327 foot cutters that were to become the Secretary Class and named after former Secretaries of the Treasury. With the exception of the Alexander Hamilton (which was sunk by torpedo during WWII) they all served exceptionally long carriers into the 1970s and 1980s. Several are now museum ships around the country. The Taney, in rather dubious circumstances, is credited with firing the first shots at aircraft over Pearl Harbor. It seems that the captain was unhappy with his crew's performance on Saturday, December 6th, and place them a battle stations all night until the morning of the 7th. Then the Japanese planes flew over, they were already at their guns.
The Revell kit is one of the few US Coast Guard kits of any type on the market. Originally introduced in 1984, it has been sold as both the Campbell and the Taney, although the Taney seems to be the most common. The Taney kit comes in at least two flavors. One is in the "old style" without the Coast Guard Racing Stripes and black "W37" decals for the bow. The other has the red and blue racing stripes, CG logo on the funnel, and black "COAST GUARD" decals for the sides. Interestingly, the earlier kit depicts the later paint and marking scheme.
The kit is molded in all white plastic with about 108 parts on 4 sprues. It is generally well cast with very little flash. The hull is quite nice and compares favorably to the builder's drawings. It includes the bilge keels which for Revell is a nice surprise. It measures out slightly short for 1/300 scale and is more like 1/304. The deck is finely scribed with deck planking but unfortunately there are several rope, locater pins and holes that mar it (and make detailing a chore). Curiously, there are also two ropes that are molded into the hull on either side of the below the bridge. Many of the fittings seem to be a bit over scale, but since most of them are incorrect for the model, it doesn't much matter.
The brief history in the directions state that the kit is supposed to represent the Taney (or Campbell) during the Korean War, however the kit does not actually represent the ships in any one era. The names are also presented incorrectly. The ships were commissioned with their full names (Roger B. Taney and George M. Bib) but all except the Alexander Hamilton were shortened to just a single name during WWII. The kit comes equipped with two Mk9 depth charge release racks on the stern and four Mk6 K gun depth charge projectors on either side of the stern. There are two Mk24 dual 20mm mounts on either side of the aft docking bridge, a Mk11 hedge hog projector in front of the bridge, a Mk1 dual 40mm mount in front of that, and an enclosed 5"/38 mount on the bow. There is simplified Mk51 gun fire control system and some sort of fire control radar on top of the bridge, although it is unidentifiable. There is also what appears to be a SC radar with IFF on the foremast. There also appears to be an UDF on the main mast.
The problem is not that the ship never had any of these items; the problem is that it never had them all at the same time. The Secretary Class cutters were perhaps some of the most altered cutters of all times. The depth charge racks were removed by mid war although some of the K guns lasted until the '50s The hedgehogs were not added until very late in the war and I am not sure which cutters got them. At one time the Taney had 4 5"/38 mounts although these were later reduced to the one on the bow. If the kit is supposed to represent the Korean War era, then the racing stripe, which was added in 1967, certainly is not correct.
As to the good parts, the hull, as I said earlier, is quite good. There are a couple of portholes missing but they can be drilled out. The railings and ladders are molded in and would look much better in brass as would the stairs. Fortunately Gold Metal Models offers a photo etched brass set which includes much of the detail. The superstructure is also fairly good, although I think a few of the doors and port holes are out of place. Some of the port holes and doors include "eyebrows or rain gutters above them - an nice touch. One curious feature is the "1984, Revell, Inc. ©" molded into the exterior of forward superstructure. The parts generally fit together quite nicely and although many of the fittings are very plain and rough, the larger parts are well proportioned.
Depending on which era the ship is to be represented in, there is a lot of scratch building to be done. The 5"/38 supplied with the kit is very rough as are the other weapons, directors and radars. There are signal flags supplied with the model but the instructions indicate the wrong call letters for the Taney. The US flag has 48 stars which is correct for the Korean War, but not if you use the racing stripe markings. I'm not sure what Revell was trying to do with this kit but it turned out to be a ship for all seasons.
The Coast Guard has been a seriously under represented subject in ship modeling. This kit could be a very nice and rare piece for any collection, but the research and work needed to make it accurate is considerable and not for the beginning modeler.