Iron Shipwrights US Army Large Tug (type LT)
This is where I run into a bit of a problem. I have almost no information on this ship. The best I could do was to go through Fahey's "Ships and Aircraft of the US Fleet" which is in several volumes running from 1939 to the early 1960s. In the 1946 'Victory Edition' there is some mention of these tugs. Originally built for the Navy as ocean-going tugs, at least one was transferred to the Army.
Unknown to many, the US Army had a rather substantial fleet of ships, most of which were auxiliaries and large troop transports. On a personal note, when my father, who was in the USAF, moved us from England to the US, we traveled on an army transport ship, the USS General Rose.
This is my first experience with resin ship kits, so I was not sure what to expect. After having built a few resin aircraft, it looks like it would be a nice change. It comes packaged in an very sturdy box with the main casting wrapped in bubble wrap and nestled in plastic peanuts. This kit should be safe from even the most clumsy handling while in the mails.
First of all, the casting is really superb. The major part of the tug is complete and very solid indeed. There are a few pinholes on the bottom of the hull as well as one or two in other locations, but nothing that cannot easily be fixed.
As you can see, it is a full-hulled boat, measuring about 5 1/2 inches from bow to stern. The builder will either have to cut off the bottom of the hull for a waterline kit or find some other way of displaying it.
Included in the kit are two sections of brass rod (not shown) for the mast as well as an excellent fret of etched brass for the davits, ladders and railings. A brass rudder is also included on the fret. Each of the items on the fret is labeled on the fret so there should be no confusion as to which part is which!
In another bag contains anchors, intakes, the propeller, lifeboat, and another rudder, in case you don't like the brass one. These parts are also in resin and require only a minimum of cleanup before use.
The assembly sheet is simplicity itself. A simple two view drawing of the tug shows the location of all the parts. There are holes drilled in the body of the boat where things like intakes and masts should fit so any drilling by the builder is basically not needed.
A great feature of all of Iron Shipwrights' kits is their policy on replacement parts. Basically, if you need them, for any reason, they will supply them free of charge. In my conversations with them, I was repeatedly told that their goal is to make the purchase and construction of their kits the most positive and pleasurable as possible. Too bad not all companies follow that creed!
If there was anything that I would like to see included, it would be a small decal sheet, painting guide and references. Especially for those of us who are ship stupid!
Overall, it looks like a great kit on which to begin my resin boat building experience! Stay tuned for further adventures and we'll see what transpires!
My thanks to the fine folks at Iron Shipwrights for providing the review sample. While they have no website at the moment, they can be contacted via e-mail at:firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. They have a number of other great ships available such as the USS Guam or USS Hawaii battlecruisers, heavy cruiser USS Pittsburgh (coming out later in December '99) and the HMCS Halifax, due out in early 2000, as well as some other great projects.