by: Jim Adams [ ]
This MSW in box review is of a truly unique subject the USS Penguin, ASR-12. BattleFleet Models has produced a limited run of this resin 1/700 scale waterline kit. For those of use lucky enough to acquire one when they were offered you know first hand how nice this kit it.
The USS Penguin was laid down as a fleet tug, USS Chetco (AT99) by the Charleston Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Charleston S.C., 9 February 1943. She was launched 20 July 1943 when she was reclassified and renamed, ASR-12 USS Penguin. On 29 May 1944 she was commissioned with Lt. Comdr. G. W. Albin, Jr. in command. After a brief shake down cruise she reported for duty with SubRon 1, at New London, Conn., 9 June 1944. Based there after shakedown training, she served as a target and torpedo recovery ship for Allied submarines training in the area; performed towing assignments; participated in the planting and sweeping of experimental mine fields; and conducted salvage operations. Included in the latter were operations on a sunken U-boat near Block Island between April and June 1945.
For the next few years she took part in training, acting as a target, torpedo recovery, and salvage vessel for submarines undergoing sea trials. I 1947 she was decommissioned and placed in storage at the Atlantic Reserve Fleet in New London. In 1952 she was recomissioned and reported to her new homeport of Key West Florida. Once again she spent her time training and acting as salvage ship for SubRon 12. In 1955 she took part in a simulated rescue of sailors from a downed sub at 349 feet below the surface. That is a record for ships in her class.
In 1961 Penguin forward deployed to Rota Spain as part of the 6th Fleet. She once again took part in training, recovery of test weapons, and towing services for both the Atlantic Fleet and 6th fleet. On one good note she was never called to help recover in an actual submarine disaster. Her fate is listed as unknown. She was awarded the American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and National Defense Service Medal.
Class Penguin ASR-12
Speed 16 k
Armament 1 3", 4 20mm, 2 depth charge tracks
This kit is currently a limited run of only 33 kits. At this time there is some speculation of a possible second run, however those plans are only speculation. The ship comes to you in a heavy flip top style box. The parts are all sealed in their own plastic sleeves and wrapped with bubble wrap. The PE Fret is sandwiched between two pieces of heavy cardboard and the brass barrel is inside its own zip lock bag. All of the parts are wrapped snuggly inside the ships instructions.
The parts are made from a light grey resin material that is very easy to work with. The main part is the hull. The hull is a work of art in its own right. The deck is loaded with details most kits leave off. The bow winch would normally be the focus of a ship, but there is also the heavy duty salvage winch at the rear of the ship. Both are molded in place and top notch.
The main deck portion of the superstructure has deeply cast portholes and finely done watertight doors. The sides of the main deck are nicely cast and thin. The other sections of the superstructure continue with the great detail. The watertight doors cast onto their surfaces are some of the best seen.
Other parts provided include smaller auxiliary winches , two post bollards, 3”/50 deck guns, 20mm cannons, and the ships stack. The stack is hollowed out nice and deep so there is no need to drill.
I fit the deck and superstructure sections together just to get the feel of how they looked. See the pictures and judge for your self.
A: HULL (1)
B: PILOT HOUSE/BRIDGE DECK (1)
C: MAIN DECK (1)
D: BOAT DECK (1)
E: FLAG BAG (2) (required 1 - 1 extra)
F: DERRICK SUPPORTS (2) best replaced with brass rod (provided)
G: WENCHES (2)
H: STACK (1)
I: 3”/50 (2)(required 1 - 1 extra) Limited Edition includes 1 Turned Brass Barrel
J: 20MM (4) also on PE Fret
K: LIFE BOAT (2)
L: LIFE RAFT (2)
M: ANCHOR (2)
N: SEARCHLIGHT (2)
O: SEARCHLIGHT PLATFORM (2)
P: MONITOR ROOM PLATFORM (1)
R: TWO POST BOLLARD (7) (required 2 - 5 extra)
S: LIFEBOAT DAVITS (4)
T: SUBMERSIBLE RESCUE BELL (2 types)
U: BRASS ROD 2 sizes (4" of .030 & 2" of .020)
V: PHOTO ETCHED BRASS SHEET (1)
W: NUMERIC DECAL SET
PE Fret and other Brass Items…
The PE fret is from Tom’s and is for a Destroyer Escort, but there are common pieces for both types of ships. There are two different sizes of brass rod included, .020 and .030. These can be used to replace the resin derrick supports. There is one turned brass barrel included for the 3”/50 deck gun. Be careful with the fret, I bent mine just taking pictures of it.
The instructions are in the form of a small booklet. There is a break down of the parts and assembly layout for your ship. The diagrams are crisp and do a decent job telling you where things go.
Well, this is another winner from BattleFleet. Not only is it a totally unique class of ship being offered, it is jam packed with very nice detail. Now to fit this beauty into my crazy schedule!