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Loose Cannon 1/700 scale AO-77 USS Cossatot T2 fleet oiler

Kit: No.
Scale: 1/700
Manufacturer: Loose Cannon Produc-tions, 850 Gera Ave., NW, Palm Bay, FL 32907, phone 407-724-5425
Price: $55
Comments: Comments: Mixed media, 351 parts (182 resin, 169 photoetched brass).

During the early years of World War II the allied Maritime Commission confronted the need to replace tankers lost in action. An easily built commercial-type tanker designed by the Sun Shipbuilding Company was developed with the designation of T2-SE-A2 and A3. A total of 525 ships were built; 481 of these were of the A2 designation. All were the same dimensions: 523'-6" long overall, with a beam of 68' and a 30' draft. Sun Shipbuilding Company's version had a larger upper deck like those used on civilian ships prior to the war, while the Kaiser and Marineship Yards adopted a smaller superstructure.

Loose Cannon's hull and superstructure decks are cleanly molded, with little flash and few air bubbles. Small resin parts and some of the deck platforms are not as good, with a lot of flash and, in a few cases, are incompletely molded. These also crumbled when removed from the pour stubs.

The photoetched rails, ladders, boat pulleys, various supports, and several sizes of boom cables and pulleys are the jewels of the kit. Many have spares included in case you have trouble working with them.

Options include both sizes of aft superstructures, main deck platforms for additional cargo, several PT boats, three styles of stacks, and plenty of deck armament and gun tubs.

The four-page instructions include line drawings showing basic placement of deck parts, but these were often vague. A drawing of the photoetched parts includes numbers used on the assembly drawings, but the photoetched sheet itself has no numbers; don't clip off the parts ahead of time or you'll be lost. The assembly sequence instructions are well written; use them and refer to the illustrations as a rough guide.

Decals provide hull numbers for 12 ships, but the U.S. flag was poorly printed on my sample.

Assembly was straightforward, but I was confused by mounting the supports (etched parts 15 and 16) for the forward superstructure decks (resin parts 24, 25, 29). The drawings make it look as though they are mounted against the resin rails, instead of on top of them. You also must sand away about half of the resin rail so the supports will fit between decks. After extensive cleanup of flash and mold seams, the remainder of the parts fit well.

I was impressed at the ease of building the photoetched catwalks along the main deck. The base legs are attached to one side of the rail. You bend the base legs 90 degrees, super glue the resin walkway on top, then add the opposite rail, and you're done.

I painted the Measure 22 scheme with Polly Scale's Haze Gray, Navy Blue, and Deck Blue.

My samples' decals disintegrated as soon as they hit the water, so I didn't get to use them - some ships didn't have numbers applied, anyway.

The ship scales well to drawings in Plastic Ship Modeler (third quarter, 1997 ). I spent 30 hours building and painting the T2 tanker, and it will be a welcome addition to many ship collections. Because of the poor quality of the small resin parts, you should have experience building multimedia kits.

- Phil Kirchmeier


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