When people think of service in the US Navy during WWII, they generally don't think of the crews who worked on the various support and service vessels, but that is where most servicemen spent their time, and without them the warships would have never functioned. Lion Roar have released a series of USN bargecraft from WWII to represent these unglamorous but essential vessels. Set R7004, USN Barges I, covers two of the covered lighters, YF 390 and YF 959.
YF 390 was a steel lighter, covered, non self propelled. Delivered to Mare Island on 12 December, 1941, she was a floating workshop 155' long, 36' wide and drawing 8' of water. Specific information about this vessel (and most other lighters) is nearly non existent, but similar lighters could house the workshop crew of about 190, as well as 300 of the ship being serviced. Her fate is unknown but again, many similar lighters were decommissioned in the 1990s and sold or scrapped.
YF 959 was built at Mare Island, launched 1 November 1944. She was a steel lighter, covered, non self propelled, 110' long, 35' wide and drawing 8' of water. She also appears to have housed workshops for service of other vessels. She remained in operation until decommissioned in 1998, and was sold in 2003.
Both vessels can be seen in photographs from Mare Island, usually in the background, although there are two very good closeup photos of YF 959, one taken shortly after her launch. The photos are black and white, but it would appear they were painted with a navy blue hull and haze gray upper structure.
Lion Roar Set I
The Lion Roar set comes in a small, end opening box with a photograph of the two completed vessels on the front. Inside the box the contents are securely packaged, with the resin barge hulls placed in plastic sleeves, tucked in bubble wrap. The etch frets are attached in the middle, bent carefully around a piece of cardboard, and tucked in a plastic sleeve to protect them from getting snagged or scratched. The resin hulls
are clean castings, with no flash and as near as I could see, no need for cleanup. They are waterline hulls with delicate bitts molded to the deck ends, and raised detail along the hull sides. The photoetch sheets
are of what appears to be fine steel and the detail here is stunning. The outside surface area of both building structures is textured to give the appearance of corrugated steel. All doors can be positioned open or closed. Catwalks and stairs are included. The parts are small, but not to the point of being impossible to work with. The building sides have small tabs to be bent inward to provide support for the roofs of both structures. Everything is beautiful and thoughtfully done with the modeler in mind. The construction of YF-390 calls for the installation of plastic rod for what I believe are smoke stacks for the shop, but the rod is not included, or was not present in my sample. You will need .5mm rod for this.
The instructions are printed on a single sheet of paper, with each vessel presented on one side of the paper. They are line drawings and are clear and easy to follow.
I think this is an excellent accessory kit, very well detailed and presented. It is for advanced or ambitious modelers due to the need for CA glue or similar to attach the parts. It is a perfect set for a Mare Island diorama. Photos of both vessels can be found online by image search, along with a large number of other useless images, or a direct search at www.navsource.org
will provide you with some information on the vessels and their type.
I searched online and found prices ranging from $8.39 US, with free shipping, up to $23.00, so shop around for the best price.
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