USS ARAPAHO (AT-68)
The kit # BFM 708 „ATF Fleet Ocean Tug“ is my first kit from Battlefleet Models. When I purchased
it, I did not know what I can expect. Opening of the small box really shocked me. Nicely packed resin parts cast from light
grey resin without any damage or air bubbles, perfectly flat and clean. Even my commonly applied light coat of Mr. Surfacer
did not show any hidden defects. I tried “dry assembly” of main parts and I was so satisfied with the fit that
I glued them together immediately and after I did it, I started to think about choosing of real ship, which will be modeled.
I found on NAVSOURCE many photos of these Navajo Class tugs and I started to like the USS Arapaho, photographed
under the bridge off Charleston Navy Yard. Three pretty clear pictures promised creating of good replica and Measure 21 (overall
Navy Blue with Deck Blue) promised quick build without complicated masking during airbrushing.
First step was to change square 20mm Oerlikons flying outposts to rounded by using of thin brass strip. Than
I shaved off all the doors and replaced them by Lion Roar photo-etched ones. I added ladders and some another small thing
seen on photos. From brass rods (supplied in kit) I made derrick support . After this, I sprayed light coat of Mr. Surfacer
to check cleanness of my build, because it would not be possible to fix my “piggy marks” later.
Then I continue with detailing and during the checking of photos I discovered, that Arapaho was equipped
evidently by four sets of anti-submarine K-guns. Creating of this took whole evening. I discovered too the fifth 20mm Oerlikon
placed on monitor room platform. I added ammo boxes (Lion Roar), railings (GMM) and boat davits. On the port side I added
26’ Whaleboat from Paper Lab and for the starboard I found bigger lifeboat from some Pit-Road set. Finally I created
main mast, 3” gun, small derrick and searchlight platforms for my favorite Fine Molds transparent searchlights.
Painting started by airbrushing of Deck Blue on all horizontal surfaces. Then I masked decks by using of
Tamiya tape and sprayed lightened Navy Blue (both Gunze). After the paints were dry, I retouched some problematic areas by
brush. For the small details I used Vallejo paints. And after common “wash” and “drybrush” techniques
I sprayed whole ship by light coat of flat varnish. Then I added weathering by using of oil paints and at this moment I stopped
the work. I am planning to place the Arapaho anchored to small wooden pier. I will then add flags, ropes and figures.
The “ATF Fleet Ocean Tug” kit made by Battlefleet is exactly what I like – clean, sharp
and well executed resin kit, ready for detailing. But even built straight out of the box, this kit will bring satisfaction
to all modelers.
June 07, 2009