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First Look Review
U.S.C.G. Cutter Tamaroa (WHEC-166), As fitted in 1991
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by: Mark R. Smith [ GUNNY ]

Originally published on:
Model Shipwrights

This "First Look" style review is of Battlefleet Models latest USCG Coast Guard Cutter release, Tamaroa (WHEC-166), As fitted in 1991.

Vessel History

USCGC Tamaroa (WAT/WMEC-166) was a United States Coast Guard cutter, originally the United States Navy salvage tug USS Zuni (ATF-95). Following the USCG custom of naming cutters after Native American tribes, she is named after the Tamaroa tribe of the Illiniwek tribal group.

She was one of 70 built in her class for the US Navy. She saw action in World War II, including the Marianas, Philippines, and Iwo Jima operations. After the war she was transferred to the USCG. She was involved in the landmark tort case, Ira S. Bushey & Sons, Inc. v. United States, 398 F.2d 167 (2d Circ. 1968), in which the United States was held vicariously liable for the damage caused by the Tamaroa to a dry dock after an intoxicated seaman opened dry dock valves, causing the ship to list and slide off its blocks.

The bulk of her USCG career was spent patrolling the seas, working in drug interdiction, and fisheries protection. She is perhaps most famous for a rescue described in the book The Perfect Storm (by Sebastian Junger); she rescued both the crew of the yacht Satori, as well as the crew of a downed Air National Guard helicopter. She was also the first vessel to arrive at the sinking Andrea Doria.

After she was de-commissioned from the USCG, she was donated to the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York City. She was noticed tied up next to the Intrepid in 1994 by a former crewman who began a campaign to restore her. After several unsuccessful attempts, he hooked up with others interested in her fate and thus was formed what has become the Zuni Maritime Foundation, a newly formed non-profit organization in Richmond, Virginia. The Foundation is intending to preserve the ship in an operational condition, and use her to educate the public. As of 2007, she is undergoing restoration as a museum ship in Newport News, Virginia.

Career (United States (Navy)

Name: USS Zuni (ATF-95)
Builder: Commercial Iron Works, Portland, Oregon
Laid down: 8 March 1943
Launched: 31 July 1943
Commissioned: 9 October 1943
Decommissioned: 29 June 1946
Struck: 19 July 1946
Nickname: “The Mighty Z”
Fate: Transferred to
United States Coast Guard

Career (United States (Coast Guard)

Name: USCGC Tamaroa (WAT-166)
USCGC Tamaroa (WMEC-166)
Commissioned: 29 June 1946
Decommissioned: 1 February 1994
Fate: Museum ship

General characteristics

Class and type: Navajo
Displacement: 1,731 long tons (1,759 t)
Length: 205 ft 6 in (62.6 m)
Beam: 39 ft 3.25 in (11.970 m)
Draft: 18 ft (5.5 m)
Propulsion: 4 × General Motors model 12-278 diesels with diesel-electric drive: 3,010 shp (2,240 kW)
Speed: 16.1 kn (29.8 km/h/18.5 mph) maximum
8.0 kn (14.8 km/h/9.2 mph) economical
Range: 15,000 nmi (28,000 km/17,000 mi) at 8 kn (15 km/h/9.2 mph) (1990)
Complement: 10 officers, 74 enlisted (1990)
Sensors and
processing systems: Radar: SPN-25 (1961); no sonar.

Armament: WWII:
1 × 3 in/50 guns
2 × 20 mm guns

1990: 1 x 3-in .50 caliber

the model...

Battlefleet Models has a solid reputation for developing and offering unique subjects in full resin, and with this latest Cutter release, Harry is keeping true to the course!

The kit arrives to the modeler packed in a sturdy cardboard shipping box, which inside, you will find 29 resin kit parts, 1 photo-etch brass fret, two pieces of brass rod, and one finely turned brass barrel for the 3"/50 deck gun, all individually bagged, as well as the instruction sheets.

Complete parts list is as follows:

A: HULL (1)




E: FLAG BAG (2) (required 1 - 1 extra)

best replaced with brass rod (provided)

G: STACK (1)

H: 3”/50 (2) (required 1 - 1 extra)

I: Turned Brass Barrel (1)

J: Rigid hull inflatable rescue boats (RHIB) (2)

K: Small Rigid hull inflatable rescue boats (RHIB) (required 1 - 1 extra)

L: Boat derricks for RHIB (2)


P: SEARCHLIGHT (2) (Check References)

Q: SEARCHLIGHT PLATFORM (2) (Check References)


S: TWO POST BOLLARD (7) (required 2 - 5 extra)


U: BRASS ROD 2 sizes (4" of .030 & 2" of .020)

All resin castings are of typical Battlefleet Models quality and clarity, great detailing throughout. There is minimal flash on some of the smaller and finer resin castings, which cleans up very easily and cleanly. The hull is a marvelous looking little casting, with clean, crisp lines, and clear details overall.

An impressive addition to the kit is the Lilliputian sized turned brass barrel (see photo beside an actual US Quarter) from BMK, Germany, which will make the 3"/50 deck gun much more realistic on your finished model. It was hard to capture the full clarity of the turning itself due to the small size, but the barrel also holds true to Burkhardt's master machining prowess in quality, scale, and accuracy.

All resin parts scaled out to a perfect 1/700, and dry fit well. A minimum of cleanup is all that will be necessary as you build the kit.

Take a closer look at the little RHIB's (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat) that are included with this kit...Harry has sculpted these with segmented lines around the circumference of the inflatable tube to represent the separate air compartments. The interior console and other minute interior detail's are also cast in place.

The kit's brass photo-etch sheet by Tom's ModelWorks gives the modeler many fine options of adding extra detail and realism to the build, with all of the necessary railings, platforms, and ladders, as well as some tiny anchor chain and PE figures for your deck hands.

The kit's enclosed five page instructions covers the basic history of the vessel, general resin assembly construction tips, and a line drawing diagram to assist the modeler with proper parts placement...paint scheme recommendations for the vessel can be found on BFM's site here.


Tamaroa at Wiki


Highs: Clean, clear, quality resin and casting, enclosed PE additions, unique subject matter.
Lows: None at this point!
Verdict: Overall, another fine addition to the BFM catalog of support vessels, a unique subject that will inspire many fine diorama builds, highly reccomended from this modeler's point of view.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:700
  Mfg. ID: Kit# BFM-708B
  Suggested Retail: $30.00 USD
  Related Link: Official Company Website
  PUBLISHED: Aug 15, 2008
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Battlefleet Models!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Mark R. Smith (Gunny)

I have been building models of all sorts all of my life, concentrating mainly on the coolest one's when I was younger, but now I focus directly on all military subjects, from armor to warships. After years of counting rivets, I put away the calipers, dial indicators, and micrometers and now just ha...

Copyright ©2020 text by Mark R. Smith [ GUNNY ]. All rights reserved.


I built the ATF WW2 camo version of this kit, and I must say that it was one of the best and most satisfying builds I have yet completed. I believe that it went together very easily, and very well and what seemed like a simple ship certainly built up into a little gem! To make it even better, follow Mike McCabe's build of the ATF which takes you step by step through the whole assembly - stress free modelling! Peter F
AUG 18, 2008 - 08:31 PM
Hi Mark and Peter And there's Rob's salvage dio too! Having the pleasure of seeing all three Navajo's in Telford last year, I must say that it is difficult to say which was best... they all were! Good review Mark! Good job Harry Rui
AUG 19, 2008 - 01:48 AM
Excellent review as always! This kit is definitely on my short list of must-haves.
AUG 19, 2008 - 05:06 AM
I have the later version of this cutter and it is a beauty. Harry's work is first class. Kenny
AUG 19, 2008 - 06:13 AM
Thanks for the kind words, they are always appreciated!! Hope you enjoy the kit as much as I enjoyed making the master. I think Peter is correct, this is my best effort to-date.
AUG 21, 2008 - 07:12 PM

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