On 4 March 1941 the keel was laid of the YMS-1 at the Henry B. Nevins, Inc. Shipyard in City Island, NY. This ship was the first of 561Yard Minesweepers designed by the Nevins Shipyard and built at various yards on the East Coast, West Coast and the Great Lakes.
These wooden hulled minesweepers were originally intended to operate in and around the waters of the Naval Yard or Base they were assigned to, hence the "Y" in YMS. However, the U.S. Navy claims that the "Yard" designation was assigned because these vessels were built at 35 yacht yards and not larger shipyards. In either event, as was the case with most smaller naval ships and craft, these minesweepers were used in all theaters of the war all over the globe. Approximately 27 were lost during the war, with 7 alone sunk on 9 October 1945 in a typhoon off Okinawa. Two ships, YMS-304 and YMS-350, were lost to mines off the coast of Normandy, which underscores just how dangerous their duties were.
The YMS-1 class was built in three sub-classes: YMS 1-134 had two funnels, YMS 135-445 had one and YMS 446-481 did not have any visible funnels. Other than the funnels, the basic design of these vessels was basically the same. These ships were well designed and many were transferred to foreign navies during World War II, such as the Free French, British, and Soviet navies. These ships also saw service during the Korean War and into the 1960’s and many were transferred in later years to Greece, the Philippines, and Brazil.
Dimensions: Length – 136’ oa; Beam – 24’ 6"; Draft – 6’; Displacement: 215 tons
Complement: Approximately 50; Armament: one single 3"/50, two or four 20mm Oerlikons, two depth charge racks, two depth charge throwers.
Machinery: Two General Motors diesels; 1,000 bhp; two shafts; 13 knots
I will not take up space describing the kit, as Steve Backer has already done this in his in-box review on this site (Click for Review).. However, I would like to make some comments on the kit and describe my build.
I found the major components of this kit to be very well cast, requiring only some light sanding in a couple of places and the filling of a few minor pinholes in some of the deck lockers. This kit is a full hull, which is the common practice at Iron Shipwright. My personal preference, especially with small subjects like this one, is to display them in a seascape, which requires a waterline model. Out came my trusty Dremel with cut-off wheel and off went the bottom of the hull off the kit.
The layout of the major parts really facilitates the model’s construction and everything fit together very well. I needed to fill in the seams a bit where the bridge deck fit into foc’sle deck with a bit of putty and some sanding. The bridge structure is designed to fit into the opening in the bridge deck. I needed to sand the bottom of the bridge part so that the structure would sit flush on the deck. Based on my visual references (including photos taken by Mike Leonard of a large scale YMS model housed in the Washington Naval Yard), the bridge wings were not, for the lack of a better term, free standing. Rather they sat on top of a structure, possibly a locker of some sorts. This is also clear in this photo of YMS-441, which I downloaded from Navsource. I used styrene square stock cut to add these to the model. I also used styrene stock for the supports under the bridge deck overhang.
The smaller parts, which include a large J vent, large cable reel, 3" gun with mount, 20mm guns, K guns, ship’s boat, main sweep boom post, searchlights, propellers, prop struts, and rudders, required more clean up, such as the removal or casting plugs, flash and some rough spots. Since I cut the hull down to a waterline model, I did not use the props, struts and rudders. The photo-etch set provides the inclined and vertical ladders, railings, depth charge racks, K-gun racks, boom rigging, 20mm gun shield and anchor and depth charge handling davits.
Even though this is a small kit, there is room to add a fair amount of detail. I blackened some fishing line with a permanent marker and wound some around the spool of the large cable reel. I detailed the 20mm guns with bits from the Gold Medal Models 20mm/40mm Gun Detail Set. I also added a cable reel from the GMM set and fitted it in front of the bridge between the two ready ammo lockers. I cut some styrene rod to make depth charges to load onto the racks. I made the main mast from brass rod, adding a mast light from the photo-etch from another ISW kit and topping it off with a small radar screen fashioned from some brass runner clipped from the photo-etch fret.
To make the boom assembly, I used the resin post provided with the kit and brass rod for the actual booms. I again went to my spare parts box and found a part from a left over ISW photo-etch fret with is basically a brass strip with holes on either end – I actually think that the purpose of this part is to make a boom assembly. I cut this brass part into two shorter pieces and sandwiched it between two pieces of plastic tube that I cut down, sticking the resin post into the holes. The brass booms were glued into the holes and I finished the assembly off with the rigging from the kit’s photo-etch set.
Although the kit comes with a lifeboat, there was no room to fit it. Based on the photos of the large scale YMS model, the boat was fitted between the bridge deck break and the K gun on the port side. The model has a large locker in that area and I was already too advanced in the assembly to attempt to remove it, so I decided to omit it. I did add a pair of life rafts again fished out of the spares box and attached to the rails on both side just forward of the bridge.
I painted the model in Measure 14, which was the common color scheme used on yard craft, using White Ensign Models Colourcoats 5-0 Ocean Gray and Deck Blue 20-B. The lettering came from a Microscale decal sheet and the flag from the GMM flag set. Monofilament fishing line, blackened with a permanent marker, was used for the rigging.
This is a very good kit and a great choice for a first-time resin project as it is a fairly easy build. As I was building the kit, I thought that it turn into a decent but not too exciting model; this was due more to the subject matter and not a criticism of the kit. However, when I added some of the additional details and the rigging I was pleasantly surprised as how more alive the model became.