The kit is a re-release of the Hawk kit of WPG-31/WHEC-31, the 327-foot USCGC Bibb, which served from 1937 until 1985. She is of the Secretary Class, also called the Treasury Class. This is the same class as the Campbell (WPG-32) and the Roger B. Taney (WPG-37), both of which have been offered by Revell. The Bibb saw service in both WW2 and Viet Nam.

If you're not scared off by the crude box illustration, you'll find that it's not a bad little kit. It does, however, beg for detailing. I paid $3.99 (US) for mine at a hobby shop north of Boston, Mass.

Bibbbox.jpg (54305 bytes) Bibbinstruct.jpg (63198 bytes)

The kit consists of 26 parts, molded in translucent white styrene. The one-piece hull has a rudder, but no propellers. The scale is specified on the box as 1/600, and the hull measured out to 6.54 inches, exactly 1/600 scale. Instructions are very brief, but do the job for those not wanting to go any further than basic assembly. The decal sheet contains only two white "31" markings, probably intended to go along with the WW2 gray color scheme shown on the box.

Building the Kit
I started by researching the Secretary Class cutters, and found a number of good photos of the Bibb and similar cutters in my collection. I printed out the best photos for the time period that I wanted to represent, the more modern white hull with the red and blue diagonal stripes.

BibbpiecesRW.jpg (120337 bytes) BibbModify1RW.jpg (68181 bytes) Bibbdecals.jpg (16477 bytes)

I originally planned to do the basic assembly in a matter of minutes, but there were some things that needed attention. A number of platforms that are open underneath are molded as solid underneath. I fixed the most obvious of these, but left a few untouched. I removed the heavy ribs from the funnel, as they didn't show in the more recent photos. Doors were added, as well as capstans, portholes, the triangular aft mast, davits, propellers, propeller guards, and anchors. The masts were scratch-built from .035-inch Evergreen styrene rod. As the kit was 1/600 scale, I wanted to use photo-etched railings, but didn't have any on hand, so I built the railings from .010"x.020" styrene strips.

BibbportbowRW.jpg (98421 bytes) BibbportaftRW.jpg (99573 bytes) Bibbfinal[1]RW.jpg (120415 bytes)

I brush painted all parts. The white parts, hull and superstructure, took a minimum of three coats of Testors Flat White to hide the translucency. The funnel, masts, and accent colors were painted with Humbrol Afrika Korps Desert yellow. The aft part of the main deck has numerous items that may or may not have been on the modern version, photos generally showing a covered area. Perhaps I'll add that in the future.

All-in-all, this is a cute little kit for under $4, and a welcome addition to my Coast Guard collection.

Cap'n Randy

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