USCGC Bertholf (WMSL-750) is the first ship in the Legend class of maritime security cutters of the United States Coast Guard. At 418 feet long, the Legend class is the second longest of all U.S. Coast Guard cutters, behind the research icebreaker
Healy. Bertholf and her sisters will replace the Hamilton class cutters. The Legend class is designed to be able to undertake the entire range of the high endurance cutter roles for the U.S. Coast Guard. To facilitate intercept missions, the Legend class
can carry and launch both the Short-Range Prosecutor and the Long-Range Interceptor rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs). The cutters have a rear-launching ramp, capable of launching and retrieving the two aft stored RHIBs while underway. The
vessels also carry a Eurocopter MH-65 Dolphin for search and rescue operations. The cutters are equipped with the same Bofors 57 mm gun that is mounted on the U.S. Navy’s Littoral combat ships. The
Legend class is also fitted with a Phalanx
CIWS, the MK 53 NULKA decoy systems and the MK 36 SRBOC countermeasure systems. With additional upgrades, the
Legend class can be utilized as an asset by the Department of Defense and make it more suitable to operate in High Threat
In 2005, construction began on Bertholf at Northrop Grumman's Ship Systems Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi. She was launched on September 29, 2006 and commissioned on August 4, 2008. She is named for Commodore Ellsworth P.
Bertholf, the fourth commandant of both the Revenue Cutter Service and Coast Guard. The cutter's home port is Alameda, California.

Bertholf has the distinction of being the first U.S. vessel to fire the Bofors 57 mm gun on February 11, 2008. Bertholf is famous for the interception of a semi-submersible narcotics smuggling “submarine” off the Pacific coast of Panama on March 3,
2016. The “submarine” was boarded by a party from the RHIBs launched from the cutter. Four smugglers and 6 tons of cocaine were captured and the semi-submersible was sunk.
Bertholf participated in the 2012 RIMPAC exercises, where she
tracked and detected missile threats and provided gunfire support for troops onshore during the exercise. Her performance demonstrated the capability of the
Legend class ships to operate with naval forces and perform defense roles. In fact, two
patrol frigate designs based on the
Legend class hull were presented for consideration by the U.S. Navy. A total of 8 cutters have been commissioned and in active service, stationed in Alameda, Honolulu, Hawaii and Charleston, South Carolina. Two
more cutters are currently under construction, with another planned but not yet started.
The Bertholf kit from Black Cat Model surpasses their USS Farragut destroyer in terms of size and complexity, with the hull measuring approximately 14.3 inches long. This kit is truly a multimedia affair, comprised of cast resin, 3D printed and
turned brass parts as well as an extensive photo-etch fret and decals. The masters for the cast resin parts were 3D designed and printed. The kit is offered in two versions: full hull and waterline. My kit is the latter version.

The one-piece waterline hull does not come attached to a casting runner which eliminates the need to remove one. The hull along with the superstructures are cast as one substantial piece. The casting is extremely clean and stealthy design of the cutter is
reproduced here beautifully. There is some resin film underneath the bridge wings and platform overhangs immediately aft that can be removed with minimal effort. Details such as watertight doors, hatches and recessed bridge windows are very well
done. The bow bulwarks even have the internal support ribbing. The hangar doors, helo control room windows and stern boat launching ramp are also finely represented. The decks and superstructures have numerous depressions, slots and openings to
accommodate the plethora of smaller resin, 3D printed and photo-etch parts.
There are a number of cast resin parts. The largest ones are the Eurocopter MH-65 Dolphin and Short-Range Prosecutor and the Long-Range Interceptor RHIBs, with some smaller parts, such as small radomes for the RHIBs and the helicopter wheels
and other details, to finish them off. The resin parts include the SLQ-32 ECM units and the SQP-9B radar and its base. Other resin parts include the mast top platform, boat launching ramp doors, hydraulic arms and boat cradles, a variety of radomes
and radars, a variety of ventilation ducts, exhaust vents for the funnel and the base for the CWIS. Smaller resin parts include twin bitts, capstans, lockers, firehoses, breakwaters, life raft canisters and deck details. The propeller shaft supports and
rudders are also included but not needed for the waterline version. The resin parts are very cleanly cast and mounted on runners with part numbers. The attachment points to the runners are thin which will make removal easy. Some of the resin parts
broke free of the runners during shipping and were loose in the bag, but they are easily identified cross referencing the parts list in the instructions. A resin version of the CIWS gun assembly is included but an improve 3D printed version is provided.

There are a lot of 3D printed parts which are really quite amazing. All of the 3D parts are printed in gray resin, which will accept both enamel and acrylic paints. They are printed ultra-smooth and will not require the fine sanding need with parts printed
in other media. The parts come on flat beds with raised ends to protect the parts, and have very thin attachment points to facilitate removal.
The largest 3D part is the main mast structure, complete with platforms. Having this as one printed part is a God send as you will not have to build most of it up and deal with aligning everything correctly. The support legs are also printed and will fit into
slots in the lower deck. The yardarms are also printed parts and are very detailed. Bofors 57 mm gun turret is the next largest 3D printed part and it is well done. You also get four gun barrels to choose from as each one will give you a different elevation.
The printed CWIS is much better than the cast resin version. The larger printed parts are rounded off by the boat launch ramp framework structure and davits and a smaller cradle for the RHIB that is stowed amidships.

The smaller printed parts include chocks in 3 different styles, chaff launchers, water piping with valves, hangar deck lighting, PA speakers, ship’s bell, life rings, camera housings, winches, cable reels and a variety of smaller deck and structural fittings.
The ship propellers, though not used with this version, are included and are impressive. Between the cast resin and 3D printed parts alone, you are going to have a well detailed model.
The turned brass parts are made by Master Models and include the top of the main mast, whip antennas, platform supports and propeller shafts. Not all of the parts are actually turned brass. The whip antennas, propeller shafts, support arms are
premeasured bits of brass rod. This will save time and effort and eliminate potential errors as the modeler will not have to measure and cut brass rod.

The brass photo-etch fret contains all of the railings and vertical ladders in pre-measured lengths and the inclined ladders. There are quite a number of vent grills in different sizes which are made to fit into the recesses in the resin hull. Other parts
include the amidships RHIB storage platform, deck hatches, parts for a small mast, various support arms, details for the RHIBs and helicopter and other detail parts. The flight deck safety netting on the main photo-etch fret is to be substituted with the
improved netting that is provided on a small separate fret. The various platforms that were to be used of the main mast are no longer need as they are integrated into the 3D printed part. The photo-etch brass is thin and based on my experience building
Black Cat Models Farragut kit, take care removing and handling some of the parts like the railings.
A fair-sized decal sheet is provided with helicopter flight deck markings as well as the United States Coast Guard lettering, insignias, hull numbers and name for the Bertholf, draft markings, hangar door bottom clearance markings, “E” efficiency markings
and markings for the helicopter. The decals look like they well done. It would have been nice to have the USCG racing stripes included with the decals sheet to save having to paint them and also the lettering to detail the RHIBs but that is a minor complaint.
The instruction guide is a 24-page booklet with each step of the assembly detailed with 3D CAD renders in color. The cover has a brief history of Bertholf in both English and French. Pages 2 through 7 have a breakdown of the resin, 3D printed and
turned brass parts and decals with corresponding identification numbers and a small image of the photo-etch frets. The 3D printed parts that come on a bed are shown with an overhead view with the parts numbered as well as images of the individual
parts also with identification numbers. The different part numbers are color-coded by the media used to help differentiate the part numbers that may overlap. Pages 8 through 22 contain the 3D renders depicting the assembly steps with images of the
various sections of the model from different perspectives. Images to assemble the helicopter and RHIBs are given proper attention. The renders are very well done and clearly show how the different subassemblies go together and were everything goes
on the model. Page 23 has two views of the completed model. The final page has color plan, profile, bow and stern views of
Bertholf. The color references are generic for the most part with the exception for the Coast Guard Red and Blue, which have
Pantone color references, and Dark Gray, which has a Federal Standard number reference. The images also show the placement of the decals.
The Black Cat Models Bertholf kit is an impressive model kit. It appears to be a very well-engineered kit which should fairly easy to build even with the numerous small parts. The Legend class cutters are sleek and, yes, even sexy looking ships and it is
great to see one represented in kit form. My thanks to
Black Cat Models for providing the review sample.

Felix Bustelo
New York