The Treasury Class Cutter - With the passing of the Volstead Act in 1919, the Prohibition era began and with it the U.S. Coast Guard was authorized to prevent the maritime smuggling of now illegal
alcohol. While this led to an expansion in terms of size and responsibilities, the Coast Guard was not prepared to assume this task with her fleet. It simply lacked the ships to effectively conduct this
mission. As a result, the Coast Guard borrowed 31 flush-deck destroyers from the U.S. Navy and incorporated them into its fleet. This was deemed quicker and less-expensive than to build new ships
to meet the new demands. After Prohibition ended in late 1933, the Coast Guard’s law enforcement focus shifted to new contraband, illegal narcotics such as opium. Also the growing passenger airline
trade would present new search and rescue challenges. The 327-foot “
Treasury” (aka “Secretary”) class cutters were designed to meet the changing mission of the service.

The machinery plant and hull below the waterline of the
Treasury class were identical that of the U.S. Navy Erie class gunboats. Cost-saving was paramount to the Coast Guard, so some
standardization would save money since the cutters would be built in Navy shipyards. A total of seven cutters were built in this class and all were named for former Secretaries of the Treasury. They
were all commissioned in the late 1930s and saw a lot of action in World War II. Initially part of the Greenland Patrol, they conducted convoy escort duties, battling U-Boats in the treacherous waters of
the North Atlantic. It was in these waters that the
Alexander Hamilton was sunk by a torpedo from U-132, with the loss of 26 men. Their escort duties later expanded to convoys crossing the mid-
Atlantic, past Gibraltar into the Mediterranean and to North Africa. After their distinguished service in the Battle of the Atlantic, the surviving cutters were transferred to the Pacific and converted to
amphibious force flagships, where they served during some of the most intense battles of the war. After World War II, the 327s continued to serve in combat situations as search-and-rescue ships
during the Korean War and as naval gunfire support ships during Vietnam. In peace-time service, the performed weather patrol, fisheries patrol and drug interdiction duties. This class served for over 40
years and proved to be one of the most dependable and adaptable class of ships ever constructed. To quote naval historian John M. Waters, Jr., the
Treasury class cutters were truly "maritime
workhorses."  
The USCGC Taney - The Roger B. Taney was laid down on May 1, 1935 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. She was launched on June 3, 1936 and commissioned on October 24, 1936. She left Philadelphia
on December 19, 1936 for her new homeport of Honolulu, Hawaii, arriving on January 18, 1937, after transiting the Panama Canal. A few months later, her name was shortened to
Taney. In the late 1930s,
the United States began a strategic expansion in to Pacific, annexing small islands and other territory in the vast ocean. The
Taney played a role in the colonization of Canton and Enderbury Islands in the
Central Pacific, by bringing supplies and colonists to these isolated spots. With the help of Coast Guard crew, buildings were erected and the foundations for future signal towers were laid. Coast Guard
ships, including the
Taney, performed supply runs to these way-stations and to relieve the colonists there at specified intervals. As tensions were increasing in the Pacific, the Coast Guard, along with the
Navy, began augmenting the armament of its ships. The
Taney received her first major rearmament at Pearl Harbor in December 1940 and her last major pre-war refit at Mare Island in spring of 1941. On
July 25, 1941, the Coast Guard was transferred to the Navy and the
Taney became part of the local defenses of the 14th Naval District, based at Honolulu. As part of this duty, she conducted regular
harbor and channel patrols along with a flush-deck destroyer. On December 7, 1941,
Taney was moored along Pier 6 in Honolulu. Her crew manned her anti-aircraft guns but since there was no direct
attack on Honolulu, they only fired upon stray aircraft that came close enough with the strong possibility that she fired upon one or two U.S. planes in the process.

After the Pearl Harbor attack,
Taney conducted depth-charge attacks on suspected Japanese subs and helped evacuate American colonists and supplies from some of the way-stations she helped establish,
shelling any structures left behind. She continued to operate out of Honolulu until late 1943, when she departed for Boston. Prior to heading for the East Coast, she went to Mare Island where she was fitted
with four single 5”/38 gun turrets, making her the only ship in her class to receive this modification. When she arrived on the East Coast, she began convoy escort duties to North African ports. After
completing three round-trip convoys, she sailed to Boston in October 1944 for conversion to an amphibious command ship, with accommodations for a flag officer and his staff and increased radar and
communication equipment. She also lost her 5”38 turrets and was now fitted with two open 5” mounts and additional 40mm and 20mm anti-aircraft guns. After a brief shakedown cruise, she sailed to
Hawaii via the Panama Canal and San Diego, arriving at Pearl Harbor on February 22, 1945. She was part of the large Allied fleet present at the Battle of Okinawa and subsequent occupation. During her
time there in April and May, the
Taney went to general quarters 119 times and her crew at battle stations for up to nine consecutive hours. She was credited with downing four Kamikazes and assisting in
numerous kills. After the Japanese surrender,
Taney took part in the occupation of Wakayama and departed there on October 14, 1945 for the United States, arriving at San Francisco on October 29. She
moved to Charleston, South Carolina for her conversion back to a patrol cutter, with a single 5” gun turret, a hedgehog, a twin 40mm mount, two 20mm guns and depth charge racks and projectors.
Post-war the
Taney was based at Alameda, California until February 1972, where her primary duty was weather patrols. She had the honor of hosting French President Charles de Gaulle on his tour of San
Francisco Bay on April 27, 1960. From April 1969 to January 1970,
Taney was ordered to Vietnam and joined Coast Guard Squadron Three supporting the Navy’s Operation Market Time. She conducted
patrols of the Vietnam coast, provided gunfire support and prevented enemy infiltrations along the coastal water routes. She also participated in humanitarian missions with her medical staff treating over
6,000 South Vietnamese villagers. For this, the
Taney was awarded the Vietnamese Presidential Unit Citation by the South Vietnamese government. In 1972, Taney was home ported in Norfolk, Virginia and
the remainder of her career was spent on weather patrols, fisheries patrols, narcotics interdiction and search and rescue missions. She was formally decommissioned on December 7, 1986 and is currently
preserved as a museum in Baltimore, Maryland. The only other surviving
Treasury class cutter is the Ingham, which is also preserved as a museum in Key West, Florida. To quote naval historian John M.
Waters, Jr., the
Treasury class cutters were truly their nation's "maritime workhorses."  
The Niko Model USCGC Taney Kit - Niko Model is not a new name in ship modeling by a long shot. They have quite an extensive catalog of resin and photo-etch kits and accessories in 1:700 scale and
have earned a reputation for producing quality products. For some time now I had been hoping that they would venture into producing kits in 1:350 scale and they sort have teased me a little with some
accessories in that scale. Now
Niko Model has fulfilled my wish and have just recently started to produced full kits in my preferred scale and the picked a great subject for their first one, the USCGC
Taney
in her unique four 5”/38 turret fit.

The kit comes with an array of cast resin parts, three frets of photo-etch, a turned brass mast, brass rod sections and decals. The hull comes in two parts split at the waterline to give the modeler the
option of a full-hull or water-lined model. The casting is very well done and fairly clean with a little bit of resin over-pour along the bottom of the upper hull and the top of the lower hull. This will need to
be removed and the area sanded down, especially if you plan to build a full-hull model. Also, full-hull modelers will probably need some filler along the joint where the two parts meet. Looking at the upper
hull, it is interesting to see that the deck-housings are not solid blocks but instead open spaces with bulkheads. This reduces the amount of resin need to cast the part, which is most likely a cost savings
for
Niko Model. There is a lot of detail cast into the upper hull such as water-tight doors and hatches, portholes, boat cradles and mooring bits. The simulated deck planking I think is done just right.
The upper deck and bridge is the next largest part and it fits over the open deck housings on the upper hull. The part also includes the 20mm gun tubs fitted to the
Taney. Again the amount of detail is
very good with the tread plates for the 20mm guns cast into the deck. Some resin flash will need to be removed along the deck edges and in other spots. The bridge is also an open space and the round
windows on the face are open as well. To fit over the top of the bridge is the upper deck with has gun tubs for two more 20mm Oerlikons, the flag bags and pedestal for the forward gun director. The
funnel is also well done with some vent piping and detail to the interior that matches up with photos. The four 5”/38 turrets are well done with the various doors, access hatches and other details cast into
them. There is some flash present that needs to be removed. The resin 5” gun barrels are suitable but I would replace them with aftermarket turned brass versions. The
Taney’s turrets had blast-bags
fitted and you will need to replicate these in some way as they were quite prominent. It would have been nice if these were included in the turret castings.
There is a multitude of smaller resin parts ranging from the boats and rafts, weapons, running gear, various deck and bridge fittings and other equipment. These are all generally well-cast but there is a
fair amount of resin flash that will need to be cut away. All of the small parts will give the model a very busy and realistic look to it. The 20mm guns are a bit disappointing as most of the barrels are
either broken off or warped. They will need to be repaired with brass wire or turned brass versions if you want to go the extra step. On the other hand, the depth charges are well done and cast in such
a way as to simplify assembly. It can be a bit of a pain cutting down plastic rod to make your own depth charges. The approach to the hedgehog is also novel. You get to versions of this part – one with
the projectiles already cast into the part and another with openings for you to fit individual projectiles. While the latter is of course more work I think it would produce a more realistic result. The kit
comes with a complete set of photo-etch parts. The first fret contains two styles of railings, one with a little wider spacing between stanchions for the main deck, and vertical ladders. If you look
closely you will see that the railings have stanchion ends but you will also notice that the fret also contains a drilling template for each style of railing. This is a helpful tool if you want to use the kits
railings. The second fret has the detail parts such as the depth charge racks, inclined ladders, boat details, 20mm Oerlikon parts, radar and communication equipment, mast details, propeller guards and
other fittings. The last small fret has the shoulder harnesses for the 20mm guns. The etch looks well done with a good amount of relief etching. As small bag with a turned brass fore mast and some
lengths of brass rod is included.

The decals come on two small sheets. The first sheet has the U.S. flag with two each in two sizes. The second sheet is printed in white, with the hull numbers and the background for the flags. As the
red and blue colors are printed on transparent backing, you will have to layer the flag decals over the white background to make a complete flag. The assembly instructions are printed on four pages.
The first page has images of the kit parts. The resin parts keyed to numbers that are referenced in the assembly diagrams. The following pages are fully illustrated with sub-assemblies and more general
placement of parts clearly shown. The last page has accurate painting instructions for the MS 12 camouflage scheme they
Taney wore at this time. The colors are identified with both the official US
Navy paint references as well as suitable Humbrol paint numbers. If you plan to use
White Ensign Colourcoats, the official paint references will help you choose which ones to use.
Overall this appears to be a well-done and accurate kit of the Taney in her unique 1944 convoy escort fit. This is a very good introduction from Niko Model into the 1:350 scale market and if this is an
indication of things to come, modelers should be very excited. You can purchase this kit as well as others from the
Niko catalog from such Steel Navy sponsors as Free Time Hobbies, L’Arsenal and
White Ensign Models.
Felix Bustelo
Titan of Times Square
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