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(Image via Model-Expo, from whom I bought the kit). This kit is meant to represent one of many ships built in the early nineteenth century for the US Revenue Marine (fore-runner of today’s Coast Guard). However, no “Ranger” was ever built for that service during this time period, so the model only approximates a real prototype. The closest real vessels, according to my research, seem to be the two Alabama-class topsail schooners built in 1819 (Alabama and Louisiana). This conclusion is based on several factors: Recommendation of the Coast Guard Modeling website Comparison to plans available from the USCG website Dimensions given by USCG fact sheet for USRC Louisiana My own calculations. The resources above list the Alabama-class cutters as having a 52’ keel and 18’-6” beam, while Wikipedia also lists a length on deck of 56’-10”. The table below shows the kit’s measurements (taken from the plans), the kit’s size at full scale converted to feet, the actual dimensions from the sources above in feet, and the difference between the two scaled back down to kit size, in cm. Deck: kit(cm) 28, kit(feet) 62.6, real (feet) 57.0, diffrence (cm) 2.5 Beam: kit(cm) 9, kit(feet) 20.1, real (feet) 18.5, diffrence (cm) 0.7 Keel: kit(cm) 22.5, kit(feet) 50.2, real (feet) 52.0, diffrence (cm) -0.8 The kit does not perfectly match the Alabama-class cutters, most notably in deck length, but it’s closer to those than the other options (the 56’ Surprise class or the 60’ Search class). At this scale, only a true historian of the Revenue Marine will notice that the model is a few centimeters off; as I intend to build it as a fictional ship rather than as Alabama or Louisiana, this will matter even less. The overall hull shape, sail plan, and deck layout seem reasonably similar, and I will probably use the USCG drawing of Louisiana as a guide when the kit plans are uncertain or I prefer the former’s appearance. For example, the USCG drawing shows two swivel-based carronades of different calibers, which I find intriguing, and overall it’s more crisply drawn than the poor-quality photocopy in the kit. I could only find a few previous build logs for this kit, which are listed here for future reference (if I’ve missed one, please inform me): Ranger by matt s.s.: heavy kit-bash of the model into a glorious pirate ship. Ranger by trippwj: unfinished log, not updated since 2014, progress as far as beginning planking; intended to follow plans for the larger Search class vessels. Ranger by Small Stuff: unfinished log, not updated since 2014, many photos missing, progress as far as bulkheads. Ranger by Woodmiester12: unfinished log, not updated since 2015, progress as far as first hull & deck planking. So it looks like I’ll embarking on a fairly new adventure here, the most challenging model I’ve tackled to date, especially with the rather poor instructions in hideous English translation. Some may ask why I’m attempting this somewhat problematic kit when BlueJacket just released what is, by all accounts, a high quality kit of a similar revenue cutter. The answer is quite simple: I purchased this kit before learning of the BlueJacket release. Both I and Mrs Cathead love the look of topsail schooners, and I thought the challenge of working with a foreign kit would be good for developing my skills. Now that I’ve bought it, I’m going to build it. And for those of you wondering why I’m not tackling another steamboat, there is a twofold answer: one, the previous sentence, and two, it’s going to take me significant time to do the research and design necessary for a new scratchbuild. I’d like to do something that doesn’t have plans, like the Missouri River sidewheeler Arabia, and that’s a long-term project. So I’ll work on this revenue cutter in the meantime to keep my hands busy and my skills developing, and work on my steamboat plans in the background.