The Cimarron Class Fleet Oiler was designed to provide replenishment to USN carrier battle groups. There were to be fifteen units in the class but it was soon realized that their size limited their fuel capacity. The could carry 72,000 barrels of fuel oil plus 48,000 barrels of JP5 jet fuel. This was sufficient for two refuelings of a conventionally powered aircraft carrier and six to eight escorting warships. The original order was pared down from 15 to 5 units. The ships were USS Cimarron, USS Monongahela, USS Merrimack, USS Willamette, and USS Platte. There were seven constant tension replenishment stations with four to port and three to starboard. The ships could refuel while maintaining a speed of 15-knots. They were refitted with a helicopter platform aft for vertical replenishment operations but had not hangar for maintenance or storage of helicopters.
To increase their fuel capacity the ships were "jumboized". This process amounted to cutting each ship in two and adding an additional 108-feet (32.9m) amidships, thereby expanding their fuel tanks and capacity. This had been accomplished by 1992 and their capacity expanded to 183,000 barrels of fuel oil. After this refit the ships displaced 8,210-tons light but 37,870-tons loaded. They were 708-feet (216m) long, 88-feet (26.8m) wide and had a draught of 35-feet (10.7m) in loaded condition. Even though this refit was done in the early 1990s, the ships still did not remain long in service. Cimarron and Merrimack were removed from service in 1998 with the other three following in 1999.
The JAG Cimarron
It comes as no surprise that the JAG Cimarron is in waterline format as very few 1:700 scale models come as full hull or have a lower hull option. The jumboized Cimarron has a large impressive hull and JAG really captures the fine lines of the class. The name of the game for any oiler or replenishment ship is haul capacity and this mission dictates the architecture of the ship. Superstructure is clustered at the stern in order to provide as many fueling points as possible along the long-waisted design. Nonetheless the towering superstructure at the stern and multiple refueling points provide ample detail for the kit.
The JAG hull casting provides the main deck for the amidships with a separate thin shelter deck fitting above this. The result provides an excellent third dimension for the covered main deck in that the observer can see through the openings on one side of the ship and out the other. The hull casting is that of the ship in a loaded condition, as it is not riding high in the water. With a light displacement of only 25% of the loaded displacement, the Cimarron would ride a lot higher in light condition. As with most modern designs, hull sides are somewhat featureless. The hull has a graceful clipper cut-water with a elegant flare outwards to reduce the amount of water shipped onto the forecastle in heavy weather. The ship has rectangular inset anchor positions on either side. The hull sides rise one level for the minimal superstructure forward as the first level of the superstructure sides is flush with the hull sides. Then there is an abrupt drop to the main deck and top of the cargo area.
The hull sides rise momentarily amidships where is found a medium size deck house with sides again flush with the hull before going back down to main deck level. Very crisp, short curving solid bulkheads are found at deck edge at every juncture of the main deck to deck house. Towards the stern, the deck jumps up two levels in a stair step pattern for the base of the superstructure. The hull casting falls away again at the end of the superstructure area. At the very stern the hull casting again drops to main deck level for an equipment deck that will be covered over by a separate helicopter-landing pad. However, there are two open ovals on each side of this position, as well as openings on the transom stern also permit vision into this enclosed space. Once past the graceful flare forward, most of the ship is slab sided until you reach the stern where you will find a very dramatic curving shape. The stern is squared-off into a transom.
The forecastle presents plenty of detail. First of all, from the cutwater to almost the forward superstructure, the ship has solid bulkheads rising from deck edge. On the outward side of the hull you canít see where the hull proper ends and the bulkhead begins but on the inward side there is found an intricate and beautifully executed pattern of support gussets designed to prevent heavy seas from stoving-in the bulkheads. The interior bulkhead surface also has three closed chocks on each side. Set inboard from deck edge are three twin bollard fittings on each side with base plate and twin posts. The center of the forecastle is dominated by the anchor gear. The windlasses are set far back, almost at the front face of the forward superstructure. JAG has cast on anchor chain, which should be fine for most modelers, but perfectionists may wish to remove this in order to add actual chain. This chain runs from the horseshoe shaped fittings leading into the chain locker to the windlass and thence to the deck hawse where it passes through the hull to the anchor positions on the hull sides.
In common with most oilers, the Cimarron has two areas of superstructure widely separated by the low freeboard fuel container areas. However, the forward superstructure is only one level. In the JAG kit the decks in this area have major fittings even though this entire area is covered by a separate upper deck piece. This design decision provides for a very nice see-through deck. The quarterdeck provides the same situation. It will be covered by the helicopter landing platform and yet JAG still provides bollard and windlass detail. There are two oval openings on each side of the quarterdeck, as well as three across the transom. The provision for deck fittings that can be viewed through hull openings is typical of the exacting detail for which JAG is renowned. Superstructure bulkheads on the hull piece include detailed doors, windows and fittings. The aft face also includes the aviation control position with incised windows. You can even see individual roller strips for the roller doors on the aft face of the forward superstructure/deckhouse.
The upper deck piece for the fueling area also has excellent detail. This deck is just clustered with fittings for the various fueling positions. These fittings are arranged in an asymmetrical manner. The sides have solid bulkheads with inboard support gussets and there are openings for inclined ladders leading to the lower fuel deck. Additionally numerous panel lines are incised into the deck for placement of all of the separate resin fittings. A smaller additional deck piece with locator lines for fittings is found amidships. The six story aft superstructure also has the detailed doors, portholes and incised square bridge windows. AT the top of this piece JAG has included locator lines to help the modeler in getting the stack placement exactly right. The conical stack has highly detailed exhaust vents at the cap and ventilator louvers on the sides, as well as very fine piping. The helicopter pad includes numerous tie-down points.
There are three resin sheets and four resin runners of smaller parts. One sheet has 21 conex containers with side and end detail for non-liquid supply storage. Another sheet has 17 winches for the numerous kingposts. A third sheet has the main mast platform, bridge wings, deck winches and three different styles of stream-shacks for the operator positions for resupply missions. The resin runners include one for superstructure platforms with six of these with open rectangles for inclined ladders; one with transfer head pulleys; one with ram tensioners; and one with an assortments of parts, among which are RHIB crane, boat platform, radar platforms, binnacles, bridge wing shields and top mast.
The detailed parts donít end with resin parts. A host of white metal parts are also included. These include cargo kingposts, fuel kingposts, RHIB, boat davits, forklifts, satcom dishes and dome and ventilator hoods. These white metal parts also have the detail that you expect from JAG. The deck winches have all of the intricate gear, the kingposts have vertical ladder and the fork lifts are exquisite with photo-etch roll bars.
JAG includes a long sheet of stainless steel photo-etch. Each part is identified by a letter on the fret. For the Cimarron it appears that all of the necessary photo-etch is included, rather than just ships specific parts with the possible exception of vertical ladders. All of the photo-etch is well done. The flight deck gets safety nets, deck ladders and control deck ladders. Superstructure parts include radio shack ladders; deckhouse platform ladders; side superstructure ladders; forward superstructure platform ladder; bridge awnings; radars; yardarm detail and foot-rungs. The weather deck and jungle deck below have the following details: STREAM shack ladders; kingpost guards; boat platform railing; jungle deck railing; weatherdeck barriers; life canister racks; hose reels; winch stations; transfer head; accommodation ladders; kingpost detail; cargo boom details; kingpost railing; boat davits; and very distinctive fuel hose loops.
JAG provides it usual all inclusive decal sheet. Decals are provided for all five units with hull numbers in HI-RES white with black shading and LO-RES gray with black shading. All five names for the stern. The flight deck gets the deck landing pattern. For the rest of the superstructure there E for efficiency markings in various department colors and bridge fruit-salad markings. The weather deck gets refuel position numbers, warning circles and various hashmarks. An ensign and jack round out the sheet.
Instructions use a multicolor presentation and come in two sheets. Sheet one has a design history, assembly notes, and photo-etch bending instructions. The reverse of the sheet has a profile and plan with photo-etch attachment locations indicated by the same letters as found on the fret, as well as shipís specifications, bibliography, resin parts list, white metal parts list and photo-etch parts list. The second sheet has the port forward resin parts attachment locations with resin and white metal parts indicated by numbers. This concentrates on the parts found from the cutwater through the weather deck. A parts laydown numbers each part. The reverse had a starboard aft view and shows attachment locations for the aft superstructure and flight deck. Photo-etch parts are color coded in red, decals in purple, styrene rod in green, resin platforms in light blue, and cargo details in gray. The instructions are presented in text and drawing and are clear and easy to follow.
JAG is the best-known producer of modern warship and auxiliary designs. The JAG USS Cimarron is another in their line of extraordinary multimedia kits in 1:700 scale. The JAG Cimarron does not disappoint in that it provides superb parts for a first class reproduction of this replenishment ship.