was one of the twelve 1,000 horsepower class of coastal tugs that served in the
French Navy since the early 1960s. The
Acharné served the longest of all
the tugs in this class when she was decommissioned in December 2010 after 37
years of service. During her time of
service, she completed 1,600 tows, assisted or rescued 80 ships at sea and
traveled about 145,000 nautical miles.
has earned a reputation for producing excellent quality detail and upgrade sets
in 1/350 scale with a focus on the World War II era US Navy.
However, L’Arsenal’s roots lie in producing Marine Nationale
1/400 scale kits and accessories and they continue produce kits for that niche
market. The latest kit in the 1/400
scale line is the Acharné.
impression of this kit was that there are a lot of parts for such a small model
- the hull measures only about 2.75 inches.
But the end result is a very detailed model.
larger resin parts include the full hull, the main deckhouse and the
pilothouse/funnel which are all very nicely done with excellent cast details,
such as some skylights, vents and bridge windows. The hull and main deckhouse
require very little cleanup and the pilothouse needs the bit of casting overflow
to be removed from the bottom. The
pilothouse roof as the running light frames molded in which is a very nice touch
and requires adding a bit of plastic rod painted red and green to complete.
The deckhouse bulkhead has the rail cap molded into it which is also a
nice little detail.
numerous smaller parts include the capstans, various styles of vents, small
skylights, bumper tires, Zodiac raft, the Kort propeller/nozzle and other
details. Again all are well done and
some require more cleanup than others. The
tires, Kort nozzle, and tow rope bitt need casting film removed to open the
parts up. A small radar is provided but it is not referenced in the parts
listing. However photos show that it
goes on top of the pilothouse where there is a base provided.
deck has recessed areas that help with the placement of some of the parts such
as deckhouse and capstans. I needed
to remove a little bit of resin from the forward part of the deckhouse recess
where it comes to point to accommodate the part properly.
The deckhouse also has a recessed area for the pilothouse.
The photo-etch fret
provides pre-measured railings, vertical ladders, doors in two styles, masts,
antennas, row rope bars, tow hook, crane, propeller and various other parts.
Bear in mind that the two types of doors (PE parts 14 & 16) are
mislabeled in the parts list and the descriptions need to be swapped.
The correct part numbers are used when referenced in the assembly
diagrams. Also the handwheels (PE
part 7) are not referred too at all in the assembly instructions.
The material used for the etched parts is a special alloy that is a mix
between copper, zinc and nickel and I have seen it used in some other
L’Arsenal kits. The material is not too soft, not too hard and very easy
to work with.
important item that I found missing from both the resin and photo-etch parts is
a pair of anchors. I think that I
ship without anchors somehow does not look correct, especially when they are
somewhat prominent in photos. To
remedy this omission I used that smallest anchors from the Gold Medal Models
1/700 scale anchor set and even then I had to trim them down a bit to fit into
the recesses in the hull.
decal sheet is included which contains hull numbers and ship names for all 12
tugs in this class. The decals are
well done and react well to Microscale decals setting solutions.
I recommend trimming hull numbers a bit to remove some of the clear
transfer film since where they are applied is a rather tight space.
A French flag would have been a nice addition to the decal sheet. Since
one was not provided I used the tricolor from the Gold Medal Models flag
instructions are provided on five sheets of paper.
The first two pages contain an inventory and part number key for the
resin and photo-etch parts. As noted
above there are some minor errors and omissions.
The assembly diagrams are very well done and clearly show how the parts
go together. The last page is a
decal placement and painting guide. Reference photos can be found on Netmarine
(http://www.netmarine.net/g/bat/acharne/index.htm)to help with some details.
I am not going to
go through each step of the model assembly as it pretty much a straight-forward
build with no real surprises. There
were a couple of nit-picks as I mentioned above but those did not really
diminish the overall quality of the kit and ease of build.
usually like to build water lined models I decided to build it full hull to show
off the Kort propeller/nozzle system. After
cleaning the parts up removing casting film and filling some small air bubble
holes I washed the resin parts in dishwashing liquid and warm water.
I then painted the main resin parts separately to eliminate tricky
masking and painting in tight spaces and then glued the parts together using
two-part epoxy to give me some time to align the parts.
Before gluing the main deckhouse into place I attached the forward
skylights and piping (resin parts 4 and 5) since I thought it may be harder to
do so with the deckhouse in place. The
rest of the smaller parts and photo-etch all went into place with no problems.
did make some substitutions: I used
a bit of plastic rod for the etched lamp (PE part 4) since it was more
3-dimensional than the etched part. I
lost the two resin life rings (the perils of working with such small parts) so I
used some photo-etch rings that I had and ended up adding two more towards the
aft of the deckhouse based on reference photos.
Also based on reference photos, a small searchlight was fitted where the
small mast (PE part 12) is supposed to go so I used one of L’Arsenal’s
1/350 scale 12” lamps from set AC 350-64.
I added a hand wheel attached to a bit of wire to the towing winch.
Finally I used blackened 40 lpi modeling chain instead of the etch
photos show the tugs in this class with and without the bumper tires.
When the tires were removed, a bumper was added to the ridge that runs
the side of the hull which was painted black like the forward bumper.
The kit allows you to model either way but I opted to use the tires since
it gave the model more of a tugboat look. I
glued them into place along the hull and used off-white sewing thread infused
with CA glue to stiffen it to make the ropes from which the attached to.
I used White
Ensign Models Colourcoats Modern French Hull and Deck Gray for the main
colors, Valspar Oxide Red Primer from a rattle can for hull bottom and Tamiya
NATO Black for the bits painted black. The
skylight windows were filled in with a fine black marker and bits of black
stripe decal were used for the pilothouse windows.
L’Arsenal boot-topping decals (AC 400 22) were used for the
waterline. Reference photos show
that the doors to the pilothouse are what appears to be mahogany as does the
rail cap on the top edge of the deckhouse bulkhead.
For these parts I used Colourcoats Mahogany Flight Deck Stain.
This was a fun
model, generally easy to build but with enough detail to provide a bit of a
challenge at the same time. It is
good to see a working boat to add to the fleet of sleek French warships and
there are numerous diorama scenarios that could use a tugboat.
I think I am going to get another kit to use in a diorama that I have
been wishing to do for a while now. So
if you want to add something different to your Heller and L’Arsenal
1/400 scale Marine Nationale fleet then this kit will fit the bill.