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  1. SMS Dresden and Emden Revell 1/350 During the FIRST WORLD WAR - two of the Imperial German Navy's "light cruisers", SMS Dresden and SMS Emden waged a trade war against British ships far from home. The Dresden initially operated off the East Coast of South America and the Emden in the Indian Ocean. In order to avoid British Warships the Dresden made its way into the Pacific to join the German East Asia Squadron. In the first naval battle of the First World War, a Royal Navy Squadron was able to narrowly avoid defeat in an action in which two British Warships were sunk. The subsequent attack on Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands failed however and all the German ships except the Dresden were lost. Crippled the Dresden hid in bays around the South of Chile until 14 March 1915 when she was discovered by three British warships and fired upon. The Captain decided to scuttle his ship. The Emden however, cleverly avoided enemy contact and was thus able to destroy the Oil Storage Unit at Madras. During later actions, two small British cruisers and many merchant ships also fell victim to the Emden. The Emden was however, rendered unfit for action whilst under fire from the Australian cruiser Sydney on its way to the Coco Islands (early in November 1914). The captain was forced to run his ship aground in order to prevent her sinking. Later as a special commendation, all surviving crew members were permitted to bear the additional title "Emden". The model Originally released on their own, the SMS Emden in 1994 and the Dresden in 1996, both were well regarded kits at the time. Since their original release they have been re-popped a couple of times, but this is the first time that they have been released together in a kind of box set. Inside the deep end opening and rather feeble box you find two poly bags each with a complete kit inside. There is no other protection for the parts but they don’t seem to have suffered any damage, just a few parts have come adrift from the sprues. The 4 sprues, two hull halves and separate main deck part of rather odd greeny grey styrene appear to have been well moulded, with no sign of flash, but with quite a few moulding, (overrun), pips on the smaller parts. Detail is nicely done with some very fine engraved plate lines and open portholes, which could need some backing to avoid see through issues. The wooden decks though are a little disappointing in that they seem way out of scale, with the grain looking something more akin to the wooden dashboards you find in some cars, so probably best to get a nice real wood deck from the likes of Artwox or Pontos. The rest of the parts look good and even the gun barrels are nice and slim, but you could always change them for brass items should you wish. Apart from the lower rear hull around the props there isn’t any discernible difference between the kits, so if you were to waterline the hulls, the parts used would be exactly the same. If displaying them in full hull configuration then you would notice that the Dresden has four screws whilst the Emden only has two. With that fact now known the build described below will be for the Dresden, but can easily be used to describe the Emden build with the only difference being the colour scheme. The build begins with the fitting of the longitudinal bulkheads onto the main deck structures foreward and amidships along with the addition of the capstans, bollards and deckhouse vents. The bridge consists of two halves, which when joined together are fitted to the single piece bridge wing section and topped off with the roof and binnacle. Each of the gun turrets are also in two halves, with the gun barrel incorporated into one half and just need joining together to complete. Each of the three funnels are made up of port and starboard parts along with a separate funnel cap. The gun turrets are then mounted onto their main deck positions and held in place with a small washer from beneath. The same goes for the single piece unshielded guns. With the guns in place the bridge is now fitted. Before the main deck is attached to the hull two more open guns are fitted to separate decks parts in their casements beneath the main deck. The hull is then fitted with the bilge keels and the two propeller shaft panels, (as mentioned above, the only area that is different between the two ships), along with the propeller shafts, propellers, shaft supports and single rudder. With the main deck and hull structure assembled it’s on to the fitting out stage. Starting at the bow the ensign staff is attached, followed by the two anchors, breakwater, boat booms, complete with Jacobs’s ladders, casement hinged doors, which can be posed either open or closed up with the judicious use of a sharp knife, and finally the cleat boards for the halliards. The funnel assemblies are then glued into position and the amidships raised gangway attached to the port side of the funnels. An additional binnacle is fitted aft near to the emergency steering position and two vents are fitted amidships. The eight ships cutters and single steam pinnace, (with separate funnel/boiler section), are now shipped along with their respective davits and cradles, three boats each side amidships and one each side aft on the quarterdeck. Revell have kindly provided an accommodation ladder for those that will waterline the model and incorporate it into a diorama. There is another binnacle in a tub which sits on top of a four legged tower just aft of the rear funnel and the two ships wheels are joined together and mounted at the emergency steering position. The final section of the build is the construction of the two ships masts. The foremast is fitted with a platform on its foreward face about a third of the way up. This platform is then fitted with two searchlights. The main mast is of similar construction, but has a second platform half way between the searchlights and the deck. Each mast is stepped in position and the two ladders fitted between the main platforms and the deck. Each model is provided with two display stands, one of which is fitted with a plaque plate onto which the decal with the ships name is attached. There are a pair of very well drawn and clearly illustrated rigging plans provided, but I wouldn’t recommend using the black thread that Revel include in the kit, you really need something a lot finer and less furry. Decals The small decals sheet has the name of each ship to be fitted to the plaque plate along with the crests for bow and stern. There are some decal windows, presumably for the bridge and the ships name boards are also provided. The Dresden is also provided with one large ensign, whilst the Emden has one large and one battle ensign. The decals are nicely printed, with very little visible carrier film and in good register. Conclusion Nothing seems to have changed over the intervening years since these kits were first released and that includes the nice clean moulding. They are still very nice looking kits to build and should build up into good looking display models. There are a number of aftermarket etched sets and wooden decks should you really want to go to town on them and i think they deserve it. It would be great to see them displayed together in their different colour schemes. Highly recommended. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
  2. USS Enterprise CVN-65 Part 2 Eduard 1:350 With part 1 released last month and reviewed HERE, Eduard have now released Part 2. Flight Deck Equipment and Aircraft, (53-224). This single sheet set covers a lot of the deck equipment that comes with the kit, plus a lot of additional detail for each of the aircraft. Some of the deck equipment is completely replaced with PE vehicles, whilst others require quite a bit of surgery. The modeller is also required to provide plastic rod of varying thicknesses. The new equipment includes two gas bottle trolleys, two fire trucks and four fork lift trucks. The modified vehicles are the eight tow/starter/fire vehicles and the massively modified Jumbo crane of which only the rear box section and axles remain from the kit vehicle. Each of the fixed wing aircraft are provided with the very fine details that couldn’t realistically be done in plastic. These include undercarriage bay doors, arrester hooks, pylons, and replacement nose wheels. The S-3’s also receive a new sonar buoy panel, while the A-6’s get an extended aft electronic bay, plus a new ventral spine aerial for the F-18’s. Conclusion Since the ship is being given the Eduard treatment, then why can’t the air wing and deck equipment. This set, while being extremely fiddly will really add that pizzazz needed on the flight deck or hanger if you’re really going to town on the kit. Review sample courtesy of
  3. USS New Jersey, Platinum Edition 1:350 Revell The USS New Jersey, a 45,000-ton Iowa class battleship, was built at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania. Commissioned in May 1943, she spent the rest of that year in the western Atlantic and Caribbean area. New Jersey went to the Pacific in early 1944 and conducted her first combat operations in support of the Marshalls invasion. She was Fifth Fleet flagship during the mid-February raid on the Japanese base at Truk, where she used her guns to sink one enemy ship and join in sinking another. Through the rest of 1944, she took part in raids on Japanese-held islands, the Marianas invasion and Battle of Philippine Sea, the Battle of Leyte Gulf and operations against the Philippines. From August 1944, she was flagship of Admiral William F. Halsey's Third Fleet. The New Jersey continued her Pacific combat operations into 1945, supporting the invasions of Iwo Jima and the Ryukyus. Following overhaul, she again became Fifth Fleet flagship during the final days of World War II and remained in the Far East until early 1946. She then went to the Atlantic in 1947 and made one midshipmen's training cruise to Europe before decommissioning in June 1948. The Korean War brought the New Jersey back into commission in November 1950. Two Korean combat tours in 1951 and 1953 were punctuated by a European cruise in the Summer of 1952. After returning home from the western Pacific in late 1953, New Jersey operated in the Atlantic. She deployed to Mediterranean and European waters twice in 1955-56 and was placed out of commission in August 1957. During the Vietnam war USS New Jersey was the only battleship recalled to duty. She recommissioned in April 1968 and arrived off Southeast Asia in September. From then until April 1969, she conducted frequent bombardments along the South Vietnamese coast. But, whilst preparing for a second Vietnam tour, she was ordered inactivated and decommissioned in December 1969. The early 1980s defence build-up produced a fourth active period for the New Jersey, beginning with her recommissioning after an extensive refit, which saw the mounting of cruise missile boxes, harpoon launchers and Vulcan Phalanx CIWS in December 1982. She again fired her big guns in combat during the Lebanon crisis of 1983-84 and deployed to the western Pacific in 1986 and 1989-90, with the latter cruise extending to the Persian Gulf area. Decommissioned again in February 1991, USS New Jersey was towed from the Pacific to the Atlantic in 1999. She is since become a museum at Camden, New Jersey. The Model Originally released by Revell in 2000 and re-released in 2002 this kit appears older than it really is with quite a lot of flash and extraneous moulding stubs. The original kit looks like it was meant to have been motorised at some point as all the mountings are still extant. When released it wasnt exactly the best produced model of the New Jersey, that accolade went to the Tamiya kit, but it was pretty accurate. In this Platinum release Revell have included lots of goodies to try and bring the kit up to date including wooden decks, etched metal parts plus turned brass barrels and masts. Once cleaned up and the areas which fall short of todays standards removed, the additional parts really bring the model up to a good standard with lots of fine details and accurate shapes. The completed kit on shop at Scale Model World in Telford showed how good it could look. With the appropriate care, patience and time the model could meet almost museum standards. The major hurdle in building the kit is the way the instructions are presented. The original kit instructions have not been altered in any way. Instead the assembly and fitting of the etched and turned parts are provided on three A3 double sided sheets, so a lot of toing and froing will be required to ensure the correct assemblies and parts are fitted to their respective positions, which could get quite frustrating. It might be an idea to go through all the instructions first and mark on the main booklet where the additional parts need to go, so that none are missed or you find that something needs to be removed and youve got to the point where it will be awkward to do so. The standard build starts with the some areas on the single piece hull being removed. Dont forget to add the strengthening beams that were a feature of this commission, along the hull sides before painting. This is followed by the assembly of the three main gun turrets which consist of the mounting, upper turret, the three barrels, rangefinder housings and hatches. With the addition of the etched parts and brass barrels these turrets are transformed. The three barrels are now meant to be fitted to the main deck with locking piece fitted from the underside so that they turn. This is a toy like feature which I feel is unnecessary and will cause problems later in the build, so leave them off until the painting and wooden deck are fitted. What you can do is fit the main deck to the hull and once the propellers, their shafts and the rudders are fitted I would paint the hull and deck furniture, fit the wooden deck, and then put the assembly to one side whilst the rest of the parts are constructed. Attention is now focused on the main single piece superstructure section onto which the superstructure sides are attached. Now there is quite a bit of flash on these parts so a good clean up is called for before fitting. Dont forget to check with the etch instruction sheets as quite a few splinter shields and the like need to be removed, to be replaced by the etched brass parts. This goes for the whole superstructure, bridge and foremast, including the aerials, radars, funnels and main gun directors. In fact there is an awful lot of work to be done when building all these assemblies, but it will be worth it. The whole of the top of the foremast is in fact replaced with brass, the highlight being the super complex SPS-49 and AN/SPS 10 radar arrays. The kit funnels come with solid tops, so these need to be drilled out and carefully cut away and filed before the new caps can be fitted. The instructions have very clear diagrams showing how to do this. With the main fore and aft superstructure assembled and spruced up its on to the other weapon systems where again extensive use of the PE improves the look of the Harpoon and Cruise missile systems. The only downside is that the Vulcan Phalanx systems do not get any treatment and really could do with replacing with more accurate aftermarket parts. With this build you might as well go the whole hog and make the best model you can. The five inch gun turrets are improved with the addition of the turned barrels, etched ladders and doors. There is so much additional detail included in this kit that its difficult to explain it all, suffice to say that everything from the ships boats crutches, ensign and jack staffs are replaced. I particularly like the treatment the Refuelling At Sea boom gets, with replacement fixtures and the addition of the fuel hoses dangling down. The boats davits are also given an overhaul with the addition of the downhauls, access ladders and blocks. Even the Seahawk helicopters are given the etch treatment, with new undercarriage, rotors, both folded and spread, swash plates and pitch controls. Once the wooden decks are laid there are numerous deck hatches, windlasses and other fittings to add. Finally a full set of railings for the whole ship are included, including the flightdeck netting and blackned chain for the anchors. Decals The single decal sheet contains the ships name plaques, identification numbers, awards, and the whole of the faintail flightdeck with the correct markings. The helicopters also get national markings and Navy titling. There are several decals for certain sensors, but I think these would better painted. They seem pretty well printed, with good density and with minimal carrier film, but the larger items will probably need some softener or setting solution to settle them down nicely. There is also a paper sheet with code/signal flags should you wish to add them. Conclusion From a pretty ropey looking kit, certainly on initial inspection I think Revell have really turned this one around with the addition of the etched parts, turned brass and the wooden deck. It has the potential to build into an outstanding model given the appropriate care and attention. Yes it will take some work, and definitely one for a seasoned modeller not a beginner. Very highly recommended Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
  4. Project 685, (Mike Class), Submarine Mikro Mir 1:350 The Project 685 was an advanced submarine developed to test advanced submarine technologies. The design was initially developed in the 1960s, but the first unit was not laid down at Severodvinsk until 22 April 1978. The submarine K-278 Komsomolets was launched on 09 May 1983 and commissioned in late 1984. The hull was of double-hull configuration, divided into seven compartments: Torpedo room, Accommodations, Control room, Reactor compartment, Electrical motors, Turbines and Auxiliary mechanisms. The inner pressure hull was titanium, light and strong, making her the world's deepest diving submarine, and her operating depth below 3,000 feet was far below that of the best American submarines. A personnel rescue sphere was fitted in the sail to enable the crew to escape in the event of an underwater emergency. On 07 April 1989, while the Komsomolets was submerged at a depth of 500-1,250 feet, a fire erupted in the aft compartment when a high-pressure air line connected to the main ballast tanks, which allow the submarine to control its depth, burst a seal. A spray of oil hit a hot surface, and a flash fire began which soon spread through cable ways despite closed hatches. The emergency system to protect the nuclear reactors from overload kicked in, and the propeller shaft stopped. The boat managed to surface eleven minutes after discovery of the fire, but the rupture in the main compressed air system fed the fire further. The crew fought the fire for several hours before the submarine flooded and sank. Of the 69 crew members, 42 were killed in the accident, most dying in the water of hypothermia. The Komsomolets sank 180 km southeast of Bear Island off the coast of Norway in 1,500-1,700 meters of water. The Komsomolets was carrying two nuclear torpedoes when she sank. Two investigations, one by a state commission and another conducted independently, failed to fully account for the magnitude of the accident, though the independent commission suggested that Komsomolets had construction flaws. Others have claimed that the crew was not properly trained to operate the submarine's equipment. The site of the accident is one of the richest fishing areas in the world, and the possible leakage of radioactive material could jeopardize the local fisheries, valued at billions of dollars annually. Several underwater submersible missions to the site revealed that sea water was corroding the casings of the warheads and the hull of the submarine, a process accelerated by the rapidly shifting currents. On 24 June 1995 work began on sealing parts of the hull, and the objective was achieved at the end of July 1996. The hull was said to be safe for at least 20 to 30 more years. The Model As with the other kits from MikroMir that I’ve reviewed recently, this one comes in the standard top opening box with a painting of the boat in its natural habitat. Inside the parts are held in a easy opening poly bag, containing two sprues of grey styrene, three if you include the stand, a small sheet of etched brass and a small decal sheet. Construction begins with the joining of the two hull halves, split horizontally, rather than vertically of the previously reviewed releases. To this the four piece sail is attached, to which the modeller has the option of fitting up to eight masts and periscopes. The horizontal hydroplanes are each made up of upper and lower halves, which when glued together are fitted to the hull and two small PE propeller blades attached to the pod on the ends of each. The upper and lower rudder sections are then glued into position as are the forward hydroplanes. The propeller is made up of a central boss and eight PE blades, four at the tip and four forward of the first, much like a contra-rotating prop. The hull is then fitted with four large two piece reverse teardrop shaped pods, two on each side roughly amidships. These look like water intakes for the reactor cooling/steam generation, but if any of the BM massive knows exactly what they are I would love to know. There are four square aerial like shapes fitted two each side on the upper hull, midway between the sail and the rudders, and a strake like shape on the lower hull aft. Decals The small decal sheet provides quite a lot of markings for the submarine. These include the bollard locations, but also for the escape/access hatch which is provided as two parts to improve the opacity of the white sections. There are also depth marks for the bow, amidships and stern. Conclusion It’s reviewing models like this one that tells me I don’t know half as much about Submarine classes as I thought, as I’d not heard of this one or its fate. As they say at work, everyday is a school day. This is also why I like MikroMir models so much, they really do release not only the famous boats, but the more, somewhat obscure subs. They are also willing to receive ideas as to what to produce next, just as long as there are plans available. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Pravda Class Submarine Iskra, (Spark) Mikro Mir 1:350 The Pravda Class or P class submarines were built for the Soviet Navy in the mid-1930s. They originally served as training ships, then later served in World War II for mainly transport duties. They were intended to operate with the surface fleet but failed to meet specifications, particularly for surface speed. The initial design envisaged 130mm guns for surface action. These boats had a long building time, being laid down in 1931 and completed in 1936. They were double hull boats with 8 compartments. Their main shortcomings were underpowered machinery, a long diving time and poor sea-keeping. Weakness in hull strength had to be remedied by stiffening and weight cutting. Yakubov and Worth state that these were the least successful Soviet submarines of this era and were relegated to secondary duties on completion. The two surviving boats had their conning towers re-built to resemble the later K class. 3 boats were built by Ordzhinikidze Yard Leningrad. All served with the Baltic Fleet. P1 Pravda (Truth) - Launched 3 January 1934 - sunk off Hango, Finland, 17 September 1941 P2 Zvezda (Star) - Launched 1935 - Broken up 1956 P3 Iskra (Spark) - Launched 1934 - Broken up 1952 A fourth boat was planned but not laid down. The Model The variety of submarines that Mikro-Mir release is what makes this company so great. They don’t rely on just German or American submarines, but also the more unusual and rarer types. This is the case with this kit of the Russian Pravda class submarine Iskra, (Spark). The kit comes in the standard style cardboard box with a painting of the submarine leaving a Russian harbour. Inside, the kit is tightly packaged inside a poly bag complete with etch, decals and a simple instruction sheet. The grey styrene is quite soft, but the details are very finely done with no flash or other signs of imperfections. Construction begins with the assembly the large tower. The tower sides are glued together with the deck in between. There are six periscopes and aerials glued to the deck along with two hatches which have PE hand wheels. The aft section of the deck is fitted with a four piece gun mounting. Two more mountings housing large guns are fitted fore and aft of the tower, each mounting consisting of two halves, the gun which is fitted with a PE elevation wheel The next assembly is the hull, made up from two halves split vertically, and the separate main deck to which is fitted with two strakes adjacent to where the tower is attached. The stern planes are glued into position, as are the propeller shafts, PE propellers, with plastic boss, separate rudder, and fore planes. The tower assembly is then glued into position on the deck and detailed further with the attachment of PE handrails. The deck is fitted with two PE cranes and the four piece stand assembled to display the completed model. Decals The small decal sheet provides markings for the boats name, main and secondary identification numbers and two Russian ensigns, one straight and one fluttering. Conclusion This is another great looking submarine, even if the class wasn’t entirely successful, it’ll be something different in your collection. Long may Mikro-Mir continue releasing more great subjects. Review sample courtesy of
  6. Project 628 Submarine Mikro Mir 1:350 In 1952-1953 design efforts began on Project 628, an updated Soviet XIV series (K-class) submarine configured to conduct experimental launches of the 10XN Volna (wave) subsonic cruise missile. This missile – developed by Chelomei's design bureau – was powered by twin ramjets; the missile was launched from a ramp with the aid of single booster rocket. Initially though the tests were conducted using Russian built versions of the German V-1 flying bomb in a similar way that the US Navy was also using this missile. Although Western intelligence reported launchers installed near Leningrad and Vladivostok for this missile, it did not enter ground or naval service. It was rejected for naval service because of guidance limitations, the high fuel consumption of available ramjets, and the ongoing development of supersonic missiles. Versions of the 10XN did enter service with the Soviet Air Forces in 1953. The Model Mikro-Mir seems to be cornering the market for weird and wonderful submarines, and they certainly don’t shy away from any submersible subject. This kit comes in the standard style cardboard box with a drawing of the sub overlaid onto photograph of the real thing firing a V1 off its ramp. Inside the kit is tightly packaged inside a poly bag complete with etch, decals and a simple instruction sheet. The grey styrene is quite soft, but the details are very finely done with no flash or other signs of imperfections. Construction is very simple and begins with the assembly of the conning tower and hanger. The two tower halves are glued together sandwiching the conning deck to which two periscopes have been attached. The hanger comprises of two halves and the main door, which gives the option of the modeller posing it open and detailing the interior. Two PE ladders are then glued to the tower. One on each side along with the PE window frames for the front of the tower. The two hull sections are joined together, followed by the separate main deck, and extreme aft section of decking. Each propeller shaft and rear dive plane are moulded as a single piece, to which a support strut and PE propeller are added before being glued to the hull, along with the forward dive planes and tower assembly. There is an addition deck section fitted to the rear of the hanger which provides the support for the aft end of the ramp. The three piece ramp is then assembled, this includes the elevation actuator. The ramp assembly is then glued into position. The tiny V1 flying bomb comes with in two parts witht eh ramjet separate, ones assembled it can be fitted to the ramp. The kit is then finished off with the addition of PE DF aerial and safety line supports before being attached to the supplied stand. Decals The small decal sheet provides markings for two submarines, K3 and K21 along with four bollard location markings, but there are no mention of any markings on the painting guide. Conclusion Well, this is certainly an unusual one to have in the collection and great to see MikroMir taking it on. With the colourful red and white squares on the V1 body to add a bit of colour to the standard grey and read of the hull it will stand out from the crowd. Review sample courtesy of
  7. Shar2

    HMS Resolution. 1:350

    HMS Resolution Mikro Mir 1:350 The Resolution class was a class of four nuclear ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) built for the Royal Navy as part of the UK Polaris programme. Each submarine was armed with up to 16 UGM-27 Polaris A-3 nuclear missiles. The class included Resolution, Repulse, Renown and Revenge. They were built by Vickers Armstrong in Barrow-in-Furness and Cammell Laird in Birkenhead between 1964 and 1968. All four boats were based at HM Naval Base Clyde (HMS Neptune), 40 km (25 mi) west of Glasgow, Scotland. The Resolution class was the launch platform for the United Kingdom's strategic nuclear deterrent from the late 1960s until 1994, when it was replaced by the Vanguard-class submarine carrying the Trident II.The design was a modification of the Valiant-class fleet submarine, but greatly extended to incorporate the missile compartment between the fin and the nuclear reactor. The length was 130 metres (430 ft), breadth 10.1 metres (33 ft), height 9 metres (30 ft) and the displacement 8,400 long tons (8,500 t) submerged and 7,600 long tons (7,700 t) surfaced. A Rolls-Royce pressurised water reactor (PWR1) and English Electric Company turbines gave them a speed of 25 knots (46 km/h) and they could dive to depths of 275 metres (902 ft). Sixteen Polaris A3 missiles were carried, in two rows of eight. For emergencies there was a diesel generator and six 533-millimetre (21 in) torpedo tubes located at the bow, firing the Tigerfish wire-guided homing torpedoes. The submarines put to sea with a crew of 143. The first to be completed was Resolution, laid down in February 1964 and launched in September 1966. After commissioning in 1967 she underwent a long period of sea trials, culminating in the test firing of a Polaris missile from the USAF Eastern Test Range off Cape Kennedy at 11:15 on 15 February 1968. Resolution commenced her first operational patrol on 15 June 1968, beginning 28 years of Polaris patrols. The class were part of the 10th Submarine Squadron, all based at Faslane Naval Base, Scotland. All four of the class underwent conversion during the 1980s so that they could be fitted with the Polaris AT-K missile which was fitted with the British-developed Chevaline MRV system. As the newer Vanguard-class submarines entered service, the Resolution class was eventually retired and all boats laid up at Rosyth dockyard with their used nuclear fuel removed. The Model This kit has been out for a little while now but this is our first look at it. The kit comes in the familiar coloured top opening box, inside of which the kit parts are safely held in a poly bag. Considering the size of the completed model, there are very few parts, making it a great kit to start with if you thinking of making a selection of submarine models. The grey styrene is not as soft as some short run kits I’ve come across and the moulded details, such as the silo doors, are very nicely moulded. The two hull halves are cut vertically rather than the standard horizontal seen in most other kits. This makes the modelling of a waterline diorama a little harder, but most submarine models I’ve seen have been full hull. The two halves are glued together and the join line filled and sanded as necessary. The single piece silo section is then glued to the upper hull, followed by the four part sail assembly, consisting of two sail halves, sail top and internal floor, being attached to the forward end of the silo section. The sail is provided with no less than nine periscopes and antenna/radar masts, so it can look a bit crowded if the modeller was to fit all of them. To the front of the upper casing a sonar blade is glued into position and just ahead of that there is a another protuberance which I have yet to identify. The bow planes each come in inner and outer sections allowing the modeller to pose the outer sections folded up should they so wish. The upper and lower rudders and the aft dive planes are then attached to the rear of the hull, followed by the etched propeller. With the boss in place, the blades must be twisted carefully to shape, which is shown in the instructions, but you might get better results by finding a photograph of them on the internet or your library. There is just a small decal sheet providing just the depth marks, two types for the bow and two types for the stern, the kit also comes with a small stand to display it on. Conclusion As with the other boats released in this scale, this is great looking kit and even though it’s short run, it does build into a really nice model, as can be seen in the Ready For Inspection section on this very forum. Mikr Mir should be congratulated for releasing this important class of British boats. Review sample courtesy of
  8. USS Enterprise CVN-65 Eduard 1:350 The Tamiya 1:350 CVN-65 USS Enterprise was released as far back as 1984. It was the first aircraft carrier in 1:350 I had seen, so had to buy it, only a week after it was released, the first model I used an airbrush, and I still have it, although in a rather poor condition, this was also the year I joined the Royal Navy, and it became the centrepiece for many a Captains rounds, distracting the inspecting party from doing any actual inspecting. For some reason it has been ignored by Eduard, but they have finally released the first of a number of sets for the venerable old kit. As usual, there are many small parts and a number of kit details that will need to be removed before the PE parts can be added. Ships Boats and Liferafts, (53-223). This single sheet set contains an awful lot of parts, but for only a couple of areas, namely all the emergency liferaft canisters that are hung around the edges of the flightdeck and the ships boats. The Liferafts in the kit come as runs of anything between two and five rafts, these will need to be separated and cleaned up of the joints. The racks are then folded to shape and glued to separate backing plates, before the liferafts can be added and the whole assembly attached to the model. The backing plates are joined together by a thin length of PE and come in sections of two, three, four and five plates. With the number of liferafts in the kit, this could get rather laborious, and certainly time consuming; but the effect will be worth it. The ships open boat will need to have its centre section hollowed out carefully before the new engine casing, control lectern and wheel can be added, as well as the waist thwart that goes around the inside of the boat, followed by the fore and aft decking, and gunwhales, which are as one piece, is attached. The pinnace is also modified, with eh removal of all the top hamper, then opened up, the new, carefully folded PE is then glued into place and additional details such as the railings, windshield, propeller skeg, propeller and rudder are attached. Conclusion It’s about time this fabulous kit got the Eduard treatment, I know other companies have released etch for it, mostly before I even knew PE existed, but I find some companies PE rather too fragile and thin. I look forward to the next releases as they might give me the impetuous to take my old kit and give it a good refurbishing, and hope the skills I have learnt in the intervening years will be put to good use. Review sample courtesy of
  9. USS Saratoga Big Ed Set Eduard 1:350 The Trumpeter 1:350 USS Saratoga has been out for a fairly long time now, in fact it was first released in 2005. So it seems rather strange that Eduard has only just decided to release some etched sets for it. This being the BigEd set, it comes in a stiff cardboard sleeve pack. Inside there are three sheets of relief etched brass and a set of flags in etched steel, each in their own separate packs. The set is up to the usual standard set by Eduard and as such is full of very small parts, where a good pick-up pencil wouldn’t go amiss. Some of the kit parts need to be modified or removed by the modeller before the etched parts can be fitted. Sheet 1, (53-216) This sheet contains parts for the island and funnel, and includes new skins as well as complete replacement parts for the various decks and island sections. The new platforms and mast mounted control position. All the platforms are provided with quite complex support structures and/or individual braces. The rear of the bridge deck is fitted with replacement flag lockers and supports, while the mast receives new yardarms, and what looks like an anemometer arm. The funnel is fitted out with new vertical ladders, walkways, inclined ladders, funnel inserts and caps. The superstructures for and aft of the funnel are replaced with PE parts and yet more support structures. All the decks for the bridge and funnel sections are provided with railings. Sheet 2, (53-217) This sheet contains parts which are used mainly to enhance the four 8” gun-houses. Each turret receives new front plate, access doors, access platforms, vertical ladders, sight boxes, roof railings and numerous other parts that I cannot identify without having the kit instructions in front of me. There is a new rangefinder/main armament director, saluting guns, and railings. The 5” guns are provided with ne trunnion mounts, railings, mounting plates, elevation hand wheels, traversing hand wheels, crew seats, elevation arc and sights. The mountings are also provided with ready use lockers for each position as well as access ladders to the flight deck. The ships crane is fitted with a completely new jib, cable wheels, cables, hook, and weather vane. Lastly the boat deck along the starboard side of the island is provided with new railings, davits, and cable reels, Sheet 3, (53-218) This sheet contains what looks like a lot of parts, but they are mostly for the ships railings and deck edge netting. All the moulded netting needs to be removed first, and the areas cleaned up in preparation for the etched parts to be glued into position. The railings are for all the weather deck openings, gun positions and catwalks. There are also a few railings that are fitted at flightdeck level when not at flying stations, including one just forward of the round-down at the stern and on the very bow section of the flightdeck. There are also a few platforms and inclined ladders that allow the crew to vacate the flightdeck and enter the hull on 2 deck through a side mounted watertight door. The rest of the sheet is dedicated to details for the ships boats. The four standard motor boats are fitted with replacement engine covers, new thwarts and gunwhales, new gratings, rear mounted railings, rudder and propeller, these boats are then mounted on new etched cradles. The smaller motor boats are also fitted with new gunwhales, rudder, complete with tiller and new propeller. They are the hung on replacement davits which are also fitted with new eye clamps which affix to the hull. Lastly there are three pinnaces, and these are detailed with the addition of new railings fore and aft, rudder, skeg, propeller and hatch. These boats are also provided with new cradles for them to sit on. (53209) US Ensigns WWII – Another single sheet with three very large pre-painted US Ensigns, so large in fact I had to check they weren’t 1:200 scale. Probably to be used on Battleships, Fleet Carriers and perhaps Large Cruisers. Conclusion You either love or hate brass etched detail sets, but for me they are almost vital, if you wish to produce as detailed a model as possible. Eduard are pretty much the kings of mainstream maritime etch at the moment and their release schedule seems inexhaustible, even though they seem rather late to the parade with this, big set for the old Saratoga. This set will certainly give the old kit a new lease of life with some great looking details. If you have the kit lounging around in your stash, get it out and start building, as the etched parts will make a great addition to your build.
  10. USS Saratoga detail set 3 Eduard 1:350 The Trumpeter 1:350 USS Saratoga has been out for a fairly long time now, in fact it was first released in 2005. So it seems rather strange that Eduard has only just decided to release some etched sets for it. The first set received, in what will be a series of releases is actually set 3. The set is up to the usual standard set by Eduard and as such is full of very small parts, where a good pick-up pencil wouldn’t go amiss. Some of the kit parts need to be modified or removed by the modeller before the etched parts can be fitted. Set 3, (53-218) The large ziplock bag contains just a single large sheet of relief etched brass. While there are a lot of parts they are mostly for the ships railings and deck edge netting. All the moulded netting needs to be removed first, and the areas cleaned up in preparation for the etched parts to be glued into position. The railings are for all the weather deck openings, gun positions and catwalks. There are also a few railings that are fitted at flightdeck level when not at flying stations, including one just forward of the round-down at the stern and on the very bow section of the flightdeck. There are also a few platforms and inclined ladders that allow the crew to vacate the flightdeck and enter the hull on 2 deck through a side mounted watertight door. The rest of the sheet is dedicated to details for the ships boats. The four standard motor boats are fitted with replacement engine covers, new thwarts and gunwhales, new gratings, rear mounted railings, rudder and propeller, these boats are then mounted on new etched cradles. The smaller motor boats are also fitted with new gunwhales, rudder, complete with tiller and new propeller. They are the hung on replacement davits which are also fitted with new eye clamps which affix to the hull. Lastly there are three pinnaces, and these are detailed with the addition of new railings fore and aft, rudder, skeg, propeller and hatch. These boats are also provided with new cradles for them to sit on. Conclusion You either love or hate brass etched detail sets, but for me they are almost vital, if you wish to produce as detailed a model as possible. Eduard are pretty much the kings of mainstream maritime etch at the moment and their release schedule seems inexhaustible, even though they seem rather late to the parade with this, and the succeeding sets for the old Saratoga. This set will certainly give the old kit a new lease of life with some great looking netting, and that’s without the rest of the sheet. If you have the kit lounging around in your stash, get it out and start building, as the etch will make a great addition to your build. Review sample courtesy of
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    Type VIIC/41 U-Boat. 1:350

    Type VIIC/41 U-Boat Revell 1:350 Type VIIC/41 was a slightly modified version of the successful VIIC and had basically the same engine layout and power. Armament was the same with 5 torpedo tubes (4 at the bow and one at the stern). The biggest difference was that these boats had a stronger pressure hull giving them more depth to evade attack under (operational 120m and crush depth at 250m against VIIC's 100/200). They also had lighter machinery to compensate for the added steel in the hull making them actually slightly lighter than the VIIC. All the type VIIC/41 boats from U-1271 onwards had the mine fittings deleted. The Model The model comes in the new, glossy, but otherwise standard Revell end opening box with a picture of a submarine at sea on the front. Inside there is one large sprue, one small sprue and the two hull halves and deck, all in a medium grey styrene. The moulding on all parts is nicely done, with the vent holes and other detail on the hulls looking really nice. Being a submarine, construction is pretty simple as can be seen by the number of sprues. The build starts with the two hull halves being joined together followed by the deck. The foreplanes are then attached, as are the prop shafts, with integrally moulded fairing and A frame supports, then the propellers themselves. The sternplanes are then fitted, along with the rudders and rudder frame. The tower is assembled from two halves, the command deck, 20mm gun deck and the 37mm gun deck. The foreward periscope is then fitted, followed by the two piece 37mm cannon, and the two twin 20mm cannon are fitted. The main attack periscope is the attached, along with the railings around the 20mm gun deck and the 37mm bandstand. The tower is then glued to the deck, as are the fore and aft mounted guard rails and the snorkel in the raised position. The model is then affixed to the display stand. Decals The single sheet of decals provides markings for U998 and U1004, which also includes the ensign, (without swastika). The decals are nicely produced win good register and slightly matt. The paint schemes though, shows them with the yellow stripe on the tower depicting that they were being used in the training squadron. Leave this off if you want to depict her as an operational boat. Conclusion This is a very nice model of an late U-Boat from a time when Germany was improving all their U-Boat forces. The diminutive size of the completed model means it won’t take up much space in the cabinet. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit
  12. FN Dunkerque/Strasburg Barrels 1:350 Master Models Master models continue to build up their range of 1:350 scale armament sets, but they are now increasing the items produced to add other accessories. As usual they are well up to the standard we’ve come to expect from Master Models. [350-101] - This set is for the Hobbyboss FN Dunkerque and Strasburg kits it includes both main, (330mm), secondary, (130”). These are all direct replacements for the kit parts, unlike the normal sets in which you just cut off the kit barrels, drill a hole and glue the metal barrels onto the remaining plastic parts, this set also includes resin mounts. You still need to drill out the resin parts to 1.9mm and 0.9mm respectively, and then you just add to the mounts within the turrets using the kit trunnion. [350-102] - This set is for the Hobbyboss FN Dunkerque and Strasburg kits, but can also be used on the Richelieu it includes four French training gun 90mm Model 1935. These are all direct replacements for the kit parts as they include a resin gun mount. You still need to drill out the resin parts to 0.3mm, and then you just add the barrel to the mounts and fit the recuperator to the top of the gun. [350-103] - This set is for the Hobbyboss FN Dunkerque and Strasburg kits, but can also be used on the Richelieu it includes four Twin Mount 37mm/50. Once again these are all direct replacements for the kit parts as they include a resin gun mount and etched details, for the seats and sights. You still need to drill out the resin parts to 0.3mm, and then you add the barrels to the mounts, carefully fold the etched part to shape and glue into place. [350-104] - This set is for the Hobbyboss FN Dunkerque and Strasburg kits, but can also be used on the Richelieu it includes four French Quad Mount Hotchkiss 13,2mm/76. As with the other sets these are all direct replacements for the kit parts as they include a resin gun mount and etched details, for the gun controls, mounting and sights. You still need to drill out the resin parts to 0.3mm, and then you add the barrels to the mounts, carefully fold the etched parts to shape and glue into place. Conclusion This is a nice easy way to give your big French battleships that little bit of finesse that makes a nice model look great. The metal barrels are much more to scale than plastic can ever be moulded and the smaller weaponry will look so much better with the added etched parts.. Review sample courtesy of Piotr at
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    HMS Belfast. 1:350

    HMS Belfast Eduard 1:350 The Trumpeter 1:350 HMS Belfast has been out some time now, in fact it was released in 2013, although rather late to the party, Eduard have now decided to release two sets of etched brass to detail the model. The two sets arrived in zip lock bags with the yellow card inserts. They are well up to the usual standard and provide a tremendous amount of extra, as well as replacement detail parts. Detail set- (53-210) comes on two sheets of relief etched brass and also includes a small sheet of acetate for the bridge windscreen. The sheets contains a myriad of parts such as watertight doors which can be posed open or closed, cable reels, for which the modeller will need to provide plastic rod for the reels themselves, flag lockers, replacement single and twin 20mm Oelikons, 20mm splinter shields, complete new mountings for the 2pdr Pom Poms along with replacement ammunition racks and even the ammunition belts. There are also replacement aerials for the Type 282 Yagi radar arrays and new mounts for fitting to the AA director mountings. The bridge receives a new shields, wind deflectors, ADF aerial and platform, while the searchlights are fitted with new mountings. The catapult is completely replaced with PE, as are the Type 279 radar arrays on the mast tops and the Type 284 aerials and their mountings. The detail continues with the 4” mounts being provided with new shields while the Type 271 radar in its distinctive lantern is completely replaced, as is the whole tower structure it sits on. The main directors are fitted with new Type 274 radar arrays, as well as new doors, hatches, and access ladders. The ships prominent platforms and supports on each side are replaced. The large, cranes for the aircraft and boats are also completely replaced with PE, including the, jibs, cables, hooks, all the mechanics and workings, in fact there is too much to mention, but each crane is made up from 30 parts. All the cradles for the ships boats will need to be removed, before being replaced with PE parts. The boats themselves are given new thwarts, gratings, gunwhales and oars where required. The motor boats also have new cabin tops, windscreens, rudders and propellers. Railings (53-211). With the title of this fret being so very descriptive, it’s not difficult to see that this provides ships railings which cover all sections of the ship from the main deck upwards, including the turret tops. There is a selection of three bar and two bar rails the majority of which are shaped to fit their specific positions. Also included in the set is a pair of accommodation ladders and platforms, deck extension beams for the ships boats, all the splinter shields around the 4” gun deck. The Carley floats get new inserts which represent the wooden tread boards. The funnels are provided with internal structures, unfortunately the funnels aren’t the correct size so they may not fit any replacements. The flat, plates you can see in the accompanying photograph are the main turret tops. The turrets also receive new ladders, surrounds for each main gun, and access doors. Each mast is fitted with new yardarms, although they are a little flat for the purpose, ladders, platforms, gaffs, and support frames. The Walrus also gets the Eduard attention and is fitted with a complete set of replacement struts, propeller, catapult cradle, transport cradle which is fitted with a turntable. > Conclusion It’s about time Eduard did something for the poor old Belfast, they aren’t usually this slow out of the block. The Trumpeter kit of the Belfast is very nice out of the box, but with these two sets you could dramatically improve the finished model. There are so many parts that you will need quite a bit of patience and care to fit them all, as with any etch set, but the results will be worth it.
  14. I have been impressed by some of the previous conversions of Airfix's 1:350 scale HMS Trafalgar kit that I have seen on this forum; so much so that I felt a desire to do one myself. This one will be a waterline version of HMS Spartan, set in the Falklands during 1982, which I plan to incorporate into a diorama, possibly with other vessels later. Much has already been said about shortening the hull length by 7mm, to get the correct dimensions for the Swiftsure class SSN's, so I am starting this with the hull already converted. Herewith the modified kit. The horizontal indentations on the forward hull sides have been filled, as they do not appear on photo's of the period I have planned for. The model needs the twin baffles to be installed on the hull, alongside the fin; plus the tail fin and other kit parts. As this is a waterline setting, the tail fin will appear separated from the hull; therefore I have placed the model onto a card base. This base will be trimmed to the width of the hull and will be hidden by the sea setting that will surround the model. My intention, hopefully, will be to have Spartan berthed alongside another vessel; probably the Stena Seaspread which was used for repair and maintenance of vessels after the conflict had ended. Well, it's a start and I hope that I can turn this into an acceptable representation of this fine submarine. Thanks for looking. Mike
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    Naval Ensigns. 1:350

    Naval Ensigns Eduard 1:350 Quite a few maritime kits these days provide a selection of flags and pennants that are printed on paper. These can look ok, but generally always have a tired well worn look, like they’ve been left in the sun for a few months. Eduard have now countered this look with the release of this pre-painted steel sets, which supersedes the etched brass set previously available. Both sets are beautifully painted and will look great on either an ensign staff or in the battle ensign position. To use, just cut the chosen flag from the sheet and wrap it around your favourite rigging material. How you get the wavy flapping effect is entirely up to you, but it may take a bit of experimentation to get the desired effect. (53208) IJN Flags – Contained on a single sheet, there are twelve large Ensigns and twenty four Naval Jacks. They can be used on any vessel in the Imperial Japanese Fleet. (52209) US Ensigns WWII – Another single sheet with three very large US Ensigns, so large in fact I had to check they weren’t 1:200 scale. Probably to be used on Battleships, Fleet Carriers and perhaps Large Cruisers. Conclusion These are very nice and easy to use sets which would certainly add a dash of colour on your warships. Review sample courtesy of
  16. Shar2

    IJN Carrier Junyo

    It's been a bit of a struggle deciding which of the numerous carriers I have in the stash to build for this GB, but the 1:350 Hasegawa IJN Junyo has been extracted. On opening the box, I found all the Hasegawa add on packs that I'd forgotten about. Will probably need the full time of the GB to build, but in for a penny and all that. Will take pics later.
  17. This build has changed, instead of it being a conversion of the Heller kit the plan will be to scratchbuild the model without using any parts of the kit. On the real rebuild of HMS Victorious, from wartime fleet carrier to a modern angled-deck carrier of the jet age, the whole ship was completely cut down from the flight deck to the hangar deck. More to follow in due course, unless my medications run out! Mike
  18. USS Kitty Hawk, CVA-63 Merit International 1:350 The history of USS Kitty Hawk closely parallels the course of naval aviation over the past 37 years. Built in Camden, NJ, Kitty Hawk was heralded as the first in a new class of "super carrier" at her commissioning at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on April 29, 1961. The 82,000-ton ship departed her homeport of San Diego on her first Western Pacific (WESTPAC) deployment in 1962. Since that time, Kitty Hawk and a variety of Carrier Air Wings have completed 18 deployments in support of operations including Vietnam, the Iranian hostage crisis, Operation Restore Hope in Somalia and air strikes against Iraq, and as the leader of the joint, coalition offensive strike launched in response to increasing Iraqi violations of United Nations sanctions. Kitty Hawk underwent three overhauls in the Bremerton, Wash., Naval Shipyard in 1977, 1982 and 1998. The ship's most significant maintenance period, however, was a Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard beginning in 1987. That rigorous four-year overhaul added an estimated 20 years to the planned 30-year life of the ship. The ship displayed the long reach of carrier aviation by completing a world cruise on the way to Philadelphia and returned by rounding the southernmost tip of South America. The ship set sail on its 17th deployment on June 24, 1994. During the six-month cruise, the ship, and Carrier Air Wing Fifteen, under the direction of the Commander, Cruiser Destroyer Group FIVE, provided a stabilizing influence in the Western Pacific during a time of great tension in the Far East. Soon after her return from deployment, the ship was awarded the Battle Efficiency Award, or Battle "E," given yearly to the best carrier in the Pacific Fleet. In October, she welcomed aboard the proud members and imposing airpower of Carrier Air Wing Eleven, fresh off a deployment to the Persian Gulf aboard the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72). The Kitty Hawk and Carrier Air Wing ELEVEN, refined their teamwork during workups, enjoying a very successful participation in Exercise Rim of the Pacific '96, a multi-national exercise taking place around the Hawaiian Islands involving the maritime forces of Canada, Japan, South Korea, Chile and Australia, in preparation for deployment in October 1996. The Kitty Hawk/CVW-11 team made port calls in Hong Kong and Singapore. Christmas was celebrated in port Bahrain, and two Gulf port calls were made to Jebel Ali, U.A.E. Returning from a successful tour at the "tip of the spear", the crew enjoyed liberty in Fremantle, Australia and Hobart, Tasmania. After a brief stop in Hawaii, Kitty Hawk returned to San Diego April 11, 1997. In August 1998, Kitty Hawk changed its homeport from San Diego, Calif., to Yokosuka in Japan and relieved the USS Independence (CV 62) as the only carrier forward deployed to another country. On March 2, 1999, Kitty Hawk departed Yokosuka on a three-and-a-half month deployment to the Arabian Gulf where she operated in support of Operation Southern Watch. Before entering the Indian Ocean she participated in Exercise Tandem Thrust in the Pacific, during which the former USS Oklahoma City (CLG 5) was being used as a target. After the exercise, Kitty Hawk visited Apra Harbor, Guam, on April 3, 1999, before departing for the Persian Gulf where she patrolled the No-Fly-Zone over southern Iraq. Kitty Hawk departed the Gulf on July 15, 1999, and returned to Yokosuka where she arrived on August 25, 1999. The year 2000 saw Kitty Hawk and her Battle Group operating in the western Pacific. The carrier took part in Exercise Cobra Gold 2000 and conducted port visits to Phattaya, Thailand; Hong Kong and Singapore. After the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, DC, on September 11, 2001, the Kitty Hawk Battle Group was ordered to deploy to the Indian Ocean and was later involved in combat missions against the Taliban and Al Qaida in Afghanistan. The Battle Group returned to Yokosuka on December 23, 2001. On March 21, 2002, the Kitty Hawk became the first carrier in the US Navy to perform test firings with the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) System. On October 25, 2002, the Kitty Hawk Battle Group left Yokosuka for a regular scheduled underway period. After a port visit to Hong Kong November 29 through December 3, the Battle Group returned to Japan on December 13. The ships got underway again late January with orders to deploy to the Persian Gulf as part of the build-up of military forces in the area in preparation for the war against the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. she arrived on station late February/early March and from March 20 on, participated in air strikes against targets in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After serving 104 continuous days at sea, Kitty Hawk returned to Yokosuka May 6, entering a dry-dock period ending Oct. 17. 2004 was an eventful year that involved a series of inspections, exercises, and port visits. On Feb. 19, a new chapter in the book of Kitty Hawk Strike Groups history began with the first landing of an F/A-18F Super Hornet on board the ships 4.1-acre flight deck during the ships 12th FDNF underway period. The VFA-102 Diamondbacks introduced the improved F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet to the 7th Fleet area of operation, replacing the F-14 Tomcat, after more than 30 years of service. Kitty Hawk capped off the year with Annual Exercise 2005, which ran from November 9 to 18. Annualex provided Kitty Hawk with the opportunity to increase its military partnership with the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force. She was one of 61 naval vessels which participated, including: two U.S. submarines; 10 other Navy ships; and 49 JMSDF ships. The ship departed Fleet Activities Yokosuka, June 8, 2006, for its 16th FDNF underway period. During the 99-day deployment, the ship took part in Exercise Valiant Shield, a multi-service war game involving three carrier strike groups, 22,000 personnel, and 280 aircraft June 19 to 23. It was the largest military exercise conducted by the United States in Pacific waters since the Vietnam War. The carrier then pulled into Otaru, Japan, on Hokkaido Island from July 1 to 5 after Valiant Shield. Also during the deployment, the crew made three more port visits: Singapore; Fremantle, Australia; and Laem Chabang, Thailand. Dozens of distinguished visitors boarded the carrier during this underway period for tours. Visitors included the U.S. ambassador to Thailand, the Royal Thai army commander in chief, and various officials from Indonesia, Australia, Singapore, and Japan. The ship returned to Yokosuka September for a short period before departing for its summer deployment. During this two-month deployment, Kitty Hawk and embarked Carrier Air Wing 5 travelled more than 15,200 nautical miles and launched more than 8,000 aircraft. After a stop in Sasebo, Japan, the strike group took part in the 18th Annual Exercise, a week-long exercise which had more than 100 American and JMSDF ships training together, between November 9 and 14. The deployments last stop was Hong Kong, from November 23 to 27. Kitty Hawks Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Division organized 20 tours of Hong Kong and its surrounding areas, including mainland China, for 702 Sailors. The ship also hosted Japanese author Hiromi Nakamura who interviewed 41 Kitty Hawk Sailors for a book about Kitty Hawks flight deck. After returning to its homeport on December 10, the ship settled down for the holiday season and the New Year. The ship then went through a four-month maintenance period, during which the ship hosted Vice President Dick Cheney. The carrier then departed May 23, 2007, after completing sea trials and pilot refresher training, known as carrier qualifications. Kitty Hawk kicked off the summer cruise with Talisman Saber 2007, in which the United States and Australia combined land, sea and air forces. The exercise brought together more than 12,000 Australian and 20,000 U.S. personnel from all branches of the armed services. The ship made port visits to Brisbane and Sydney, Australia. Then-Prime Minister John Howard and current Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Academy Award Winning Actor Russell Crowe made visits to the ship while it was moored in Sydney. Kitty Hawk then participated in Exercise Valiant Shield 2007, one of the largest annual exercises in the Western Pacific. The week-long exercise involved about 30 ships, 280 aircraft and 22,000 U.S. Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers and Marines who worked together to build joint combat skills. The 30 ships involved with Valiant Shield were from three carrier strike groups: Kitty Hawks, USS Nimitzs (CVN 68) and USS John C. Stenniss (CVN 74). During the exercise, Rear Adm. Rick Wren, commander of the Kitty Hawk strike group and Task Force 70, had command of all three strike groups. The ship also took part in Malabar, a six-day exercise that took place in the Indian Oceans Bay of Bengal, involving more than 20,000 personnel on 28 ships and 150 aircraft from the United States Navy, Indian navy, Royal Australian navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force, and the Republic of Singapore navy. The ship returned to Yokosuka September 21. After a short in-port period, she set out for its final fall deployment October 21, 2007. Kitty Hawk participated in the 19th Annual Exercise, the maritime component of Exercise Keen Sword 2008. The exercise was the largest joint exercise for the Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force. The ship also had a port visit in Muroran, Japan. This was the first time a U.S. Navy ship made a visit to the port. The carrier pulled to its homeport November 27 after 38 days at sea. She stayed in port for a 5-month maintenance period before setting out to complete sea trials and carrier qualifications. On May 28, 2008, the Kitty Hawk left Yokosuka for the last time enroute to Guam and continued on to Pearl Harbor, Hi., to participate in RIMPAC 2008. Before heading out to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington, for decommissioning in May 2009, the ship stopped in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, to turnover with the USS George Washington (CVN 73) and thereafter continued to San Diego, Calif. She currently resides at the Bremerton Naval Yard in Washington State whilst a preservation group tries to garner enough funds to turn her into a museum ship. The Model Its certainly been a great year for the maritime modeller, with a wide selection of 1:350 scale ship kits being released, and it doesnt seem to be diminishing. There arent many 1:350 aircraft carriers released in the course of a year, but this month we have seen two, the USS Enterprise from WWII, reviewed HERE and this magnificent beast, the USS Kitty Hawk. The kit, naturally, comes in a huge top opening box, with a dramatic piece of artwork on the top of the ship at sea, and is a good indicator as to the size of the model. The kit is made up from over 1400 parts, which will build into to a model some 935mm long, with a width of 245.4mm. Inside, the single piece hull is protected in its own protective compartment with cardboard enclosures protecting the bow and stern sections. There are two separate boxes, each with a line profile of the ship on the lids, and these contain all the sprues and most of the individually moulded parts, such as the bridge and two piece hanger deck. You have to remove both of these boxes to finally get your hands on the massive, single piece flightdeck. This amazing piece of moulding is flawless and includes all the tiedown points, blast deflector bays and arrestor wires. The biggest disappointment is that, other than the hanger deck, there is absolutely no details included for the hanger, unlike the Enterprise release. This is quite a big empty space to fill and you will need good references to produce whats required for the particular era this kit is designed to replicate. Of course, the simple method would be just having all the hanger doors closed up, but you cant, as the closed doors also arent included. Its like the kit was signed off before the design was finished. I guess the other disappointment is that the ship has been modelled as she was not long before her retirement, rather than the more interesting period when she took part in the Vietnam war. Perhaps Merit will release an earlier incarnation of this fine ship. Although it seems the Kitty Hawks sister ship the John F. Kennedy, due to be released soon, is also for a late period fit. Although the kit is a large one and there are a lot of parts the instructions dont appear to be that thick, even though there are forty pages. Each stage of the build is very clearly drawn and shouldnt cause too many problems with following them, but care should be taken on some of the more complex sub-assemblies and where there are multiple parts of the same type, such as the life rafts spread around the flight deck edges. As with the other kits from Merit reviewed so far, the parts are all beautifully moulded, with no sign of flash. There are no perceivable imperfections, other than on the underside of the hull where the moulding sprues have been removed, although it wouldnt take much to clean these areas up. The kit includes fourteen sprues, the separate hull, bridge, flightdeck, and two hanger deck parts moulded in light grey styrene, with twenty two sprues of clear styrene, two sheets of etched brass and two large decal sheets. Construction begins with the two hanger deck section inserted into position within the hull, the aft section of which is fitted with two large bitts, five smaller bitts, a cleat and a large deckhouse, on what will become the quarter deck. The quarterdeck bulkhead is fitted with two side walls and glued into place, before the area is further detailed with a large mezzanine deck, five large stern mounted bumpers, a platform on the aft edge of the quarterdeck, and another attached to the bulkhead and fitted with the stern light cluster. The four hanger door openings are fitted into their respective openings in the hull, after which the hull can be turned over. The four propeller shafts each have two A frame supports and finished off with the propellers themselves. Each rudder is moulded with a separate rudder post, presumably so that the rudders can be posed to the modellers wishes. To complete the work on the lower hull, other than painting of course, is the fitting of the two lone bilge keels. Some small sub-assemblies are next on the build list, with the two Mk.29 Guided Missile Launch Systems, (GMLS), with each of the four launcher boxes being made from six parts, and two boxes fitted to each launcher pedestal. The two lifeboats are next, with the interior section being fitted to the hull, then each boat being fitted to their own cradle. Three hull sponsons, which require a number of holes to be opened up before the rest of the parts can be added. On the starboard side there are from forward to aft, the main sponsons are for the Rolling Airframe Missile, (RAM), saluting guns, radar structure, RAS, mooring, and Phalanx CIWS. There are also three small sponsons a deck lower than the larger ones. On the port side, the main sponsons are for the RAM, lifeboat, mooring, and Phalanx CIWS. As with the starboard side there are smaller sponsons dotted along the side. There are also a large number of unidentifiable box structures fitted on both sides; some of these are radar arrays, and other I guess are stowage boxes. Before the flight deck is glued, the large island support sponson is glued into position. The hull assembly is now put to one side so that construction can move onto the island. Before actual work on the island itself can begin several of the islands platforms need to be populated with the various deck fittings and smaller radar arrays, such as the Automatic Landing System, (ALS), array. The island is then fitted out with eleven floodlight fixtures, a couple of hose reels and other fixtures. The bridge deck is now attached to the top of the island structure, along with the large rear platform and its two support braces. The clear parts that make up the bridge and Admirals bridge are glued to the bridge roof, followed by a support rail that fits between the windows of the two bridges, which is in-turn fitted with two more floodlights, whilst four more are fitted to the bridge roof. With the bridge in the position and the separate starboard side bridge structure in place, its FLYCOs turn. His control position is sited at the rear of the island but at the same level as the bridge, FLYCOs bridge is made up from three large parts and numerous aerials, and further flightdeck lighting. Several platforms are fitted onto the island at this level, and include two side looking radar arrays. One level above the bridge is pretty much an aerial farm, with radomes for SATCOM, AN/SPQ-9 and other functions sited there, along with an AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare System, AN/SPS-49 surface air antenna and other unidentifiable antenna. The single pole mast is fitted with three triple legged platforms near the top, each kitted out with different aerials and radar domes, the topmost being the TACAN dome. Below these platforms the large yardarm is attached along with yet more platforms including the one carrying the four piece radar array. The completed mast is stepped, and the large funnel cap glued into position, followed by yet more aerials and radar arrays on their respective platforms. Moving back to the hull, there are several more large sponsons to assembled and fit, including those for the Sea Sparrow launchers. Each of the sponsons is also fitted with a cat walk around the outer edge and yet more aerials, platforms and ESM arrays. The biggest of the sponsons is that fitted port side which also includes a boat deck cut-out. Whilst the hull is upside down for the sponson fitting, the deck edge lift tracks are fitted, two per lift, and the flightdeck overhang structures are attached. All around the flightdeck catwalks there are fixtures and fittings added, such as the refuelling area hose reels, ladders, access hatches and the numerous liferafts. The four lifts are now installed, as are the four jet blast deflectors, which can be posed either raised or lowed, plus the PE radar mast and its associated fittings, including the AN/SPS-48, and attached to the deck just aft of the island which can also now be fitted, along with the large deck mount crane. With the carrier now pretty much complete, the aircraft and deck vehicles can be assembled. The kit provides, twelve F-18F Hornets, five E-6B Prowlers, two E-2C Hawkeyes and two HH-60H Rescue Hawks, plus Dumbo, the large mobile deck crane, forklifts, and deck tractors. Each is made up from multiple parts creating some very nicely detailed aircraft. If you need more, then they are easily accessible. Decals The two very large decal sheets are very well printed and should keep you busy for hours. The first sheet is for the ship and contains all the flightdeck stripes, lift surrounds, weapons lift surrounds and large numbers for the foreward end, the island, with ships numbers and ships medal tally etc. The aircraft sheet includes markings for all the aircraft, including special schemes for at least one from each squadron, including the Hornets of VF-102 Diamondbacks. Each aircraft is provided with national insignia and titles along with tail codes/artwork and aircraft ID codes. Best get your optivisor out for these, as you will need them. Conclusion As stated above its turning into a bit of a carrier month, and Im certainly not complaining. This is a great kit and will look magnificent on the mantelpiece. Just a shame its been spoilt by a little lack of imagination in the design stage, or it's been rushed into production, especially as its still possible to view the ship at Bremerton. If they had included at least some of the major parts for the hanger, such as the prominent fire doors etc, and given the option of having the hanger doors closed up, then this could have been one of those fabled uber kits, but alas, its close, but no cigar. Maybe the likes of CMK or Eduard will come to the rescue, or shares in plasticard will hit the roof as so much will be needed, by those wishing to scratchbuild the interior. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  19. RN Cruiser Zara barrels 1:350 Master Models With more and more 1:350 ship kits being released, Master Models are continuing to build up their range and keeping up with the ever increasing demand for barrels with a much better scale appearance [350-098] - This set is for the Trumpeter Italian cruiser Zara which not only includes both main, (203mm), secondary, (100mm), but also tertiary armament, (37mm and 13.2mm). These are all direct replacements for the kit parts, and will need the removal of the kit barrels before drilling appropriate sized hole, (0.8mm for the 203mm, 0.5mm for the 100mm, 0.3mm for the 37 and 13.2mm guns), into the breech for the tang of the barrel to be glued into. As you can probably imagine the smaller calibre barrels are extremely small and fiddly, but they will certainly add the scale look of the completed model when fitted. Conclusion The barrels for the Zara are well up to the standards we’ve come to expect from Master Models, with the added distinction of being some of the smallest turned parts I’ve seen in 1:350. Review sample courtesy of Piotr at
  20. USS Alaska/Guam Barrels 1:350 Master Models Master models continue to build up their range of 1:350 scale armament sets, but they are now increasing the items produced to add other accessories. As usual they are well up to the standard we’ve come to expect from Master Models. [350-099] - This set is for the Trumpeter USS Alaska and USS Guam kits it includes both main, (12”), secondary, (5”). These are all direct replacements for the kit parts, unlike the normal sets in which you just cut off the kit barrels, drill a hole and glue the metal barrels onto the remaining plastic parts, this set also includes resin trunnions. You still need to drill out the resin parts to 1.6mm and 0.9mm respectively, and then you just add to the trunnion mounts within the turrets. For the 40mm and 20mm guns Master already do replacement sets and even complete mounts for these, so are not included in this set. Conclusion This is a nice easy way to give your Alaska/Guam kits that little bit of finesse that makes a nice model look great. The metal barrels are much more to scale than plastic can ever be moulded. Review sample courtesy of Piotr at
  21. RN Battleship Roma detail set No.3 1:350 Eduard This is the last of three sets to be released by Eduard for the Trumpeter kit. Part 3- (53-201). This comprehensive single sheet set is jam packed full of parts for use throughout the ship. Mostly though, it contains the ships railings for the main deck, upper decks and platforms. It also contains numerous parts for the ships boats, such as hull gratings, superstructures, railings, oars, thwarts and gunwhales. Items such as rudders, propellers, life rings, portholes, engine covers, wheel houses, seats, windscreens and hatches are also included. Even the Carley floats are provided with gratings, although for best effect the moulded section should be removed first, which will be a little time consuming, but will give them a much better look. All the boats cradles are also replaced with new PE items, and are much more detailed than the moulded on parts, which will have to be removed first. Conclusion I’m not quite sure why this set wasn’t released with the other two which I reviewed HERE, but at least it’s out now. This set, even if used on its own looks like it will bring a big improvement to the kit, giving some much need finesse to the finished model, and certainly much improved detail for the ships boats. Review sample courtesy of
  22. HMS Agamemnon 1:350 Hobbyboss History HMS Agamemnon was the pride of the British Royal Navy and the last of her pre-dreadnought battleships produced. Because she was of a "bridge" design between the ironclad vessels of old and dreadnought ships to come, her design and her fate were already established before she was ever launched. Coming along just after the turn of the century, she survived long enough to see action in World War 1 (1914-1918) but very little beyond that. HMS Agamemnon was of a dying breed of ship, though a capable design she was, perhaps appearing two decades too late. Her profile was dominated by a center superstructure, twin masts and twin funnels. Her battery of four 12" main guns were housed in two armoured turrets - one fore and one aft, two guns to a turret. This was augmented by 10 x 9.2" guns positioned in turrets around the superstructure. Her other armament consisted of 24 x 12-pounder cannons and an additional 2 x 3-pounder types centered around a quick-fire action. To compliment this armament, 5 x torpedo tubes of 460mm were provided with 23 torpedoes to spare. Crew complement totalled over 800 personnel and power was derived from her vertical triple expansion 4-cylinder engines powered by no less than 15 x boilers. This turned twin screws at 16,750 horsepower and offered speeds close to 19 knots. Once launched, the vessel undertook some basic operations before being called up to active service in the First World War as part of the Channel Fleet in February of 1915, serving alongside HMS Lord Nelson - her sister ship. Her main guns were brought to bear on inland Ottoman targets in the same month and provided cover fire for amphibious operations soon after including the infamous Gallipoli landings in April. During this time, HMS Agamemnon survived several direct howitzer ships but none were critical to underlying systems and her crew losses were manageable. The Agamemnon survived the war and had Ottoman representatives present on her decks to sign the Armistice. Beyond that, the class had reached its pinnacle and HMS Agamemnon was relegated to the role of a target ship in the middle 1920's. Surviving that affair, she was broken down and sold for scrapping in 1927. The Model We’ve yet to see many British ships in this scale from WWI, but it’s great that we are at last seeing some pre-dreadnoughts being released, and long my it continue as there are some great subjects that I’m sure we’d all like to see on our work benches at some point in the future. This kit of HMS Agamemnon comes in a relatively small box, as these weren’t the largest of ships compared with later battleships. It’s just a shame that they got the spelling of the ships name wrong though, both on the box and the instruction sheet. Fortunately though, they got it right on the nameplate in the kit. Inside there are nine sprues, one separate part and the deck all produced in light grey styrene, four sheets of etched brass, a length of chain and a small decal sheet. Since they got the hull right on the HMS Lord Nelson kit, it’s only natural that they got it right with her sister ship, at least, according to R A Burt and his excellent books on British battleships and also the constructors model which used to be on display at the Science museum. The rest of the parts are very nicely moulded with plenty of detail, although there will be some who will want to add even more. There are no signs of flash or other imperfections, but there are quite a few moulding pips, which means a little extra cleaning up of parts. Construction begins with the two piece hull being joined together and strengthened with the three bulkheads and two end beams. The single piece deck is then attached, making a pretty solid and strong hull. On the underside, the tow propeller shafts, A frames and propellers are fitted, as is the single rudder. With the hull upright, the three piece, fully PE, Admirals walkway is fitted to the stern, followed by the PE rails fore of A turret barbette and aft of X turret barbette. The myriad of windlasses, cleats, bollard and ventilators are then glued into their respective positions, as are the Jack and Ensign staffs and their supports. Amidships there are seven deck houses to be fitted along with four cable reels and three winches. The superstructure is made up from a single piece item to which twelve supports are glued to the underside before being glued into position over the previously fitted deck houses. Remember to add the pair of foreward mounted 12 pounders that fire from ports at the forward end of the superstructure, as you won’t get them in once the deck is glued down. The superstructure longitudinal bulkheads are then attached, as are PE four inclined ladders, four side mounted windlasses, two boat booms and the anchor chains. To the upper deck, four, three piece winches, sixteen 12 pounder guns and five deck houses are fitted. This deck is then covered by a two piece 03 deck, with the aft section supported by six vertical columns. The main bridge deck is then attached foreward and small mezzanine decks aft with two inclined ladders leading to the 12 pounder deck. Each of the two funnels are made up from two halves, a base and funnel cap. To these, PE funnel cap grilles are added, along with PE hand and foot rails, and two auxiliary vents. The three piece armoured bridge, two deck houses and the two piece ships wheel are attached to the bridge deck. The two funnel assemblies are then glued into place along with two vertical columns aft. The boat deck is fitted out with eighteen PE boat cradles and a rescue float. There are fifteen boats in total, most of which come with separate hulls and decks, and some also have separate rudders. The three steam pinnaces and eight rowing boats are glued to their respective cradles, and then two other rowing boats are crutched within a larger boat. The main mast is made up from lower mast section, a two tier observation top with PE support brackets, upper mast section and yardarm. The lower section is then fitted with three PE blocks, and the three piece goose neck for the boat crane boom, which is also fitted with PR blocks and a PE hook. This is then fitted aft of the boat deck and supported by two angled support arms, finished off with two PE vertical ladders. The foremast is of similar construction, just with a slightly small boat handling boom, three yardarms and a searchlight in the lower of the two tier observation top, it is then glued just aft of the armoured bridge deck house. The PE bridge house surrounding the ships wheel is then folded to shape and glued into place, with another deck above it supported by two PE braces. Two binnacles are attached to this deck and inclined ladder. Six 12 pounder guns and eight searchlights are fitted around the boat deck and the PE bridge wings attached wither side of the bridge deck. The bridge deck and aft boat deck railings are then attached, as are the two long ladders to the foremast observation platforms, and two pairs of davits to the aft end of the superstructure. Four more two part ships boats are assembled and fitted to the two pairs for davits either side of the quarterdeck. The anchors, fourteen anti-torpedo net booms are then attached to the hull, along with the two PE rear mounted accommodation ladders and the PE folded netting that is fitted to each side to the ship. Each of the two main gun turrets and six secondary turrets are made in the same way with the barrels fitted with separate trunnions and trunnion mounts glued to the base with the turret slid over the barrels and glued into positions. Some of the turrets are fitted with 12 pounders and some with 3” gun on their roofs and all have PE vertical access ladders attached. Once assembled, they are fitted into their respective barbettes. Finally the main PE railing is attached to the main deck, completing the build. Well, I say completed, but if you want to do a proper job you will probably spend more time with the complex rigging than you had done for the whole build. Good luck with that. Decals The single decal sheet contains just a pair of White Ensigns and Admirals flags. They seem pretty well printed, with good opacity and in register. Conclusion With the releases of her sister ship, it was only natural that they release the Agamemnon, or “Egg and Bacon” as it was known in the service. It certainly is a lovely looking kit and not too taxing to build and paint. The rigging will, however, be a challenge, to say the least if you want to go the whole hog, but will look good with a representative amount should you blanche at the idea. Review sample courtesy of
  23. Shar2

    USS Alaska CB-1. 1:350

    USS Alaska CB-1 Hobbyboss 1:350 USS Alaska (CB-1) was the lead ship of the Alaska class of large cruisers which served with the United States Navy during the end of World War II. She was the first of two ships of her class to be completed, followed only by Guam; four other ships were ordered but were not completed before the end of the war. Alaska was the third vessel of the US Navy to be named after what was then the territory of Alaska. She was laid down on 17 December 1941, ten days after the outbreak of war, was launched in August 1943 by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation, in Camden, New Jersey, and was commissioned in June 1944. She was armed with a main battery of nine 12 in (300 mm) guns in three triple turrets. She was 808 feet 6 inches (246.43 m) long overall and had a beam of 91 ft 1 in (27.76 m) and a draft of 31 ft 10 in (9.70 m). She displaced 29,779 long tons (30,257 t) as designed and up to 34,253 long tons (34,803 t) at full combat load. The ship was powered by four-shaft General Electric geared steam turbines and eight oil-fired Babcock & Wilcox boilers rated at 150,000 shaft horsepower (110,000 kW), generating a top speed of 33 knots (61 km/h; 38 mph). The ship had a cruising range of 12,000 nautical miles (22,000 km; 14,000 mi) at a speed of 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph). She carried four OS2U Kingfisher or SC Seahawk seaplanes, with a pair of steam catapults mounted amidships. Her shakedown cruise took her to Chesapeake Bay and Trinidad and was followed by a period of yard work. She set off for the Pacific in mid-November 1944, and reached the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor on 13 January 1945. She crossed the Pacific to Ulithi with TG 12.2, and at the start of February 1945 she joined TG 58.5, which included the carriers USS Saratoga CV-3 and USS Enterprise CV-6), as part of the carrier screen. She took part in the final stages of the fighting on Iwo Jima, the invasion of Okinawa, and supported the fast carriers during their raids on the Japanese Home Islands and in the East China Sea. She was awarded three battle stars for her World War II service. On 10 February the Alaska sailed as part of TG 58.5. This was the first major carrier strike on the Japanese Home Islands, and was intended to provide cover for the invasion of Iwo Jima. Poor weather prevented the Japanese from attacking the US fleet. The ship was then moved to TG 58.4 to support the invasion of Iwo Jima. Her task force wasn't attacked during the nineteen days the Alaska was based off Iwo Jima. On 14 March the fleet left Ulithi to conduct another raid on the Japanese home islands, this time with the aim of destroying Japanese aircraft before the invasion of Okinawa. The Alaska was still with TG 58.4, which contained the carriers Yorktown (CV-10), Intrepid (CV-11), Independence (CVL-22) and Langley (CVL-27), and once again was part of their anti-aircraft screen. The carriers hit airfields at Usa, Oita and Saeki on 18 March. The Alaska finally got to fire her guns in anger on this day when Japanese aircraft attacked the fleet. Her first target was a Yokosuka P1Y 'Frances', which was targeting the carrier Intrepid, but that was destroyed by a direct hit from the Alaska. This marked the start of a day of kamikaze attacks, but most were shot down by the carrier's fighter aircraft or heavy AA gunfire. The Alaska claimed a second victory over a 'Judy'. On 19 March the carriers sent their aircraft against Japanese warships in the Inland Sea. Once again the US fleet came under air attack. The carriers Franklin (CV-13) and Wasp (CV-18) were both hit. The Alaska and her sister ship USS Guam (CB-2) were allocated to a new salvage unit, TU 58.2.9, which was formed to protect the Franklin. The unit contained the two Alaska class ships, the light cruiser Santa Fe (CL-60) and three destroyer divisions. The damaged carrier made for Guam, covered by TU 58.2.9. The other carriers from TG 58.2 provided more distant cover. On the afternoon of 19 March the small fleet was approached by two aircraft. One was identified as a friendly, but the other was a 'Judy', which was able to attack and escape unscathed. The Franklin was also undamaged, but the Alaska suffered her only combat casualty of the war when several men suffered flash burns. The Alaska escorted the Franklin until 22 March, when she was freed to rejoin TG 58.4. Late that day a Japanese submarine was detected close to the group, and it was rammed and sunk on the following morning. The Alaska returned to her position in the anti-aircraft screen while the carriers bombarded Okinawa. In late March the Alaska was ordered to bombard the island of Minami Daito Shima, 160 miles east of Okinawa, while on her way to refuel. She fired 45 12in shells and 352 rounds of 5in anti-aircraft shells at the island on the night of 27-28 March, without any response from the island. TG 58.4 refuelled and then returned to Okinawa to protect the invasion forces. The Alaska supported the invasion of 1 April, and also provided anti-aircraft cover. The Japanese navy attempted to send a suicide sortie of heavy ships to Okinawa, but they were repulsed by carrier aircraft on 7 April. Amongst their victims was the giant battleship Yamato. During April the Alaska covered the fast carriers as they operated against targets on Okinawa and on Kyushu. She claimed one assist and one victory on 11 April and three victories and three assists on 16 April, although on the same day the carrier Intrepid was hit. The Alaska returned to Ulithi to replenish on 14 May, after two months at sea. The 5th Fleet now became the 3rd Fleet, and the Alaska thus became part of TG 38.4. The group now included the carrier Ticonderoga (CV-14) and the battleship Iowa (BB-61). The fleet sailed in late May, and once again the Alaska formed part of the anti-aircraft screen. She also carried out another shore bombardment, this time hitting Okino Daito Shima, close to Minami Daito Shima, on 9 June, when her targets were Japanese radar bases. The Alaska spent the period between 13 June and 13 July resting at San Pedro Bay, Leyte. She was then allocated to the new Task Force 95, the first US surface fleet to enter the East China Sea since the attack on Pearl Harbor. The task force, which also included the Guam, encountered very little resistance during three sweeps into the East China Sea, operating from a base at Buckner Bay on Okinawa. After the Japanese surrender the Alaska formed part of the 7th Fleet's occupation forces. She visited the Yellow Sea and the Gulf of Chihli, before reaching Inchon in Korea on 8 September 1945 to support US troops that were occupying the southern part of Korea. She then moved to Tsingtao a former German possession on the Chinese coast taken by the Japanese early in the First World War. The US Marines occupied the port in October. The Alaska finally left the Far East in November as the start of a 'Magic Carpet' trip back to the United States. She reached Boston on 18 December 1945, where she prepared to be inactivated. She was placed in commission in the reserve on 13 August 1946 and out of commission on 17 February 1947. She was struck off on 1 June 1960 and sold for scrapping later in the year. The Model With so many maritime subjects being released over the last 5 years or so it’s great to see that there are still plenty of new and previously un-kitted subjects around. If you had asked me 10 years ago if I would see many of these subjects in any scale, let alone 1:350 then I would have probably said no. But we are living in a golden age of modelling, and no subject can be written off. Thus, we have the USS Alaska, designated as a heavy cruiser, she is more of a battle cruiser with her 12” guns surpassing those of the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau which were designated battle cruisers. The kit comes in quite a large box, appropriate, since the hull is just over 700mm long. The artwork depicts the ship at sea, with her light AA guns blazing away. Inside the box there are fourteen sprues, the single piece hull, two deck sections and four separate parts all in grey styrene, two small sprues of clear styrene, four quite large sheets of etched brass and a small decal sheet. The moulding is superb, particularly the hull, (I’d love to see the moulds this parts come out of), which has the smallest of detail on the lower bow, A number of sprues have been given extra protection with foam wrapping, as well as the standard poly bags in which the sprues are contained. There is no sign of flash, warping or other imperfections, with perhaps the exception of one bilge keel which looks slightly strained on its sprue gates. There are quite a few moulding pips though which will increase the time to clean up the parts. Despite its size, it doesn’t look a particularly difficult build, but you will need some experience with using PE as there are some parts that are made entirely of brass. Construction begins with drilling out of certain holes in the two deck sections, before attaching them to the hull. Turning the hull upside down the two bilge keels are attached, followed by the four propeller shafts, A frames, propellers and three piece rudder. With the hull right side up the decks are fitted out with the numerous bitts and cleats, ventilators, windlasses, four piece cable reels and three piece winches. The pair of three piece intake towers are the fitted amidships, whilst a three piece deckhouse is fitted aft, just forward of the stern 40mm gun tubs. There is a similar deck house fitted just aft of the anchor cables, for which there is a length of chain provided, followed by the two, three piece bow anchors, the main breakwater and a pair of 20mm gun tubs abaft the bridge. There are two, two piece catapult towers fitted amidships, while further aft there are more 20mm and 40mm gun tubs attached. Eight carley floats, stacked three high are then glued into position, followed by four AA controller towers and their respective controllers, while on the fo’c’sle another AA controller tub is attached to a small deckhouse, which, in turn is glued between the hawse pipes, and the Jack staff glued in place. Eight sub-assemblies are then built up using a combination of plastic and PE, with the exception of the bow mounted 40mm tub, the rest are ventilators. There are twelve two piece 20mm Oerlikons fitted from bow to abaft the bridge, and there are three float baskets fitted just forward of the breakwater. Aft of the catapult towers, twenty more 20mm Oerlikons and twelve more float baskets are fitted. The bridge structure, which includes B barbette on the lowest level, which is fitted with two more decks and the base of the foremast, with separate ships bell, as well as four triple stacks of carley floats, and two PE boxes fitted one per side of deck 02. Deck 02 is also fitted with a pair of 40mm gun tubs and for ventilators, while deck 03 is fitted with deck 04, which in turn is fitted with the armoured bridge and a deckhouse, followed by deck 05. Two searchlight platforms, with searchlights are fitted, one per side of the lower foremast, while the myriad of observation and controller sights are fitted around the decks and in additional cylindrical towers. All around the superstructure there are PE vertical ladders and some of the smaller railings to be added. On 02 deck the railing include the netting that goes around the two 400 mm tubs on that deck. More sub-assemblies are made up, again using PE and plastic, these being the main radar array, main battery controllers and secondary battery controller stations. The foremast is then assembled with several platforms separated by additional blocks and topped off with a large yardarm, more observation equipment, forward main battery rangefinder and radar array and the main radar platform main search radar array. This section of the tower is then fitted to the base fitted to the bridge earlier, along with a secondary battery controller. The funnel is made up form two halves, with additional parts fitted internally as well as externally, including searchlight platforms, claxon horns, walkway, multi-piece PE funnel cap and railings for the different platforms. It is finished off with the attachment of a large PE mast fore and aft, the foreward one with a navigation radar array, and the aft with a large yardarm. The aft superstructure is made up of two decks and fitted out with more ventilator intakes, PE gas bottles, vertical ladders, deckhouses and two tall controller towers. It is also fitted with the small AA controllers, and four 20mm Oerlikons. The funnel assembly is the glued to the foreward end of the superstructure, while a main battery rangefinder and radar assembly is fitted to eh tallest of the two towers, while the shorte one mounts a secondary battery controller. The bridge assembly and aft superstructure assembly are then glued to their respective positions on the deck and the four PE inclined ladders are folded and glued into place. Near the aft end of the aft superstructure there are two deckhouses, each fitted with two 400mm gun tubs, each fitted with more PE gas bottles, vent intakes and support columns. Just forward of these is a separate deckhouse which will mount the ships cranes.. Each quad 40mm Bofors mount is made from five parts, and there are fourteen of them to be assembled. Each one is then glued into one their gun tub. The two catapults the ship carried are made almost entirely of PE. Each catapult consists of eleven parts. When assembled they are fitted to their towers amidships. The two cranes are also mostly PE and consist of fourteen parts. These are fitted to their respective positions just aft of the catapults. The crane mounts and separate 40mm gun tubs are fitted with netting, rather than railings. The secondary armament consists of six twin 5” turrets. Each turret is made from ten parts, and once assembled fitted into their positions. The main turrets of three 12” guns are each made from eighteen plastic and twe3lve PE parts. Again, once assembled their are fitted into their respective mounts. Lastly the two Seahawk aircraft are assembled from seven clear parts and, once painted, glued to the catapults. The finishing touch is to add the ships main deck railings, and the build is complete. Just mount the model on the stand and add the name plate, which is also provided. Decals The small decal sheet provides the ships number for the bow, national markings for the aircraft and a pair of Jacks and Ensigns, in two different styles. They are well printed and look to have pretty good opacity. Conclusion I’ve always liked the Alsakas and never thought I would see one released in my favourite scale. But Hobbyboss have done it again and released something we never thought we’d see. From the limited resources I actually have, or more to the point, could find in my library, the kit looks to be pretty accurate, although I’m not sure about the bow, which does have a very odd step in the stem that I can’t see in any diagrams or pictures. If it is wrong then it is easily rectified with some filler. Other than that it really does look like a great kit. Review sample courtesy of
  24. Shar2

    HMS Gorleston. 1:350

    HMS Gorleston Atlantic Models 1:350 The Banff-class sloops were a group of ten ships of the Royal Navy. Built as United States Coast Guard Lake-class cutters, in 1941 these ships were loaned to the Royal Navy as anti-submarine warfare escorts. The transfers took place at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where HMS Malaya was under repair after being torpedoed by U-106. The sloops were manned for transport to England by personnel from the damaged battleship. The sloops were initially used to escort SL convoys between England and Sierra Leone, and one was sunk while so employed. The nine surviving sloops were assigned to Operation Torch where two were destroyed attacking Oran in Operation Reservist. The remaining seven escorted Mediterranean convoys in support of the North African invasion and saw varied employment in the Atlantic until assigned to the Kilindini Escort Force in late 1943 and early 1944. They stayed in the Indian Ocean for the remainder of the war escorting trade convoys in the Arabian Sea, and five served in the Bay of Bengal supporting Operation Dracula and Operation Zipper in the last months of conflict with Japan. Six were returned to the United States after the conclusion of hostilities; and one, disabled by mechanical failure, was scrapped overseas. Originally in USCG service as the Itasca performed Bering Sea patrols; but is most remembered as the "picket ship" that would provide air navigation and radio links for Amelia Earhart when she made her 1937 attempt to fly around the world. Itasca, stationed at Howland Island, tried to keep in radio contact with her. However, due to a series of misunderstandings or mishaps (the details of which are still controversial), two-way radio contact was never established. Itasca was decommissioned on lend lease to the United Kingdom where she received a name change, becoming HMS Gorleston (Y92) after the East Anglian port of Gorleston on 30 May 1941. Gorleston was equipped with Type 286M Radar after arrival in England; and was assigned to the 40th Escort Group escorting trade convoys between England and Sierra Leone with sister ships HMS Landguard and HMS Lulworth, Lend-Lease destroyer HMS Stanley and Shoreham-class sloop HMS Bideford. After escorting convoys OS 4, SL 87, OS 10, SL 93, OS 12, SL 95, OS 17, SL 100, OS 22, SL 106, OS 28, SL 112, OS 34 and SL 118 on this eastern Atlantic route, Gorleston made a trip to Iceland escorting convoys DS 33 and SD 33, and escorted convoys KMF 3, MKF 3, KMF 5, MKF 5, KMF 7 and MKF 7 between England and the Mediterranean Sea in support of Operation Torch. Gorleston was then assigned to the 42nd Escort Group with sister ship HMS Totland, River-class frigates HMS Ness and HMS Exe, and sloops HMS Weston and HMS Folkestone escorting tanker convoys UC 1 and CU 1. Gorlestone then resumed escorting eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean convoys until refit in Wales in December 1943. After refit, Gorleston escorted eastern Mediterranean convoys from March 1944 until assigned to the Kilindini Escort Force in August 1944. Gorleston escorted Arabian Sea convoys until transferred to Colombo in June 1945. Gorleston spent the remainder of the war escorting Bay of Bengal convoys in support of Operation Zipper. She was returned to the United States on 23 April 1946 and redesignated USCGC Itasca until scrapped in 1950. The Model As with all the other Atlantic Model kits this one comes in a sturdy cardboard box, although admittedly somewhat smaller than normal in this case. Inside you are met with a box full of polystyrene chips, amongst which you will find a bubble-wrapped two piece hull, two bags of resin and one of metal parts, a sheet of etched brass, and the instructions. As usual Peter has cast his magic and produced another superb resin model. The two piece hull is free from blemishes, pin holes or other imperfections other than the moulding pips on the mating surfaces of the hull sections. The detail included on the upper hull section is superb, but their is a fair bit of cleaning up on the smaller resin parts and particularly the metal parts. Originally, I believe that this was to be released by White Ensign Models, and was on their website for some time. But then they went down, and Peter has finally picked it up and finished it off. While it may not be the most well used or largest class in the RN, it is still a very interesting ship and a good reminder that there were many of these unsung heroes amongst the hundreds of ships the RN had at the time, small ships doing important and dangerous jobs. Once the modeller has decided whether to make the model as a waterline or full hull, it’s on with the build. If building full hull you will have to remove the small moulding pips on the mating surfaces first. This will ensure a really good fit with minimal filling and sanding required. The main superstructure is the glued to the deck. The rudder and prop are then attached to their positions on the lower hull. The many sub assemblies are then built up, these include the forward gun with PE shield, 6pdr gun and PE shield, PE 20mm Oerlikons, PE quad 0.5” mounts, anchors. The main gun, two 6pdrs, anchors, and if building one of the other ships of the class you may need to add the two gun platform extensions. The superstructure is then fitted with two tall ventilators, which may need to be shortened to match the bridge height as this was done in British service, the funnel, with PE funnel cap and two intake structures. The bridge is made up from the single piece main section bridge roof railings, the four piece PE Type 279 radar lantern, and six piece foremast topped off with the three piece HF/DF aerial. The bridge assembly is then glued to the front of the superstructure, followed by the two piece PE gun platform on which either two Oerlikons or two quad 0.5” assemblies and mounted. The bridge wings are fitted with two angled supports and inclined ladders are attached between the bridge deck and superstructure. The boat davits and accommodation ladders are assembled from their PE parts, as is the multipart aft platform, which includes the gun platform and splinter shields for two more Oerlikons or 0.5” Quads. Two short ventilators are also fitted to the roof of the structure. The three piece rangefinder tower is also assembled and glued into position. The aft platform is also glued into position and the wings fitted with their lattice supports. Again, depending on which ship of the class is being modelled, there are alternative gun tubs which are attached to the superstructure sides along with their lattice supports. Two inclined ladders are then glued into position between the superstructure and the main deck. There are four boats, two sitting on cradles either side of the aft superstructure, and two on davits which have a separate part depicting the downfalls. Just forward of the two cradled boats there are PE support platforms for three Carley floats on each side of the superstructure. The two depth charge racks aft are assembled and glued into position, followed by two depth charge throwers and their handle derricks, towing hitch and aft mounted 5” deck gun, followed by the railings, thus completing the build all bar the painting. Conclusion Well, Peter does it again, with this release of another great kit of an unusual subject. With the exceptional moulding and etch we’ve come to expect from Atlantic models it would make a good kit to start with if you wish to build these multi-media style models. It is quite a bit smaller than the previous releases too, so would make for a nice centrepiece to a seascape that will be easy to transport and store. Very highly recommended Review sample courtesy of Peter Hall of
  25. RN Battleship Roma Detail Sets 1:350 Eduard Since Trumpeter released the Roma as long ago as 2012, it’s taken the re-boxings released this year for Eduard to release anything for it. These two sets, each with two sheets, although the second sheet of set two barely constitutes a sheet. As usual you will need to remove quite a few parts of the kit details before the PE can be used. 53-199 – Main Deck and Guns. The first set consists of two sheets of etched brass crammed full of new parts, not including multiples. The sheets contain the usual numerous small parts such as the watertight doors, deck hatches, vents, skylights, vertical ladders, and anchor chains, complete with chain stoppers. There are also new jibs for both the small cranes and the large aircraft handling crane, loads of replacement deck houses, ammunition lockers, parts to details the winches, capstans, splinter shields, barbette walkways, breakwaters, support braces for the searchlight towers, boat cradles, funnel caps, and a complete replacement for the ships catapult. There are also new mast platforms, complete with support braces, yard arms complete with Jacobs ladders and halliards. The boat handling booms have cable rollers fitted as well as other fittings to the uprights. The main turrets are fitted out with a new AA platform, splinter shields, ammunition racks, vertical ladders, new doors for the rangefinder extensions, ammunition lockers, and strake around the base of eh turrets and to finish them off, each gun barrel can be fitted with their individual tampions. 53-200 – AA Guns. Naturally, this two sheet set is to add detail to the kits AA guns, but, not exclusively, as with most Eduard sets. The secondary armament turrets are fitted with new AA mountings, including supports, ready use lockers, vertical ladders, hatches and barrel tampions. The smaller turrets have new hatches, and canvas bags, but only to be used in the extreme elevation. The smaller AA weapons are all given various amounts of new detail and could include new sights, seats, ammunition chutes, elevation arcs, hand wheels, levers, and foot pedals. In addition to the AA guns, there is also new detail for the paravanes, pipe brackets, liferaft ramps, searchlight hand wheels and grilles, rangefinder hatches, doors, and fittings. There are also handling trolleys for the ships aircraft, launching cradles. The RO.43 biplane is also given new supports for the main and wing floats, new struts for the wings and tailplane and finally a machine gun for the rear gunner. Conclusion This is another pair of very useful etched sets from Eduard. The amount of detail covered is quite exhaustive and will require a fair amount of patience and time to get it all fitted correctly. Some of the details are completely new, not found in the kit so research will be required to ensure it was fitted. My biggest gripe is still the instructions, which really need to be made clearer, especially where parts positioning is concerned. Still, that’s a personal thing, which doesn’t stop me from recommending this set to any one with the lovely Trumpeter kit. Review sample courtesy of