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USS Guam CB-2 HobbyBoss 1:350 USS Guam was the second and last member of the Alaska class of heavy cruisers to be completed, although two more had been laid down, and supported the Fast Carrier Strike Force during the battle of Okinawa and raids on the Japanese Home Islands, before ending the war with raids into the East China Sea. She was awarded two battle stars for World War II service. The Guam was laid down on 2 February 1942, launched on 12 November 1943 and commissioned on 17 September 1944. Her shakedown cruise took her to Trinidad, and she left Philadelphia for the Pacific on 17 January 1945. She reached Pearl Harbor on 8 February, and joined the fleet at Ulithi at 3 March. She joined TF58, the fast carrier task force, with the role of providing anti-aircraft cover for the carriers. The fleet sortied on 4 March for an attack on the Japanese Home Islands. The fleet attacked targets on Kyushu on 18 March, and came under kamikaze attack. The Guam was unable to prevent the Japanese from hitting the carriers Enterprise and Intrepid from her task group. The carrier Franklin was more badly damaged, and the Guam formed part of a special task unit that was formed to escort her away from the danger zone and towards safety at Guam (operating alongside her sister ship Alaska). This duty lasted until 22 March and she then rejoined Task Group 58.4. The ship took part in a shore bombardment of Minami Daito on 27-28 March 1945, and then supported their carriers during operations off Okinawa until mid-May. In June she returned to Okinawa as part of TG 38.4 (command of the fleet having passed to Admiral Halsey, it had switched from being the Fifth Fleet to being the Third Fleet). Once again she supported the carriers during operations over Okinawa and the Jome Islands. She also carried out a second shore bombardment, this time hitting Okino Daito. She was then made flagship of Task Force 95 (Guam, Alaska, four light cruisers and nine destroyers). This fleet carried out a series of raids into the East China Sea and the Yellow Sea between 16 July and 7 August. The decline in Japanese power was demonstrated by almost total lack of resistance to these raids. With the end of the fighting the Guam joined her sister ship Alaska in a show of strength in the Yellow Sea, and the liberation of South Korea in September. In mid-November she left the Far East at the start of a 'Magic Carpet' mission, shipping US army troops back home. She reached Bayonne, New Jersey, on 17 December 1945, where she remained for the rest of her navy career. She was decommissioned on 17 February 1947, struck off in 1960 and sold for scrap in 1961. The Model Yet another maritime subject I never thought I’d see in my lifetime, although with the release of the Alaska last year it was only a matter of time for Trumpeter to release the Guam. But we are living in a golden age of modelling, and no subject can be written off. The ship 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 moored peacefully in a bay, possibly near one of the Japanese islands. 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 then 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 director towers and their respective directors, while on the fo’c’sle another AA director 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 director 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 from two halves, with additional parts fitted internally, (pipework and angled smoke plates), as well as externally, including searchlight platforms, klaxon horns, walkway, 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 directors, 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 the taller of the two towers, while the shorter one mounts a secondary battery director. 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 40mm 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 they 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 this class of ship and never thought I would see one released in my favourite scale, let alone both of them, with another, (although not actually built), on its way. 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, as with the Alaska though, 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 another great kit. Review sample courtesy of