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USS Indianapolis. 1:350 Academy


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USS Indianapolis

Academy 1:350


Indianapolis was the second of two ships in the Portland class; third class of "treaty cruisers" to be constructed by the United States Navy following the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922, following the two vessels of the Pensacola class ordered in 1926 and the six vessels of the Northampton class ordered in 1927. Ordered for the U.S. Navy in fiscal year 1930, Indianapolis was originally designated as a light cruiser, and given the hull classification symbol CL-35, being re-designated a heavy cruiser with the symbol CA-35 on 1 July 1931.

As built, the Portland class cruisers were to be 610 feet 3 inches (186.00 m) in length overall, and 592 feet (180 m) long at the waterline, 64 feet 6 inches (19.66 m) abeam, and with a draft of 21 feet (6.4 m) (24 feet (7.3 m) maximum). They were designed for a standard displacement of 10,258 tonnes (10,096 long tons; 11,308 short tons), and a full-load displacement of 12,755 tonnes (12,554 long tons; 14,060 short tons). However, when completed she did not reach this weight, displacing 9,800 tonnes (9,600 long tons; 10,800 short tons). The ship featured two distinctive raked funnels, a tripod foremast, and a small tower and pole mast aft. In 1943, light tripods were added forward of the second funnel on each ship, and a prominent Naval director was installed aft.

The ship was equipped with four propeller shafts and four Parsons GT geared turbines and eight Yarrow boilers. The power plant generated 107,000 shaft horsepower (80,000 kW) and the ship had a design speed of 32 knots (59 km/h). She was designed for a range of 10,000 nautical miles (19,000 km; 12,000 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h). She rolled badly until fitted with a bilge keel.

The cruiser was armed with a main battery of nine Mark 9 8"/55 calibre guns arrayed in three triple mounts, a super firing pair fore and one aft. For anti-aircraft defence, she was armed with eight 5"/25 calibre guns as well as two QF 3 pounder Hotchkiss guns. In 1945, the anti-aircraft defences of Indianapolis were upgraded, and she received twenty four Bofors 40 mm guns, which were arrayed in six quad mounts. Both ships were also upgraded with twelve Oerlikon 20 mm cannons. No torpedo tubes were fitted on her.

The Portland class was originally armed with 1 inch of armour for deck protection and side protection, but during construction these were substantially up-armored. As completed, the ships were armed with belt armour between 5 inches (around the magazines) and 3.25 inches in thickness. Armor on the bulkheads was between 2 inches and 5.75 inches, while armour on the deck was 2.5 inches, armour on the barbettes was 1.5 inches, armour on the gun houses was 2.5 inches, and armour on the conning tower was 1.25 inches. Additionally, the Portland class cruisers were designed to be outfitted as fleet flagships, with space for an Admiral and his staff to operate. The class also featured an aircraft catapult amidships. They could carry four aircraft. The total crew complement varied, with a regular designed crew complement of 807, a wartime complement of 952, which could increase to 1,229 when the cruiser was operating as a fleet flagship.

The Indianapolis had an eventful and busy war either escorting carriers or bombarding shore facilities and batteries in preparation for amphibious landings. The was hit several times, the worst being on 31st March 1945 when a Japanese aircraft managed to get through the flack and dropped a bomb whilst in a steep dive. The aircraft just missed the quarterdeck, but the bomb went through the main deck, crews mess hall, berthing compartment, and fuel tanks, before crashing through the keel and exploding in the water underneath. She was saved by the watertight compartments and bulkheads which prevented any major influx of water. After emergency repairs by a salvage ship she managed to make her own way across the Pacific to Mare Island, California to have major repairs and a complete overhaul.

In July 1945 Indianapolis received orders to proceed to Tinian Island, carrying parts and the enriched uranium (about half of the world's supply of Uranium-235 at the time) for the atomic bomb Little Boy, which would later be dropped on Hiroshima. Indianapolis departed San Francisco on 16 July. Arriving at Pearl Harbour on 19 July, she raced on unaccompanied, reaching Tinian on 26 July. Indianapolis was then sent to Guam where a number of the crew who had completed their tours of duty were replaced by other sailors. Leaving Guam on 28 July, she began sailing toward Leyte where her crew was to receive training before continuing on to Okinawa to join Vice Admiral Jesse B. Oldendorf's Task Force 95. At 00:14 on 30 July, she was struck by two Type 95 torpedoes on her starboard bow, from the Japanese submarine I-58 under the command of Mochitsura Hashimoto. The explosions caused massive damage. The Indianapolis took on a heavy list, and settled by the head. Twelve minutes later, she rolled completely over, then her stern rose into the air, and she plunged down. Some 300 of the 1,196 crewmen went down with the ship. With few lifeboats and many without lifejackets, the remainder of the crew were set adrift awaiting rescue. About 900 men went into the water and due to the fact that the ships loss went unreported it was four days before they were accidentally discovered and reported by a US Ventura, by the time rescuers arrived only 317 men survived, the rest were lost either due to starvation, hypothermia, dehydration and the infamous shark attacks. The loss of the Indianapolis became the worst disaster in US Naval history.

The Model
The kit comes in a sturdy box with an attractive stylised painting of the ship in heavy seas. Inside there are the separate upper and lower hulls allowing the kit to be made into a waterline model should the modeller wish. The lower hull is moulded in red styrene whilst the upper hull is in Academy’s greeny grey styrene, as are the four large sprues and separate superstructure part. There are also two smaller sprues of black styrene. A small decal sheet is also included.

The parts are all very cleanly moulded with no sign of flash and only one or two moulding pips. The parts are held very securely on the sprues and while the majority of gates are quite small there are some tiny parts that will need to be carefully cut away as they look likely to break. Detail though is very good, with some fine mouldings on the superstructures although the wooden deck area on the foredeck and the anti-slip decking on the anti-aircraft decks, does look rather heavily overdone, especially if one scales it up to full size, the anti-slip would be a trip hazard. If the fit of the hull parts is anything to go by then the rest of the kit should go together like a dream. The jury is out on why some of the parts are moulded in black styrene, they really should have kept all the sprues the same, but since most modellers prime their models before painting then it’s not too much of a problem, just in this case it’ll be a matter of having to rather than wanting to.









The construction begins with the fitting of the lower hull to the upper hull. Now of course, if the model is being built as a waterline then this section can be bi-passed. If being built as full hull then the four propeller shafts are fitted with the propellers and fitted to their respective positions, along with the ships rudder, whilst at the bows the two anchors are attached. The two deck sections are fitted to the upper hull, being fixed into the groove around the hull edge and supported by three posts pre-moulded in the lower hull. The four boat booms are fitted to the sides of the upper hull, two foreward and two aft. Now the instructions call for two ships boats to be attached to their davits and fitted to the deck alongside what will be the aft superstructure. It would probably be best to leave these off until near the end of the build as they will easily be knocked off and also be an obstacle to painting. The smokescreen canisters are also fitted to the stern at this point. The rest of the build can be broken down into a series of sub-assemblies if required to make for an easier build and easier painting, but this review will stick to the instructions. The three turrets are built up out of the main gunhouse, turret base, single piece trunnion, onto which the three gun barrels are attached. Once completed B and C turret are fitted out with four liferafts, while A turret is fitted with six. Once the lower deckhouse of the front superstructure is fitted to the deck the three turrets can be mounted. Three paravanes, four floatation baskets, a life raft and to twin 20mm Oerlikons are then attached to the lower deckhouse.

The fore funnel is constructed using the two funnel halves, the black styrene funnel tops and grilles, two exhaust pipes and a liferaft. The assembly is then fitted to the aft section of the lower deckhouse fitted earlier, followed by three cable reels, another small chimney and a ventilator. Right aft, on what the US Navy calls the fantail two quad 40mm Bofors mounts are fitted as are their fire control posts. Moving foreward the bridge tower is assembled. This is made up of a deck mounting two more 40mm Bofors mounts in their tubs, onto which the lower tower is fitted. The bridge deck is then attached followed by the bridge section itself, into which the upper bridge is fitted along with the foreward main gun director assembly, observation tubs, aldis lamps and binocular stands. The bridge structure has the two foremast supports running right from top to bottom at an angle. Onto these supports the two mast platforms, the director tower, and director unit are attached. The top mast assembly is then fitted. This assembly is made up of lower mast, platform with small radar fitted, yardarms with pre-moulded supports and finally the topmast. The completed bridge structure is then fitted to the forepart of the lower deckhouse. Aft of the bridge two small deckhouse assemblies with additional floatation baskets are fitted as are three aerials. Right aft of the lower deckhouse the spare float for the aircraft is attached along with its support.

The mast, aft funnel, main mast, AA gun decks and aft superstructure are assembled next. The tripod main mast is made up the front leg with pre-moulded bracing beams is attached to the rear pair of legs. Onto the tripod a platform is fitted along with the yardarms. On the platform the large rectangular radar array is attached to the rear, while the topmast is attached to the front. The aft funnel is a simple affair, with just the two halves that need to be glued together. Each of the AA gun decks has four single 5” AA mounts, with each mount made up of the mounting, trunnion and barrel. The forward deck also has two quad 40mm Bofors fitted. The funnel deckhouse is made up of three side and the roof, onto which the funnel is fitted along with four director tubs and two searchlights. Just aft of the funnel there are three steam pipes and aft of those a small deckhouse is fitted. The aft radar tower is constructed from two halves, turntable and radar array. With the aft superstructure fitted to the quarterdeck just aft of the rear turret and the hanger doors fitted to the rear of the central well, the gun decks, now fitted with the radar tower, mainmast, eight 5” and two quad 40s can be fitted. Just aft of the rear gun deck another small deck piece is fitted with the aft main gun director four twin 20mm Oerlikons and four floatation basket.

The two catapult turntable towers are then fitted on either side the amidships hanger well. Onto these the two three piece catapults are fitted and posed either stowed or angled for use. There are four aircraft included in the kit, two Curtis SOC Seagull biplanes and two Curtis SOC Seahawk monoplanes. Both were used on the Indianapolis with the Seahawks shipped only a month or so before she was sunk, so depending on when the modeller wishes to depict the model with decide which aircraft they wish to fit. The Seagull aircraft are made up of a single piece fuselage, complete with canopy, upper and lower wings, separate main float and wing floats, cabane and interplane struts, horizontal tailplane and separate propeller. The instructions don’t actually show how these aircraft go together but it’s pretty obvious form the sprues. The Seahawks also have a single piece fuselage, and are completed with the fitting of the wing, horizontal tailplane, main and wing floats, plus the propeller. Neither aircraft has the option of being folded but this shouldn’t be too difficult to achieve for the average modeller. With the aircraft fitted onto the catapults the aircraft crane is attached just forward of the mainmast. Completion of the model comes with the fitting of the Jack and Ensign Staffs. To display the full hull model Academy have provided a nice looking stand onto which the ships name plaque is attached.

The small decal sheet contains just the ships pennant numbers, four Stars and Stripes, two straight and two flapping and the national insignia for the aircraft. Considering their size the decals are well printed and in good register. Being slightly glossy they should settle fairly well with your favourite softening/settling solution.


This is a very competent kit straight from the box. The moulding is nice, the fit appears to be very good and the detail is pretty good. Whilst some of the finer details such as the railings are missing, and some parts such as the crane and catapults would be better in etch there is nothing to stop the modeller from producing a very nice and from what I can gather a reasonably accurate model of this interesting ship. I reckon it will be good for beginners and experts alike as the build isn’t overly complex and it provides an excellent base to super detail. I’m sure this will also be released as a Premium edition kit in the future as Academy have done with the Graf Spee and HMS Warpsite so you won’t have to wait for the aftermarket companies to release their wares. Highly recommended.

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