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Shar2

USS Saratoga Big Ed Set. 1:350

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USS Saratoga Big Ed Set

Eduard 1:350

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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.

 

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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,

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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