Trumpeter 1/700 USS Baltimore CA 68 1943
By Michael Taylor
|Date of Review||December 2005||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Subject||USS Baltimore CA 68 1943||Scale||1/700|
|Kit Number||5724||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nice Details, Easy Build, Choice of Full Hull or Waterline||Cons|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$22.95|
The USS Baltimore was launched in July 1942 and commissioned in April 1943. Designated heavy cruiser CA 68, the Baltimore was the first of her class, with fourteen of her class built.
The USS Baltimore reported to the Pacific Fleet in support of operations against Makin Islands, Kwajalein, Truk, Eniwetok, Marianas, Palau and Ulithi-Woleni, Hollandia, Marcus Island, Wake Island, Saipan, and the Battle of the Philippine Sea.
She returned to the US in July 1944, where she carried President Roosevelt to Pearl Harbor, then on to Alaska. When Baltimore returned to combat in November 1944, she was assigned to 3rd Fleet and participated in operations against Luzon, Formosa, and Okinawa.
In January 1945, the USS Baltimore was transferred to 5th Fleet where she saw the end of the war during operations against Honshu Island, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. During her service in WW2, the USS Baltimore received nine battle stars.
After the war, she served as part of the occupation fleet through February 1946. She was decommissioned in July 1946. When the Korean war put the US Navy back on war-footing, the USS Baltimore was recommissioned in 1951 and assigned to Atlantic operations. In 1955, she returned to Pacific fleet operations before being decommissioned again in May 1956.
Trumpeter has once again upped the ante with the first release of a US cruiser in 1/700 plastic since Tamiya’s release of the Indianapolis some years ago. Molded in light gray the first thing almost everyone notices is that the rear hull is molded as a separate piece. This allows Trumpeter to offer the follow on ships of the class that had a rounded stern as opposed to the transom stern of the Baltimore and early ships of the class.
Parts breakdown will be familiar to most ship modelers with the exception that the main gun turrets are molded in 3 pieces-the main body and port and starboard sides. This design creates 2 seams that run from bottom front alongside the turret tops and down the back on both sides.
Fit of the parts is not good enough to get by without filling and sanding. The main gun tubes include blast bags but the fit to the slots is not great and some fiddling needs to be done to ensure they’re all pointing in the same direction. The 40mm quads are acceptable but better replaced with Pit Road parts.
The 20mm’s have shields molded on and are quite oversized as seems to be the norm in all 1/700 kits ( The 20’s on the Lexington look great though!) The 20mm gun tubs are cast as separate parts but their sprue attachments are rather thick and offer the opportunity to get the files and sandpaper out once again.
While the putty, sandpaper, and files are out you might as well begin to assemble the superstructures. The molds are 80`90% there. Just need to tighten their angles and inside cuts and they’d be great. As it is the mating surfaces just don’t come together all that well and the superstructures have very visible seems fore and aft that will need to be addressed. Again a little putty and some sanding is all that’s needed.
As I was building this kit as the Quincy in a dazzle pattern I decided to paint as I built. In all instances I painted light gray first then masked for the dull black and finally for the medium gray. The superstructures were painted one level at a time then stacked for assembly. The decks were brush painted with lightened Model master dark sea blue. I believe there should be a camouflage pattern to the deck but have been unable to find it so I went with overall deck blue.
The lower hull was painted in Model Master British Crimson (I just like that color for my ships bottoms). I didn’t glue the waterline or full hull bottom on as I wanted to have photos both ways for this review.
While not perfect (has the perfect kit been produced yet?) the kits shortcomings are few and easily remedied with a nice result easily attainable by even beginning modelers.
Overall I’d give this kit a B+. Now we need-Omaha, Pensacola, Northampton, New Orleans, Brooklyn, Wichita, Des Moines, Worcester and Alaska . Keep those fingers crossed!
My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!