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CVN 68 Kit

Trumpeter 1/350 USS Nimitz CVN 68 Aircraft Carrier 1975 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2004 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject USS Nimitz CVN 68 Aircraft Carrier 1975 Scale 1/350
Kit Number 5605 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Excellent detailing, great potential to model any of the Nimitz-class carriers, nice array of aircraft included, impressive decal sheets! Cons Tie-downs on flight deck and hanger deck a bit over-done
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $199.95

First Look

CVN 68 Kit
CVN 68 Kit
CVN 68 Kit
CVN 68 Kit
CVN 68 Kit
CVN 68 Kit
CVN 68 Kit
CVN 68 Kit
CVN 68 Kit
CVN 68 Kit
CVN 68 Kit

The US Navy had pioneered nuclear propulsion with the USS Nautilus and has employed that technology on virtually every submarine since then. The advantage of nuclear propulsion over conventionally fueled ships is virtually unlimited cruising range and sufficient power to maintain life-support without surfacing for months. The surface Navy flirted with nuclear powered combatants with the cruiser USS Long Beach and carrier USS Enterprise, both of which were identifiable with their boxy superstructures. While the nuclear-powered cruiser didn't go far, the USS Enterprise set the stage for the nuclear-powered carrier.

After Enterprise entered service, the Navy resumed construction of two more conventional carriers, USS America and USS John F. Kennedy. This gave the Navy time to gain experience with their nuclear experiment before finalizing plans for the what would become the second most prolific line of aircraft carriers, the Nimitz-class (the Essex class was the most widely produced class of aircraft carriers built).

With the success of the Enterprise (CVN 65), the Navy commissioned their next and current class of carriers with the USS Chester Nimitz, CVN 68. Commissioned in May 1975, the Nimitz class would grow into a nine ship class with the commissioning of the USS Ronald Reagan CVN 76. As time and technology moved on, each of the ships in the Nimitz class would become different in fit and configuration as each one cycled through maintenance periods. If you look at photos of the USS Nimitz as it appeared in 1975 versus today, you'll see many differences in radars, masts, antennas, self-defense systems, etc. And that doesn't even include the composition of the air wings embarked!

Many people will remember the Nimitz from its brush with Hollywood in the movie 'Final Countdown', but the Nimitz, along with its classmates, continues to serve its country and its crews proudly.

Just when you thought it was safe to come outside with your wallet, Trumpeter strikes again. Their latest release in 1/350th scale is easily their most impressive - the USS Nimitz! The box title clearly states USS Nimitz 1975, indicating that they are representing the ship as it appeared after its commissioning.

Molded in light gray, hull red, and black styrene, the kit features crisp details on all of the visible surfaces. According to the fact sheet, the kit is comprised of 962 parts on 31 sprues. Out of the box, the kit provides a visible hangar deck and your choice of full hull or waterline hull displays.

The packaging of this monsterous kit is quite impressive, with cardboard frames holding the massive hull parts from shifting around in transit, and metal straps reinforcing the structure of the upper hull. The engineering that goes into Trumpeter's kits is quite impressive.

I'll leave it to the experts to determine if the configuration of the kit is consistent with its 1975 fit, but it is clear that Trumpeter has more versions in the wings and offers the aftermarket community a veritible gold mine for photo-etched radars, railings, and updates.

The four elevators are positionable, as are the four sets of jet blast deflectors at each of the four catapults.

According to the specifications, the assembled kit is 38 inches long, so you'd better clear off the mantle! If you opt for the full hull display, a stand is also included. In either case, this model is going to be quite impressive when built!

The airwing supplied in the kit includes one SH-3H Sea King, one RA-5C Vigilante, six F-4J Phantom II, one E-2C Hawkeye, two A-3 Skywarrior, three A-6 Intruder, six A-7 Corsair II, and two S-3 Viking. If you want more aircraft or perhaps a more modern air wing, Trumpeter will also be releasing sets of SH-3H Sea Kings, RA-5C Vigilantes, F-4J Phantom IIs, F-14D Tomcats, F/A-18E Super Hornets, E-2C Hawkeyes, A-3 Skywarriors, A-6 Intruders, A-7 Corsair IIs and S-3 Vikings.

If you take a close look at the aircraft sprues, you'll notice their innovative casting technique - the airframes are gray styrene, the details are black, and the canopies are clear. In the case of the SH-3H Sea King, the whole airframe is clear so you can realistically mask the windows before painting. Nice work Trumpeter!

Two sets of decals are included in the kit. The first contains all of the hull and superstructure identification markings as well as a wide range of deck striping. The second sheet contains an impressive array of markings for each of the aircraft included in the kit representing Air Wing 8 (CVW-8).

This looks to be an incredible kit right out of the box, and if you're looking to represent any of the Nimitz class ships, you have a great starting point in this kit, though if you're patient, I am certain the Trumpeter has more configurations on the drawing board. In any case, look for the aftermarket folks to go bonkers with this kit as this is clearly (in my opinion) the best aircraft carrier kit released in any scale to date!

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!

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