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USS Lexington

Trumpeter 1/350 USS Lexington CV 2 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2005 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject USS Lexington CV 2 Scale 1/350
Kit Number 5608 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Detailing as nice as the Nimitz Cons You're going to need a bigger house
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $129.95

First Look

USS Lexington
USS Lexington
USS Lexington
USS Lexington
USS Lexington
USS Lexington
USS Lexington
USS Lexington
USS Lexington

When carrier aviation was officially born, it was fitting to name the first aircraft carrier after the man who attempted to be the first with the aeroplane using a shipborne catapult to launch his craft (unsuccessfully). While the USS Langley was converted from a freighter, the second and third aircraft carriers were built upon existing battlecruiser keels. USS Lexington CV 2 and USS Saratoga CV 3 benefited from the rugged design and infrastructure of the battlecruiser hull designs, upon which a huge hangar deck and flight deck were built.

The Lexington had an extensive influence in developing carrier operations experience and improving the concepts. One of its more interesting sidebars happened during the winter of 1929 when the Lexington was used as a floating generator to power the city of Tacoma Washington for over a month after a draught rendered the city's hydroelectric power system inoperative.

After Pearl Harbor, the Lexington was engaged with Japanese forces that included the carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku. Aircraft from those two carriers successfully struck the Lexington with bombs and torpedoes to the point where the ship was abandoned and sunk by a US destroyer.

In this latest aircraft carrier release from Trumpeter, the USS Lexington CV 2 is molded in light gray styrene with the exception of the full hull below the waterline or the plate that represents the waterline - these are molded in hull red. The display stand and name plate are molded in black.

According to the specifications, the kit is comprised of 583 parts on 20 sprues, but on examination of the kit, this appears to be one of the easiest, least complex builds. The lower hull is fitted with storage bays that contain the launches, life boats, etc., and these are installed into the hull sides at assembly.

The flight deck has the wooden planks nicely represented, though the scribed lines between the planks might be slightly overdone. Nevertheless, after painting the deck and applying a dark wash into those gaps, the effect would be very effective.

The kit has the option of positioning either or both main elevators. Inserts placed under the flight deck will provide the illusion of a hangar deck, though there wasn't much point of engineering a full hangar deck since there are no other access points in the hull to view inside.

The unique island and funnel are nicely captured and are provided with some nice detailing to capture the scale look of the carrier as it was fit in in 1942.

If you look carefully at the second set of sprues, you can see all of the ship's self-protection armament represented one gun at a time in this scale. Care will be needed to keep many of these small parts from disappearing into the carpet!

As with the previous carriers in the Trumpeter line, you have your choice of a full-hull ship, complete with screws and rudders, or you can opt for the waterline version. The full hull version also includes a display stand, and either version can use the included name plate.

The airwing for this ship consists of four F4F Wildcats, six SBD Dauntlesses and three TBD Devastators. You can expand the aircraft compliment by purchasing the additional aircraft, sold separately.

Markings are provided for the airwing as it appeared in May 1942. The ship didn't carry distinctive markings other than its Measure 11 camouflage.

Fully assembled, this kit is over 30 inches long. Its distinctive profile will add nicely to your growing fleet of flattops. This is a nice addition to the 1/350 ship line-up! With the growing list of the 1/350 aircraft carriers and accessories available from Trumpeter, Tamiya, White Ensign Models and MB Models, we have more kits, subjects and eras to choose from.

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!

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