Trumpeter 1/350 USS Ticonderoga CV 14 Kit First Look
|Date of Review||October 2005||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Subject||USS Ticonderoga CV 14 Aircraft Carrier||Scale||1/350|
|Kit Number||5609||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||New bow, detailed flight deck & hangar deck, more aircraft included||Cons|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$129.95|
The USS Ticonderoga was technically an Essex-class aircraft carrier, but she was the first "long-hull Essex" to be built. The long-hulls were slightly longer and are recognizable by their rectangular bow at the hangar deck, whereas the earlier Essexes were rounded.
Originally named USS Hancock (this name was moved to another Essex-class build), the "Tico" was commissioned in May 1944, and after extensive training and provisioning, transited through the Panama Canal into the Pacific and entered the South Pacific by October.
Tico's aircraft participated in major combat operations and were responsible for dispatching a number of Japanese surface combatants. In intensive action, Tico's guns repelled repeated Kamikaze attacks and provided cover and support for the Essex and Intrepid when they were struck.
Tico's luck ran out in late January 1945 when Kamikazes penetrated the gun barrages and struck the ship. Her damage control parties saved the ship and she returned to the US for repairs. By May, she was back in the action again and she aircraft conducted one of the last airstrikes of the war, attacking Tokyo and learning of the Japanese surrender shortly thereafter.
The Ticonderoga was mothballed until 1962, when she was recommissioned and later fitted with an angled flight deck and a hurricane bow. She conducted combat operations against North Vietnam until 1973 when she was decommissioned for the final time.
Here is the first of the long-hull Essex-class aircraft carriers in 1/350th scale and like the original Essex kit, this one is a beauty. As you might expect, many of the parts trees are identical, but not all. You can see in the first photo that the bow of the first Essex releases has been cut out of the mold and replaced with the newer bow.
For the record, the kit consists of nine parts trees molded in light gray styrene plus the two upper hull sections, three flight deck sections and three hangar deck sections. The one duplicated tree is not shown. Two lower hull options are molded in red representing a full-hull or waterline version. Should you opt for the full-hull, a display stand molded in black styrene and a name plate molded in gray are also included. In all, there are 689 parts in this box, not your simple weekend project!
One major difference between this kit and the original Essex release is the airwing. There are twenty aircraft included in this kit, including four SBD Dauntlesses, four F4U Corsairs, four F6F Hellcats, four SB2C Helldivers, and four TBF/TBM Avengers. These are molded in Trumpeter's unique tricolor technique where the aircraft are molded in gray, the transparencies in clear and the details in black. I don't know how they do this, but it is clearly down to a consistent routine on their machinery.
The box does not differentiate what year this kit represents as Trumpeter has done in earlier releases, but 1944 is a safe bet and assuming that no major upgrades were introduced during her repairs in early 1945, she remained in this configuration until she was mothballed after the war.
One thing I've noticed in the construction of this kit is that the hangar bay access doors are mostly molded closed. There are a few left open, but it wouldn't be difficult to open more of the doors should you want to populate the hangar deck with aircraft and equipment.
Markings for this release are all relatively simple as the aircraft have late-war stars and bars. You will note that Trumpeter didn't include US flags this time around - they've been providing the 50-star flag that we use today, not the 48 star flag used during WW2. Nice color profiles are included to illustrate the more colorful Measure 33/10a worn by the Tico during WW2.
Like each of the other aircraft carriers Trumpeter has released, this is a beauty straight out of the box. The Measure 33/10a colors worn by the Tico will make for a more unusual subject and will definitely be an eye-catcher on the contest table.
Given the multitude of small parts that make up this kit, I recommend this kit to more experienced builders. Advanced modelers will definitely want to look into the super photo-etch set options on the market as well.
My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!