Trumpeter 1/350 USS Hancock CV 19 Kit First Look
|Date of Review||April 2006||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Subject||USS Hancock CV 19 Aircraft Carrier||Scale||1/350|
|Kit Number||5610||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||New bow, detailed flight deck & hangar deck, more aircraft included||Cons|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$129.95|
The USS Hancock was launched in January 1944. After completing her fitting, she embarked on a shakedown cruise and returned to the yards in early July 1944 for additional updates. At the end of July, Hancock departed Boston and transited through the Panama Canal for San Diego, and finally into the Pacific to join Admiral Halsey's Third Fleet in early October.
Hancock was front and center for the island hopping campaigns throught the South Pacfic as well as supporting the interdiction of the Japanese navy.
The USS Hancock has a place in the Benolkin family history as my father's oldest brother, Bernard Benolkin, was a Chief Petty Officer aboard the Hancock during its Pacific campaign in 1945. Though I was still young when when my uncle passed away, I still remember some of the stories of those days from various family reunions.
The most noteworthy event that I recall shows up in the written histories as an accidental explosion on the flight deck 21 January 1945. From the man who was there: Hancock was recovering a flight of aircraft when the LSO saw that an approaching F6F Hellcat had a hung bomb on the aircraft. It was a 500 lb bomb that was supposed to have been dropped during the aircraft's sortie and appeard to be hanging from only one lug. The LSO waved off the Hellcat, but the pilot refused the wave-off and successfully trapped on the deck. At that moment, over 100 men were rushing toward the aircraft to stop the pilot and make the bomb safe. The pilot evidently disregarded everyone's handsignals to stop - as soon as his tailhook was free of the arresting gear, he taxiied forward toward the island. As the pilot stopped for the onrush of deck personnel, the lug gave way and the bomb detonated.
When the smoke cleared from the wind over the deck, a photographer's mate snapped a photo from around the island. There was a scar in the deck where there was once a Hellcat - pilot and plane gone. There were bodies everywhere as 50 men lost there lives in an instant. In that photo, only one man stood up from within the dead zone from the blast, my uncle. Surprisingly, he was uninjured, though another 75 men were injured from that blast.
Hancock ended the war off the coast of Japan. She literally had aircraft enroute to their targets when word of the Japanese surrender came and had to recall her aircraft. Hancock remained in the area immediately after the war as her aircraft were called upon to fly protective cover as there were still incidents of renegade Japanese pilots attempting to attack US warships after the surrender.
After several trips across the Pacific to perform 'Magic Carpet' runs to return US personnel back to the United States, Hancock was decommissioned and mothballed in April 1946. The story was far from over as Hancock would be recommissioned and continue to serve until early 1976, but that is another story.
Here is another release 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, the parts trees are identical to the earlier long-hull Essex release - the CV 14 Ticonderoga. The main differences are a slightly different air wing composition, new decals, and a new name plate.
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 645 parts in this box, not your simple weekend project!
As I said earlier, one major difference between this kit and previous releases is the airwing. There are twenty aircraft included in this kit, including four SBD-3 Dauntlesses, 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 32, Design 3a worn by the Hancock during WW2.
Like each of the other aircraft carriers Trumpeter has released, this is a beauty straight out of the box. The Measure 32, Design 3a colors worn by the Hancock 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!