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CVN 68 Kit

Trumpeter 1/700 USS Nimitz CVN 68 Aircraft Carrier Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review July 2006 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject USS Nimitz CVN 68 Aircraft Carrier Scale 1/700
Kit Number 5714 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Excellent detailing, great potential to model any of the Nimitz-class carriers, nice array of aircraft included Cons  
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $89.95

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
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, 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 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 yet again. Their latest release in 1/700th scale is easily their most impressive - the USS Nimitz. While there have been a variety of releases of the Nimitz-class carriers in a variety of scales, only one is more impressive than this kit, and it was the kit this release was patterned after - the Trumpeter 1/350th scale USS Nimitz!

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 633 parts on 28 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 kit is also quite impressive, with cardboard frames holding the hull parts from shifting around in transit. The engineering that goes into Trumpeter's kits is quite impressive.

I didn't see any negative feedback about the 1/350th rendition of this massive aircraft carrier, so unless something happened in the downscaling of the kit, this 1/700 scale Nimitz should be equivalent accuracy-wise. As with the 1/350th release, this kit represents the Nimitz as she was fitted circa 1975. To bring the ship closer to present day, or to replicate one of the sister ships in the Nimitz class, you'll need to alter the radar mast aft of the superstructure, add additional domes and antennas according to the ship and time being represented, and update the airwing as well.

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 nearly 19 inches long. If you opt for the full hull display, a stand is included, and as with the other 1/700 scale ships from Trumpeter, a clear blue vacuformed water base is provided for the waterline rendition. In either case, this model is going to be quite impressive when built!

The airwing supplied in the kit includes two SH-3H Sea King, two RA-5C Vigilante, two F-4J Phantom II, two E-2C Hawkeye, two A-3 Skywarrior, two A-6 Intruder, and two A-7 Corsair II. If you want more aircraft or perhaps a more modern air wing, Trumpeter should also be releasing sets of these and other modern types in this scale as well.

If you hadn't noticed, the aircraft are molded in clear. This was done with the WW2-era aircraft of the previous carrier releases and has carried forward here too. If masked and painted carefully, you can create the illusion of a cockpit inside the transparent windows/canopies..

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 1/700 scale to date!

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!

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