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CV 3 Kit

Trumpeter 1/700 USS Saratoga CV 3 Aircraft Carrier Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review December 2006 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject USS Saratoga CV 3 Aircraft Carrier Scale 1/700
Kit Number 5738 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Sara as a pre-war carrier with a new breed of biplane fighters for the air group Cons  
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $34.95

First Look

CV 3 Kit
CV 3 Kit
CV 3 Kit
CV 3 Kit
CV 3 Kit
CV 3 Kit
CV 3 Kit
CV 3 Kit
CV 3 Kit

The USS Saratoga was the US Navy's third aircraft carrier, being commissioned a few months prior to its class-lead, USS Lexington CV 2, in November 1927. USS Langley CV 1, Lexington and Saratoga were instrumental in developing a new generation of fleet tactics that embraced the capabilities of airpower.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Sara was stateside having just completed some needed defensive upgrades in the shipyard. She had an extensive combat record and survived several serious attacks to see her crew through the end of World War 2.

Since Sara was several classes older than the (then) contemporary long-hull Essex class, she served one last time as a guinea pig anchored with other warships for Operation Crossroads - post-war testing of the atomic bomb.

Following up the earlier release of this carrier in 1/350 scale, Trumpeter continues its trend of scaling down its great engineering work into 1/700 scale for those with less shelf space.

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on six parts trees, plus separately provided upper hull and flight deck. As with the other aircraft carrier releases in this scale, the Sara also provides a full lower hull and a waterline hull plate, both of which are molded in red. A stand is provided for the full-hull version molded in black styrene.

As I mentioned earlier, this kit is the first of the aircraft carriers to be set in the mid-1930s with an air group consisting of nine BFC-2, nine SBU Helldivers, nine F3F, and six TG-2. As with the previous 1/700 scale aircraft subjects released in their carrier line, these aircraft are molded in all clear styrene.

The box does not differentiate what year this kit represents as Trumpeter has done in earlier releases, but the release notes indicate the colors and aircraft compliment represent the Sara in 1936. According to the specifications, the kit is comprised of 375 parts and will be over 15 " long when completed.

The decal sheet provides markings for the pre-war flight deck and 48 star US flags. The aircraft markings provide a nice sampling of aircraft from different sections, but no instructions on the proper colors to use with which section and place within the section. That's okay, we have all of that information here.

Markings are for F3Fs of VF-6B, SBUs of VS-2B, BFCs of VS-2B and TG-2s of VT-2B.

This is a nice addition to the Trumpeter aircraft carrier fleet and kudos to Trumpeter to release this one as a pre-war yellow-wing era vessel. With all of the combat camouflage schemes that apply to the other Essex-class carriers and the Lex, the colorful aircraft of the pre-war air groups will be very nice to see.

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!

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