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USS Kearsarge Artillery Set

Cottage Industries Models 1/96 USS Kearsarge Artillery Set First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review January 2011 Manufacturer Cottage Industries Models
Subject USS Kearsarge Artillery Set Scale 1/96
Kit Number AS001 Primary Media 88 parts (42 in light tan resin, 44 white metal, etched brass, scale rope)
Pros Corrects serious problems with the armament of the 50-year-old Revell kit; provides accurate models of the three types of ship’s guns as well as missing items such as shot garlands, rammers, and water tubs Cons Wasn’t around first time I built the kit!
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $39.95

First Look

Anyone who has followed my reviews over the years will recall that I picked up the last re-release of the CSS Alabama in 2000 and then the newly remolded copy of the USS Kearsarge from Revell of Germany in 2005. Having been busy doing armor reviews and writing armor articles, I had not gotten around to building either one but was happy to have them in my “stash”.

But after reading recent articles about both kits, I found that where the kits were magnificent efforts for 1961-1962 they both left much to be desired from a historical standpoint. The USS Kearsarge overall was apparently based on the later 1884 rebuilding of the ship with higher bulwarks and some changes to her rig. But surprisingly one of the item Revell’s researchers missed on the kit the first time around was the shape and design of the guns she carried.

Revell’s designers seem to have confused the so-called “soda bottle” shape of the big Dahlgren pivot guns with contemporary milk bottles and put a huge lip on each one. They also got the broadside guns too small and only added another broadside gun instead of the big Parrott bow chaser mounted on the forecastle.

Enter Cottage Industries Models, who specializes in American Civil War naval subjects. This set and its companion set for the CSS Alabama came out about four years ago and provide the correct size, shape and number of guns for the ship as well as the essential accessories left out of the original by Revell.

The two big Dahlgrens now come with resin carriages with separate roller assemblies and all of the missing bits as well: elevation screws in their frames, traversing levers, and other essential bits needed for the big guns. Some kit parts (eyebolts and blocks) are used to fit the traversing and recoil ropes to the guns. Note that these guns are not designed to “drop in” and do not use the pin system Revell had on the original to permit the guns to swivel.

The side guns are now 9" Dahlgrens and mount on the Marsilly (two wheel truck) carriages. They also come with white metal screw elevation accessories.

The 28 lb Parrott rifle is also separagte and unique but it uses a white metal carriage vice the resin ones for the other six guns.

The set also includes rammers, shot and shell garlands, and water tubs for each gun mount which are essential and which Revell left out of the original kit. These are nicely done and even the lifting rings on the shells can be discerned.

Directions are clear and straightforward and show when some kit items are to be used. Painting directions are also provided which differ from those in the Revell kit.

The kit also comes with a small fret of etched brass levers and wrenches and a length of CIM’s “scale rope” which is very clean, smooth and nicely finished. (It beats the fuzzy stuff which comes in the kits!)

Overall this set really enhances the USS Kearsarge and permits it to look more like an actual warship than just a big model kit. I just wish it had been around the first time I built the Kearsarge! Guns may be ordered separately (heavy guns are $14.95 and small broadside guns $4.95 each).

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Sprue Layout

  • ‒ 9x2 Standard USN/CSN swivel carriage (resin)
  • ‒ 2x2 Marsilly carriages (resin)
  • ‒ 20 Shot and shell garlands, tubs
  • ‒ 7 Guns (2 x 11" Dahlgren, 4 x 32 lb, 1 x 28 lb Parrott) (white metal)
  • ‒ 37 Miscellaneous white metal fittings (see text)
  • ‒ 1 Fret of etched brass
  • ‒ 1 Length of scale rope