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Academy 1/350 USS Indianapolis CA 35 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review March 2013 Manufacturer Academy
Subject USS Indianapolis CA 35 Scale 1/350
Kit Number 14107 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice detailing, full hull or waterline option Cons Flags
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $59.00

First Look


The USS Indianapolis was one of the 'treaty cruiser' classes developed in the early 1930s, the second in-class of the Portland-class cruisers. During World War II, the Indianapolis served as the flagship for 5th Fleet under command of Vice Admiral Raymond Spruance and supported many of the major actions in the Pacific. During March of 1945, the Indianapolis was seriously damaged during a kamikaze attack and limped back to Mare Island for repairs.

When the ship was ready to return to action, she was tasked to carry a special cargo to Tinian Island to provide the nuclear materials for the 509th Bomb Group's atomic attacks on the Japanese. While this was a noteworthy mission, the Indianapolis unfortunately gained its 'fame' when it was enroute from Guam to Leyte for combat work-ups and was sunk by the Japanese submarine I-58. Around 300 sailors went down with the Indianapolis, sinking within 12 minutes of the torpedo hits. Over 800 sailors survived the sinking, but due to operational errors, the Navy didn't know of the sinking until the survivors were spotted 3.5 days later. Between the time of the sinking and their rescue, many men succumbed to their injuries, exposure, shark attack, and exhaustion. Only 321 men were rescued and of that number, 317 survived.

Here is the first kit of this cruiser class to be released in 1/350 scale plastic. Two companies announced this subject, Academy and Trumpeter, with Academy's kit to reach markets soon and Trumpeter to follow in May. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on four parts trees plus a separate upper deck section and upper hull. The lower hull is molded in red styrene while two additional trees molded in dark gray styrene are provided containing the display stand, propellers and shafts, smaller caliber guns, and other smaller details.

Among the features and options:

  • Choice of full hull or waterline display
  • Fitted with late war Bofors guns
  • Catapult w/mounted aircraft
  • Optional display stand with name plate

Markings are provided for the Indianapolis' basic wartime markings as well as national markings for its embarked seaplane. Four US flags are provided and here is the only glitch I see in this kit. All four flags are post Alaska/Hawaii 50-star flags instead of the 48-star flags flown during World War II. This is minor and there are plenty of correct flags in the aftermarket as this is far from the first kit to have such a glitch.

This kit will be a straightforward build that I do recommend some modeling experience only because of the number of very small parts provided to arm and fit this vessel. The kit does not rely upon photo-etched details though I'm sure the AMS modeler will not have to wait long before railings and other details are available in photo-etch.

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!