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Academy 1/350 USS Indianapolis CA 35 Special Edition Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review August 2014 Manufacturer Academy
Subject USS Indianapolis CA 35 Special Edition Scale 1/350
Kit Number 14113 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch, Turned Brass, Wood
Pros Master modeler's dream kit Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $199.00

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.

Last year, Academy produced the first kit of this cruiser class in 1/350 scale plastic. Now Academy has returned with the master modeler's dream kit - the USS Indianapolis Special Edition. What makes this release special? Besides having the original Indy kit in the box, this release also has the AFV Club 1/350 I-58 submarine kit, and a wealth of aftermarket details all inside this box.

The Indy 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 black styrene are provided containing the display stand, propellers and shafts, smaller caliber guns, and other smaller details. The I-58 kit is also molded in light gray styrene and presented on two parts trees plus the upper hull while the lower hull is molded in red styrene.

Not convinced? Look at that bottom image - this shows two sizeable frets of photo-etched brass details, two frets of photo-etched steel parts, numerous bags of turned brass gun barrels and yardarms, and two sections of wooden decking, one for the Indy's foredeck, the other for the I-58's main deck.

Among the features and options:

  • Choice of full hull or waterline display (both kits)
  • Fitted with late war Bofors guns
  • Catapult w/mounted aircraft
  • Optional display stands with name plates (both kits)

When you add the additional photo-etch, turned brass, etc.:

  • Photo-etched details for each of the 40mm Bofors gun mounts
  • Photo-etched seaplane catapults
  • Turned brass 8 inch main gun barrels
  • New photo-etch and metal rod smoke generators
  • Photo-etched ladders and railings
  • Photo-etched crane
  • Photo-etched bridge shields
  • Photo-etched funnel details
  • Photo-etched boat davits
  • Photo-etched SC-1 Seahawk details and launching cradles
  • Photo-etched foremast and main mast
  • Photo-etched radar and sensor antennas
  • Photo-etched Mk.34 gun director structure
  • Wood foredeck (Indy) and main deck (I-58)
  • Photo-etched bridge railings (I-58)
  • Photo-etched main deck foot railings (I-58)
  • Photo-etched antennas (I-58)

Markings are provided for the Indianapolis' basic wartime markings as well as national markings for its embarked seaplane.

The basic kit is 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. This kit requires experience with working and shaping small photo-etched parts and building detailed multi-media kits. If you're not an AMS modeler, I'd recommend the original Academy Indianapolis kit but if you're a master (AMS) modeler or are working toward that goal, you'll definitely want to put one of these away in your collection. Academy only produced 1500 examples of this kit, so don't wait very long!

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!