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USS Kitty Hawk CV 63 Kit

Academy 1/800 USS Kitty Hawk CV 63 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2014 Manufacturer Academy
Subject USS Kitty Hawk CV 63 Scale 1/800
Kit Number 14210 Primary Media Styrene
Pros First kit of this version in any scale Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $30.98

First Look

USS Kitty Hawk CV 63 Kit
USS Kitty Hawk CV 63 Kit
USS Kitty Hawk CV 63 Kit
USS Kitty Hawk CV 63 Kit

The Kitty Hawk-class aircraft carriers followed the Forrestal-class and would become the last conventionally-powered aircraft carrier class in US Navy service. Commissioned in 1961, the USS Kitty Hawk and USS Constellation were the first two in service before a pause in construction followed to build the USS Enterprise, the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The last two Kitty Hawk-class members followed - USS America commissioned in 1965 and USS John F. Kennedy in 1967.

Kitty Hawk has a long and distinguished career which ranged from combat operations off of Vietnam, to stunt-double for USS Nimitz in the movie 'Final Countdown', to submarine hunter with the collision with Victor-class K-314, to the last conventionally powered aircraft carrier to be home-ported in Japan. Throughout its service, the Kitty Hawk was kept up-to-date with the latest systems. Before she was retired, the USS Kitty Hawk was the second longest serving warship in US Navy history (USS Constitution 'Old Ironsides' remains the oldest).

Here is a classic kit from Academy, this is the 1/800th scale USS Kitty Hawk which is one of Academy's earlier releases. Given that the company was founded in 1969, it makes sense that they'd produce the 'latest' aircraft carrier in their line-up and the kit's subtitle states that the USS Kitty Hawk is the world's largest aircraft carrier which was true at that time. This tooling has been released by other companies as well representing the other members of the Kitty Hawk class. While 1/800 might seem an odd scale now, this kit was designed before standardized ship scales were agreed upon. Even at 1/800 scale, the completed model is over 15 inches long. I'm told that this kit remains one of the top sellers in the US market simply because it is an easy kit with lots of nice details.

The kit is molded in gray styrene and presented on five parts trees plus the hull and flight deck and one tree of black parts containing the display stand. Among the features and options in this kit:

One-piece full hull

Movable elevators

Simplified details on island and rear mast

The impressive bit of this kit is the extensive air wing which includes:

  • 10 x F-14 Tomcat
  • 6 x F-4 Phantom II
  • 8 x F/A-18 Hornet
  • 12 x A-7 Corsair II
  • 6 x A-6 Intruder
  • 2 x EA-6B Prowler
  • 2 x RA-5C Vigilante
  • 2 x E-2 Hawkeye
  • 4 x S-3 Viking
  • 2 x SH-3 Seaking

If you have a young modeler that wants to build a bit of naval aviation history or someone who is returning to modeling that may be intimidated by the complexity of contemporary 1/700 or 1/350 kits, this is a great project. I can see why this kit remains popular as you can get a nice model without the time, complexity and expense of 'modern' kits.

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!