Gallery Models 1/350 USS Intrepid CV 11 Kit First Look
|Date of Review||June 2014||Manufacturer||Gallery Models|
|Subject||USS Intrepid CV 11||Scale||1/350|
|Kit Number||64008||Primary Media||Styrene / Photo-Etch|
|Pros||First kit of this subject in this scale; very nice detailing throughout||Cons||Nothing serious noted|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$329.98|
The USS Intrepid was the third ship in the Essex-class ordered and laid down before the US entered World War II. After the war, Intrepid was mothballed until 1952, when she was transferred to Newport News for a complete overhaul under SCB-27C which removed the gun turrets from her deck, replaced the flight deck with a much stronger structure, upgraded the elevators for greater lift capacity, incorporated steam catapults and stronger arresting gear, all of which allowed for operating the new generation of jet aircraft. These modifications were completed in 1954 and Intrepid was reclassified as CVA 11.
In 1956, Intrepid arrived in Brooklyn Navy Yard to receive SCB-125 which enclosed her bow and added an angled flight deck for recovering aircraft. Back in service in 1957, Intrepid conducted Operation Crosswind to assess the effects of cross-winds on catapult launches. In 1962, Intrepid was back at Norfolk and was reclassified as CVS-11. Intrepid was the last ship through the New York Naval Shipyard receiving SCB-144 (FRAM II) in 1965, and with the yard closing before work was completed, Intrepid finished the refit in New Jersey. With SCB-144, Intrepid received the distinctive SQS-23 bow-mounted sonar dome.
USS Intrepid began the first of three Vietnam cruises as an auxiliary attack carrier in 1966 with Carrier Air Wing 10 (CVW-10) embarked. The final cruise ended in 1969 and Intrepid returned to Atlantic and Mediterranean operations before her decommissioning in 1974.
Gallery Models is a brand name under the Model Rectifier Corporation which has been producing some outstanding modern US Navy ship subjects. With the proximity of the USS Intrepid Museum, MRC decided to create the first angle-deck Essex-class aircraft carrier in 1/350 scale that isn't resin. When this kit was first announced, the response was outstanding and as feedback came in from a variety of sources, the kit was modified to what we now have coming to store shelves very soon.
This kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on 31 parts trees plus separately molded single-piece hull, flight deck, two-piece hangar deck, and island superstructure. One display stand molded in black and six frets of photo-etched details round out this kit. Note that duplicate trees are not shown in the images to the right.
Among the features and options in this kit:
- Full-hull design with separate SQS-23 dome on bow (hinting at other versions coming in the future)
- Very straightforward construction
- Awesome photo-etched details under the elevators
- Positionable forward flight deck elevator
- Positionable port side elevator
- Positionable aft-starboard elevator
- Positionable crane
- Photo-etched radar dishes
- 4 x A-4B/C Skyhawk
- 2 x E-1B Tracer
- 4 x A-1H/J Skyraider (identified in instructions as EA-1F)
- 4 x F-8C Crusader
- 4 x UH-2B Seasprite
Note that 20 of those 31 parts trees are aircraft sprues. You'll also note that these aircraft are molded in gray styrene instead of the usual clear that Trumpeter has been known for and this is because the clear parts are very brittle - these gray styrene aircraft should be far easier to assemble and handle. This is very important as all of the aircraft are molded with the wings in flight position. If you're going to park these aircraft, you'll want the wings folded and that involves some simple surgery (unless you've got clear parts - then they shatter).
So if you do the math, there are only 11 sprues plus the hull and decks to build this ship and the six frets of photo-etch to render all of the structural details under the deck outcroppings and under the elevators. Assembly of this kit is going to probably be one of the easiest in Gallery Models' line-up.
A few notes:
- If you look inside the open hangar doors, there is no gallery deck portrayed inside - the top of the hangar deck is the flight deck. You'll have to do some scratchbuilding to add the level between hangar and flight deck
- The Jet Blast Deflectors are not molded separately so some minor mods to the deck will be required if you're going to have an aircraft ready for launch
- The instructions show the HF antennas around the flight deck all standing up. Check your references as these are usually stowed off to the side to keep out of the way of flight operations. You can put these in different configurations depending on whether your cruising, launching, or recovering aircraft
- There are no tow tractors, Tilly crane, or other flight deck support equipment provided in this release
- The decals for the A-4B/C Skyhawks are generic and you can see that VA-15, VA-34, VA-66, VA-95 all had some distinctive colors (depending on which squadron(s) you're depicting) that will have to be replicated by hand and MODEX numbers are not provided
- The decals for the VAW-121 (Det.11) E-1B Tracers are also generic and no MODEX numbers are provided
- The decals for the A-1H/J Skyraider depict VA-176 with the distinctive tail art and MODEX numbers
- The instructions indicate that the VA-176 Skyraiders are EA-1F and while it would be outstanding to have the EA-1Fs from VAQ-33 which were deployed on these cruises, the kit parts are single-seat A-1H/J aircraft and not the four-place A-1E/F.
- The decals for the F-8C Crusaders depict VF-111 with their distinctive tail art, but no MODEX numbers
- The decals for the HC-2 UH-2 are also generic but in this case, they're correct though no MODEX numbers
- The painting instructions show UH-2 in Navy Blue - don't do it! The standard service color for the UH-2 was Navy Gray 16081
- While we're talking about colors, the instructions show the hull painted in IJN Gray. Please use Haze Gray 36270
All of the above are minor issues, all of which can be fixed or ignored.
Welcome to the first SCB-125 Essex in styrene in any kit scale. The work in this kit is really nice and I'm sure there will be opportunities for the aftermarket companies between air wing decals, flight deck and hangar deck vehicles/equipment, etc. Hopefully we'll be seeing other SCB-125 Essex-class carriers in our future incorporating the differences in elevators and antenna fits. This is an outstanding first-release which I'm looking forward to putting on the bench right away! Stay tuned.
My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!