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BB 56 Kit

Trumpeter 1/700 USS Washington BB 56 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review March 2007 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject USS Washington BB 56 Scale 1/700
Kit Number 5735 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice details, waterline or full-hull construction Cons No ocean surface base
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $27.95

First Look

BB 56 Kit
BB 56 Kit
BB 56 Kit
BB 56 Kit
BB 56 Kit
BB 56 Kit
BB 56 Kit
BB 56 Kit

The USS Washington was commissioned in May 1941 as the second of the North Carolina class. Like the North Carolina, Washinton's main armament was nine 16 inch guns and a wide range of self-protection armament. Armor for the battleships was designed to withstand a volley from the equivalent of her own guns. The North Carolina class actually had less armor plate than her predecessors, but the hull was inclined 15 degrees which provided equivalent protection at significantly less weight.

The original main armament configuration had been four turrets of twin 14 inch guns, but these were changed to three turrets of three 16 inch guns, again resulting in reduced weight and increased firepower.

USS Washington started its career in the North Atlantic and experienced an unusual series of events in her service. In early 1942, Admiral John Wilcox had embarked with the USS Washington as his flagship. On the 27th of March, the Admiral mysteriously fell overboard, many thinking that he suffered a heart attack, and while his body had been spotted during searches, it was not recovered.

Two months later, Washington was underway with a task force that included HMS King George V. On the 1st of May, the King George V rammed one of its destroyers and cut in in two. The Washington could not maneuver out of the way and sailed between the two halves of the sinking destroyer and suffering minor damage as the destroyer's depth charges detonated beneath her. While serving in the Pacific, USS Washington rammed the USS Indiana seriously damaging both battleships. Washington would receive temporary repairs to get back to the west coast of the US to receive a new bow.

Nevertheless, the USS Washington engaged in many of the major Pacific operations with distinction and was also first US battelship to engage in a battleship-to-battleship battle in the Pacific during WW2 when it quickly silenced the Japanese battleship Kirishima.

Trumpeter has scaled down their beautiful 1/350 scale North Carolina kit into 1/700 to add to their impressive array of naval offerings in this scale. The kit is molded in Trumpeter's light gray and is presented on seven parts trees (duplicate trees not shown) as well as a separate main deck and the upper hull.

Two parts molded in red represent the waterline hull bottom or full hull bottom (your choice), plus a black base to display the completed model. Like the North Carolina kit, the Washington is well-detailed with radars and a wide array of guns.

The packaging of this kit is exellent, with pairs of parts trees sealed into protective bag to minimize the chance of damage in transit. The engineering that goes into Trumpeter's kits is quite impressive.

According to the literature, the completed kit will be almost 13 inches long (give or take a millimeter). You can see vast number of parts and fittings provided in the kit, so straight out of the box, it will be impressive. With photo-etch railings and other details, this kit will be awesome.

On the aft catapults, the kit includes the OS2U Kingfisher. These aircraft are not separately molded, so the only way to obtain one is to get this kit. Two are provided.

Trumpeter provides markings for the Washington as well as the North Carolina. The Washington wore Measure 1 camouflage.

Unless you opt to build this kit straight out of the box, you're likely to spend more time researching the configuration of the ship at some point in time to match the paint, weapons and antenna configurations, than actually building this kit. As with the previous 1/700 combatants from Trumpeter, this is a nicely engineered and beautifully detailed kit. I wouldn't be surprised to see a variety of photo-etch offerings soon to follow.

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!


US Battleships in Action, Part 2, Rob Stern, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1984, ISBN 0-89747-157-1.