Trumpeter 1/700 USS Sacramento AOE 1 Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||March 2011||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Subject||USS Sacramento AOE 1||Scale||1/700|
|Kit Number||5785||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Nicely detailed kit||Cons||Decals (see text)|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$39.95|
The Fast Combat Support Ship (AOE) concept was devised by Admiral Arleigh Burke as a solution to a logistics nightmare from World War II. In those days, fleet oilers, ammunition ships, and refrigerated stores ships were all specialty vessels that required significant coordination (and luck) to get much needed fuel, ammunition, and food distributed among the combatants at sea. Admiral Burke's solution was to design a high-speed vessel that could combine the functions of all three vessels into one and still provide itself with firepower for self defense.
Commissioned in 1964, the first of its class, the USS Sacramento went right to work in the Tonkin Gulf supporting fleet operations off the coast of Vietnam. Refueling underway requires good seamanship on the part of the AOE and its customer with lines and hoses sent across to transfer fuel and supplies. The Sacramento can refuel and provision two vessels at once, one on either side, plus support vertical replenishment (VERTREP) operations with its embarked helicopters from its large aft flight deck.
The Sacramento and her sister ships, USS Camden AOE 2, USS Seattle AOE 3 and USS Detroit AOE 4, were the largest operational ships in the US Navy with the exception of the aircraft carriers and the now-retired Iowa-class battleships. Powered by a pair of 100,000 shp steam turbines, these AOEs could sail at 30 knots, much faster than the three specialty logistics ship-types they replaced. In the mid-2000s, all three Seattle-class ships were decommissioned and scrapped. These were replaced by four fast combat support ships in the Supply class.
Trumpeter has produced the first of this ship class in 1/700 scale and rendered it with the same layout as other subjects in this scale. Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on eight parts trees plus separately provided upper hull and main deck. The lower hull and waterline hull option are both molded in red styrene, the display base is molded in black, while the two Sea Knight helicopters are molded in clear. One fret of photo-etched parts round out the kit.
Layout of thie model is simple and straightforward, but the tiny parts that you'd expect in 1/700 scale means that you should have some experience and patience working on this nice project. It would have been easy for Trumpeter to mold many of these decals straight to the main deck, but if you look at the various deck parts, you'll see that they're blank other than the locating holes, which means you'll be adding all of the gear yourself.
While I'm not an expert in naval support ships, it appears that this release is configured with the early weapons fit before its first update in 1976.
In addition to the nicely detailed plastic parts, this kit has one fret of photo-etched details consisting of railing around the flight deck, cranes, and ladders.
The kit has markings for AOE 1 including the flight deck layout, aircraft markings, and an array of flags. The only glitch I can find in this release is with the US flags - they have 48 stars. By the time USS Sacramento was built, Hawaii and Alaska were states and this sheet should have 50 stars on the flags.
Other than the simple flag glitch that does pop up with some of Trumpeter's US Navy flags, this kit is a beauty as well as a first in this scale. To my knowledge, this kit is the first of the Sacramento class in any scale in plastic.
My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!