USS Pennsylvania BB-38
by Paul Helfrich

1/700 USS Pennsylvania BB-38 (Dragon)

This is the USS Pennsylvania in her late war fit, the 1/700 kit from Dragon.

This is one of the nicer 1/700 kits I've built. The box is completely packed with sprues, and it's hardly less full even after the model is finished! It's a complete spares box in itself, and many of my unbuilt older 1/700 kits will definitely be getting some of the leftover 20 mm, 40 mm, and 5" guns from this kit. The photoetch included is a nice bonus, particularly since you get railings as well as radars. The railings look a little under scale, and I was disappointed that a PE catapult was not included. And while there are PE yardarms, they go with Dragon's earlier Arizona kit, and you can't use them. But that really seems like quibbling, given all that you get with this kit.

My biggest issue with the kit would probably be the instructions. They're Dragon's usual exploded diagrams, and they're mostly OK, but certain structures, like the tripod foremast, would benefit from a greater degree of illustration and explanation. There's also no explanation about the radars and which are appropriate to which year. And the mainmast appears to be circa June 1945, after Pennsy's final refit, not 1944 as the kit describes itself. I tried to model the ship as she appeared in August 1943 in the Aleutians. I extended the mainmast a bit with that mind.

The Pennsylvania spent the entire war (after her post-Pearl-Harbor refit) in Measure 21, the all-Navy Blue scheme. The key to making Measure 21 look good, in my view, is lots of washing and drybrushing.

I took one photo showing the Dragon Pennsy with my HobbyBoss Arizona in her Pearl Harbor fit. You can really see how almost every available inch of deck space was taken up with AA guns when these ships were modernized.

Paul Helfrich