by Dan Kaplan
A member of the Colorado Class battleships, with a main armament of eight 16” guns, she and her two sisters became the US Navy’s ultimate standard battleship once the terms of the Washington Naval Disarmament Treaties went into effect in the early 1920s. A such, she was a key component of the US Battle Line up to the start of the Second World War. With the move of the Pacific Fleet to Pearl Harbor in 1940, she was present for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
Fortuitously, she incurred only slight damage that was quickly repaired. She was active for the rest of the war. Initially, she was part of the remaining battlefleet acting as a counterweight to potential Japanese advances against the US West Coast, then as an escort to critical re-supply convoys, and finally as a mainstay of the gunfire support force that supported US amphibious invasions over the last two years of the war. She was mothballed after the war, and scrapped in 1959.
Since I was a boy, I’ve been fascinated by the US standard battleships, particularly the “Big Five”, and specifically of Maryland at Pearl Harbor. The release of these ships in 1/700 kit form almost ten years ago re-sparked my interest, and I finally got around to building three of them in the past year: USS West Virginia, California, and Maryland, all in their late 1941 fits. I had originally planned to just build one for practice prior to Maryland, but things changed. I cover all that in my build thread for all three, here.
I found the Maryland kit to be a fairly straightforward build (practice does make perfect) with the exception of her hull bulges. Much has been written elsewhere regarding the inaccuracy of their cross-section; I filed down the bulges from the top, using a cross-section illustration of Maryland’s hull bulge in Friedman’s US Battleship book as a guide. The rest of the kit was upgraded as listed below. I used custom mixes of Tamiya acrylic paint to match 5-D and 5--L so as to render her in Measure 1 camouflage. The same is true for her wood planked deck, which was subsequently washed (lightly) with burnt umber.
Courtesy of Martin Quinn, I utilized a different background and lighting set-up than usual to photograph her. In many ways this set-up was easier, but I do think the lighting here tended to washout some of her coloration in these photos. Her 5-D paint actually appears darker and a hint bluer in person. The decking is too light in several photos. Of course, using a camera phone for the photography may not have been the best option.
One shot sets my three builds and Martin’s incomplete Arizona in a partial mock Battleship Row. It’s hard to resist such a set-up when you have the models in hand.
My sincere thanks to all the board members who contributed information and encouragement during the build.
Work list and references
Pit-Road/Trumpeter 1/700 USS Maryland 1941 kit with some corrections,
Aftermarket Injected, 3D Printed Accessory, Misc. Parts
- Fine Molds WA40 1/700 5”/25cal guns
- 1/700 Blue Ridge Models - Accurate Cage Mast Advanced Upgrade Set for Colorado & Tennessee Class Battleship - 3D Printed
- 1/700 Blue Ridge Models - M2 Browning .50cal. machine guns- 3D Printed
- 1/700 Blue Ridge Models - USN 36 Searchlights - 3D Printed
- 1/700 Blue Ridge Models – 1.1”/75 Caliber Gun - 3D Printed
- Hunter 1/700 USS Maryland 1941 deck masking sheet for TRUMPETER 05769
- Five Star USS Maryland 1941 Super Upgrade set FS700055 (includes 16” brass barrels)
- 1/700 Blue Ridge Models 5"/51 Barrels
- Tom’s Modelworks set#720 Early US Battleships
- Tom’s Modelworks set # 775 cage mast details
Partial list of corrections
- Modified hull blister by reducing the top by 1/3
- Removed pilot house and signal bridge level windows and replaced with Five Star USS Maryland set compartment/PE window frames
- piston and brake buffer assembly for both catapults
- Hull, lower superstructure in 5D – custom mix of Tamiya acrylic paints
- Upperworks in 5L – custom mix of Tamiya acrylic paints
- Main and planked decks as unstained teak – custom mix of Tamiya acrylic paints with a light wash of burnt umber.
- U.S. Battleships: An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman
- USS West Virginia BB-48 Booklet of General Plans, circa 1940
- Navsource Online: US Battleship Archive – USS Maryland BB-46 and the other Colorado class sisters
- www.history.navy.mil (Naval History and Heritage Command) assorted photos
- USS California: A Visual History of the Golden State Battleship BB-44 (Visual History Series HC) by David Doyle
- USS Tennessee BB-43 : Legends of Warfare by David Doyle