by Nick Wellington
This is my first 1/700 kit in 22 years and second kit period in just over 20. I used to prefer 1/350 but given space constraints that's not really a viable option right now. After being out of the hobby so long I was shocked at the quality of the kit - either this was a particularly good one, or details have improved significantly. Wasnít expected things like ready service ammo lockers to be available as standard, or secondary armament that isnít comically over scaled.This was the standard version of the kit with only minimal PE and no wooden deck. Didnít want to splurge on the detail up set tailored for the kit, so used some old PE I found for Baltimore and New Orleans class cruisers. Not perfect (no relief etching) but did the trick - only big issue was lack of radar for the Mk 37 directors. Rigging and whip antennas are stretched sprue with the former tightened in place with a hot knife. The rigging pattern was heavily simplified but Iím happy with the result. Some additional details such as the deck extension around the 5Ē mounts were scratchbuilt with styrene and scrap PE. Everything was (painstakingly) masked and airbrushed, with the deck receiving a series of light washes to bring out detail. Light dry brushing was used throughout but I wanted to keep things fairly minimal as these ships were kept very clean, and this fit would have been immediately after commissioning. I donít believe the aircraft catapults on the real ship were ever completely finished and removed quickly afterwards so thatís not completely accurate. The water base was done with plaster of paris and tin foil, and liberally covered with acrylics and gloss. Not entirely satisfied with the result but good enough for a first try!