Heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis July 1945 
by Robert Apfelzweig 

1/350 USS Indianapolis CA-35 (Academy)

The tragic story of the USS Indianapolis has been told many times, so I won't waste time and space relating this ship's history.

The Academy kit was augmented with Gold Medal Models' photoetch set, MasterModel 8- and 5-inch. metal gun barrels and an Artwox wood deck for the forward half of the ship.  Briefly, the Academy kit is generally well-engineered and there was a perfect fit for the upper and lower hull sections and most superstructure parts, but I found it annoying that many small parts had too many attachment points on the sprues -- for instance, although Academy provides extra twin 40mm Bofors barrels, they were attached to the sprue on both sides of the barrels, at the base and, most problematic, at the very fragile flared barrel tips.  Their removal from the sprues often resulted in those flared tips breaking off, and they are very difficult to re-attach properly.  I do like the fact that all three turrets are inserted into the hull or second deck (no need for glue) through slots that merely require the turrets to be placed when perpendicular to the centerline, and they rotate and elevate their guns easily (although a design error prevents the first turret from rotating fully without knocking down the main deck railing at its rear -- either the ship is too narrow here or the turrets are too long).  Both the plastic kit and the GMM photoetch set provide ample parts for making a model of the Indianapolis suited to her late 1944/early 1945 appearance or "as sunk" after her early July 1945 refit (e.g., different fire control radars, and by July 1945 only one catapult, and 20 mm twin Oerlikons only, no singles).  Consequently, the Academy kit includes both mid-1945 Seahawk floatplanes and the earlier biplane Seagull floatplanes.

This build was a commission, and the buyer did not want to use the ship's included mounting supports, which require drilling two holes in the keel.  The support braces seen in the attached photos actually came from an old Revell USS Arizona model. I used ModelMaster enamel paints, except for the lower hull, which was sprayed with water-based Liquitex cadmium red medium hue.  Incidentally, the Academy kit, which is manufactured in South Korea, includes decals for the floatplanes and ship numbers but the various American flags all have 50 stars -- I used a 48-star replacement from my spares stash.  Rigging was made from stretched black plastic sprue (of which the kit has plenty).


Robert Apfelzweig

Gallery updated 8/24/2017

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