|As a modeler focusing mainly on post-war warships I obviously could not resist acquiring and building the USS Boston CAG-1 from Orange Hobby. As the Naval Models Dutch cruiser “De Ruyter”, which was my previous project (and also published on this site), this is a multi-media kit, albeit in a different league than the De Ruyter. The quality of the resin casting is exceptionally good, no bubbles at all in the larger parts and only a hint of overpour in the numerous smaller parts. 13 frets of very fine photo-etch provide all the railing, radars, floater baskets, watertight doors and bilge keels. All gun barrels, the four Terrier-missile bodies, winches and parts for the masts are provided in metal castings. Living in Europe (The Netherlands) and ordered at Free Time Hobbies this kit obviously did not come at a bargain-price??, but since the days I had built the old 1/480 Revell-kit I loved this ship.
|The hull is split in very chunky upper and lower halves. The upper half also has the majority of the lower superstructures molded in. Upon arrival the bows of both halves were badly damaged in transport (precisely at the waterline where the hull is at its thinnest), calling for some major sculpting and re-modelling work. I also found that the armor belts did not line up precisely, but that was easily rectified. I measured out and drilled the holes where the metal bolts to attach the ship to its wooden base would go. After installing the rudder and shafts I first primed the hull before airbrushing the anti-fouling red and the black boot-topping. These were masked before turning to the fun part of installing all the PE doors (and there were many), the PE and resin deck-fittings (there were also many) and the PE railing (I do not want to repeat myself). The railing was quite thin, but divided into pieces no longer than 10 cm. After superglueing everything in place (and it is a precise fit) it was quite firm.
|In parallel with all the PE-work at the decks I constructed the 8 and 5 inch turrets and the 3 inch open mounts. The latter also had all the necessary railing. The 8 inch turrets were missing the blast bags, and there are more detailed 5 inch turrets available, but both were quite fine for me, and I did not want to add to the already high cost of this very fine kit. After installing all the PE on the decks and installing the 5 and 3 inch tubs, I airbrushed the main deck color, for which I used Vallejo Natural Wood Grain. That was a little bit yellow, so I had to tone it down. This was basically my first warship since my teens with a wooden deck…The superstructure decks were airbrushed in dark gray. After careful masking of the decks (normally I always manage to knock off or bend some of the railing, but no issues this time) the haze gray went on and then the masking was removed. As usual I completed the hull first. Orange Hobby had provided a small decalset, but I found that the numbers were too large, so I used Gold Medal Model decals for the hull numbers and the draft-markings.
|Putting the completed hull loose on its wooden base the whole lot was safely put aside to turn my attention to the other superstructures: the bridge, the funnel and the after superstructure holding the mainmast and SPS-12 radar. Here I also followed my normal building-routine: first the installation of all the PE and small resin parts before airbrushing. I had already found out earlier that the bridge did not fit precisely on the lower superstructure, so some minor corrections were necessary, but again nothing serious. The bridge windows were filled in in black by hand, as were the red and green navigation lights. The completed bridge, funnel and aft superstructure fitted as a glove on the ship, which was now beginning to look very impressive.
|Next up were the masts and radars. This is where I found
the instructions a little lacking: the instructions generally were adequate
with good drawings, however they also had a “Dragon”-touch to it: a zillion
of PE-parts to be put together and trying to show construction in only
one drawing. Folding and positioning of parts was not always clear.
Anyway, with lots of patience and studying pictures of the real thing, both masts went together. This makes it obviously not a beginners’ kit, but with the ship almost complete I was beginning to feel very satisfied.
|The Terrier-missiles are to be built from a metal rod where 12 fins
measuring 0.2 mm should be attached to: and that four times (as there are
four missiles). While doable with lots of patience, some measuring showed
the missile bodies to be a little too short and too thin. Nothing very
serious in our 1/350 scale, but already having sore eyes after the masts
this made the decision easier to take another route and order at Shapeways
very nicely 3D printed Terrier Mk10-launchers plus the missiles, which
came in RIM2A/B ánd RIM2C form. Only the earlier missiles are to
be used with this kit.
The boats are real gems with very good detail, including PE-windscreens, shafts, propellers and rudders. Some careful painting by hand really made the Admiral’s barge and the Captain’s gig stand out. I added the thin white boot-topping using ANYZ-decals.
The instructions are lacking detailed painting schemes for these boats: Orange Hobby wants you to simply paint them white.
Last on went the whip-antennae and propellers. For the latter I used aftermarket resin ones from Naval Models. The props in the kit are not bad, but they lack the thickness and twist as in real blades. Also the antennae came from SSN Modellbau and I preferred them above the flat PE-examples in the kit.
|Having spare time due to the COVID-19 thing, the USS Boston was finished in about nine months, which was way less than I had expected for such a complex kit. I rate this kit very high as one of the best multi-media kits I have ever come across. From discussions on Facebook I also learned that the kit is better in shape than the older Yankee Modelworks kit, however I cannot assess that personally as I did not build the latter kit. From what I see at the “Calling all USS Boston CAG-1 fans!” thread in the forum I think a pretty decent model can be built from that kit, but not without some major corrections. With the Orange Hobby kit no adjustments at all were necessary, basically this is an Out-of-Box built.
|Due to all the small PE-and resin parts, and due to the complexity of construction (and not helped by the instructions) this is definitely not a beginners’ kit: however, I am quite satisfied with the end result. An impressive kit of an impressive ship and a perfect companion to the Dutch cruiser “De Ruyter” which I built last year. Both are displayed in about the same time-frame in the 50’ies.
of Walter Sonderman's work.