Battleship USS Missouri BB-63, Part 1

Published on
April 12, 2023
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
Company: Hobby Boss
Provided by: MRC - Website: Visit Site
Box Art

This is the first of three reports on the Hobby Boss 1:350 USS Missouri model kit. Two subsequent reports are planned, the second report at approx. the mid-point of the build and the third upon completion.

The USS Missouri was the third Iowa class battleship built for the US Navy and was completed in 1944. It is famous for being the ship on which the Japanese surrender was signed to end WWII. It was an impressive vessel, and this model captures its splendor.

This is a large model that, per the manufacturer, contains over 1,590 parts. The box measures 31.5” x 10.5” x 3.4” (Photo 1). Opening the box reveals a very well packed kit with compartmented sections holding separately wrapped 30”-long hull and main deck, 20 sprues in ten individually wrapped bags (multiples of same letter frets foam padded), eight photo-etch (PE) frets in four packets, optional metal barrels for the 5” and 16” guns, metal anchor chain and decals (See Photos 2 through 5). Plastic parts appear finely detailed with no flash. Each PE fret is sealed on both sides with clear plastic. This not only protects them, but it also allows the modeler to peel off one side and cut individual parts off without fear of them springing away.

The instructions are provided in a black and white 36-page booklet and a separate 11”x 16” Marking and Painting Guide (Photo 6). The instructions are diagrams only with no supporting text. Part numbers are called out with the sprue letter prefix. Sprue diagrams and shown on pages 2 and 3 of the instruction booklet (Photo 7).

There are no painting instructions or callouts in the instruction booklet. Parts colors can be referenced only on the Painting Guide. This becomes a concern when painting items such as the life rafts, artillery shell racks and the smaller gun barrels. I went to US Navy documentation on the Internet to get information on the latter. It should be noted that the painting of this ship varied over time. I decided to paint it in its 1944-45 color scheme where most horizontal surfaces are Deck Blue-20B and vertical surfaces are haze gray, which is essentially the scheme provided in the Painting Guide. Should the builder want to build the model in a later paint scheme, he/she will need to go to the literature for references. Also, there are no rigging instructions. These will also need to be obtained from outside references.

The Painting Guide lists colors by six different paint manufacturers: Mr. Hobby, Acrysion, Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya and Humbrol. It lists the horizontal surfaces color as a mix of Dark Sea Gray and White, but I opted to get Life Color US Navy Deck Blue-20B, the actual original paint color, to avoid the bother and inaccuracies involved in mixing paints. I chose to use mainly Tamiya paints as I already had the needed colors, with one exception. I used TS-32 Haze Gray and its bottled equivalent, XF-25 Light Sea Gray instead of XF-19 Sea Gray as listed in the Painting Guide table. I prefer to use spray can lacquers vs. airbrushing whenever possible, especially on large areas like this ship’s hull and main deck. I chose to use Tamiya AS-8 US Navy Blue spray lacquer for the upper hull, TS-33 Dull Red spray lacquer for the Lower Hull, Lifecolor Navy Deck Blue-20B for the main deck and other horizontal surfaces, TS-32 Haze Gray and XF-25 for vertical surfaces, and Humbrol 33 Matt Black spray for the black waterline. Propeller screws were brush-painted Testors Gold enamel.

Start of the Build

The instructions contain 64 assembly steps. I’ve completed 25 as of this writing. The steps vary in complexity, some requiring the making of multiple sub-assemblies. Step 4 for example says to make 48 20mm guns, each of which requires the attachment of a PE shield to the underside of the very small gun. I opted to assemble and paint these on the sprue as the gun is thin and can easily be broken (Photo 8). Step 9 requires assembly of 20 five-part quad 40mm gun turrets, each with a bent-to-shape rear PE railing. I pre-painted each part of these as well prior to attaching and painting the PE. (Photo 9).

The hull assembly was straightforward. The parts fit was excellent. There was some swirl in the plastic that required a second coat of paint to adequately cover. I added the internal braces, rudders and propellors and painted it, using Scotch #2080 delicate surface masking tape across the long hull to delineate the red portion and black waterline, which gave nice clean lines. The slightly raised plate lines on the hull require that the masking tape be securely burnished down to avoid paint bleeding underneath. Almost no touch up was needed. (Photos 10, 11). All along the building of this kit, the modeler needs to plan ahead enough to know when to paint the parts and sub-assemblies. Most painting should be done in advance of assembly. The other consideration is the number of small parts. Care must be taken in handling and removal of parts from the sprues. They can be easily broken or lost.

I would caution less experienced modelers and/or those who are not veteran ship builders that the instructions, being strictly pictorial, are not detailed enough to show exactly where some parts are located. Parts M1, L1 and L2 are to be positioned right along the edge of the hull. This wasn’t clear until I happened to check some actual photographs of the Missouri. The PE railings that are to be installed near the very end of the build actually run inside these parts. I had not placed them properly at first and had to go back, remove each one and relocate them to the very edge of the hull. The bending of PE parts D4 (floatation device cages?) is also not clearly depicted. If there is any uncertainty about the location, shape or orientation of any part, I suggest looking ahead in the instructions for a diagram showing the installed part or referencing an actual photograph of the ship.

By Step 25 you’ve completed the main deck and its appurtenances and begun work on the upper decks (Photos 12-14). There’s been no major issues and so far the model is looking quite good. Estimated time to date 70 hours.

As aforementioned, a report around the midpoint of assembly and one at completion is planned.


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