Lindberg Tabletop Navy - Two pack All American WWII Ships (U.S.S. Intrepid & U.S.S. North Carolina)
Also known as The Fighting "I", the U.S.S. Intrepid is one of 24 Essex class aircraft carriers built during World War II. She participated in several campaigns in the Pacific, including The Battle of Leyte Gulf and participated in the Vietnam War. Modernized in the early 1950s, she became an antisubmarine carrier and served as the recovery ship for both a Project Mercury and Project Gemini space mission. Decommissioned in 1974, in 1982 Intrepid became the cornerstone of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City.
U.S.S. North Carolina
The namesake ship of the North Carolina class and the fourth warship in the U.S. Navy to be named in honor of the state of North Carolina, she was build under the restrictions of the London naval treaties and was the first newly constructed American battleship to enter service during World War II. Armed with nine 15" guns, she took part in every major naval offensive in the Pacific and her 15 battle stars made her the most highly decorated American battleship in the war. She is now a museum ship at Wilmington, N.C.
Round 2 continues to release some of the old Lindberg line of kits and this is one of their more recent offerings. During the 70's and 80's several model companies released a series of "table top navies" in 1/1200 scale. As this was the major naval wargaming scale at the time, it can only be concluded that these ships were meant to be wargaming pieces as they are definitely not detailed replicas. When looking at all the smaller details, you have to keep in mind that this is 1/1200 scale and the model is intended for the wargaming, so it needs to be somewhat robust as it is meant to be handled. That means detail is simplified and/or representative rather than realist and due to the scale, most of it is much oversized. However, the alternative in this scale would be smooth detail-less models that would not be as pleasing to the eye. These two bear a startling resemblance to the Pyro Table Top Navy offerings from that time and are probably of that parentage. One new twist is that decals are provided for the hull camouflage pattern on both ships. More on this later.
The Intrepid consists of 47 parts including the two-part stand. The flight deck has all the arrestor lines molded on and if scaled up landing aircraft would encounter sewer pipe sized cables. The fore and aft elevators are represented as being partially lowered, making for an awkward looking flight deck. No aircraft are provided. With all that molded on detail and the recessed elevators, I was pretty sure the flight deck decals would never settle down, so I sanded it all off and filled in the recesses from the partially lowered elevators, leaving a clean level surface. This proved to be a wise idea. The hull is molded so that the kit can be done as a full hull or water line model. I chose the water line version. I'm not a naval historian or an expert on the Essex class carriers, but what references I do have and some searching on the Internet led me to believe that the general outlines of the ship are correct, if not all the dimensions. It does look like an Essex class carrier on the whole.
Due to the age of the molds, there are mold seams on almost every part and some flash. In addition, due to mold limitations of the time, many larger parts have slanted vertical sides to make the part easier to remove from the mold. That means decks with peaks in the middle and uneven bottoms. If you want to make a nice model, it all needs to be addressed.
The final problem to be over come is that the camouflage decals will never settle down on the hull sides as they are irregular with much over-done molded on detail. I removed all this and smoothed them out, but then decided to not use the decal for the carrier anyway because it was in many sections and I just knew it would be easier to paint the finish rather than fiddle around trying to make all those decals fit this 50 year- old kit.
The North Carolina has all the Intrepid's short comings, plus many of it's own, not the least of which may be that it bears only a passing resemblance to the actual ship. The hull is wrong in shape and is more akin to the ships at the turn of the century than the sleek WW II battlewagons. It also suffers from the deck to hull side problems that such assemblies always have, except in this scale any small gap would scale up to a chasm in real life, so all must be attended to. Again, the hull sides are rough and you need to sand them smooth to either paint or decal the camo. In this case, as it was just one decal per side, I decided to use the decal to see how it worked out. It fit surprisingly well, but never would have done so without the sides being prepared in advance. It needed a little trimming after drying to remove some carrier film that projected over the sides, but that was all. It still didn't lie down perfectly, but with all the compound curves, that would be problematic in the best of circumstances, which this is not.
The decals in general are well done. They were thin enough, yet were also tough enough to be able to be moved around, which is necessary to get the lines on the carrier deck straight. The camouflage decals were an interesting idea, but I don't know how they would fit on the carrier with all its projections and cutouts. All of the decals released easily and settled down well.
As I said, this is not a kit for a serious modeler. It's also not for younger modelers, as there are many very small parts. However, for the war gamer and or just for fun, the models make up into nice finished products, provided you take your time and pay attention to clean up and preparation.
Thanks to Round 2 Models for the review kit and to IPMS/USA for the review space.