Launched in April 1943 and commissioned four months later, USS Intrepid (CV-11) participated in numerous actions in the central and western Pacific from early 1944 until the end of the Pacific War, including Leyte Gulf and Okinawa. She was hit twice by kamikazes but was still on station at the end of hostilities. Intrepid underwent modernization twice during the 1950s, which enclosed her bow and gave her an angled flight deck. Reclassified as an Anti-submarine Carrier (CVS-11), Intrepid was the lead ship for the NASA’s Mercury Aurora 7 and the Gemini 3 splashdown recovery. From April 1966 to February 1969, she made three deployments to the waters off Vietnam. She ended her active career back in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, being decommissioned in 1974 with over 30 years of service. In August 1982, Intrepid was reopened as a museum ship in New York harbor.
The Model: Part 1 – First Impressions
A close inspection of the parts shows that Gallery has paid serious attention to small details. With few exceptions, the molding is crisp, with even very small details – such things as hull fittings and piping, deck padeyes and aircraft parts - very cleanly presented.
The full hull is molded as a single piece. There is no internal bracing molded in, and there is no waterline option (interestingly, the waterline isn’t even indicated anywhere on the hull). However, once the hanger deck and all the supporting structure are in place, there probably will be no need for it. Whether or not it will become necessary should you decide to cut the hull to facilitate a waterline option remains to be seen (I’ll find that out soon enough). You’ll have the option of opening or closing the starboard and port side elevator doors, so some portion of the hangar bay could be visible. Some concern has been mention in earlier reviews that no allowance was made for the deck level between the hanger deck and the flight deck. That appears to be a relative easy fix, even with the forward elevator lowered and the side elevator doors open. We’ll see.
The Flight Deck
Also molded as a single piece, with all three elevators molded as separate pieces, and spaces left open in the flight deck to fit them into place. All three elevators can be either raised or lowered. The most striking thing about the flight deck is the way that it has been scribed. The deck is scribed in some areas with planking, and others are plated (with a smooth surface). Very well detailed padeyes cover nearly all of the deck surface. The most interesting aspect is the fact that the areas where the deck is painted with striping are all engraved (the exception being around the elevators). A look at the plan view diagram will show where all the deck stripes are laid out (these markings are all provided as decals). That will also give an indication where the deck is scribed. The engraved lines are fine, but they’re noticeably there.
Parts for 18 aircraft are provided in the kit: four each of A4 Skyhawks, F8 Crusaders, A-1H/J Skyraiders (mislabeled as A-1Es) and SH-2 Sea Sprites, with two E-1B Tracers. These are all exceptionally well done, solid gray plastic, with engraved lines similar to contemporary Trumpeter aircraft. I didn’t find the engraving to be overdone (any more that any current styles are always somewhat out of scale), and they all seemed properly proportioned to me. There were no stores included on any of the aircraft frets, but the level of detail was quite good. Consider the engine detail in the Skyraiders, the landing gear on the Crusaders, and the sonobuoys on the Sea Sprites. I only wish they had included clear canopies (similar to Trumpeter’s A3 Skywarriors), but I’ll take grey plastic aircraft over clear ones any day. Gallery is aware that the kit comes with a limited air wing, and I am reliably informed that separately sold aircraft sets will be available at some point in the future.
The remainder of the kits parts all appear to be very nicely done. Most of the hull sponsons have good representations of undersurface detail. The deck plating on the 5” gun mounts is very fine. Bulkhead details are very nicely represented.
Six sheets are included, covering all the major areas of fine detailing – railings, ladders, elevator girders, radars, etc. Having to acquire aftermarket PE such as this would probably have cost an additional hundred bucks or so, so factor that in as you get over your initial sticker shock.
The decal sheet is extensive. All the deck markings and striping are included as decals. Some markings are included for all the aircraft, including national insignia, “NAVY” labels, and CVW-10 (AK) tail codes for all aircraft except the SH-2s. VF-111 Crusader “Sundowner” and VA-176 Skyraider “Bumblebee” markings are also included, along with squadron modex numbers.
Options for Conversions
As highly anticipated as this kit has been, much of the talk has been about how viable would it be to convert this kit to any of the other angled deck Essex class ships. So far, my research has shown me that this kit would allow for relatively easy conversion to a few of the Essex boats – with Hancock and Ticonderoga being the low hanging fruit. The aircraft decals are for Intrepid’s April – November, 1966 Vietnam deployment, but they can be replaced. And while there may be other minor (or major) structural differences, the greatest obstacle to conversion seems to be the flight deck. The particular engraving layout for planks vs. plating, along with the engraving for the specific deck markings, could lead to a considerable amount of filling and re-scribing to portray another particular ship and another point in time that’s different from what is provided. In the end, that will all depend on the amount of work the modeler is willing to spend doing it.
Given the parts breakdown, it seems likely that other ships of this class could follow this initial Gallery offering. And the road is wide open for aftermarket manufacturers to provide any number of conversion options. But make no mistake – this has all the hallmarks of a superb kit and a really fun build. Next up, construction begins.
Thanks to MRC and IPMS for the opportunity to build and review this kit.
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