USS Midway Pt 2: Armament & Ancillaries

Published on
Review Author(s)
Scale
1/350
MSRP
$349.99
Product / Stock #
705634
Company: Trumpeter - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: MRC - Website: Visit Site
Package

Intro

I was excited to see the upcoming launch of Trumpeter’s USS Midway and jumped at the chance to do this review. The DKM H-Class was a terrific ship to build - if the Midway is as good as that, or better, this will be an enjoyable build for sure. As I got into the build the 3 characteristics of Trumpeter’s ship kits that I think set them apart from others showed up right away: first sprue gate locations are strategically placed so that whenever possible they are on a surface not visible in profile thus requiring no sanding, second the PE is very forgiving with a distinct “snick” when cutting the PE from the fret along with a softness that allows it to be re-bent at least once without breaking, and third a level of detail on even the smallest part that requires a macro-lens to get a clear picture of it. I had a few thoughts on how to break up the build for review. In the end it feels like 3 distinct build sessions. While all the armament and ancillary parts like life rafts are spread throughout the instructions, I found to paint the hangar bay level none of them could be installed prior to painting without shadowing other parts or making the area too busy to paint effectively. For that reason, I have done those separate and will start the review with armament and ancillary parts. Given this is a kit review I will focus on assembly and showing off the detail in the kit as opposed to painting, weathering, and assembly techniques; just a good clean build. Let’s cast off...

40mm Quad Bofors

These come up 1st in what I’ve started referring to as “side-panel builds” because they are dropped into an empty section of the instruction page a few steps before they are required. There’s a bit of detail that I wanted to show off on these, though it’s a shame the molding of the metal decking plate is mostly hidden under the gun deck. There’s one major element of clean up required to make them look nice. The ejector pins marks need removed from the gun deck floor. I found these came off best with a 1.5mm wide chisel; one push cleanly removed it, and a pass with high build primer covered the marks up. Two things to pay attention to on the guns themselves; 1) location, they are easy to offset in the mounts so they are too far extended or pulled back - easy to do when you’re in the zone and placing number 38, and 2) there is a thread of plastic on the end of each muzzle that needs sanded away gently. The ribbed boot over the recoil section is dying to be detailed. An enamel panel line wash looked good on the metal deck plate but left the boot looking dirty rather than showing off the lines so, some experimentation ended with a simple Nato-black paint to highlight this part. One frustrating step was bending the rail behind the gun. The railing must be folded mid-way between stanchions. It was very hard to make the bend in the same location over and over again. This resulted in some square looking sections or unequal sections side-to-side at times.

If I did the 40mm again one thing I would do would be to try and create some separation between the barrels with a good ole’ #11 blade or fine scriber as the panel line wash builds up between them. It looks ok from a normal viewing distance but out of scale in close-up pictures.

20mm Twin Oerlikons

I found it very easy to build these up right on the sprue. Doing it this way I was able to paint everything on the sprue/fret without having to worry about small parts getting lost when trying to fixture these tiny pieces for assembly. Starting with the mount, the gun was cemented to it and the sprue was left upright in a file organizer to dry for a few hours. Next the gun shields were snicked off the fret and a wax pencil was used to place them over a small dot of PVA glue on the gun mount. It appears these guns could have had the magazines and bodies in black rather than all-over gray in 1945 based on pictures from other carriers so to show off the details I opted to use Nato-black and a little gun metal to show them off.

Single 5in/54cal- Mk. 16 Guns

Some of the best details in the kit are on these guns. On the flip side the hardest sprue gates to remove are on the mounts for these guns. Starting with the mounts the gate is between two of the rails that encircle the mount. You must pay close attention to removal so as not to ruin the fine raised line that represents the rails when cleaning up the left-over plastic from the gate. The detail also gets soft in this area, where the gate is located. Fortunately, these can be placed facing fore and aft so in profile the area is hidden to a large degree. The other tough part of these guns is removing the captain’s blast hood from the sprue. There are 2 protrusions along the bottom of the hood and one of them is where the sprue gate is attached. I recommend removing the part with some of the runner attached so your side cutters can be aligned to avoid removing the protrusion by mistake. And lastly, the part doesn’t match the depiction of it in the instructions. You’ll need a real picture and your magnification tool of choice to figure out right-side up for these. Once complete these guns respond well to a dry-brush or additional weathering as there are even double rows of rivets represented on the gun house. Last note on the Mk16’s, all but two of them required clamping to sit flush with the mount. I think in the scale there is some draft in the base of the gun house that couldn’t be sanded flat as each one sat just a little proud of the mount. Once done they look

Mk. 37 Dual Purpose Fire Control Director

The sprue gates on the mounts are set up much better. These go together easily and detail out just as well as the Mk16’s.

Life Floats

For as small as these are, just 6mm long, there is detail to be highlighted. These appear to be square balsa life floats. Painted in all-over grey I used a dark grey enamel panel line wash to highlight the boards across the bottom of the float and the edges of the straps. The molded straps create depth and painting them in green-grey draws your eye to this detail. As I went further in the instructions, I saw the placement of many are under walkways, it is a shame some of this work will be hidden.

Corsairs and Helldivers

These appear to be the classic Trumpeter aircraft set and go together well with almost no putty required, just a smidge under the wings and the occasional wing root. The sprue gates clean up nicely and won’t be an issue. Note there is a mold line that needs removed behind each wing running up the tail. The canopies can be outlined with a pin wash to bring out individual sections. I opted to build half with wings folded and half extended to show the options in the kit. The props are very fine and had almost no flash. I have to admit though, my first reaction when I saw only 6 of each was, aww come on man, this deck is gonna look barren. I’ll be off to buy some Trumpeter 1/350 aircraft sets after this review is done. 👍

The Hull

Let’s finish with the hull as there isn’t much to this and the next part in the series, the Hangar Bay, is loaded with discussion. The first thing I’ll note is that the sprue gates on the keel sand off easily and required just a little putty to smooth out...but mostly this is about the lack of sanding, how many of us have dealt with a large chunk of plastic in the middle of the keel? I was glad to not have to deal with that chunk. The inner skegs are provided as separate pieces similar to the DKM H-Class kit. That seems common with these slide molded hulls. Black CA seems the best way to handle the gap. An interesting design choice was to mold the shaft and skeg together. Mine survived the assembly process and subsequent moving around so far (hopefully I haven’t just jinxed myself for the rest of the build lol). I really debated whether to assemble these so soon into the build but knowing the amount of work to close the seam from the 2-piece skeg decided it had to be at the beginning to avoid damaging anything assembled to the hull later. Lastly the hull strakes. There is a shadow of an outline to fit them to the hull. Unfortunately, the joint is just so weak, especially mounted at a sharp angle to the hull, that the leading and trailing edges catch on things, or the strake gets bumped, and it shears off in places. Once you paint it, I would suggest some low tack tape to cover and protect it. The fact that these got damaged, and the skeg/shaft combo never did, speaks to how these are bonded.

Liberty

Time for a port call. So far this has been a fun kit to assemble. No major issues, filling, or sanding to date, plus a few typical ship kit issues weren’t present at all. Smart engineering eliminated some headaches and kept this a fun build. Great details on these parts out of the box that will stand out on a show table at any contest. Till next time, when we go over the extensive hangar bay deck level, calm seas and fair winds.

Reviewer Bio

Chris Vandegrift

When Chris isn't modeling he's restoring old cars or doing home remodeling in his spare time. Both have helped improve his modeling. "Having learned to paint cars, quite a few of those techniques apply to priming and painting my models," he says. Chris used to build aircraft exclusively, but has expanded into ships, science fiction, armor and cars. A member of multiple IPMS clubs in Ohio including Akron's Ed Kinney Chapter, Wright Field and Cincinnati Scale Modelers, Chris started building models when he was about 7. Chris lives in Cincinnati Ohio; a Mechanical Engineer by trade, he's the head of Operations and Engineering for a company that makes pumps. He's been married to his wife Jane for 30 years; they have four kids ranging from 20 to 34.

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