Ships

Reviews of products for scale ship models, including submarines.

USS Olympia

Published: January 27th, 2014     
USS Olympia
Reviewed by: Ron Bell, IPMS# 12907
Scale: 1/240
Company: Round 2 Models

The Ship

The USS Olympia was a protected cruiser launched in 1892 with a long and distinguished career that included being Commodore George Dewey's flagship at the misnamed Battle of Manila Bay. Misnamed because it wasn't really a battle. The Spanish squadron never left anchor and the Americans just cruised back and forth shooting them up, even taking time for a lunch break in the middle of the action. She was a flagship in WWI, escorted transports across the North Atlantic and participated in the allied intervention in the Russian Civil War at Murmansk. She brought the remains of the Unknown Soldier from WWI back to the United States and served for a while as a training ship, but was finally decommissioned in 1922. She has the honor of being one of the only ships from this period still afloat along with the Mikasa in Japan and the Aurora in Russia.

Akula Class Attack Submarine

Published: January 17th, 2014     
Akula Class Attack Submarine
Reviewed by: Dave Koukol, IPMS# 47881
Scale: 1/350
Company: Hobby Boss

Background

Code-named “Akula” by NATO and Project 971 Щука-Б (Shchuka-B, 'Shchuka' meaning pike) by the Russian Navy, this nuclear-powered attack submarine was first deployed by the Soviet Navy in 1986.  In all, 15 Akula class attack boats have been built, spanning 4 distinct subclasses, with the original 7 commissioned between 1984 and 1990, six upgraded boats between 1991 and 2009, and one-each offshoots in 1995 and 2001 respectively. 

Premium 3-bar Rails

Published: January 16th, 2014     
Premium 3-bar Rails
Reviewed by: Rob Benson, IPMS# 44038
Scale: 1/350
Company: Tom's Modelworks

Many, many thanks to Mr. Richard Harden of Tom’s Modelworks for providing this beautiful ship model enhancement set for review.  I am also deeply appreciative of the IPMS Reviewer staff who tirelessly support a very large group of reviewers.  I am delighted to report on my experience with this neat product.

Description and Use

The set consists of a single 7.8 x 2.8 inch photo-etched and polished brass fret with more than 1000 scale feet of railing and about 300 feet of ladders.  The railings are mostly the 3-bar variety with several stanchion spacings represented.  Canvas dodgers or screens are represented well on a row of 2-bar rails.  The ladders have densely-spaced tabs that are designed to be bent for standoffs, holding the ladder off its attachment surface.  The brass has a nice balance of strength and malleability.  The parts are strong enough; the brass did not break too easily with repeated folding.  I was able to form shapes and bends easily without too much over-bending.  This is important to me, with the 100 scale-ton fingers I have.

USS Essex LHD-2

Published: January 12th, 2014     
USS Essex LHD-2
Reviewed by: Mike Van Schoonhoven, IPMS# 41627
Scale: 1/700
Company: Hobby Boss

History

The USS Essex was commissioned in October 1992 and is currently serving in the USN. LHD stands for "Landing Helicopter Dock". This vessel has the ability to launch helicopters along with Harriers and Ospreys. The one thing that makes these vessels unique is the ability to also launch AAVP, LCAC and LCU's from the well deck.

The Kit

Hobby Boss provides the kit in a sturdy cardboard box that is stuffed full of plastic. There are twenty nine sprues of plastic, three photo etch frets, two decal sheets a twelve page instruction sheet a two page color paint guide. One note about the color guide, they list Mr. Hobby, Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya and Humbrol paints. There is one mistake where they call for XF-58 olive green which is supposed to be the deck color. I believe that they meant XF-53 Neutral Gray which is what I used and was a pretty good match.

British Battlecruiser vs. German Battlecruiser 1914-16

Published: January 10th, 2014     
British Battlecruiser vs. German Battlecruiser 1914-16
Author: Mark Stille
Reviewed by: Greg Wise, IPMS# 44378
Company: Osprey Publishing

Beautifully illustrated with specially commissioned artwork, this book offers a creditable account detailing the key rival battles between the Battlecruisers of the Royal Navy and the Kaiserliche Marine at the height of World War I. This book covers these opposing Battlecruisers and where they first met in January 1915 at Dogger Bank in the North Sea. The author explains why the battle was a tactical victory for British although neither side lost any of its Battlecruisers. He details the main differences in the designs in the British and German ships and how these two sides responded quite differently to this first engagement. In the book you’ll find out how these differences came into play during the battle of Jutland in May 1916, where of the nine of the British Battlecruisers committed, three were destroyed, all by their German counterparts. Five German Battlecruisers were present and only one of these was sunk.

Model Art Modelling Magazine, #50, 2013 Winter - Special Ship Model Edition

Published: January 2nd, 2014     
Model Art Modelling Magazine, #50, 2013 Winter - Special Ship Model Edition
Author: Various
Reviewed by: Mike Van Schoonhoven, IPMS# 41627
Company: Model Art

This is Model Art Magazine’s special quarterly issue that focuses on naval subjects. As with the regular Model Art Magazine this is printed in Japanese with some English subtitles.

The feature article in the Winter 2013 Special Ship Model Edition covers the Battle of Savo Island. The issue starts off though with some new releases that will be hitting model benches soon.

The Battle of Savo Island was the first major naval battle of the Guadalcanal campaign. Model Art devotes ninety-two pages to this battle with period photos, charts, line drawings, one fold out full color drawing of the IJN Heavy cruiser Chokai in action at Savo Island and of course models. The models are the biggest part of the article. They range from full build articles to photos of completed models.

Imperial Japanese Navy Destroyers 1919-1945 (2)

Published: November 12th, 2013     
Imperial Japanese Navy Destroyers 1919-1945 (2)
Author: Mark Stille
Reviewed by: Greg Wise, IPMS# 44378
Company: Osprey Publishing

Osprey hits another home run with this 2nd volume on Japanese destroyers. Picking up where the 1st volume left off, this book covers several classes, principally the Asashio, Kagero, and Yugumo. It also details the history, weapons, and tactics of the Japanese destroyers. The author further weighs in on the design and construction, armament, service modifications, and wartime service of each class. The book also covers an interesting experimental destroyer, the Shimakaze, with a top speed of almost 40 knots and 15 torpedo tubes. I found the book’s contents to be well thought out, with a very coherent outline. And it’s written with easy to understand explanations. It has beautiful color paintings and artwork including cutaway illustrations. It offers a wide range of vintage b&w photographs that are pretty decent and would be helpful to the ship modeler. The book has a softcover with a corded gum binding and it’s printed very well.

Model Art Modeling Magazine, #49, Autumn 2013, Special Ship Model Edition

Published: November 3rd, 2013     
Model Art Modeling Magazine, #49, Autumn 2013, Special Ship Model Edition
Reviewed by: Mike Van Schoonhoven, IPMS# 41627
Company: Model Art

This is Model Art Magazine’s special quarterly issue that focuses on naval subjects. As with the regular Model Art Magazine, this is printed in Japanese with some English subtitles. This special ship model edition focuses on the "Chitose Japanese Navy seaplane carrier type".

This issue starts off with detail drawings of the IJN seaplane carrier Mizuho. They cover such items as the anchor, vents, cleats, portholes and the trim over them, armament, linoleum decks and how they were secured, and armament – very valuable information for modelers. Next is a one-page article on new items that are coming out.

U-Boat Type IIB 1943

Published: November 2nd, 2013     
U-Boat Type IIB 1943
Reviewed by: Chad Richmond, IPMS# 10346
Scale: 1/144
Company: ICM

The Type IIB U-Boat was used throughout World War II as a coastal patrol boat, and only twenty were made. Since it could not operate very far from its home port and carried very little armament, it was used to train new crews and prepare new Kapitans for their commands.  Surprisingly, most of the Type IIB losses were from the Kapitan scuttling the boat.  The first Type IIB was launched on June 29, 1935.  It was interesting doing research on the boats that are referred to on the instruction sheet and finding out that markings and specific details of many of the U-boats are not readily available, and in some cases are best guesses.

When I first saw this kit, I got excited because of the 1/144th scale.  What a great scale for submarines, especially WWII era.  I was still excited when I opened the box and saw how simple everything looked.  The more I looked at it, however, the more it looked familiar.  Alas, it is the same kit as the Revell of Germany kit in a different box with different instructions and a different decal sheet.  The decal sheet was very disappointing because it was badly out of register.

USS Alabama, Squadron at Sea

Published: October 28th, 2013     
USS Alabama, Squadron at Sea
Author: David Doyle
Reviewed by: Mike Van Schoonhoven, IPMS# 41627
Company: Squadron Signal Publications

The Squadron at Sea titles cover specific ships by using photos of the vessel and its equipment from the very beginning of its life all the way through the end of its career. These titles are written about both civilian and military vessels, while the On Deck series is devoted solely to warships.

The USS Alabama is a South Dakota-class battleship, and construction was begun in February, 1940. The build took over two years until commissioning. Even though the Alabama took part in some of the most famous battles of the Pacific during the war, she only lost five crewman and none to enemy action. After the war, Alabama was mothballed until 1964 when she was moved to her present home in Mobile Bay as a museum.

David Doyle does an excellent job covering this vessel. The photo documentation in this book should be commended. There are photos of the keel laying, launch, commissioning, shakedown cruise, in action, mothballed, and then as a museum. There are also several color drawings and some excellent line drawings.