Over the past year or so, we have seen a new supply of USS Arizona kits in all scales, from Trumpeter, Dragon, and Hobby Boss. A popular scale seems to be 1/700 scale, where we have also seen a kit of the USS Pennsylvania. While both ships had generally the same look up till Pearl Harbor, the Penn later underwent extensive changes. My great uncle had the privilege of serving his country with the United States Navy, and was assigned to the USS Pennsylvania. On December 7th, he was at Pearl Harbor while the Penn was in drydock. He survived Pearl and continued on the Penn through the entire war, and was still with her up until she was scuttled after being used as a target ship for nuclear tests. (My uncle was actually part of the skeleton/scuttling crew and was the fourth to last person to set foot on the mighty ship.) With my family’s ties to the Pennsylvania class, I naturally purchased all of the recent model releases. So, when the opportunity came up to review the new Eduard PE release in 1/700 scale, I couldn’t pass it up.
Now, for those who may not have seen the Hobby Boss kit yet, it is a little on the light side for detail. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a good kit, but it reminds me a little of an older Revell kit. As such, Eduard’s new PE set is a welcome edition. The PE parts come on two five inch square frets and include the standard items like railing, cranes, and catapults. The set also includes anchor chain, new armored walls for the smaller guns, and nearly a full replacement for the fore and aft superstructures. Eduard’s website shows preview shots of the parts installed on a model in brass. However, my review sample appears to either be stainless or plated brass. The etching is very nicely done, and the replacement bridge structures allow for open windows and possibly even a scratchbuilt bridge. That is, if someone has both the patience and the eyesight. One thing I did notice is that the PE anchor chain looks a little out of scale and flat. So, I will be using actually miniature chain as a replacement.
The PE set includes very clear, easy to follow instructions in standard Eduard format. The instructions make it clear as to what parts to remove, and how to assemble the more complex PE parts. I would, however, recommend downloading and printing off the color instructions from Eduard’s website (http://www.eduard.com/store/out/media/17032.pdf). I find the color instructions are much easier to follow. As with any ship build, start from the bottom up and the center out and make use of subassemblies where ever possible. Once built and painted, add the assemblies to the finished hull and you will avoid a lot of frustration later on. This is something I learned the hard way with my first couple of ships.
To start things off, I gathered all my PE tools…benders, pliers, tweezers, CA, snips, etc. I decided I would follow the instructions for the PE to a point and, once painted, finish everything off by placing it on the model. I started with the turrets…and that’s when I knew this was not going to be easy. The first three turrets went fairly well. The fourth one, with the catapult, did not. After roughly an hour and half, I finally completed the catapult turret. I then started on the fore deck details. Eventually, I threw in the towel. I’ve worked with PE many times, including Big Ed sets. And I have never struggled near this much. The PE parts were very small, some in fact were too small for my best tweezers to grip. Add to this the fact that the Hobby Boss kit is lacking in detail and fit. My goal now is to transfer what PE I can to the Dragon Arizona kit and use the rest of the very nice Eduard set on that kit.
In conclusion… I would like to thank Eduard for supplying a very fine review sample and to IPMS/USA for allowing me to review it. I highly recommend the PE set. However, I would say it is only recommended for those with extensive PE experience. I would also recommend that it be used on the Dragon kit, not the Hobby Boss kit.
*note – Pictures are from the Eduard website. They illustrate the complexity of the PE set, as well as some of the issues with the base kit.