USS Indianapolis

Published: September 12th, 2013     
Product Image
Box Art
Reviewed by: 
Christopher Martens, IPMS# 48653
Scale: 1/350
Company: Trumpeter
Price: $79.99
Product / Stock #: 05326

History Brief

The USS Indianapolis is a ship potentially more famous for her loss than her life. On July 30, 1945, after delivering components for the first atomic bomb, the Indianapolis was hit by two torpedoes from the HIJMS I-58. Her loss was not discovered before August 2nd, after many of her survivors met grisly ends at the hands of the elements and constant shark attacks.

The Portland-class cruiser was launched in 1931 in the post-Washington Naval Treaty world. Envisioned as an improvement on the Northampton class, the Portlands featured a lower tripod forward mast and improved protection. The Indianapolis had a busy wartime career, earning ten battle stars for her service. She also saw extensive modification through her life, losing much of her upper works to the torch to make room for additional AA guns.

The Product

The model comes in a fairly large box, packed intelligently with foam covering delicate parts and with securely clear-taped photo etch. The hull comes split port/starboard, effectively making water lining the hull very difficult. Most of the superstructure parts appear slide molded, with all but the forward superstructure main deck requiring little to no seam filling, which is nice.

Now, this particular ship has received a lot of criticism from model ship builders, with its close release to the Academy version. I'll try to address these concerns with as much knowledge as I have on this ship.

Accuracy Issues

Indy's stern should have a sharp cut near the waterline. The model itself does not, with the sides sloping gently down.
Radar package provided is intended for the 1944 Indianapolis.
Turret barbettes are, frankly, awful. A plethora of pictures exist showing details utterly neglected from Trumpeter. This, to me, is the ugliest flaw in the kit.

Positives

The catapult. Wow! This is the best manufacturer provided example I've seen. Trumpeter also saw fit to include two, in case you went with the 1944 fit.
5" 38 cal open mount guns. Simply amazing. These are so good I wish Trumpeter would release them as an aftermarket option.
Photo etch frets. These, alone, are worth about thirty bucks. I just wish she had railing.

The Build

I want to preface this by saying that this is a VERY dressed down version of what I prefer to do with a ship model of this importance and scale. I did, however, choose to go with Alliance Modelworks' railing, deck fittings, hatches, and equipment where the plastic was insufficiently detailed. More on this later.

Trumpeter has had a reputation of poor fit in 350th scale. I am happy to say I have not had that issue with the Indianapolis. The only major seam line issue was the hanger-to-hull joint. I wish Trumpeter had molded the outer hanger walls with the hull. The superstructure, in general, went together without effort. I did find a few issues, though. The forward tripod leg was a little long. The main mast was also a pain, given the amount of "kibble" around it. I strongly suggest a potential builder spend time dry-fitting this kit until happy with the build sequence. Instructions, as usual, are a guide line only.

I replaced the 40mm Bofors guns with Alliance Modelworks' superb resin versions. I had these sitting in the stash, and frankly, the Trumpeter versions appear to be as plain as the bricks found on the USS Kidd they released years ago. I also replaced all the plastic hatches with brass, but that's just standard operating procedure in my builds and not a knock on Trumpeter. The portholes are molded crisply, with wonderful eyelets. I also want to note that this ship REQUIRES the photo etch components provided. If you are not comfortable with photo etch, this kit will not be for you.

This build went fairly quickly, investment wise, and was not terribly difficult. The hull fit together nicely and required little putty to eliminate seams. Overall, this is a good out of the box build, but will really require photo etch to bring out the kit's potential.

I want to thank Stevens International for providing this kit for review, and I also want to thank IPMS for sending me a superb kit.

  • Kit contents
    Kit contents
  • Decking detail
    Decking detail
  • Completed
    Completed
  • Forward superstructure
    Forward superstructure
  • Aft structure
    Aft structure
  • Catapult detail
    Catapult detail
  • Stern
    Stern
  • Superstructure detail
    Superstructure detail
  • Superstructure and funnel detail
    Superstructure and funnel detail
  • Finished, from bow
    Finished, from bow

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