by: Jim Starkweather [ ]
IntroductionThe aircraft carrier Intrepid has a long and illustrious career in the U.S. Navy. Launched in 1943 during the height of the war in the Pacific, it was to undergo several updates and modernization before being decommission in 1974. Gallery Models has opted to offer the post 1957 version of the ship after she received her angled deck and enclosed bow. There may be some question as to exactly when this version of the ship is suppose to be. There are many clues though so I am sure some smart military historian reading this will have a better idea about that than myself. The radar dome mounted on the rear of the conning tower seems to be one of the more modern additions to the ship, but I can't find any data on when that particular piece of hardware was added. Ironically the illustration on the box cover seems to be lacking that particular detail, while it's in the kit parts and instructions show using it.
There is also the question of what designation this ship had at the time period this model is depicting. The plastic base text actually says CVS-11 (which was it's anti-submarine role in the Atlantic), however, as the box info points out, the ship later went to Vietnam and was considered a 'special attack carrier'. The box cover itself, and the instructions, just call the kit the CV-11 which was its WWII designation (and potentially its restored designation after its anti-submarine period was over). This either will give modelers some leeway to make their own time period for the ship, or it could lead to confusion if you don't have a lot of reference books to fall back on. Either way though, Gallery Models and MRC have given ship modelers a real first in plastic with the release of a later-period SCB-125 updated Essex-class ship in 1/350 scale.
HistoryOver the course of 30 years, the USS Intrepid was tasked with many roles. While it started as an Essex-class carrier (CV-11) and saw a lot of action during WWII, it was decommissioned in 1947 only to be recommissioned again in 1952 to be moved to Norfolk for a SCB-27C retrofit. This update would allow the carrier to launch jets via much more powerful steam catapults. When completed the Intrepid was ready for service as CVA-11 (they were dropping the CV usage at the time).
On September 1956 she entered dry dock once more to receive her now iconic angled deck. The SCB-125 modernization included additional structural changes as well like the enclosed hurricane bow, but all these changes still paled next to her SCB-27C refit 5 years earlier. She now looked the part of a modern U.S. carrier however.
In 1961 she received the CVS-11 designation and served as a Cold War anti-submarine deterrent in the Atlantic for much of the early 60's. Then in 1962 the ship had a notable historical moment when it plucked Scott Carpenter and his Atlas 7 capsule out of the ocean following his successful Mercury space shot mission.
She later was deployed to Vietnam in 1966 and had three separate deployments there ending in 1969. During much of the 1970's she was kept busy doing NATO exercises and was always under the watchful eye of the Soviet Navy. In 1974 she was decommissioned for the last time after serving for almost 30 years as a combat vessel. While the ship was under threat of being scrapped, people like real estate developer Zachary Fisher led a campaign to make the Intrepid a museum ship. They succeeded in 1978 and today you can find the ship parked next to New York City as part of the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum.
UnboxingThis video is just me opening up the box and showing off the plastic inside. No commentary but it's short and sped up a bit time wise.
The KitUnboxing the kit (see video above) you will find a nice compartmentalized approach to the separate parts. The hull is in its own protected section away from the other bagged plastic parts. There are many (20) planes and helicopters included with the kit which are in their own ‘black box’. The kit is produced in light grey medium density polystyrene and includes (4) pieces of brass photoetch, one black polystyrene base and a large decal sheet. The full hull and upper deck are one piece and measure just under 30 inches (about 75cm). The lower deck is two pieces. The deck elevators are distinct parts and can be positioned in whatever state the builder opts for.
The production quality of the kit appears to be very high. No flash or obvious production issues were noted with the kit’s sprues. There is some minor cleanup needed with the lower hulls mold connect points. However it’s nothing a little sanding or filler wouldn't fix.
The aircraft that are included with the kit are as follows:
A-4 (4 planes)
E1-B (A1) (2 planes)
E1-B(A2) (2 planes)
EA-1F (4 planes)
F-8 (4 planes)
UH-2B (4 helicopters)
It's important to note that while a number of aircraft are included, there are no other flight deck equipment (like tractors) included with the kit.
The decal sheet is well protected with box a wax-paper cover and plastic slip sleeve and includes markings for aircraft, deck stripes and clearance areas. The conning towers “11” designations are also present. The decal sheet has a gloss finish and very little excess area around the markings and insignia themselves. The decals appear to have been produced in-house.
The instructions are 28 pages in total in black and white print. A parts overlay is included and all parts are used. All parts are clearly marked and notated. Directional “Bow” marks are also used throughout the manual to give the builder proper orientation of the hull. The pages are well spaced so as to not overload you with too many steps on a page. Overall I would say the instructions appear to be very complete and straight forward. A large 2 page color foldout for painting and marking is also included. The paint guide includes eleven paints and are shown with Mr. Hobby, Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya, and Humbrol equivalents.
ConclusionsOverall I would have to say this kit looks very good with a high attention to detail from Gallery Models. Due to the scale of the ship there are many small and likely fiddly pieces. With the addition of so much photoetch, I would have to say this is a kit for experienced ship builders and not for anyone just starting out. The cost of the kit may put some modelers off, but considering what is in the box I think the price seems right. There were times when four pieces of photo etch were not included with kits like these and even aircraft of this detail were scarce. Thankfully times have changed and manufacturers like Gallery Models know what modelers are looking for with a kit purchase.
I will be sending this behemoth off to Todd Michalak for a build so stay tuned. To quote the immortal words of Princess Leia, “It’s not over yet”. Unboxing and reviewing a kit like the USS Intrepid is just chapter one of its story.