by: Gremlin56 [ ]
"Julian Sallows (Gremlin56) gives us a "first look" at this new monster sized kit from Trumpeter Models."
I will not presume to lecture the predominately American inhabitants of this fine website on the history of the USS Arizona. I will probably be asking you gentleman for advice on paint schemes and construction details when I get around to building her.
I mean no insult to the ship or their crews in the coming part of my review so please bear with me. The Arizona is a prime example of what was described at the time as a super dreadnought. That does not mean to say that the Arizona was beautiful at any time in her career. The ship is about as attractive as a pit-bull terrier: squat, boxy turrets, hardly any superstructure to speak of, a blunt bow and with a lot of curves in the wrong places. The Arizona looks exactly like what she was: a big, muscle-bound prize fighter. A floating platform for the twelve piece main battery capable of firing half a ton shells at her targets.
The Arizona does however portray to me a sense of dignity, probably strengthened by my association with what she now represents: the final resting place of nearly 1200 young American men who probably never realized why they were being attacked.
All in all a build that deserves some care and a lot of respect.
The model kit...
I have never been particularly attracted by the Arizona so I was rather surprised when Trumpeter announced a 1/200th model of this vessel would be available around Christmas. The concept of a 1/200th dreadnought did get my imagination going though, coupled with fond memories of the old Matchbox/Revell 1/72 Snowberry and the 1/144 Fletcher living happily in my stash. Some rapid arithmetic also indicated a 93cm long model which is a lot of real estate to work on. At that moment in time I was also more interested in the Hasegawa and Dragon 1/350th Jeep-carrier/light-carrier models that were in the pipeline.
The Dragon USS Independence arrived in late November this year, not a cheap model, so I had more or less decided to pass on the Arizona until I saw the first photos appearing online.
I must admit the ďlimited editionĒ label triggered me here as well, (best marketing bait possible: dangle the model in front of me and promise that it will only be around for a short time. Heck yes, Iíll bite).
After Googling for information on Trumpeterís new 1/200th USS Arizona I decided to take the plunge and order the model from Der Sockelshop. I also ordered Trumpeterís update PE and barrel set which turned out to be a wise decision after inspection of the contents of the box. Frank Brechmann provides fast delivery of orders and I had the box in my possession on December 9th, (I ordered on the evening of December 7th).
With great trepidation I unpacked the extremely big and 3.5 kilo heavy box to see what Trumpeter had provided.
As usual everything is beautifully fitted into the main box, in this case with three sub boxes squeezed inside to protect the hull and more delicate parts.
Underneath two pieces of stiff cardboard protection the rest of the sprues are carefully stacked. Here I caught my first glimpse of the main turrets and to be honest they really knocked all sense of relative scale overboard. They are huge, (see the photo of one of Arizonaís turrets next to a turret from my Haruna build). Due to the Trumpeter style of packing all parts arrived in mint condition.
Unpacking the hull is even more amazing, a beautiful un-flawed piece of expert injection molding consisting of lower and upper hull with main deck that you can portray as full hull or waterline model.
Once again the size of the hull messes with your mind; itís huge, (see photo of the Arizona hull next to the Haruna). Fit is excellent though, no gaps, no warping and no flash, (actually I have found no flash on any of the sprues or parts). The ejector-pin marks are visible but luckily on the inside or on the bottom of parts so after construction I would guess that no ejector marks will spoil the build. The model is injection molded in the usual gray plastic, (lower hull is a dark red color and the ships screws are black).
The molding on some parts is extremely fine; see the davits, and other parts like the Paravanes and deck winches are beautifully crafted. All in all very good looking except for the rather heavy handed ladders molded onto the side of the superstructure. This is a rather strange contrast to the rest of the molding. Some of the lattice work on the aft crane is amazingly coarse as well, (luckily this can be replaced if you bought the upgrade set). These small gripes do not distract from an overall high quality model, (not talking about historical accuracy here, only the overall appearance. The hard core rivet counters are probably already sharpening their knives for the ritual execution of Trumpeterís offering).
There are also several examples of rather nifty slide molding and the PE and metal parts added are nicely made and well finished, (the PE railings and signal flag yards, you know, the pointy things behind the forward fire control tower, are very delicate and look in scale. Hey, I am ex-tug man, not Navy).
A large sheet of signal flags and a sheet of decals are included.
The two Kingfisher aircraft are molded in that horrible brittle clear plastic. I hate that stuff and canít understand why normal gray plastic canít be used.
I mentioned that I also bought the upgrade PE set. This is a must have because it includes delicate latticework for the cranes and also accommodation ladders, (yes, you can dump the Inca ziggurat stairs). The Update set is so much a must-have that I really canít figure out why Trumpeter didnít up the price of the Arizona by 10 Euros and add the PE to the basic model. I donít think anyone preparing to buy this behemoth would be intimidated by a small price hike. One thing missing here in both sets and the model is a gangway to fit outboard. In this scale it would be fantastic. Maybe WEM or Eduard will include this in their after market PE offerings.
I also have not found a stand for the model which surprises me enormously. Looks like I am going to have to do dire things with copper pipe and slabs of wood, (which I hate), to cobble up something to park the Arizona on.
Is she worth the cash? You bet! The ship screams ďbuild meĒ from the moment you open the box. It is not quite the Holy Grail of ship models but by golly, Trumpeter came in close with this thing. I paid 160 Euros to get my hands on the model and upgrade and I do not regret a single cent of that amount. If you can afford one and get one go for it.