by: Rade Marjanovic [ ]
Italeri,is one of the larger mainstream scale modeling companies and recently just put out a new model of famous aircraft carrier. USS Essex 1/700 scale World of Warships Series (Model No. 46503)
USS Essex (CV-9) was a prototype of then new class of famous aircraft carriers of Essex-type, of which a total of 24 were built between 1941 and 1950. This class was designed to have larger flight deck and hanger deck as compared to previous class Yorktown (of which Enterprise was the most famous one). This new class (Essex) had better armor protection, better ammo storage space, safer and bigger fuel storage, and more efficient damage control systems.
USS Essex was laid down on 28th of April 1941, and ship was commissioned only 19 months later, on 31st December 1942, due to increased production rate after Pearl Harbor. During WWII USS Essex took part in several battle assignments. These were attack on main Japanese base Truk as part of TF 58, Leyte gulf battle as part of TF 38 (which is considered as greatest naval battle of WWII), as well as in attack on northern Philippines when it was struck with kamikaze. Essex took part in supporting attacks on Japanese positions near Home islands as preparation effort for invasion.
After the war Essex was transferred to Bremerton where it was put in reserve and underwent modernization until 1951. Essex was then re-commissioned as flagship of 1st carrier division and TF 77 during Korean War, where it participated as air cover provider to ground units. Neil Armstrong – future astronaut – served on the ship at the time.
Essex took active role in Cuban crisis as well, first as air support to CIA-funded bombers during Bay of Pigs invasion, and later as “quarantine” ship during missile crisis 1962. During 1968, ship was used in recovery of Apollo 7 astronauts.
Essex was officially stricken on 30th June 1969 after almost 23 years in service.
Class and type: Essex-class aircraft carrier
Displacement: As built: 27,100 tons standard
36,380 tons full load
Length: As built: 820 feet (250 m) waterline
872 feet (266 m) overall
Beam: As built: 93 feet (28 m) waterline
147 feet 6 inches (45 m) overall
Draft: As built: 28 feet 5 inches (8.66 m) light
34 feet 2 inches (10.41 m) full load
Propulsion: As designed: 8 × boilers 565 psi (3,900 kPa) 850 °F (450 °C)
4 × Westinghouse geared steam turbines
4 × shafts
150,000 shp (110 MW)
Speed: 33 knots (61 km/h)
Range: 20,000 nautical miles (37,000 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h)
Complement: As built: 2,600 officers and enlisted
Armament: As built:
4 × twin 5 inch (127 mm) 38 caliber guns
4 × single 5 inch (127 mm) 38 caliber guns
8 × quadruple 40 mm 56 caliber guns
46 × single 20 mm 78 caliber guns
Armor: As built:
2.5 to 4 inch (60 to 100 mm) belt
1.5 inch (40 mm) hangar and protective decks
4 inch (100 mm) bulkheads
1.5 inch (40 mm) STS top and sides of pilot house
2.5 inch (60 mm) top of steering gear
Aircraft carried: As built:
1 × deck-edge elevator
2 × centerline elevators
She was sold for scrap in 1975 and officially decommissioned in 1973. Her nickname was “Fightin'est Ship in The Fleet”, while her motto was “E Navibus Pugnissima”.
USS Essex (World of Warships series)
Italeri continues what was begun with Bismarck model from their World of Warship Series with the release of the 1/700 scale USS Essex. The manufacturer packs, if not the best currently available model in the scale, then a model from the top few in quality. In this case the model is actually the Trumpeter model repacked for Italeri. At the first look model appears very nice and clean, with almost no flash. Very nice artistic rendition shows carrier and its air – group in action. Within the box, in addition to usual content (model parts and instructions), there is a nice poster of A3 format, plastic tweezers, Italeri liquid cement in small bottle and a booklet with info about the game and some bonus codes for it. The Instruction booklet is 16 pages and is quite simple to follow; clear without unnecessary complications. The kit parts are distributed on 8 sprue trees of grey plastic with additional seven parts which are not on trees (those are ship’s hull, decks and a stand for the model). There is a decal sheet included in the box with standard markings for this carrier as well as markers for the flight deck along with few extra decals that are game-related. Unfortunately, what is missing from decal sheet are the markings for the planes.
As for the planes provided in this kit, they are not manufactured specifically for this kit but rather individual Trumepter the kits on their own (Trumpeter tends to publish air groups for their carriers as model kits on their own, i.e. aftermarket additions). Packed in this box is rather “make-shift” air-wing of fighter planes. While there are no dive or torpedo bombers at all. There are two bags that come with a dozen each of F4U Corsairs and F6F Hellcats which are distributed on 4 trees of blue plastic each. The carrier model itself is rather detailed (of course there is always room for improvement with Photo etch and other stuff) with a big lot of parts (more than 520 counting the planes, out of which each has 5 parts). On the first look upon visual inspection of parts, it appears that there would be none or very little need for filling and a minimal amount of sanding involved.
Due to air-wing supplied I conclude that the model can be built with the following air-groups: air group 4 (Jan-Feb 1945) and air group 83 (March 1945 – Jan 1947, when ship was transferred to reserve and underwent modernization). The camouflage in that period was MS 21 (Nov 1944 – end of 1945) and MS 13 (1946 until the end of career). Along with the given airplanes it would be nice to obtain several TBMs and SB2Cs which were also present in the mentioned air groups.
The disassembled parts are maybe a bit overdone, but it has its own merit to it and adds detail to the model. One of the more noticeable "errors“ is the lack of anchor chain on the bow (chains are not molded on the bow deck, nor given as a standalone part), therefore appropriate aftermarket chain will have to be used. The model measures 37.8 cm when completed which is according to my calculations merely 0.2 cm shorter than the actual ship. Paint specifications for the model are given in standard Italeri Acrylic and FS codes so it shouldn't present a problem in converting to other brands. As a matter of fact Italeri sells a special, six-bottle set of their acrylics made for all the ships from their series so far.
With the mentioned drawbacks, the model itself is rather good and it will make an interesting project nonetheless. Of course this is not the best kit out there on the market at the moment and could benefit from an investment in aftermarket photo etch parts as well as adding some additional planes to complete the air group. In light of these shortcomings, this model can also be a great project Out of Box. This kit can be considered a collectible as it is part of the World of Warships Series. Although this kit can provide some possible headaches due to number of small parts, in my opinion, it would be enjoyable build. I would recommend this model to all WWII-carrier fans!
I would like to thank Italeri for this review sample.