by: Dade W. Bell [ ]
This MSW "Inbox Review" focuses on Yankee Modelworks full resin offering, "USS Massachusetts (BB59), Conversion/Backdate Kit 1945 Outfit.
The USS Massachusetts (BB-59) is the second South Dakota class fast battleship, commissioned in May 1942. She kicked off her war service by fighting the French battleship Jean Bart and sinking the French destroyers Fougueux and Boulonnais. She then spent the rest of the war in the Pacific where she served admirably in shelling and anti aircraft duties. She survived the 140 mph winds of Typhoon Cobra and before war's end had shelled the Japanese homeland.
She has the interesting distinction of firing the first US 16" shells in the Atlantic and firing the last 16" shell of the war. None of her crew was killed in action during the war and she received eleven battle stars for her World War II service.
The USS Massachusetts is now a museum ship located at Battleship Cove in Fall River, Massachusetts.
Inside the box...
This set contains much of the above-deck structure work from Yankee Modelworks' resin USS Massachusetts model. It is made to work with Trumpeter's 1/350 plastic kit. There is some confusion as the box top says 1945 fit, while the instructions say 1944. The Yankee Modelworks full model of the Massachusetts was 1945, so this is likely the date of the conversion set.
The set comes in a sturdy white box with smaller resin pieces in a zip lock bag and the 01/ 02 Level superstructure and decals "shrink wrapped" to a piece of cardboard. Unfortunately, the superstructure piece seemed to have broken out of the wrap during transit. Luckily there seems to be no damage. This is probably thanks to the thick set of instructions and the extra buffer they provide.
This model, while a conversion set, has nonetheless appeared as an "Upgrade kit" in some descriptions including Yankee Modelworks' own price list. Because of this, some may be expecting this set to include Yankee Modelworks photo etch fret and perhaps the company's South Dakota class turrets. This is not the case, as the set is only concerned with the superstructure area of the ship.
a little closer
01/02 Level (Superstructure):
This is a good sized hunk of resin measuring about 8 1/2" long and 3 1/2" wide. The piece has been cast from the bottom so there is about 1/16" of extra resin on the bottom. However, the instructions show cutting the Trumpeter deck to fit, so one could essentially lower the piece down the extra distance. Although any bracing you choose to insert for the piece will have to be moved accordingly.
The piece is cast very well with only a couple small bubbles to contend with. Planking looks good and in scale, as do the splinter shields. There are a couple of uneven seams between some of the structures, but nothing a bead of Mr. Surfacer can't fix. The barbettes for the 5" turrets are sharp and look good. The only real let down on this piece are the doors. The detail is very soft and should be replaced with PE doors.
The smaller pieces are also very well done with sharp casting and a minimum of warping. Of note is the citadel/funnel piece where the funnel includes baffling. The builder will likely want to deepen the space between baffles, but the piece provides a good start. The tubs are also well done with good scale thickness- the Mk 51 tubs in particular are very nice.
Nearly all of these parts are cast on wafers so extra care will have to be taken in removal and sanding the pieces to the proper depth. The 08 level, while good looking, will have to be treated with care during its removal and clean up as it is a fairly large piece that is very thin.
Decals and instructions...
The decals are very sharp with numbers, flags, aircraft insignia and are mostly in register except for the pre/ early war airplane stars, which have the middle circles off-center. Of course, this model being late war, it's irrelevant to this release. The flags look good and there is a selection between two waving flags and one straight flag. Unfortunately, the waving flags are unusable as they have 50 stars.
Definitely one of the set's highlights, the instructions are well-illustrated and logically laid out. They include a comprehensive history, notes and as an added bonus, some large grey scale photo printouts of the real ship to use as reference.
The only drawback is that the instructions can get rather wordy at times and those who don't read English, may miss some of the notes involving the creation of parts from scratch. For example, the instruction that describes using scrap styrene to add a base to the bottom of each gun house. Builders of all nationalities may occasionally get turned around as to when and where to use a Trumpeter part and when to use a Yankee Modelworks part, but this is a small concern.