by: Jim Adams [ ]
Albany Class Guided Missile Cruiser...
At the close of World War II the US Navy found itself with far too many ships for a peace time navy. Many of these ships were scrapped, others were sold to smaller countries, and still others were converted to new types of ships.
The Albany class Guided missile c risers are a prime example of a conversion. These ships were originally either Oregon City Class or Baltimore Class gun cruisers. Three ships were converted, but a total of 5 were planned. These ships had everything from the main deck up removed and a whole new superstructure and weapon systems installed.
The ships were originally to all missile platforms, but later had two open-mount Mk 24 5-inch 38 caliber guns installed. There was even space allocated on the ships to install eight Polaris ICBMs. Along with their anit-air weapons they also carried ASW launchers.
Albany started her life as CA-123 an Oregon City-class heavy cruiser. She was commissioned in 1946. During her time as a gun cruiser she operated along the US east coast and operated with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. In 1958 she was decommissioned and began her transformation into CG-10.
She spent her career on the US east coast and in the Med. She underwent two other major overhaul and upgrade periods. From 1976 to 1980 Albany was the flagship of the 6th Fleet, and homeported in Gaeta, Italy.
Another major upgrade was planned for her in 1980, but the money for this was diverted to other projects. She was decommissioned for the last time on 29 August 1980. She was sold for scrap in 1990.
Type: Guided missile cruiser
Displacement: 13,700 std, 17,500 full load
Length: 664 ft (202 m) waterline, 674 ft (205 m) overall
Beam: 70 ft (21 m)
Draft: 30 ft (9.1 m)
Propulsion: four Babcock and Wilcox boilers, four General Electric geared turbines, 120,000 shaft horsepower, w. four shafts
Speed: 32 kn (59 km/h)
Complement: 1,222 (72 officers, 1,150 enlisted men)
Sensors and processing systems:
AN/SPS-48 3D air search radar
AN/SPS-10 surface search radar
AN/SPG-49 fire control radar for Talos
AN/SPG-51 fire control radar for Tartar
AN/SQS-23 bow mounted sonar
Two Mk 12 twin RIM-8 Talos SAM launchers (104 missiles)
Two Mk 11 twin RIM-24 Tartar SAM launchers (84 missiles)
One Mk 112 ASROC octuple-tube missile launcher
2 5-inch (130 mm) gun
2 triple Mk-32 torpedo tubes
Aircraft carried: Flight deck only
The kit comes in a lidded box with a painting of the Albany cruising at sea. The bottom and sides are covered with CAD images of the model. Inside you find
Sprue A and B
These two are the upper and lower section of the hull. Since they were both loose I decided to see how well they fit. There is a pretty noticeable warping problem with my sample. Not sure if yours will do this, but it is something you will have to deal with if you want to make a full hull version of the ship. Even if you are doing a waterline you will probably have to deal with some warpage as well.
The shape of the hull looks right for the ship. The exterior has many of the raised details found on the Albany. The main deck is nearly molded on the upper hull, except for the foc’sole. This area also has the hurricane bow. The main deck is smooth and free from raised lines like typically found on flight decks of other ship kits. You will also notice deck fittings molded on the main deck as well.
The forward line in the deck will be mostly hidden under the forward Talos missile bunker.
Major sections of the super structure are here. These parts are a major portion of the first few levels of the ship. Exterior details molded on the bulkheads include water tight doors, drain pipes, and ventilation ducting. You will also see the doors for the Talos missile launching system.
This sprue is marked for the USS Long Beach. Most of the sprue is not used on the Albany. You will use the directors and missile launchers.
Different support frames, boat davits, targeting systems, and boats among other items are here. Some of these parts will be replaced by the PE that is supplied. The boats are plain and basic looking. You will also get the open 5" 38 caliber mounts.
Here you will get the unique tall bridge of the Albany. These are really nice and molded in one piece. This technology gives Dragon one very good advantage and makes for fewer seams. The foc’sole is molded as a separate part. There are chains molded on the deck, so if you are going to use real chain, sand those off.
You also get the ships screws and shaft extensions. Other parts include some of the ships sensors. These can be replaced by PE that is supplied.
This is the typical unassuming platform that Dragon uses for it releases.
The decals include markings for one ship, USS Albany. There are also markings for the flight deck and launcher warning circles.
There is one small fret of PE included in the kit. Included on the fret are ladders, radars, and platforms. Some of these are direct replacements of plastic parts, so you have a choice, others are necessary to use when building your ship.
The instructions are typical Dragon style a single folded sheet. You begin with subs and work toward assembling this on the hull. A word of caution, if your hull does not fit snuggly like my sample, you will need to assembly the full hull first. Again, most instructions are a guide so use your best judgment when doing the actual steps.
Painting guide is black/white/blue, not my favorite, but it does the job.
I wanted this kit for a different reason than having the USS Albany, I wanted USS Chicago. This is a great kit of a very unique ship from the Vietnam/Cold War period. As we now know Dragon is releasing an Enterprise from this same time period, so we are now open for some interesting diorama options.
The kit is solid and well thought out. I wish there were other decals included to actually make the Chicago out of the box, but we can deal with that. You will notice that this hull bears a strong resemblance to that of the USS Long Beach, long and sleek. OOB this will be a nice project. If you want to take some time and add railings the ship will look that much better.
Builders of the divine scale will enjoy this kit. Fans of Vietnam/Cold War ships will love this kit. Pick one up and put her in your stash!