In-Box Review
USS Hornet 1/350
Trumpeter USS Hornet CV-8 1/350
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by: Dariush [ DR_WHO2 ]


Talking about the Pacific War inevitably will reveal carrier names like Yorktown (CV-5), Enterprise (CV-6) and Hornet (CV-8). Class wise all of them being named after the lead ship, the USS Yorktown.

Wikipedia reveals the following rough summary about the Yorktown Class:

Name: Yorktown
Hull Number: CV-5
Laid down: 21 May 1934
Launched: 4 April 1936
Sponsor: (Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt)
Commissioned: 30 September 1937
First commanding officer: Captain Ernest McWhorter
Fate: Lost at Battle of Midway, 5 June 1942

Name: Enterprise
Hull Number: CV-6
Laid down: 16 July 1934
Launched: 3 October 1936
Sponsor: Mrs. Claude Swanson
Commissioned: 12 May 1938
First commanding officer: Captain N. H. White, Jr.
Fate: Sold for scrap 1 July 1958 to Lipsett, Inc. for $1,561,333 (currently $11,506,267)

Name: Hornet
Hull Number: CV-8
Laid down: 25 September 1939
Launched: 14 December 1940
Sponsor: Mrs. Frank Knox
Commissioned: 20 October 1941
First commanding officer: Captain Marc Mitscher
Fate: Lost at Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands 26 October 1942

While the war commenced, all of those carriers were refitted for their time being.
Naturally, as being the one laid down latest, the Hornet had, among all, a quiet different bridge and flight deck configuration if compared to CV-5 and CV-6.
All ships of the class share the same hull though.

Hornet Basic Data…

CV-8 looks name wise back to an American naval tradition:

1. USS Hornet (1775), was a ten-gun sloop commissioned in 1775, and served in the American Revolutionary War
2. USS Hornet (1805 sloop), was also a ten-gun sloop and took part in the First Barbary War
3. USS Hornet (1805 brig), was a brig-rigged sloop of war launched on 28 July 1805 and sank in a storm on 29 September 1829
4. USS Hornet (1813) was a five-gun schooner used as a dispatch vessel between 1814 and 1820
5. USS Hornet (1865), the first to be steam propelled, was an iron, side-wheeled steamer
6. USS Hornet (1898), a converted yacht, was a dispatch vessel in the Spanish-American War
7. USS Hornet (CV-8), launched the Doolittle Raid in 1942, fought at the Battle of Midway, action in the Solomon Islands

The general data reads at Wikipedia as follows:

Class and type: Yorktown-class aircraft carrier


*As built:20,000 long tons (20,000 t)
*Standard (Design),26,507 long tons (26,932 t)
*full load, 29,114 long tons (29,581 t) maximum


* As built:770 ft (230 m) (waterline at design draft), 824 ft 9 in (251.38 m) (overall)
* From 2/42:827 ft 5 in (252.20 m) overall length

Beam: As built:83 ft 3 in (25.37 m) (waterline), 114 ft (35 m) (overall)

Draft: 24 ft 4 in (7.42 m) design, 28 ft (8.5 m) full load


* 9 × Babcock & Wilcox boilers
* 4 × Parsons geared turbines
* 120,000 shp (89 MW)
* 4 × screws

Speed: 32.5 knots design (33.84 knots-builder's trials)
Range: 12,500 nautical miles (23,200 km) at 15 knots (17 mph; 28 km/h)
Complement: 2,919 officers and enlisted (wartime)


As built:

* 8 × single 5 in/38 cal guns
* 4 × quad 1.1 in/75 cal guns
* 24 × .50 caliber machine guns

From February 1942:

* 8 × 5 in/38 cal
* 4 × Quad 1.1 in/75 cal
* 30 × 20 mm Oerlikon cannons

From July 1942:

* 8 × 5 in/38 cal
* 5 × Quad 1.1 in/75 cal
* 32 × 20 mm Oerlikons


As built:*2.5–4 in (6.3–10 cm) belt

* 60 lb protective decks
* 4 in (10 cm) bulkheads
* 4 in (10 cm) side
* 2 in (5.1 cm) top around conning tower
* 4 in (10 cm) side over steering gear

Aircraft carried:

As built: 90 aircraft

* 3 × elevators
* 2 × flight deck hydraulic catapults
* 1 × hangar deck hydraulic catapults


The following is heavily based on the according Wikipedia article:

As is obvious by the pure data, the Hornet hardly saw any peacetime. With the beginning of the Pacific War through the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941 it is obvious, the ship and its crew were not totally ready for war action - unlike the sister ships.

After a test ride with two Mitchell B-25 medium Bombers aboard on 2nd February 1942 the next mission took her directed to the Japan mainland with the spectacular Doolittle Raid over Tokyo on 20th March 1942.
Not less than 16 B-25s were moored and then started from her flight deck towards bombing Tokyo while her own air groups were all parked/stowed on the hangar deck below.

The physical damage achieved is reported to have been minor in the terms of warfare. Regarding the psychological effect of this raid on the Japanese, there is dissention. Some say there was high impact and others claim the civilians in Tokyo were not very impressed and soon after settled again.

I am not the one to decide but as a conclusion, I guess it is safe to say, that the Doolittle Raid, as keen and dangerous as it was, did not have the impact on the Japanese citizens as the Pearl Harbor attack had in the US.
At the same time one can not ignore the fact, that it built up moral for the US fighting forces which was at that time quiet depressed due to the Pearl Harbor incident.

The next major action of the Hornet relates to the battle of Midway. This Battle was fought on the edge and was the first naval battle where the according surface ships had no direct contact.

The Hornet had severe losses loosing all 15 Torpedo planes of Air Group VT-8 and leaving only one pilot out of that squadron as survivor. Never the less, this great loss corresponds to the successful attack of three Japanese carriers by air groups of participating Enterprise’s and Yorktown’s air groups as the inhalation of the torpedo squadron somewhat distracted the Japanese defense efforts.

Saying it this way makes it look like there was a plan of some sort about the Midway Battle.

In fact, it is the post war summary that makes it look like that.
That day at Midway a lot was forced to be left to chance and fate.
Both sides had no secure information about each forces position and strength. A lot was decided on meager knowledge. On both sides some efforts turned out useless.

Next major engagement of the Hornet relates to the Solomon’s campaign including the fierce fights around Guadalcanal. As a result bomb damage to Enterprise (24 August), torpedo damage to Saratoga (31 August), and loss of Wasp (15 September) reduced carriers in the South Pacific to one: Hornet.
She bore the brunt of air cover in the Solomon’s until 24 October 1942, when she joined the repaired Enterprise northwest of the New Hebrides and steamed to intercept a Japanese carrier/battleship force bearing down on Guadalcanal.
On 26th October 1942 Hornet was attacked by a coordinated dive bombing and aerial torpedo attack. In a 15-minute period, Hornet took three bomb hits from Aichi D3A "Val" dive bombers, another bomb hit (followed by the "Val" itself crashing into the deck), two torpedo hits from Nakajima B5N "Kates", and one more "Val" crashing into the deck.

Rear Admiral Murray ordered Northampton to tow Hornet. Since the Japanese were attacking Enterprise, it allowed Northampton to tow at about 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph). Hornet, while under tow, came under attack again from another wave of torpedo bombers later in the day. One more "Kate" scored a torpedo hit, and "abandon ship" was ordered. Captain Charles P. Mason, the last man on board, climbed over the side, and survivors were soon picked up by destroyers.

U.S. forces then attempted to scuttle Hornet, which stubbornly absorbed nine torpedoes and more than 400 5 in (130 mm) rounds from Mustin and Anderson. Mustin and Anderson moved off when Japanese naval forces appeared in the area. Japanese destroyers then finished Hornet with four 24-inch (610 mm) torpedoes. At 0135 on 27 October 1942, she finally sank. Hornet was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 13 January 1943, but her name was revived in form of CV-12 - an Essex Class Carrier.

Looking at how the Hornet rebelled against the sinking efforts by friend and foe always made me wonder why this gallant ship could not have been saved instead. Well, this is post war thinking and I am sure if the circumstances would have been different, the Hornet would have been saved.

The Packaging…

The kit comes in a double strengthened cardboard box. The front shows a painting of the Hornet with the measure 12 with blotches in the Pacific. The sides show a colored drawing of the vessel as well.


Trumpeter provides a 1/350 scale kit of the Hornet CV-8.
If I am not mistaken, you can build the ship -at least weapon wise- either in the as built configuration or after the refit dated 2/42 as sufficient .50 machine guns are provided.

The hull is laid separated from the other sprues. The sprues themselves are packed in clear plastic bags. The box is pretty well filled with all the parts leaving almost no room for (transportation) damage due to an oversized box. At the same time this leaves some concern as any damage to the box most likely will inflict the parts. The box is sturdy enough to handle most if not all of the possible hard handling however.

The Hull…

This kit is not brand new on the market and some has been written about it already.

Trumpeter provides the hull as two pieces leaving the modeler the option to either do a full hull or waterline model.
According base plate for the waterline option is provided as well. However, no further upper hull strengthening structure. This is not needed in this case because the hangar deck floor is provided anyway.

Before we go into some detail let me tell you, that the injected parts all over are well executed leaving only few sink marks at visible places. The so called fish skin is absent even though some rework may be needed here and there.

The upper hull comes with the portholes and related rain deflectors/eyebrows. The portholes are deep but closed.
No other detail is provided here.
If you are inclined to have the hull plating resembled, you will need to investigate by photos or plans how to correctly achieve that. Since to me, the hull is one of the major elements of a ship, I suggest investing some work to relief the hull from its clean appearance. You will not regret it.

The hull below waterline (CWL) comes in red injected styrene and some problems. First off, there are strongly raised seam lines from the molding process. You are well advised to sand those away. Further, the lower hull comes with no detail at all. Neither hull plating nor any of those holes for taking ballast water.

Regarding length and width Trumpeter appears to be spot on. However, there is this hull shape issue.
Compared against plans and photos the whole hull is lacking the correct appearance. The most notable in the bow section from keel to deck level.

Let me tell you this, one has all hands full of work to build the ship OOB.
No one should ever dare to criticize your efforts if you seek to "just" build and paint the ship as provided by the manufacturer.

For those not afraid to go that one step further and therefore closer to the original ship, please read up this article on to understand how much effort will be needed:

I cross checked the hull issue with my Taubamn plans of the CV-6 (1944) and can confirm the Trumpeter hull is way off. It is not so very obvious if you just read about it but will be undeniable if you once see a correct built hull according to the plans. Look at the accurate Revell Hornet hull compared to the Trumpeter hull on that pointed to article to get an impression.

With this said, I test fitted upper and lower hull. For the most part one receives a convincing result with a perfect fit. Never the less, I included a photo taken directly at the bow. The upper hull bow center line is slightly off the centerline of the lower hull. Some smart sanding and adjusting will fix this issue.

The Decks…

Yes, the decks, as Trumpeter provides not only the flight deck but the hangar deck as well.
Each of both decks comes in 3 pieces.

The Hangar Deck…

Where the hangar deck should not give any headache due to the fact, it will hardly be visible. The flight deck however, is a different matter.
The hangar deck comes with recessed lines included. No hangar sections are included though and nothing for fitting out inside. This is not a surprise as Trumpeter closed all hangar doors to the ships side anyway.
If you decide to open the doors, which I would rather highly recommend, then one is well advised to investigate the hangar sections by photos and plans and scratch build some of the interior. With the hangar deck in place this is far less laborious than it may sound.
If you do so, please consider to include a lighting system as well, as it will be quiet dark inside latest when the flight deck is attached. I am aware this may sound insane to the one or other yet, opening the hangar doors, investing the efforts to resemble the interior and shutting it all into darkness is even stranger to me.

Other than that, the hangar deck will be visible at bow and stern. Both specific sections show well molded details. The bow section coming with molded on anchor chains. Maybe consider replacing those with a proper scale fitting real chain since they do not look convincing. This will be an effortless small enhancement and sure justify the workload.

The Flight Deck…

The provided flight deck comes with the resemblance of wood and according steel frames in between. If you paint the deck, please recall that the metal framework had naturally a much smoother surface compared to the wooden planks. Even though the flight deck receives just one base color, the appearance and weariness of metal is different from wood.
There are some Pacific War color photos online and in various books as well as motion pictures showing that clearly.
Do not stick to Hornet photos only, as other carriers flight decks were assembled and painted using similar if not the same technique.
The three sections of the flight deck do fit quiet well. I included photos to show that even though, there will be a visible gap. You can not just fill and sand them without loosing the delicate details left and right to it. Options to rectify this are manifold and depend pretty much how much workload and/or money you are willing to invest.

THE Sprues…

With the big parts aside, we can now concentrate on the other parts out of the total 433 pieces.
Bear with me, as I will not discuss each and any kit part but keep it basic.

Trumpeter provides sprues A-F, 2*G and 2*H, 2*I and 2*J.

Sprue A, B and C…

These sprues deal mainly with the hangar doors and structure for each side of the ship. As one can easily see, Trumpeter included a lot of clear and crisp details. Painting those will sure be a pleasure. Also, the side gallery keeping the ships main armament along with the according splinter shields in height of the flight deck is provided. The splinter shields should be thinned at the edges a bit as they appear a little over scale.

I am sorry to admit I did not check yet the arrangement fits a specific timeframe or not. For this, I will be glad if someone could fill in the forums.

Sprue D…

This sprue comes with radar, flight deck crane sub assemblies. The radar equipment does not look too convincing but I will not criticize that too much because Trumpeter did best they could to resemble that and at the same time provide two types according to the time frame you pick.
he crane structure lacks somewhat the needed finesse however. Please note that the crane position on the flight deck is in line with the inner edge of the command bridge. However, on the real ship, it was installed more outward to the ships edge so it does not interferes with possible flight operations.
Beside all that you will find one of the elevator platforms molded superbly with all details included.

Sprue E…

Here comes the command bridge and funnel constructions. The details as seen on the sprues are very crisp and look promising. Doors with hinges are as well included as it is throughout this kit. I can not tell as of now if the command bridge structure compares well to the original configuration. From all I read so far, there may be some minor inaccuracies which maybe only the knowing one might detect.

Sprue F…

Sprue F comes with boats, life rafts, side cranes, some of the armament, some splinter shielded platforms and the anchor.
You should not expect anything even close to what e.g. Fine Molds provides in their Nano Dread 1/700 line.
The guns and barrels are a rough representation of the original weapons carried. On the upside however, you receive enough of each weapon for each time frame. This is by far more than I observed with other kits.

Sprue G…

Now here comes the Mitchell B-25 which was part of the Doolittle Raid mentioned in the history section. Sadly, only two of them come with the kit. If you intend to have the flight deck cramped as it was that day, you are asked to obtain further models by Trumpeter as they are offered separately as well.
The bombers come with recessed panel lines, clear canopy and to scale propellers.
There is nothing to complain about here except for the second gunner’s position which is molded in black instead of clear styrene.

Sprues H I, J…

Each of them provides one model of Wildcats, Dauntless and Devastators. All of these are the same high quality as the Mitchell B-25.

Regarding the Airwing Trumpeter sure deliberately left the chance to provide a full set for a specific mission.
No matter you seek to resemble the Doolittle Raid or a later campaign, for a full armament you will be forced to obtain additional airplanes. Which one, will depend on the according time frame.


The kit comes with a simple but effective model stand molded in black.
The stand holds the hull in a secure position as long no one accidently strikes it.

A kits stand being one of the ever lasting poor cousins of manufacturers is no exception here. No matter you consider building OOB or with some extra, please consider giving the full hull model a more convincing stand.


Now, we have decals for the air groups, at least as far as they are provided, but with no nose art for the Mitchell B-25s. The print is without error and colors look to be spot on.


The instructions on the painting come as a roughly DiN A3 color printed high gloss paper giving the modeler the options for the Doolittle Raid as well as the Midway configuration.
The color call outs are for Mr. Gunze Color line and pointed to by numbers and writing.


Starting with this review, I decided to be more conscious about the provided instructions.
Having seen so very well done instructions lately and experiencing how much workload was saved by them, I regard it as a major part of any kit. The lesser questions arise the better they are. The more they refer to original photos/plans, the better.
Coming from there, the Trumpeter instructions are very well laid out and printed big enough (roughly DiN A4 transverse) to be easily analyzed and followed. I found no step within where I had questions on what to do. At according points differences regarding different time frames are pointed out.
No reference to the real ship is provided.
No photo of an actual building process.


Looking at the history of the Hornet clearly shows her significance in those early Pacific War years. The ship shares the same fate at one point with her sister Enterprise, as the Hornet remained the only ship to fight the Japanese invasion forces that day in the Solomon’s.

It is truly sad the hull has real issues. Not from the molding but from its accuracy. If you can disregard that, you will receive a very strong and convincing kit. The armament should be thought about as it is the weakest point over all.
OOB this is recommended kit because so many features are provided spot on. However, this is a carrier and many builders decision will depend on the pursued philosophy.

To me, a carrier is a surface ship in the first but at the same time actually plain the (admittedly work intensive) diorama for the air groups. For this, I am totally saddened to watch Trumpeter left out the needed kit parts. Also, the vehicles and tools to move and maintain those aircrafts are left out. I did not even find after market parts to rectify this issue.

To Trumpeter and many model builders, obviously, a carrier is a surface ship. Period. This explains for Trumpeter, why there is no decent airgroup and no tools and trolleys as were used on the original ships flight deck and hangar sections. Bombs/Torpedoes and their transport are missing as well.

This rather philosophical aspect does not resolve however, why there is no rigging instruction included. Also, more or less, much of the wires and tubes are missing from their superstructure and side hangar walls.

On the other hand, one can build any of the Yorktown Class carriers out of this kit due to the similar hull used. However, this will need deep investigation about the correct configuration of each ship. Do not forget the shape of the flight deck itself if inclined so.
Highs: Over all a nicely molded and executed kit. Super- and side structure shows very crisp details. Builds into various time frames.
Lows: The hull is shape wise off. The armament is rudimentary. Missing rigging plan. No flight deck tools. Too few aircraft.
Verdict: A nice kit to obtain with one major and some minor issues. Currently the best starting point for any Yorktown class in this scale.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:350
  Mfg. ID: 05601
  Suggested Retail: $154.95
  PUBLISHED: Sep 21, 2010

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About Dariush (Dr_Who2)

... being father of two lovely children brought me back what was a hobby of mine in my own childhood. I guess everyone with at least one child in the household can figure what I am talking about. Despite what I have built in my younger years (most of them blew up or sank in a pond) I learned to lov...

Copyright ©2021 text by Dariush [ DR_WHO2 ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Model Shipwrights. All rights reserved.


Nice review. I HATE it when kit makers make it hard or impossible for us to make a good kit. Would it have killed them to mold the flight deck in once piece so we don't have to choose between deck seem lines and loss of detail? Or at least place the deck seam under the arresting wires or something.
SEP 21, 2010 - 04:07 PM
Pity the shape of the hull is so bad - the kit actually goes rather nicely. My only other complaint would be the numerous sink marks and the complete lack of detail in the hangar deck, like the hangar doors only molded on the outside, etc.
SEP 22, 2010 - 03:34 AM
Thank you David and Martin for the nice words. I always wondered why Trumpeter did not rework the hull at least. They could sell the whole Yorktown Class line way better. A seperately sold correct Island for the CV-6 as add on to the Hornet kit could then easily round up the offer. Martin is spot on with his comment about the hangar section. Plaese remember, this applies to the advanced modeler and up, who does take the extra effort. It can be helped by PE and some minor scratch building. Wait for my PE review to come up any soon.
SEP 23, 2010 - 10:53 PM
Yes, there are more reviews coming for all the nice update/upgrade itmes for the Hornet/Enterprise kit. The hangar detail set came up this morning!! More to come as well, so keep an eye out.
SEP 24, 2010 - 12:56 AM

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