In-Box Review
USS Enterprise 1/720
Revell (ex. Monogram) USS Enterprise 1/720
  • move

by: Dariush [ DR_WHO2 ]

The Details…

Let us first have a look at the basic data as provided by Wikipedia:

Name: Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Builders: Newport News Shipbuilding
Keel laid: 1958
Operators: United States Navy
Preceded by: Kitty Hawk-class
Succeeded by: Nimitz-class
In commission: 25 November 1961
Planned: 6
Completed: 1
Active: 1

Career (United States)
Name: USS Enterprise
Ordered: 15 November 1957
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry dock Company
Cost: $451.3 million
Laid down: 4 February 1958
Launched: 24 September 1960
Christened: 24 September 1960
Acquired: 29 October 1961
Commissioned: 25 November 1961
Decommissioned: 2013 (scheduled)
In service: 12 January 1962 (maiden voyage)
Reclassified: CVN-65
Homeport: NAVSTA Norfolk
Status: in active service, as of 2010

General characteristics
Class and type: Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Displacement: 73,858 long tons (75,043 MT) standard,
92,325 long tons (93,807 MT) loaded
Length: 1,123 ft (342 m)[2]
Beam: 132.8 ft (40.5 m) (waterline),
257.2 ft (78.4 m) (extreme)
Draught: 39 ft (12 m)
Propulsion: 8 x Westinghouse A2W nuclear reactors,
Four sets Westinghouse geared steam turbines, 4 shafts
280,000 shp (210 MW)
Speed: 33.6 knots (62.2 km/h)
Range: Essentially unlimited distance; 20 years

5,828 (maximum)
Ship's company: 3,000 (2,700 Sailors, 150 Chiefs, 150 Officers)
Air wing: 1,800 (250 Pilots, and 1,550 Support personnel)
Sensors and

Processing systems: AN/SPS-48 3D air search radar
AN/SPS-49 2D air search radar
Electronic warfare and decoys: AN/SLQ-32; Mark 36 SRBOC

* 2 × NATO Sea Sparrow launchers (since
* 2 × 20 mm Phalanx CIWS mounts
* 2 RAM launchers

Armor: 8 inch (20 cm) aluminum belt (equivalent to 4 in (100 mm) rolled homogeneous steel armour)
Aircraft carried: Hold up to 90
70 (normally)
Aviation facilities:
Flight deck: 1,123 ft (342 m)
Motto: Ready on Arrival; the First, the Finest; Eight Reactors, None Faster
Nickname: "Big E",

Notes: 915 engineers designed the ship. They made 16,100 drawings and 2,400 blueprints. The ship has about 625 mi (1,000 km) of electrical cables and 37 mi (60 km) of ventilation ducts. The ship has 4 steam powered catapults.


Oh boy, this is going to be a really tough one to work out...

Usually I start off with a historical overview but this time I passed out while trying so due to the lengthy active duties of the ship.
We are talking the USS Enterprise CVAN/CVN 65 and this ship is one of a kind regarding any aspect.

Through the resembled appearance of the kit we are roughly bound OOB to the timeframe starting commissioning 25th November 1961 until 1979 - 03/1982. Latter time frame/date relates to the fact, that the Enterprise received a reconstruction of the island, ship was fitted with Sea Sparrow missile launchers and numerous other improvements.

For this, I will concentrate history wise on the given time frame and will leave the forthcoming career reserved for a different kit review.


What is the correct hull number for the "Enterprise”?
Sometimes one reads "CVAN-65" and sometimes "CVN-65".

Well this depends:

The information at Global Security reads as follows:
"When commissioned on 25 November 1961, ENTERPRISE was designated as a 'nuclear-powered attack aircraft carrier' and was assigned the hull number CVAN 65. To more accurately reflect Enterprise’s multi-mission capabilities, the "A" (for attack) was dropped on 1 July 1975, and the Big E became a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with the hull number CVN 65."

To further cut down the time frame to discuss and in respect to the kits naming, we are talking now a time frame starting 1st July 1975 - 1979. That is about roughly 4 years of successful service.

Before we dive into details of this time frame, let me give you some insight what had been achieved prior:

01. Feb.5, 1962 - Apr.5, 1962 (SoLant : Shakedown cruise)
02. Aug.3, 1962 - Oct.11, 1962 (Med)
03. Oct.19, 1962 - Dec.6, 1962 (Caribbean/Cuba Crisis)
04. Feb.6, 1963 - Sep.4, 1963 (Med)
05. Feb.8, 1964 - Oct.3, 1964 (Med, World Cruise "Operation Sea Orbit")
06. Oct.26, 1965 - Jun.21, 1966 (Vietnam War)
07. Nov.19, 1966 - Jul.6, 1967 (Vietnam War)
08. Jan.3, 1968 - Jul.18, 1968 (Vietnam War)
09. Jan.6, 1969 - Jul.2, 1969 (Vietnam War)
10. Jun.11, 1971 - Feb.12, 1972 (Vietnam War)
11. Sep.12, 1972 - Jun.12, 1973 (Vietnam War)
12. Sep.17, 1974 - May 20, 1975 (Westpac)

With this done, we are free to look at the 4 year lasting service before major reconstruction on the island and armament was done.

1. Jul.30, 1976 - Mar.8, 1977 (Westpac)
December 19th, 1976, South China Sea, an F-14 ("NK 213") of VF-2 misses a landing on the USS ENTERPRISE and its wingtip strikes two other aircraft on the flight deck before it veers out of control and crashes into the South China Sea.

2. Apr.4, 1978 - Oct.30, 1978 (Westpac)

3. Complex Overhaul (COH) 1979 - Mar.1982 at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
USS ENTERPRISE, under overhaul at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, sustains a two-hour Class Alpha fire in a catapult room, machine shop, and passageway.

Phew, we are half way through. As we can see the "USS Enterprise" survived some milestones in world history with the Cuba Crisis and the Vietnam War. Now this is an aircraft carrier right? The major armament consisted of airplanes. Well, which airplane was carried at a given specific time frame?

For 1. Jul.30, 1976 - Mar.8, 1977 (Westpac) it should be according to

CVW-14 (NK)
Jul.30, 1976 - Mar.8, 1977 (Westpac)

Modex Squadron Aircraft

100 VF-1 Wolf Pack F-14A
200 VF-2 Bounty Hunters F-14A
300 VA-97 Warhawks A-7E
400 VA-27 Royal Maces A-7E
500 VA-196 Main Battery A-6E/KA-6D
600 VAW-113 Black Eagles E-2B
610 RVAH-1 Tigers RA-5C
620 VAQ-134 Garudas EA-6B
700 VS-29 Dragon Fires S-3A
720 HS-2 Golden Falcons SH-3D
(PR)004, 005 VQ-1 DET. World Watchers EA-3B

For 2. Apr.4th, 1978 - Oct.30, 1978 (WestPac) it should be according to

CVW-14 (NK)
Apr.4, 1978 - Oct.30, 1978 (WestPac)

Modex Squadron Aircraft
100 VF-1 Wolf Pack F-14A
200 VF-2 Bounty Hunters F-14A
300 VA-97 Warhawks A-7E
400 VA-27 Royal Maces A-7E
500 VA-196 Main Battery A-6E/KA-6D
600 VAW-113 Black Eagles E-2B
610 RVAH-1 (*) Tigers RA-5C
620 VAQ-134 Garudas EA-6B
700 VS-38 Red Griffins S-3A/US-3A
720 HS-2 Golden Falcons SH-3D

(*) disestablished on Jan.19, 1979

Ok, if you are one of those who dislike historical data, then I have good news: We are lifting off and heading for the kit...

The Packaging…

The kit comes in a single folded mid strengthened cardboard box. The packaging is sturdy and spacey enough to hold all the parts and instructions safely.
The front shows the USS Enterprise from above with one airplane taking off and one A-4c Skyhawk flying towards the viewer and high above the vessel. From what one can guess from the wakes the Enterprise is steaming at higher speed.
The sides of the packaging shows some details of a built model including shots of the command bridge and one of the elevators in down position facing an opened hangar door!

And what is inside? ....

The Content…

Upon opening the box the model builder is confronted with one clear bag containing 4 sprues, the building instructions and a small sheet of decals.

The Sprues…

This kit sure has seen better times as the molds obviously show their age. However, considering the price and subject, it is quiet acceptable. Some flash and "fish skin" are in the way but nothing that could not be easily rectified by involving a little effort with an X-acto knife and sanding stick.
With this said, let us move on to the sprues.

I. Sprue 1 - The Hull

Since I could not obtain any plans to check the hull, I had to judge this aspect by comparing to contemporary photos.
First off, the hull is a three pieces story.
For one part, one receives the whole underwater hull as one piece. There is no indication of hull plating involved. Some seam lines are visible but easy to rectify. No there detail is provided here.
The upper hull consists of two pieces which will demand some careful gluing and some work on the seams. There is no hull plating provided here either. However, some details are provided with a couple of them so delicate, that it can be easily overseen and/or over painted. It is too delicate for my taste but your mileage may be different. The anchor is molded on flush to the hull. Not a nice move at all if I was asked. Beside that, the hangar doors are all in opened position.
The over all hull appears to resemble in shape and size spot on the original.
For those so inclined, there is room to improve the hull here and there. Especially the delicate details on the upper hull would benefit from some special care. The anchor probably can not be rectified without a surgery measure.

II. Sprue 2

The numbering in this review does not reflect a manufacturer order but only what I grabbed first to photograph.

The sprue I am talking about deals among all with
1. The elevator platforms,
2. Parts of the ESM Radar equipment (that is the cone like structure on top the command bridge)
3. The ships marine propeller and
3. Some platforms for the side structure.

The provided detail is not very overwhelming and some prominent sinkholes may disturb the joy of building this kit. On the other hand, some visible and pronounced efforts went into resembling the basic main features for each area. Scratch building the missing tiny additions will most likely turn out a tedious work to do. I rather would suggest to go for the easy way and try to enhance color wise what is provided by shadowing and weathering the sections cautiously. The elevator platforms do show some resemblance of the flight deck structure.

III. Sprue 3

This sprue deals mainly with
1. A bunch of airplanes,
2. Some parts for the ESM radar and
3. The command bridge super structure.

The command bridge windows are resembled by recessed windows sections. While this is a nice move to present it I personally would have been happier with the command bridge sections molded in clear parts. I can see no easy way for anyone if interested into resembling real windows with this kit.

The airplanes are a story for themselves.
First of all, they are all molded in grey with no chance for the cockpit area to be shown in clear plastic. Looking at the scale I found no replacement airplanes either.
There is some 1/700 versions at avail but those would be slightly off. The difference will be quiet minor though if you decide to change every airplane provided. In direct comparison -so if you mix AM and kit given airplanes- it will be noticeable though.
Now what airplanes and how many are included?

On this sprue you find
12 * MDD Phantom F-4j
02 * Grumman E-2b

Even though in shape and size these airplanes are fine, they lack detail all over.
No landing gear is provided. Also, the E-2b vertical tail is quiet thick and would benefit from some sanding to get it thinner. This sprue is missing the needed propellers as well.
The F-4Jprovided does show a steep angle of the wing tips. While it is correct the wing tips were angled in this scale it should be much smoother.

Both airplane types do have raised panel lines.
The modeler is well advised to be very cautious while painting in order to not fill the delicate details all over with paint. Thinning the paint more than usually and also using an airbrush to apply very thin coats of paint will be the key to a nice result.

IV. Sprue 4

This one deals mainly with the flight deck and gives some more airplanes.

The flight deck comes as one piece, which is a superb starting point. No fear of seam lines and messing the given molded in structure. Also some molded on raised lines help to paint the flight deck markings. Some of them being off though in terms of not centered. While not all needed markings are provided the very basic ones are there. The foul lines are missing entirely.

The airplanes provided on this sprue are most likely the following

02 * Grumman A-6A Intruder
02 * North American RA-5c Vigilante
12 * Douglas A-4C Skyhawk

If someone has a better suggestion, I am all ear in the follow up discussion in the MSW forum and ready to make changes if fits right.
All airplanes come with raised panel lines and the detail being naturally rudimental at this scale. No landing gear other than some short sticks to place them. No armament for any airplane provided. No vehicle to move the airplanes on the flight deck, no tools and no personnel as well. No option for a folded up wing for any plane is provided.

The Decals…

These are very simple ones with only limited value. You are provided the hull number in digits and the ships name Enterprise. That is all. There are none for the air wing, nothing for the flight deck, and no foul lines or warning signs as well. Take it or leave it.
One also receives a sheet of paper with flag/radio signs. The instructions read to fold the cut out flag around the rig. Well Revell, if there was a rigging plan a model builder sure could think about it.

The Instructions and Paint Guide…

The instructions guide the model builder through 37 steps to its goal. Well, almost though since only one of the aircraft got covered at all - this is the Grumman E-2b since it has one part to glue to.
While the steps are laid out in nice and clear steps at the same time the color guide is included within. All callouts refer to Revell´s own color line. No rigging diagram is provided.
No useful refers to the original subject are included. No photo of a build progress and neither a hint for ones own research.



Yes, this kit is a mixed bag.
While the hull is over all convincing with only some details missing the kit will require some thoughtful research and planning. The air wing does not correspond to the used naming convention as Nuclear Carrier "USS Enterprise" since this would rather require the F-14 instead of the provided F-4J.
Looking at the other kit provided airplanes makes clear, the naming is off and should have been Nuclear Attack Carrier "USS Enterprise".
With this said, one can resemble roughly a configuration for the Vietnam War. The needed data reads on as follows:

CVW-14 (NK)
Jun.11, 1971 - Feb.12, 1972 (Vietnam War)
Modex Squadron Aircraft
100 VF-143 Pukin Dogs F-4J
200 VF-142 Ghostriders F-4J
300 VA-97 Warhawks A-7E
400 VA-27 Royal Maces A-7E
500 VA-196 Main Battery A-6A/B/KA-6D
600 RVAH-5 Savage Sons RA-5C
610 VAQ-130 DET.4 Zappers EKA-3B
010 VAW-113 Black Eagles E-2B
004-006 HC-1 DET.4 Pacific Fleet Angels SH-3G

What disappointed me is the missing hangar deck. While Revell opened the side hangar doors they missed to provide the hangar deck itself.
Anyone taking at your built model a closer look will just watch an empty space within the carrier.

Also, no decal for the air wing is a bit flat in my eyes.
One may argue that in this scale it is not needed and I would answer, that all you have beside the missing foul lines to live up a carrier is the air wing itself. Why not give it roughly the markings needed?

The age shows its marks on this kit, so, out of the box, you will receive a slightly below average result at its best. Please watch the time frame you depict and check your resources about the air wings aboard.


This is the only chance to resemble the USS Enterprise with the heavy cone type radar system without scratch building involved. You can choose to do any period up to 1979 but will have to be very cautious when choosing the correct air wing. The provided airplanes are a rough representation of what is needed and may suffice in this scale. If you are inclined to choose the CVN-65 period of the Enterprise, you will have to research your options with After Market parts which are indeed currently readily available in 1/700 scale. The manufacturer giving the advise to wrap the paper flags around the rig but not giving a rigging plan is a bad idea to start with. Also the paint guide is missing major parts of the provided airplanes.
For the lack of detail in some parts I recommend this kit to the novice model builder. Another option comes up if you are an advanced model builder and ready to take the burden to invest some research and scratch building. All in between may decide if they feel ready for an adventure. The given hull sure deserves some thoughtful build up by utilizing various techniques to achieve a well deserved stunning result.
Highs: Good chance to build the Enterprise in her as commissioned configuration. Hull seems spot on. Air wing for Vietnam time frame and Cuba Crisis.
Lows: The rigging diagram is missing. Paint wise not all airplanes covered. No hangar deck.
Verdict: Recommended OOB for the novice model builder or experienced model builders with scratch building ambitions.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:700
  Mfg. ID: 5046
  Suggested Retail: $17.95
  PUBLISHED: Sep 20, 2010
  NATIONALITY: United States

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.


Click image to enlarge
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move