by: Dariush [ ]
By now we have learned the Tamiya 1/350 Enterprise kit is a sturdy and very useful basic kit to start with. We also acknowledged White Ensign Models (WEM) did a superior job to help out if a modeler decides to exceed the kit given solution ship wise. Now there is one major point of interest to be dealt with, which is The Air wing.
Again, WEM stands up to help you there.
One could argue about why bother with those airplanes since they are so small. Well, be prepared for a change of mind after this review.
What I received after my order was sent was the well known cardboard strengthened envelope with nothing more than a sticker in the upper right corner saying: 1/350 USS Enterprise – The Airwing.
… And what is inside? …
The modeler receives one big fret with photo etched brass as well as instructions. The etchings are of high quality with no under or over etching. The edges are clear and the parts do have an included folding guide etched in as well. Where useful, WEM included relief etching.
Airplane wise the following are covered:
1. S3-Viking (8 pieces without doubles per plane) *4
2. F14 Tomcat (10 pieces without doubles per plane)
3. A6 Intruder (12 pieces without doubles per plane)
4. A7 Corsair (6 pieces without doubles per plane)
5. F/A 18 Hornet (13 pieces without doubles per plane)
6. E2C Hawkeyes (12 pieces without doubles per plane) *2
Now, this gives 61 additional parts if you build only one of each aircraft. However, WEM is not playing tricks on you. Each aircraft set is represented 8 times unless stated different at the end of the above list entries. This equals a number of 384 additional parts alone for the air wings! Now what parts are these? I considered giving you a lengthy list for each set but thought it may suffice to give you an example by taking the A7 Corsair:
a. Missile Rail
b. Nose U/C Door
c. Inner Weapon Pylons
d. Arrester Hooks
e. Main U/C Door
f. Outer Weapon Pylons
Most of the airplanes receive additional undercarriage to make it look more realistic!
Do not hold your breath as the list has not ended yet. WEM further provides:
7. Large Aircraft Jacks *12
8. Fluid Replenishment Trolley Parts *5
9. SH3 Sea King Main Rotor (Spread and Folded) each *1
10. SH3 Sea King Tail Rotor *1
11. SH3 Sea King Cargo Door *1
12. Aircraft Towing Frames *2
13. Fork Lift Truck *3
14. Sidewinder Missile Trolley *4
15. Flatbed Trailer *6
16. Start Cart Hose *11
17. Flight Deck Crash Barricade *1
Well, do you still think a 1/350 airplane is not worth any further effort? Reconsider by looking at the photos I provide and decide again. After all, the airplanes are what give a carrier its sense.
Oh yes, these instructions are well printed on roughly A4 sized paper, are clear to read and leave almost no question open. Isometric views for each aircraft are assisted by meaningful explain in words. The Instructions do provide references for further reading.
No pictures of the real assembly process or the real ship are provided.
Result and Conclusion…
If I look at all these parts which need to be cut out and glued right into position I feel a night mare will come to life. This will be a lot of repetitive work to accomplish. Admitted, this may not be for everyone but the result will pay out in many ways. What I really like about this set are the Flatbed Trailers, Fluid Replenishment Trolley, Fork Lift Truck etc... These are parts which will enhance the model greatly and help to emphasize much more realistic scenery than the Tamiya kit itself could ever do.