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Trumpeter 1/700 scale USS Baltimore CA-68

Kit: No. 05724
Scale: 1/700
Manufacturer: Trumpeter, from Stevens International, 856-435-1555,
Price: $22.95
Comments: Injection-molded, 292 parts, decals
Pros: Choice of full hull or waterline presentation, easy construction, markings for eight vessels
Cons: Scale inaccuracies, mushy appearing decals.
The USS Baltimore CA-68, the namesake of its class, was launched in 1941 and armed with nine 8", 12 5", 48 40mm, and 24 20mm guns. Baltimore spent all her war years in the Pacific, taking part in almost every major offensive.

The parts for Trumpeter's 1/700 scale USS Baltimore are cleanly molded, but some of the smaller parts seem heavy for the scale, while others are delicately detailed. I like the option of full hull or waterline, a Trumpeter hallmark. Two OS2U Kingfisher float planes are provided, as well as a stand to hold the fullhull version. The instructions are clear enough, although the color recommendations are limited to Gunze Sangyo paints.

The decal sheet provides fuzzy hull numbers for the first eight ships of the class in both black and white, but the instructions give no information about them. You also get national insignias for the Kingfishers, and both a U.S. and "traditional" Jack flag.

Construction was straightforward - and quick! I had the core built in eight hours, spread over three evenings. The only trouble spots were gaps at the bow main deck, the stern section, and the main gun turrets.

I assembled the kit in major subassemblies, leaving all the deck parts off until painting was complete. I used Polly Scale navy blue 5-N for the hull and vertical surfaces and weather-deck blue 20B on the decks. The decals took a while to loosen from the sheet, but they laid down nicely with the help of Micro-Sol.

I spent only 15 hours building and painting the Baltimore.

According to my reference, Cruisers of World War Two, the kit's length is accurate at the waterline, although the length overall is 13 scale feet short. The tiny 20mm guns seem ten feet tall in scale.Even with these shortcomings I enjoyed the project. It would be a good choice for a beginner, and a good base for a detailing project.

- Phil Kirchmeier


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