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Gallery Models 1/350 scale USS Wasp

In addition to a plentiful complement of aircraft, Gallery’s Wasp includes two types of landing craft as well as numerous ground vehicles.
RELATED TOPICS: SHIPS
Kit:No. 64001 // Scale:1/350 // Price:$259.98
Manufacturer:
Gallery Models, from Model Rectifier Corp., 732-225-2100
Pros:
Comprehensive parts breakdown; clean molding with few ejector-pin marks; extensive detail
Cons:
None really, except for being overwhelmed by a kit of this scope
Comments:
Injection molded, 1,382 parts (111 photoetched metal), decals
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Gallery Models’ USS Wasp is a stunning kit. It is big and detailed! At 1,382 pieces, plan on devoting many hours to building it. The kit is crisply molded in light gray plastic with clear-plastic aircraft.

And there are plenty of extras that add value. In addition to the ship, you get two LCUs, two LCACS, deck equipment, and 16 vehicles, including tanks, trucks, Hum-vees, and LAVs. Also provided are 16 aircraft, including four MV-22 Osprey, four CH-46 Sea Knights, four CH-53 Sea Stallions, two AH-1W Cobras, and two SH-60K Seahawks. The kit has a complete hangar deck and well deck you can close or leave open. However, there is no waterline option, nor any waterline mark.

Molded detail is excellent, with doors, hatches, lockers, fire hoses, and exterior plumbing all to scale. The tie-downs look good, too, but some are missing where the helipads are marked.

The sheer number of parts means devoting a lot of time to cleanup, but I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of ejector-pin marks for a molding with this much detail.

Three high-quality photoetched-metal sheets are included, providing railings, radar, ladders, and safety nets. Unfortunately, there is not enough railing to complete the kit.

The decals are thin and lay down nicely over a glossy surface. Raised lines mark where some deck decals are to be placed.

Instructions come in a 36-page booklet and two-page color painting guide.

I found the instructions to be impractical in many ways: I test-fitted the hull and main deck and found the fit was tight. The interior parts partially solve the problem, but the forward section could use some spacers to spread out the hull. Yet the instructions would have you glue detail parts first and the flight deck last, even though the hull is too flexible and it is too easy to knock parts off. But after the flight deck is on, the model is solid. I left the elevators, boat frame, rudders, screws, and radar platforms off until I was nearly done.

I painted and added parts and subassemblies throughout the construction, using white glue and super glue to attach most of the parts. I found the life raft canisters need to be modified and added them after the railings were attached.

The island went together more smooth-ly than the hull, as I followed the instructions and had no problems. You have the option of plastic or photoetched-metal radars.

I used Model Master and Floquil enamels, finding it much easier to airbrush the decks first, mask, then paint the superstructure the lighter color. (It seems backwards, but it saved me hours of time.) I tinted the windows with black ink and a mechanical pen.

After I had glossed the flight deck with Floquil Crystal Cote, the decals adhered well with no silvering. I dipped smaller decals in Pledge Future floor polish and applied them with a tweezers.

The accessories were easy to put together. The LCAC is a great little kit with tons of detail, but the air group was just OK. The helicopters have optional folded blades. However, the rotors on the MV-22 are incorrect.

I spent about 65 hours on a kit that really demands more time than that, and I recommend it to experienced modelers. It does build into an impressive model. If I were to do it again, I would take much more time and acquire some aftermarket photoetched-metal details.

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