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Meng USS Lexington

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/700 scale plastic model ship kit
Immortalized in Stanley Johnston’s morale-boosting 1942 book Queen of the Flat-tops, USS Lexington (CV-2) was converted from a battlecruiser during construction in the 1920s. At the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942, the carrier launched several attacks against Japanese ships before being struck itself. Fires forced the crew to abandon Lady Lex; torpedoes from escorting destroyers sank the stricken vessel.

Meng’s simple Lexington comprises 119 parts on 15 sprues. Molded in four colors — gray, black, blue, and red — the parts show above-average detail, with fine recessed panel lines and no mold seams or flash. The parts are engineered to be pushed together without glue. Stickers for the base nameplate and to mark the aircraft complete the contents. No waterslide decals are provided.

Early in the build, the instructions clearly show the option to build the model full-hull or waterline. There is no option to lowering aircraft elevators.

The push-together design speeds assembly of the hull, and I was soon building the superstructure. The clean, well-engineered moldings required no cleanup, and the only gap was on the funnel’s .50-caliber galleries (parts B15 and B16).

The only glue required throughout the kit is for attaching the 18 aircraft to the flight deck.

A build out of the box is perfect for a rainy afternoon. The model’s scale is nearly perfect as length, width, draft, and funnel height calculate perfectly. The four 8-inch gun turrets are the best representations of the weapons I’ve seen — they were removed in April 1942.

The aircraft provided are correct for Lexington’s late-1941 air wing, including six each of the F4F Wildcat, SBD Dauntless, and TBD Devastator, all with molded-on propellers and landing gear.

Painting and marking took more time. The instructions call for Measure 12, which the ship wore in 1942, but I backdated it to October 1941, before the turrets were removed, by applying Measure 1 — overall 5-D dark gray — and a Measure 5 bow wave. I painted the flight deck with 20-D deck blue and light gray markings.

The stickers for the aircraft markings were out of register, too large, and reluctant to adhere to the planes. I spent more time trimming them to fit than on the rest of the project. I wish Meng had included optional waterslide decals.

Good fits and ease of construction characterize the Lexington, and the result looks the part.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the July 2017 issue.


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