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Pit Road 1/700 scale USS Cleveland (CL-55) light cruiser

Kit: No. W-22
Scale: 1/700
Manufacturer: Pit Road, distributed by Sentai Distributors, P.O. Box 426, Woodland Hills, CA 91365, 818-886-3113
Price: $42
Comments: Injection molded, 186 parts, decals.

AT THE OUTBREAK of World War II, the U.S. Navy realized it needed to increase the fleet dramatically. More than 25 Cleveland-class sight cruisers were built, with nine more hulls made into Independence-class light carriers. USS Cleveland was delivered to the Navy in June 1942, and after supporting the invasion of North Africa, it spent the rest of its wartime career in the Pacific.

As with many Pit Road (also known as Skywave) kits, this one contains a dedicated sprue for this class of ship, plus two sprues of generic U.S. Navy weapons, rangefinders, antennas, and accessories.

Pit Road molded the superstructure bulkheads separately, so the surface detail is excellent. The guns are as expected in this scale, but the masts are too thick. Experienced modelers may want to replace them with wire or stretched sprue. The kit also comes with two small decal sheets, one with hull numbers and the other with national insignias for the aircraft.

I didn't have to spend much time cleaning the parts, but I trimmed the attachment tabs on the six-inch guns to get them to fit in the turrets. Otherwise, the fit of the parts was fine. The instructions are easy to follow, but step 4, "completion," involves more than 50 parts, so check them off as you attach them.

Finishing the superstructures in sections makes painting the model easier. I painted my model to Measure 12 modified, which the instructions mislabel Measure 32/12d. I used Floquil's Marine Colors navy blue (5-N), ocean gray (5-O), haze gray (5-H), and weathered deck blue (20-B).

The finished model measures close to accurate; it's only nine scale feet short at the waterline and six scale feet too narrow according to the dimensions in Paul H. Silverstone's U.S. Warships of World War II.

For experienced modelers, Pit Road's Cleveland is easy to build, but beginners may find the small parts difficult to handle. I put in 14 hours of dock time before my Cleveland joined my 1/700 scale fleet.

David Ligman


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