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Dragon 1/700 scale USS Arizona BB-39 1941

Kit: No. 7040
Scale: 1/700
Manufacturer: Dragon, imported by Dragon Models USA, 1315 John Reed Court, City of Industry, CA 91745, 866-365-8721, www.dragonmodelsusa.com
Price: $24.95
Comments: Mixed media, 154 parts (137 injection molded, 4 cast metal, 5 vinyl, 8 photoetched
Pros: Excellent detail, fine metal parts, good OS2U Kingfishers on catapults
Cons: Some fit problems, odd vinyl parts
Although it was constructed during World War I, the USS Arizona's fateful demise during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor transformed the battleship into a powerful symbol of the nation's resolve to win World War II. The Arizona's smoking silhouette appeared in newsreels and recruiting posters across the country, and helped bring the country together for a common goal.

Dragon's new waterline release of the ship is packed with detail. A multimedia kit, the box includes individually bagged trees of light-gray plastic parts, a sprue of vinyl parts, and a blister pack containing metal turrets, an anchor chain, and brass gun barrels. A photoetched fret includes finely detailed railings. There's also an 11-page instruction sheet and a small decal sheet.

Test-fitting showed that the mating of the fore and aft decks (part Nos. A12 and A20) was fair; I fixed things by removing the locating pins and butting the parts together.

I painted all the guns and small deck parts before assembly. I filled minor gaps in the smokestacks with gap-filling super glue. Close inspection of the superstructures included on the vinyl tree revealed mold-separation lines that distort the window detail. I'm uncertain why Dragon chose to mold these parts in this material.

Bending the photoetched handrails around the bridge was a painstaking task. I cut the stubs off the bottom of the rails to improve the bonding surface, then used white glue to install the rails. The bridge assembles easily, like a stack of pancakes. The forward tripod (labeled "D" in Step 3) needed to be pushed forward to fit the bridge and deck locating holes. I suspect the deck holes are too far forward. And speaking of holes, there's no locating hole for the aft airplane crane (part No. D1). The two Vought OS2U Kingfishers set off the rear deck nicely.

I gave my Arizona a "Measure 1" paint scheme using Testor Model Master and Floquil paints. The finished model closely matches dimensions in Jane's Fighting Ships of WWI. I spent 23 hours on this model, and now I have a fitting tribute to the ship's brave crew to add to my collection.

- Thomas Foti

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