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Trumpeter 1/700 scale USS Massachusetts BB-59

Now a museum in Fall River, Mass., USS Massachusetts served throughout World War II, shelling Vichy French targets during Operation Torch in 1942 and the Japanese home islands in August 1945.
Kit:No. 05761 // Scale:1/700 // Price:$39.95
Trumpeter, from Stevens International, 856-435-1555
Single-piece hull; single-piece deck (no seams); waterline or full-hull options; details are molded well; good fit; easy assembly; clear instructions
No 20mm mount shields! Missing yardarm, whip antennas, aircraft cradles, platforms on bridge, and most rafts; difficult-to-fix seams and gaps; poor fit of funnel; props too far aft; inaccurate decals
Injection molded, 378 parts (280 used), decals
Trumpeter expands its 1/700 scale World War II fleet with the USS Massachusetts (or “Big Mamie” to its crew). The kit is welcomed by modelers who previously had only the inferior 1/720 scale Revell Germany and Hasegawa kits for classmates.

The kit borrows pieces and sprues from Trumpeter’s South Dakota, but the deck, decals, and sprues F, G, J, and L are unique to Massachusetts. This means you get accurate late-war superstructure, masts, and radars, and lots of extra parts for your spares box. The kit provides a choice of building the full hull or a waterline model. Also included are a stand and nameplate. Most parts are molded in gray styrene, while the hull and waterline plate are red and the Kingfisher aircraft are clear.

Molding quality is excellent, with little flash and tremendous details. For example, eyebrows over the drilled-out portholes are molded on. The deck also has crisply molded details and good-looking planking. The 20mm anti-aircraft guns are closer to scale than other kits, and the 40mm quad mounts are superior to anything short of the aftermarket. But, there are small mold seams on every piece that need sanding, and a few ill-placed sprue tabs necessitate additional work.

Instructions are easy to follow. Hold off adding small pieces like directors and guns until the very end – it makes paint touch-up and handling the model much easier. Everything fits fairly easily, but the fit sometimes leaves noticeable seams that are difficult to remove or repair.

Because the Measure 22 scheme is simple, I airbrushed major colors (using Testors Model Master Acryl paints) before removing those parts from the sprues. That means sanding and touching up paint after detaching the parts, but it’s better than masking and airbrushing after assembly. You’ll need USN haze gray 5-H, USN navy blue 5-N, and USN deck blue 20-B, as well as black, silver, and brown/tan; if you build the full-hull version you’ll also need a hull red (I used Tamiya XF-9) and brass or gold for the props. I painted the aircraft Testors U.S. light gull gray (No. 3047) and Polly Scale deck blue 20-B (No. F505338), with black for engine and props. The instructions include a glossy color painting guide, but it has a few minor mistakes: In Measure 22, Massachusetts’ rear hull was completely blue (no gray) and the mainmast was black above the funnel.

The decals performed well enough, but the aircraft insignia are slightly out of register. Additionally, the hull numbers are too large and look more modern than 1946. By the way, you can still see the ship for yourself at Battleship Cove in Fall River, Mass.

I added more rafts according to references, and fashioned a bow jackstaff and bridge yardarm from brass rod. Radars and cranes would look better replaced by photoetched-metal pieces. Typical of Trum-peter kits, there were no shields for the 20mm guns and no whip antennas.

Still, the model’s dimensions and early-1946 fit appear to agree with what I checked in reference books, plans, and Internet photos. Trumpeter’s Massachusetts is the best in its scale and, with a little work and the addition of photoetched-metal details, it could be a real showstopper.


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