"This inbox style review is of Midship Models, 1/700 scale resin kit, USS St. Louis (CL-49)."
One of the Brooklyn-class
light cruisers, the fifth ship to carry the name St. Louis
, CL-49 was laid down on December 10, 1936 at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Newport News, Virginia. Launched on April 15, 1938, the ship was commissioned into the United States Navy on May 19, 1939.
Built to a slightly modified design than the Brooklyn (and sometimes considered a separate class), St. Louis had a long and distinguished career during World War II, from dodging midget submarines during the attack on Pearl Harbor to gun duels in the Solomon Island. For more on her storied history, visit her Dictionary of American Fighting Ship page at the Haze Gray and Underway
The box and what’s inside…
The model comes in a sturdy white cardboard box, which shows a picture of the St. Louis in her circa-1944 dazzle camouflage - while the box top says the enclosed kit is a 1942 version. Upon opening the box, you’ll find most of the kit parts wrapped in plastic around a piece of cardboard for protection.
Underneath this plastic is the hull, photo-etch, decals and two bags - one holding the resin parts and one holding white metal parts. Beneath the cardboard is the instruction booklet.
Wrapped separately are two of the Midship Models weapons sprues that are found in their USN destroyer kits.
– which scales out perfectly
in 1/700 - is nicely cast, save for some flash on the starboard side along the waterline. The planking is reasonably well done for this scale. However, I think the planking is carried too far back on the aft part of the main deck, almost to the hangar, which I believe is incorrect – I don’t believe the planking went that far aft.
The resin parts
for the turrets, guns, gun barrels, directors, funnels and superstructure are all crisply cast. Many of the parts are on thin resins wafers, which require some sanding before you get started. Time consuming, but easily accomplished. I was particularly impressed with the main battery gun directors – they are very nicely done.
Unfortunately, almost half of the gun barrels for the 5 inch twin turrets were broken or missing from the resin sprue they were attached to.
and their assorted parts are all white metal, and, in my opinion, a little rough. Consider checking out the latest Trumpeter 1/700 releases for aircraft. The anchors are also white metal, as is one other part – but I’ve yet to figure out where that part goes!
set is decent, but doesn’t have any 3D etching. While it will suit the purposes for which it was designed, it’s not as nice as some of the aftermarket photo-etch sets currently available. I also found the photo-etch bent in one corner upon opening the box.
– which are nicely printed by Microscale - are the standard set included in the Midship Models destroyer releases, and has enough number (both wartime and pre-war) to do a small flotilla.
This leads us to the instructions, which are the weakest part of the kit. The front page of the 6 page instruction booklet shows the same picture as the box top. While the box top said the model was a 1942 fit, here the instructions make reference to the model being a 1944 era St. Louis.
However, once you make your way to the exploded view assembly diagram (the rest of the instruction booklet mainly lists and shows the various parts), the instructions now refer to the St. Louis being in her 1941 fit (more on that in a moment). All that aside, the exploded view diagram is more than enough for you to assemble the kit.
Still, a plan and profile view would be a better use of the pages of the instruction booklet, instead of dedicating a whole page to additional Midship Models releases.
Now – about those conflicting dates… After some research, it looks like the kit is actually a mid-1942 St. Louis, after her March refit but before her refit in November of that same year. Considering that St. Louis was more famous for her role in the Battle of Kolombangara in July 1943 (where Helena was sunk) than anything she did in 1942, the choice of fit seems to be an odd one. With the proper references and a little work, a 1943 fit seems to be attainable. Also, from the breakdown of the parts – especially the superstructure – it does appear that other fits (like a 1944 version with the cut down bridge) could be forthcoming from Midship.
Outside of the confusion with the instruction, the rough white metal aircraft and the bent photo-etch, I was impressed. The hull and parts are, for the most part, nicely cast. While I’d prefer the parts be attached to pour stubs (personally, I think those are easier to clean up), the resin wafers are pretty thin and the parts should sand off easily.
USS St. Louis Association
The Saga of the “Lucky Lou”
Dictionary of American Fighting Ships
Cruisers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia, by MJ Whitley
American Cruisers of World War II by Steve Ewing
Cruisers of the US Navy 1922-1962, by Stefan Terzibaschitsch
US Light Cruisers in Action by Al Adock