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In-Box Review
1700
USS St. Louis (CL-49)
Midship Models 1/700 Scale, CL-49 USS St. Louis (Kit# MPK304)
  • Lou01

by: Martin J Quinn [ MARTINJQUINN ]


Originally published on:
Model Shipwrights

"This inbox style review is of Midship Models, 1/700 scale resin kit, USS St. Louis (CL-49)."

The Vessel…

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 website.



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.



Details, details…

The hull – 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.

The aircraft 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!

The photo-etch 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.

The decals – 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.


Instructions

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.



Final impressions…

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.



Reference Sources:


Navsource

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



SUMMARY
Highs: Crisp casting and nice detail, especially for 1/700 scale.
Lows: Sub standard and confusing instructions – no plan or profile view. Some broken parts and photo-etch damaged upon opening the box.
Verdict: Overall a very nice model and a worthy addition to anyone’s 1/700 fleet, especially USN fans.
Percentage Rating
80%
  Scale: 1:700
  Mfg. ID: MPK304
  Suggested Retail: MSR-$70.00 USD
  Related Link: Official Company Website
  PUBLISHED: Feb 29, 2008
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 76.67%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 83.60%

Our Thanks to Midship Models!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Martin J Quinn (MartinJQuinn)
FROM: NEW JERSEY, UNITED STATES

Living in Northern New Jersey, USA. I have a 17 year old son in high school and a forever 9 year old daughter in heaven. I've been modeling since I was about 6 years old - my father and I put together my first model. After several builds, he had enough, while I never stopped building. ...

Copyright ©2019 text by Martin J Quinn [ MARTINJQUINN ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

Martin, Great review! Did you contact the company about those gun barrels? I sure they could help you in fixing that problem....just guessing
FEB 29, 2008 - 01:45 AM
   

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Photos
Click image to enlarge
  • Lou01
  • Inside the Box!
    Inside the Box!
  • Kit Content Overview
    Kit Content Overview
  • Misc. Fittings
    Misc. Fittings
  • Main Hull Casting, Bow View
    Main Hull Casting, Bow View
  • Main Hull Casting, Top View
    Main Hull Casting, Top View
  • Main Hull Casting, Port View
    Main Hull Casting, Port View
  • Main Hull Casting, Starboard View
    Main Hull Casting, Starboard View
  • Forecastle Details
    Forecastle Details
  • Cast Deck Details
    Cast Deck Details
  • Deck Details
    Deck Details
  • White Metal Fittings
    White Metal Fittings
  • 5" Gun Barrel Detail
    5" Gun Barrel Detail
  • Barrel Details
    Barrel Details
  • Main Turret Detail
    Main Turret Detail
  • Main Gun Turret Wafer Casting
    Main Gun Turret Wafer Casting
  • Director Detail
    Director Detail
  • Misc. deck Fitting Details
    Misc. deck Fitting Details
  • Funnel Detail
    Funnel Detail
  • Asst. Structure/Turret Details
    Asst. Structure/Turret Details
  • Superstructure Detail
    Superstructure Detail
  • Superstructure Wafer Casting
    Superstructure Wafer Casting
  • White Metal Fittings
    White Metal Fittings
  • Decal
    Decal
  • Photo-etch
    Photo-etch
  • CL49_01
  • CL49_03
  • CL49_02
  • CL49_04
  • CL49_05