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In-Box Review
USS Chicago
USS Chicago
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by: Jim Adams [ GOLDENPONY ]

Originally published on:
Model Shipwrights

USS Chicago...

CG-11 began like as CA-136 during World War II. Her active duty life only lasted just over 2 years before she was placed in reserve in 1947. With plenty of hulls left over from World War II the US Navy made the move to convert some of these ships into missile ships.

After a 5 year conversion everything from the main deck was removed and replaced with new equipment. She under went a series of tests an equipment evaluations. Finally in May 1966 she was sent to Vietnam for war duty.

During her 5 separate deployments to Vietnam she not only provided long range MIG interception, but she would also set up refueling points for aircraft, and help vector bombers around AA missile sites.

She was decommissioned in 1980 and scrapped in 1992.


Class & type: Baltimore-class heavy cruiser
Displacement: 13,600 tons
Length: 674 ft 11 in (205.71 m)
Beam: 70 ft 10 in (21.59 m)
Draft: 20 ft 6 in (6.25 m)
Speed: 33 knots
Complement: 1,142 officers and enlisted

Sensors and processing systems:
After refit:

1 AN/SPS-10 surface search RADAR
2 AN/SPS-30 air search RADAR
1 AN/SPS-43 air search RADAR
1 AN/SPS-48 air search RADAR
4 AN/SPG-49 Talos fire control RADAR
4 AN/SPG-51 Tartar fire control RADAR
2 Mark 35 gun fire control RADAR


After refit:
2 x twin RIM-8 Talos SAM launchers (104 missiles)
2 x twin RIM-24 Tartar SAM launchers (84 missiles)
1 x Mk-16 ASROC 8-tube launcher
2 x 5"/38 caliber gun Mk 24[3]
2 x triple Mk-32 torpedo tubes

The Kit...

The kit comes in a lidded box with a CGI image of Chicago cutting some waves. The bottom and sides are covered with CAD images of the model. Inside you find

Sprue A and B
These two are the upper and lower section of the hull. Since they were both loose I decided to see how well they fit. There is a pretty noticeable warping problem with my sample. Not sure if yours will do this, but it is something you will have to deal with if you want to make a full hull version of the ship. Even if you are doing a waterline you will probably have to deal with some warpage as well.

The shape of the hull looks right for the ship. The exterior has many of the raised details found on the Albany. The main deck is nearly molded on the upper hull, except for the foc’sole. This area also has the hurricane bow. The main deck is smooth and free from raised lines like typically found on flight decks of other ship kits. You will also notice deck fittings molded on the main deck as well.

The forward line in the deck will be mostly hidden under the forward Talos missile bunker.

Sprue C
Major sections of the super structure are here. These parts are a major portion of the first few levels of the ship. Exterior details molded on the bulkheads include water tight doors, drain pipes, and ventilation ducting. You will also see the doors for the Talos missile launching system.

Sprue D
This sprue is marked for the USS Long Beach. Most of the sprue is not used on your Chicago. You will use the directors and missile launchers.

Sprue E
Different support frames, boat davits, targeting systems, and boats among other items are here. Some of these parts will be replaced by the PE that is supplied. The boats are plain and basic looking. You will also get the open 5" 38 caliber mounts.

Sprue F
Here you will get the unique tall bridge of the Albany. These are really nice and molded in one piece. This technology gives Dragon one very good advantage and makes for fewer seams. The foc’sole is molded as a separate part. There are chains molded on the deck, so if you are going to use real chain, sand those off.

You also get the ships screws and shaft extensions. Other parts include some of the ships sensors. These can be replaced by PE that is supplied.

Sprue Z
This is the typical unassuming platform that Dragon uses for it releases.


The decals include markings for one ship, USS Chicago. There are also markings for the flight deck and launcher warning circles.


There is one small fret of PE included in the kit. Included on the fret are ladders, radars, and platforms. Some of these are direct replacements of plastic parts, so you have a choice, others are necessary to use when building your ship.


The instructions are typical Dragon style a single folded sheet. You begin with subs and work toward assembling this on the hull. A word of caution, if your hull does not fit snuggly like my sample, you will need to assembly the full hull first. Again, most instructions are a guide so use your best judgment when doing the actual steps.

Painting guide is black/white/blue, not my favorite, but it does the job.


You basically get a USS Albany kit with a different set of decals to make the Chicago. It is nice to have the second ship of the class, but having to buy a totally separate kit seems a little excessive.

All in all I am glad to have this version of the USS Chicago available in a kit. BZ!
Highs: USS Chicago in a 1/700 plastic kit!
Lows: Basically a rebox of the Albany with different decals.
Verdict: Still worth picking one up if you love the tall ladies!
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:700
  Mfg. ID: 7121
  Suggested Retail: 34.99
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Feb 24, 2013
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
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 Jim Adams (goldenpony)

Copyright ©2021 text by Jim Adams [ GOLDENPONY ]. All rights reserved.


The Albany was a Oregon-city class cruiser and the Chicago was a Baltimore class cruiser. I know there were differences. At that scale I am not sure if it will be obvious. I guess I will have to get the kit and check it out. I know I was on the Chicago and I lowered the colors for the last time on the day of her decommission.
MAR 30, 2013 - 03:05 AM
You are correct, they started out as two different class ships. I am not sure on the differences between the two classes myself. I think the hull shapes were very similar. The kit is basically a copy of the Albany with different decals.
APR 01, 2013 - 01:58 PM
What is the recommended aftermarket suggestion for the railings? If I recall they were 3 rows of just thick cable with turn buckles at each post. No chain. I been looking online but unable to get a good close up view of what is out there to get.
APR 25, 2013 - 03:14 AM

What's Your Opinion?

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