by: Jim Adams [ ]
This in box review is of BattleFleet Models AK-23 USS Alchiba in her 1942 Guadalcanal Campaign fitting. This is the limited run 1/700 scale resin kit with turned brass barrels.
The kit comes in a heavy duty flip top cardboard box. Inside there are two separately bubble wrapped sections. The hull and smaller resin sections are also inside plastic heat sealed tubes. The PE is held tight between two pieces of heavy cardboard. Small brass barrels are inside their own zip lock baggie. The whole kit is then snuggly held in place with packing peanuts.
The care with which the kit is packed tells you a good deal about what’s inside.
All of the parts are cast in a grey resin and are all nicely done. Most of the parts are attached to their pour stubs and will need to be removed, however this should not be a problem. Some parts are on thin wafers of resin, but a sharp blade will take care of that. The resin is also easy to work with and will not require much if any prep work.
The hull is molded in waterline version only and captures the lines of the original ship very nicely. There are even the port holes in the proper locations and you will not need to drill them out.
The ships guns did have some flash on them, but it should be no trouble to remove. Close up you can even make out the detail of the mounting brackets for the 3” guns.
Hoist supports also have flash, but again, easy clean up. Be careful there are two very small pieces on the same piece with the supports.
The bridge sections even have the water tight doors molded on them. These parts will be stacked on top of one another during assembly, so be careful when aligning them.
What makes this kit a cut above your everyday kit are the small details. There are two post bollards, these are used to tie the ship to a pier in port or to tie small craft to the ship while transferring supplies. You also find winches, search lights, deck vents, life rafts, and ships boats. The life rafts are very nicely done and show off the nice bottoms common in World War II ear rafts.
Since this is the special edition there are also 5 LCV’s and 9 pallets of supplies. As Harry likes to say, “Dio Idea!?” The LCV’s are just a nicely done as the rest of the kit. Then add in the pallets and your deck can be busy with activity.
The PE included is very nicely done. The fret, made by Tom’s, includes railings, anchor chains, inclined ladders, and miscellaneous other parts for your ship. This version of the AK-23 kit comes with 5 different turned brass barrels, one 5” and 4 3”. A note of warning, make sure to open the bag someplace safe, the carpet monster would love these. Another nice touch is the inclusion of three brass rods included for the cargo cranes. These cut easily, just make sure you have a ruler around to measure.
.The decals are black and white numbers.
The instructions are printed on 4 sheets. They include both plan and elevation drawings of the ship. With these the locations of the various parts are called out. One page gives you a corresponding letter for each part along with its name.
There is no painting information on the instructions so that will have to be researched. With that being said there is guide lines for painting on the BFM web site. On a side note, there is a paint mask available from Gator Masks, so check that out as well!
The detail is top notch in the kit. The subject matter is totally different than most builders are used to doing. For a novice builder it will be a challenge. But in the hands of an expert she will be a dream kit.
This is a great way to break away from building all of those battlewagons and carriers.
After all without the cargo ships doing the grunt work, the grunts couldn’t work.