by: Guido Hopp [ ]
USS Missouri was designed in 1938 already, but was only commissioned in 1944. At a nominal 33kts top speed the Iowas were the fastest battleships ever, a fact achieved with 212.000hp coming from 4 turbines and their 8 boilers and at the expense of heavy armour.
In WWII Mighty Mo served in the Pacific and foresaw escort and shore bombardment duties. Japans ceremonial surrender at Tokyo bay took place aboard her.
At the outbreak of the Korean War USS Missouri was the only battleship immediately available. After hostilities ceased Mighty Mo went to the Mothball Fleet until being reactivated and modernized in 1986 to serve in the 600-ship-navy of the Reagan administration. In the First Gulf War she escorted commercial shipping under American flag in the gulf. In the Second Gulf War, she once again bombarded and fired Tomahawk missiles at the enemy’s shore and inland installations.
Until 1995 USS Missouri was part of the Fleet Reserve until stricken in 1996. Since 1999 Mighty Mo serves a museum at Pearl Harbour.
The Tamiya 1/350 USS Missouri kit, even though marketed first more than three decades ago, is still the one and only choice for the big scale modeller, who wants to build a WWII Iowa Class BB (not counting knock-offs). It is quite remarkable that the kit from Japan has stood test of time for this long. While other Fast Battleships were lately released in plastic in this scale, the Iowa class is still only covered by the Japanese maker. As it seems that none of the new powerhouses in the market want to go toe to toe with Tamiya, aftermarket makers such as L’Arsenal, WEM, and GMM (among others) have supplied us with detail sets and add-ons to spurce up this good old workhorse. The latest addition to the number of aftermarket supplies comes from Lion Roar Art Model Co. Their latest set – in numbers – outshines all previous efforts: 191 resin and 31 lathe turned parts are complemented by 18 sheets of photo etch.
I won’t claim to be USN-specialist enough to rate the parts authenticity to help the Might Mo kit, but judging from previous building experience Lion Roar items are of good to excellent quality and great to work with. Sometimes the parts are very delicate and some assemblies pretty complicated. Enthusiastic beginners in the hobby should consider themselves warned: This set is NOT for you!
All of the photo etch frets are protected by low-tack foil. The resin parts, as well, are sufficiently protected by layers of corrugated cardboard. Lathe turned parts are found in little zipper bags.
The instruction is a 30-page booklet showing parts use und assembly in 3-coloured isometric drawings. The parts count in itself should be a warning as well: Study the instructions and the kit closely. The detail set doesn’t relieve you from studying references; it just supplies you with the maximum of choices for your super detailed build of the USS Missouri.
The parts included in the set is as follows
80x ammo boxes
25x 5"38 blast bags, with resin guns attached
10x 16" blast bags
2x Practice guns
30x gun directors
42x 40mm Twin Bofors
Lathe turned brass parts
9x 16" guns
20x 5"38 guns
2x Ships bells
Photo etch sheets
18 PE sheets
Conclusion...So far this set may be considered the ultimate detail set to complement the 1/350 USS Missouri kit from Tamiya. This should in no way be understood as a rating of the already available sets of other makers: In many ways they are different and address different needs and capabilities. As well, even with the Lion Roar Super Detail set in hand some will want to consider WEM, GMM and L’Arsenal to complement their build. However with the choice of Lion Roar I dare say, you may not need them.