by: Jim Adams [ ]
USS Princeton CVL-23 was the fourth ship in the US Navy to bear this name. She was originally laid down as the USS Tallahassee (CL-61). However she was reclassified as the Independence-class light carrier CVL-23 in February 1942. She was renamed Princeton in March and later launched in October of the same year.
Name: USS Princeton
Builder: New York Shipbuilding Corporation
Laid down: 2 June 1941
Launched: 18 October 1942
Commissioned: 25 February 1943
Fate: Sunk 24 October 1944 in the Battle of Leyte Gulf
Class and type: Independence-class aircraft carrier
Displacement: 13,000 tons
Length: 622.5 ft
Beam: 71.5 ft (waterline)
Draft: 26 ft
Speed: 31 knots
Complement: 1,569 officers and men
Armament: 22 × Bofors 40 mm guns
16 × Oerlikon 20 mm cannons
Aircraft carried: 45
This is a big kit. It comes in a lidded box that features the Princeton at sea under attack.
The upper hull, lower hull, and flight deck come protected in a pair of plastic holders. The flight deck has nicely recessed deck texture as well as raised arresting wires. The upper hull section had a seam down the middle of the stern, so clean that up. The upper and lower halves include the torpedo bulges. If you build her full hull you will have to clean up the seam so be careful doing so. My sample had a little warping on the two halves, so make sure to have some clamps around to hold them together just in case.
Sprue D Here we have the "main deck" section and the sides of the hangar. You will also get the ships screws rudder.
Sprue E On this sprue you find the gun tubs and other flight deck edge items. These are all nicely done and have thin sections for the gun tubs.
Sprue F Many of the smaller parts that go into the ships funnels and flight deck details are on this sprue. Just be careful taking the lattice work for the funnels off.
Sprue G The forward and aft gun platforms are here. Again these are nicely done.
Sprue H Here are many of the parts for the bridge. This is one of the most important sections of the ship and these too are top notch. Several of these are very fine and will need to be handled with care when removed.
Sprue I There are two of these and there are some small parts here. So, beware the carpet monster!!
Sprue J Ships rafts and some more tiny pieces.
Sprue KHere are the ships boats and some more tiny parts.
The PE included with the kit is used to replace some of the bulky plastic parts. It is the typical style and quality we have seen in other Dragon kits and will make your kit look just a tad bit better if you choose to go that way.
What is a carrier without aircraft? There are F6F Hellcats and TBF Avengers. These are molded in clear plastic and are rather detailed. They can be made is folded wing or ready for action.
The instructions take you through construction is a some what logical set of steps. Make sure to study them before you take start, this is the best way to prevent accidents. To me the double fold out assembly page was a little busy, but again, just pay attention.
Again in typical Dragon style the painting guide is in shades of gray and blue to denote the different colors. There are two different color schemes present in the instructions. You get diagrams for Measure 33/7 and Measure 21.
Very nice detailed kit. I was happy to see a new carrier in the 1/350 scale come out by Dragon. This will make a very good project and will make a good deal of the builders out there happy.
Just wish the company would also get into the 1/350 cruiser section as well. They already have a majority of the hull work done!