"Crew-mate Steve Joyce (blaster76) shares his build of Trumpeter Models 1/350 Scale USS North Carolina!"
The Ship, The Kit, and it's details...
USS BB-55 North Carolina Battleship
Length: 635 mm
Total Plastic Parts-634pcs
Total Sprues-12 sprues, plus lower hull, upper hull, decks, waterline plate and display stand
Decal Marking-1944 Measure 32
Original Vessel Specifications
Length overall: 222.1m
The North Carolina (BB-55) was laid down 27 October 1937, by New York Naval Shipyard; launched 13 June 1940 and commissioned at New York 9 April 1941. North Carolina completed her shakedown in the Caribbean prior to the Pearl Harbor attack, and after intensive war exercises, entered the Pacific 10 June 1942.
When the U.S. attacked Guadalcanal in early August of 1942, North Carolina was the only U.S. battleship available to provide protection for the carriers Wasp CV-7, Saratoga CV-3 and Enterprise CV-6. In the Battle of the Eastern Solomon, North Carolina forever changed the role of the new battleships when she shot down seven Japanese planes in one battle.
After that battle it would not be uncommon for fast battleship to screen aircraft carriers due to their massive anti-aircraft batteries. On the afternoon of September 15 1942, one torpedo was hit the North Carolina. The torpedo hit tore a hole 10 meter long and 6 meter high in the shell plating and caused 5 dead. After inactivation, she decommissioned at New York 27 June 1947. On 29 April 1962 she was dedicated at Wilmington, N.C., as a memorial to North Carolinians of all services killed in World War II. North Carolina received 12 battle stars for World War II service.
This kit, when it was released took a lot of hits for some poor engineering and inaccuracies. So first off there is a need to address this. The most glaring problem is the horrible fit between the upper and lower sections of the hull, unless you elect to go waterline. I solved this problem by carefully taking a Popsicle stick and slowly but surely sanding it down until I got the lower (red) section of the hull wide enough to match up with the upper hull section. Then I glued it in and let it sit for a while to give the piece time to get used to the new shape. (Actually, after I did it, I set the kit aside for over a year as I had other builds). Do not make this adjustment by cutting the upper hull cross pieces as then the deck won’t fit on. There were other issues but the vast majority was fixed by a good PE set other than Trumpeter’s continued breaking the main deck into 3 pieces rather than making a one piece.
I purchased the Lionroar PE set for this kit. While more expensive than Tom’s or Gold Medal Models, it includes something unique. It has the 16 and 5 inch gun tubes in metal as well as replacement metal anchor chain and propellers. For the more adventurous you can also replace the 40mm gun carriages and entire 20mm guns. I elected to add the gun shields on both types of guns and the rear section of the 40mm mount only. Lionroar directions are the best I have ever seen.
At this point, the kit is a straight forward build. My style is always to build in subsections. So, using the kit directions and the Lionroar pieces and directions I assembled the kit in chunks. Now, I saw the camo pattern on the box, and have always avoided this type of painting when I do my builds. But my friend Kenny Loup (Gator of Gator'’ Masks) has an excellent masking product out there. I had utilized a very small mask he made for me when I did my Lexington conversion, and I saw his Japanese carrier flight deck set utilized. So I got a set of these. After comparing the masks to the paint scheme that is included in the kit on a real nice 16” x 11” sheet, I marked the mask sheet with 1’s and 2’s so I knew what needed to be placed in the proper sequence. The upper hull was quite simple with those nice flat sides. It did require a bit of engineering to get around the curves and jutting of the superstructure pieces. (Still as subassemblies) I was thrilled with the results and when final assembly came only required a minimal matching up of lines of color.
The kit may not be 100 % accurate, but for the price and ease of the build as compared to the alternative I felt it was worth it. The Lionroar set is a bit more fiddledy than others so I left a lot of stuff off or made adjustments. All in all, I am pleased with how things went and have no problem displaying the model to others. (Unlike that abysmal 350 scale Titanic—shudder).