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1700
USS California

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"MSW crew-mate David J. Salvin shares a gallery of images and build details of his USS California, in this Build Story feature!"

Model kit- Midship Models
Scale: 1/700

The Kit:

While I loath to criticize any kit, I really have to say that my particular kit, when you figure in the price, was a complete mess. Starting with the hull...Absolutely no hull detail is included on this kit including portholes. (Drilling portholes is difficult to get right and really no fun in 1/700). No plating details, and just the barest hint of a torpedo blister exists on this kit. The lack of detail goes up through the superstructure and other parts which are devoid of any detail and are all exactly flat...No doors, no details of any sort.

In addition to the lack of detailing, the molding process left a large shelf of resin under each part that involved a great deal of sanding and shaping for each part (some of which was actually thicker than the part itself).

My particular kit was missing both the search light platform and the aircraft frets. After writing several times to the company, I finally got the search light platform, (without the hole drilled in the middle for the cage mast to go through). This required a drill press to drill out with the requisite accuracy. This same process was necessary for the bridge level which the front cage mast went through. Again, a tough operation.

I have no idea if the proportions of the ship are correct, and still think the rear cage mast is too short. The kit came without any provision for the front fighting top machine gun tubs which required scratch building. (for such a major component of this particular ship I though this should be included)

The instructions I received (apparently a beta version) missed several building steps, neglected to mention the placement of several components including the 5" casement guns.

Overall, at every step I felt like I was fighting the model rather than enjoying building it. At a retail price at nearly $100.00, this kit (in comparison to the plastic kits or even other resin kits) was like carving the ship from a bar of soap.

The Build:

I built the model to represent the ship in about 1940-41 (prior to the attack). The sea is done using Liquitex on plexiglass painted underneath. Then using a spoon and sponge to get the ocean detail. The wake and bow wave were added in by mixing the thickest Liquitex with white paint and dabbing it on at the end.

Rigging is stretched sprue. All paints are Tamiya acrylics.
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About the Author

About David J. Salvin (djandj)
FROM: CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES

I began building models at the age of 8. Stopped for college and law school and came back to the hobby after an 18 year intermission. Having built most everything from space ships to full-rigged sailing ships, I have returned to my first love - 1/700 military shipping. Modeling is just one of m...


Comments

let me be the first to say ....you made a silk purse out of a sows ear. I am not a fan of resin. I have built an enire kit and while the parts were fine, the directins were major stinko. I also have done tons of conversion/upgrade parts with a fair amount of success. You really did a great job overcoming all the obstacles you did. Thsi ship is number one on my list of 350 injection kits i want....as the Littorio is in the works from Trumpeter.
MAR 07, 2010 - 05:05 AM
I have to echo Steve, Dave, you made a silk's pulse out of a sow's ear. I wouldn't be reluctant to criticize a kit. If it walks like a dog, barks like a dog, and smells like a dog, it's a dog and you should let others know about it. Especially if the company that was happy to take your money isn't willing to give you what you paid for. That aft mast does seem a bit short to me also. Looking at a drawing of the "Raisin Barge" it seems the after mast was a bit shorter, but this seams to be more than just a bit. Another issue seems to be the 5" anti-aircraft guns. They look much too large to me, and not just the bore but the overall size of the gun and mount. While the California isn't number one on my list of injection molded 1/350 scale kits, that honor still goes to HMS Warspite, she is certainly on the short list.
MAR 07, 2010 - 07:49 AM