- Published on Saturday, 19 November 2011 01:30 Robin Jenkins
Although several nations have employed the aircraft carrier as a major naval weapon since its inception after WW1, only America can be said to have always valued and utilised the weapon constantly as time has passed. Indeed, even today, there are a sizable number of carriers, both of fleet and smaller size, in the USN arsenal. Fleet carriers have been the mainstay of their carrier force and, apart from a few weeks in 1945 when the Japanese carrier Shinano was operational, the USN has always had the biggest carriers afloat.
Therefore, it is interesting that this latest pair of etched detail sets from Eduard are designed for 1/700 scale Trumpeter kits of 2 of the largest carriers that have ever existed, but from completely different periods of time.
America's second aircraft carrier, USS Saratoga, CV-3 and her sister-ship USS Lexington, were, for a short while, the largest warships in the world. Laid down originally as a battlecruiser in 1921, reclassified as a carrier and launched in 1925, she and her sister were responsible in the main for the USN's development of carrier tactics in the 1920s and 30s. Immediately recognisable by her separate bridge island large funnel stack, always marked with a vertical black stripe, she was one of only 3 pre-war US carriers to survive WW2. Although torpedoed by Japanese submarines on two occasions and seriously damaged by bombs in early 1945, she survived, only to be sunk in the second atomic bomb test at Bikini Atoll in 1946.
The USS Nimitz, CVN-68 (above) is a much more modern vessel that is still in service. Nuclear powered and launched in the early 1970s, she was first deployed in 1976 and action she has seen includes the abortive attempt to rescue US hostages in Tehran in 1980, the shooting down of 2 Libyan Su-22s over the Gulf of Sidra in 1981, and Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in 2003. As well as many deployments, she has been used in films on more than one occasion and was the subject of the PBS Emmy-winning series "Carrier" in 2008. The "Old Salt", as she is known, displaces an incredible 100,000 tons, is nearly 1100 feet (333m) long and has a ship's company of 3,200 with an air wing of 2,480. This is a major vessel by anyone's standards!
Trumpeter have previously released 1/700 models of both vessels to a fair degree of acclaim (and there are other older models including a Saratoga from Fujimi). Now Eduard has released two new sets to enhance these particular models.
Taking the set for Saratoga first, it comprises of 2 frets. The first (below) covers, amongst many items, the deck safety barriers, half of the railings, funnel matting with other funnel fixtures including the excellent caps.
A close up of this fret (above) shows Eduard's excellent standard of etch in this small scale; there were no poor quality etchings or mistakes on any of my frets.
The second fret (below) holds the remainder of the railings, doors, mast fittings, ladders and other fitments. The set is thorough and I could think of no added pieces I would ask for bar some anchor chain for an anchored vessel. I did feel that the asking price was a little on the high side for the pair of frets.
Turning to the Nimitz, there are again 2 frets, albeit this time of a bigger size and of much greater complexity. The first one (above) holds a myriad of details including all the railings, hull gratings, propellers and circular radar dishes. The second fret (below) contains ladders, deck blast ramps and supports, bridge fittings, hull details and many other smaller pieces.
Another close-up photo (above) confirms the quality of the etching. Although more expensive, I felt that this was the better set and gave more value for money.
Eduard's quality never fails to amaze me in this small scale and they have continued their high levels of execution with these 2 releases.
So What Do We Think?
Both of these frets will appeal to the 1/700 naval modeller and will enhance their Trumpeter kits; the set for Nimitz gives the better value.
2 quality sets for the naval modeller.
Our thanks to Eduard for the review samples. Click the above catalogue numbers for direct purchase links.