Reviewed by Timothy Dike
April 2014
For as long as the Big 5 Battleships have been available in 700 scale, modelers have complained about the over-simplified appearance of the cage masts. On the real ship, the main mast has an hour-glass shape that is not possible to achieve by rolling a piece of photo etch up into a cone shaped tube. The best option was to assemble one and swell one end. Well you can forget about that thanks to this new product from Blue Ridge Models. This set is produced using 3D printed cage masts produced by Carl Allsup of A2Z innovations, LLC. Platforms, braces, and bracing are provided courtesy of Tom's Modelworks. Owner Richard Harden had his set modified to work with the 3D cage masts. 
Both masts are included in the set. They are printed out of a plastic like material that is surprisingly strong and yet somewhat flexible. They are not brittle like early 3D printed parts. The structures are printed using the smallest possible framework so that even after a coat of paint, they still look as close to scale as possible. These masts will fit the Trumpeter, Hi-Mold, Classic Warships, Midship Models, and HP Models kits of the Colorado and Tennessee class.  Click images
to enlarge
Tom's Modelworks photo etch supplies all the platforms, braces, and yardarm details. These parts are sized to fit the this cagemast. The internal platforms are etched in an open mesh pattern and there are parts for early and late versions such as the Yardarm for USS Colorado or Modernized Maryland. There are also braces for USS Colorado foremast and diagonal bracing for USS Colorado foretop

The full list of parts included are:

  • Foremast Yardarm
  • Braces for fighting tops
  • Searchlight Platforms
  • Bracing for search light platforms
  • Interior Platforms
  • Jack Staff for main mast
  • Foremast yardarms
  • Signal Yardarms for Mainmast
Below is a build up by Carl using the new set showing how it it improves the appearance of the kit.
An excellent idea for a easy upgrade for your Big 5 Battlewagons. Bravo Zulo to FreeTime Hobbies for bringing together the team responsible for this set. The cagemast is available by itself, but I would recommend getting the whole set to do it right. 

Freetime Hobbies has this set listed as BRM71019 1/700  Accurate Cage Mast Advanced Upgrade Set for Trumpeter USS West Virginia & Maryland for only $21.95. An excellent price for this set.