Pontos Models review
Reviewed by Timothy Dike
February 2014
The 1/350 Trumpeter Essex class kit was a big hit when released. But like many such kits, they are soft on the details, and can not be built accurately out of the box. The fact that you reading this means you are probably not content to build out of the box anymore. Enter Pontos Models of Korea with yet another "Detail Up" set. This one includes all the photo etch, CNC turned parts, resin upgrades and a nice wood deck that you could ever imagine. This one is designed for the USS Yorktown CV-10 in 1944, but there are other sets that take care of the other variations of Essex Class carriers of WW2. 
This set features a blue stained wood deck with realistic wood planking to overlay on top of the kit flight deck. This deck is really thin and doesn't have an oversize wood grain that you sometimes get with early wood deck sets. 
click images
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The first fret has the elevator frames to go around the elevator cutouts in the deck. The arresting gear hardware and tie down strips will make that wood deck stand out. Many of the parts are relief etched for added detail. 
This fret includes most of the island, and mast details. Radar, yardarm, and various antenna details are nicely etched in brass. New funnel and mast platforms are provided. Some have the railings already attached to simplify the assembly. The deck side elevator frames and some of the under deck bracing is on this fret as well. 
The aircraft crane and antenna towers are the main parts on this fret. Many more details are included such as ladders, additional platforms and the entire lower island platform. 
This fret provides the bulk of the details for the quad 40 mm mounts. Ammo clips are provided to detail out those gun tubs. Sights, shields, and railings are among those extra details. 
New walls and platforms for the bow and stern area under the flight deck. New platforms and bracing make up for the plastic kits total lack of accurate detail.
Another shortcoming of the plastic kit is the walls along the flight deck. The platforms are are also included with realistic tread and attached railing.
A new flight deck underside is included with etched lines to help locate the intricate support structure. This should help make this tedious part of the assembly more bearable. The photo below shows the effect of this treatment.
On this fret are the many floater net baskets and 20 mm gun details. These will keep you busy for a while. 
Aircraft details such as landing gear, propellers and flaps will really make them stand out.
More platforms, railings, and doors and hatches are included on this fret. 
The CNC machined parts are the most amazing. They include 20 mm gun pedestals and guns, 5" and 40 mm gun barrels, and even a scale size bell and clapper! The mast parts are also turned as are the radar assembly base. These parts are simply amazing and really require a good magnifying glass to truly appreciate!
For the resin parts Pontos goes with the well detailed Veteran Models weapons. Five inch twin mounts with separate blast bags, gun captain hoods, and barrel mounts for mounts without the blast bags. 
Five inch open mounts are also included and these have some fantastic detailing with intricate yoke, barrel assembly, and even fuse setters. The quad 40 mm mounts are very intricate as well. the base and yokes are a single part simplifying the assembly. Shell extraction chutes are separate parts. Finally the Mk-51 directors are 
Pontos supplies dry transfers for some of the markings. Masks with self adhesive backing is provided to allow you to accurately paint your deck. Sharp aircraft markings are printed by Cartograph and include the roundels, squadron marking and numbers for the Yorktown in 1944. 
The instructions are several pages many with captioned color photos. Deck and aircraft marking are shown. The assemblies are well documented and if you find some info missing, you can always ask on the forum where Kim of Pontos models regularly posts. 
The following photos from Pontos show the finished kit and some subassemblies in their natural brass color showing what your kit can look like.

This new set from Pontos, is a work of art. It is not for the faint of heart as there are a multitude of small delicate parts. but if your the type of modeler that likes a large parts count and is not intimidated by fine details, your going to love this set. It has literally everything you could possibly want in an Essex class upgrade set and it not only upgrades the kit, it makes it more accurate.

This is set #35004F1 1/350 USS CV-10 Yorktown 1944 Detail Up Set retailing for about $199.95 US on Free Time Hobbies site. This may seem pricey, but it includes a ton of high quality parts. Check the Pontos website for more information or inquire on the forum about the set. 

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