Reviewed by Jon Somerville

For anyone building their 1/350 modern aircraft carrier CVN-65 USS Enterprise, there are plenty of aftermarket products to spruce up your build. Unfortunately one of the most glaring items missing in my opinion was the lack of life raft canister holders. These life raft canisters run down both sides of the flight deck on all modern carriers and are a prominent feature. 1/350 scale kits of the USS Enterprise come with the canisters you will need, but are mounted in clusters joined by large pipes that aren't on the real ship. Tom's Modelworks has come to the rescue. Here we finally have a set that will provide life raft canister holders for the entire ship.

The set comes with 99 sets of double canister holders and 9 sets of triple canister holders. The triple holders were introduced in more recent times. Instructions are provided, but it will have to be up to the modeller to research placement of the canister holders as it would be too difficult to provide placement instructions for all of Enterprise's various modern fits. Although I cannot fully confirm when this style of life raft holder was added to the Enterprise, it is most likely during the major overhaul done from 1979 to 1982.

The photo etch sheet itself is brass of a very thin nature. It is very delicate so you will want to handle with care. There is no relief etching as it is not needed.

Close ups of the fret

Instructions comprise a one-sided page informing of what parts in the Tamiya kit need replacing and a few images showing where to bend the photo etch and an image of the real life rafts. The modeller will want to remove both plastic rings that circle the canisters on the Tamiya kit parts as well as the mounting tab that is on some of the parts. This will allow better fit of the photo etch and is also how the real ship would look.


Many modellers in the past have seen the need for this detail on their ship and have had custom photo etch sets made. Now this no longer needs to be done thanks to Tom's Modelworks. At a cost of $12.50, it will be one of your least expensive upgrades for your 1/350 CVN-65 Enterprise. At the time of release Tom's Modelworks also launched two other sets, . Nimitz Flotation Canister Racks (3576) and Nimitz & Enterprise Carrier Reels (3577).

Be sure to check out all of Tom's Modelworks ship detail sets on their online store with secure shopping.

This photo etch fret was designed by the author of this review, but was done only for the advance of the hobby. The author gets no financial gain for the sales of this product. It is now a product owned by Tom's Modelworks.