White Ensign Model's 1/700 WW2 Iowa class Battleships set was designed for both the older Fujimi kit and the newer, and more common, Tamiya Iowa/Missouri kits. As WEM states in the instructions, this set has been primarily designed to enhance the old Fujimi kits, attention has been paid to the Tamiya ktis with regard to fitting and replacement of parts. When kit references are made, they refer only to the Fujimi kits and their instructions.

PHOTOETCH

This fret has almost 90 different parts and fittings for upgrading and updating your wartime Iowa class battleships. In addition to all the expected railings and radars, there are many antennas, platforms and supports included, as well as parts for both a Curtis Seahawk and a OS2U Kingfisher seaplane, launch trolleys both seaplane catapults, and the large aircraft recovery crane.

  1. 3-Bar Railings (Standard)
  2. 2-Bar Railings (Upper Decks)
  3. 2-Bar Railings (Close Stanchion)
  4. 3-Bar Railings (Netted)
  5. Gun Tub Shield
  6. Upswept Focísíle Railing
  7. Anchor Chain
  8. Vertical Ladder Stock
  9. SK-2 Radar Antenna Assembly
  10. SG Radar Antenna
  11. Catapult Assembly
  12. SR Radar Antenna
  13. Mk3 Fire Control Antenna
  14. Mk27 Fire Control Antenna
  15. Mk22 Height Finder Antenna
  16. Mk4/Mk12 Fire Control Antenna
  17. Mk8 Antenna Dipoles
  18. SK Radar Antenna Assembly
  19. SK Antenna Platform
  20. Mk8 Antenna Access Platforms
  21. Mainmast Gaff Support
  22. SP Radar Antenna Assembly
  23. TBS Antennas
  24. Foremast Radar Platform Support
  1. Foremast Radar Platform
  2. Foremast Top Antenna
  3. Foremast Top Platform
  4. Mk57 Director
  5. Foremast Support Bracket
  6. TDY Antenna Poles
  7. TDY & TDY-1 Antennas
  8. Foremast Yardarm Assembly
  9. TDY Antenna Platform
  10. Mainmast Support Bracket
  11. Small DF Antennas
  12. Searchlight Lens
  13. Mainmast Top Platform
  14. Main Crane Jib
  15. Crane Hook
  16. Crane Rigging Mechanism
  17. Crane Rear Support Frame
  18. Fore Funnel Cap Outrigger
  19. Funnel Cap Catwalks
  20. Midships Director Supports
  21. Accommodation Ladder Handrails
  22. Accommodation Ladder Davits
  23. Accommodation Ladder Steps
  24. Curtiss Seahawk Seaplane Parts
  1. OS2U Kingfisher Seaplane Parts
  2. Funnel Cap Grilles
  3. Seaplane Launch Trolleys
  4. Mainmast TBS Antenna Pole
  5. Mainmast Yardarm Assembly
  6. Fore Funnel Outrigger
  7. Midships Lookout Platforms
  8. Whaleboat Thwarts
  9. Whaleboat Davits
  10. 40mm Bofors Quad Mounting Assembly
  11. Inclined Ladder with Landings
  12. QR WT Doors
  13. Floater Net Baskets (Large)
  14. Floater Net Baskets (Small)
  15. Standard WT Doors
  16. Gun Tubs (Circular 40mm Quad)
  17. Gun Tubs (20mm Foícísle Three)
  18. Gun Tubs (20mm Superstructure Side Five)
  19. Whaleboat Support Cradles
  20. Whaleboat Rudders
  21. Gun Tubs (20mm Bow Singles)
  22. Gun Tubs (20mm Superstructure Side Single)
  23. Gun Tubs (20mm Superstructure Side Three)
  24. Gun Tubs (20mm Aft Two)
  1. Gun Tubs (20mm Superstructure Side Two)
  2. Gun Tub (Fantail Group)
  3. Mk51 AA Gun Director
  4. Oxygen Bottles
  5. Fire Point Hoses
  6. Single 20mm (Pedestal Mount)
  7. Single 20mm (Tripod Mount)
  8. Inclined Ladders
  9. Acetylene Bottles
  10. Small Cordage Reels
  11. Funnel Searchlight Platform Supports
  12. ECM Antennas
  13. Cable Reels
  14. WT Deck Hatches
  15. Access Hatches

Enough railing for the main deck and superstructure levels has been included. In addition, some etched solid shielding as been included to modify or replace molded on gun tubs. Stock vertical ladders have also been provided to replace molded on or missing detail, as well as 14 inclined ladders, 4 with upper landings.

There are 24 large and 27 small floater net baskets, 27 various reels and 11 light AA directors in the set; research will be necessary for appropriate numbers and placement of these details

A large number of watertight doors and hatches are inclulded; additional parts are also available separately in WEM's 1/700 USN WWII Doors & Hatches set.

2 different types of single 20mm AA mounts are present; 30 pedestal based, and 20 tripod based. All are delicate and finely detailed. Again, the modeler will need to research numbers of which type and placement of same. Additional 20mm guns will almost certainly be required- Iowa had 60 as commisioned.

This set also has WEM's quad 40mm Bofors mount assemblies, (previously released in 2005) ready to entirely replace the kit guns. These finely detailed gun mounts should prove to be fun challenge to modelers both new and experienced with photoetch. However, there are only 10 of the mounts included in this set; the Tamiya kits includes 20, which is correct. WEM offers additional 40mm's in set # PE 771, 1/700 Quad Bofors. However, there are only 6 mounts in the set, so a modeler will require an additional *2* sets. WEM does mention this as step 6 in the "Assembly Instructions" box on the front page of the instructions.

Eight round tubs for the 40mm's are the correct number of tubs, but the execution is not; the tubs have the wrong shape. 40mm tubs had a downward sloped outer edge to provide a better firing arc when the ship was maneuvering, which the PE tub walls do not have. These tubs are correctly shaped in the Tamiya kit, although they are thick.

INSTRUCTIONS

Four sheets of instructions are included, totalling 8 pages of instructions. These instructions include numbered silhouettes of the etched fret identifying all the parts.

CONCLUSIONS
This photoetch upgrade set is a great improvement of the kit parts, with WEM's usual highly detailed, relief-etched parts. I am a little disappointed in the numbers of AA guns included; there is nothing on the WEM website to indicate to the perspective buyer this detail set is not "all-in-one." There is also the small issue with the shape of the 40mm gun tubs that would require an "out of the box" approach to do in photoetch I'm sure. Nevertheless, this set would really take your Iowa to the next level.

Priced at £20.38, or around $30.00 USD, this set is available direct from WEM or from many of our sponsors. Thanks to White Ensign for this review sample.




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