1/350 Yankee Modelworks
USS North Carolina
Photo Etch Set
reviewed by Tracy White
Trumpeter's 1/350th North Carolina screams for Photo-etch -- literally. Gun shields for the 20mm and 40mm guns are conspicuously missing; Trumpeter's acknowledgement that many serious ship builders replace the thick plastic shields with more-to-scale photo-etched metal ones. This means that those who have not done photo-etch before are put into a position where they may need to; but thankfully the photo-etch companies have stepped up and there are no less than three dedicated sets a modeler has to chose from. Yankee Modelworks is one of these companies, and their set is an excellent option to consider.
click to enlarge
Click to enlarge image
The set is on a roughly 8 x 11.5" sheet of .006" brass. Etching is crisp and relief etched, so that details such as tread pattern in the catapults or thin mesh for the raft bottoms are visible and the parts that need to be folded have a nice thin line to serve as an easily identifiable and bendable corner. There are 106 parts in this set but with repetition for the different common items such as gun shields I'd estimate well over 350 individual pieces in this set. For example, there are 72 pre-measured individual railing sections, 128 20mm pieces (64 guns, 64 shields), 180 quad 40mm pieces (with two extra sights per gun, nice if you've fat fingers as I do), and so on.

As one might expect there are pieces for North Carolina's radars and directors; the two Mk 8 gun directors benefit from new radar antennas up top and the Mk 37 secondary battery directors have a good set of details comprised of ten separate pieces. Surprisingly, there are no replacements for the two SG antennas North Carolina had at the time the model depicts. Addmittedly, these are small antennas and plastic ones are provided in the kit. Each of the three large cranes have replacements that include not only the crane structure but the cables that hoisted them up and hung below. One detail I would add to the aft crane is a ladder on the back; it's visible in a couple of shots in Randall Shoker's "USS North Carolina Technical Reference" book if placement is in doubt for the modeler.

One nice feature that I've not seen before is the inclusion of the chairs for the sky lookouts; by pure chance I found some photos of these this last weekend at Seattle NARA and am including a couple shots as a basic reference. 
Other extras include cable reels, covers for the hawse pipes, splinter shield bracing, and tie-downs for the life rafts

The instructions are some of the best I've seen; not only are there drawings of the parts and how they go together but in many cases there are also  isometric illustrations of the kit or directors showing he overall appearance of the real thing. The only gripe I have with them is that the bracing for the splinter shields (mentioned above) is mentioned but only in passing; it is up to the modeler to locate photos of these on the real ships.

The only serious gripe I have about this set is that there was one cardboard piece in the plastic sleeve to protect the brass, but it was about a half-inch shorter than the brass. One corner of my brass was bent, but not in such a way as to be beyond repair. A second shipment I saw at  Skyway Model Shop  was packaged differently; the PE was not folded over as mine was and the cardboard was larger than the PE set. So depending on when your distributor received their shipment you may have one style of packaging or the other.

*special Note* The image of the brass PE is actually a composite of both sides showing the details and part numbers as well as the fold lines on the back. I'd like to pretend I planned this but in actuality it came about after a frustrating argument with my scanner and me not noticing I'd plopped the brass on the tray the third time the opposite side of what I had scanned earlier! I still haven't decided who won...

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