Blue Ridge Models 1/700
USS Massachusetts BB-2

Reviewed February 2017
by Randall Shoker
USS Massachusetts (BB-2) was the second of three Indiana-class battleships authorized in 1890. Commissioned in 1896, she was considered a “costal battleship” due to her limited range and low free board. The  Indiana’s were designed for defense of the United States and while small, they were heavily armored and carried heavier guns than the BritishRoyal Sovereign-class battleships. The Indiana’s pioneered the use of a heavy intermediate battery, using 8 inch guns vs the standard 6 inch guns of her contemporaries. While the design was often criticized for being over gunned and over armored for their displacement, its designers had never attempted anything like this before. In addition, they had limited resources and yet had to meet aggressive combat requirements. The lessons learned from this class would be put to good use in subsequent US navy designs.

Massachusetts saw limited combat in in the Spanish–American War (1898) as part of the Flying Squadron.  After the war she served with the North Atlantic Squadron, performing training maneuvers and gunnery practice. She was decommissioned in 1906 for modernization. Although obsolete, in 1910 she was recommissioned and used for annual midshipmen  summer cruises until her decommissioning in 1914. She served again from 1917 until 1919 as a training ship for gun crews. After being used as a gunnery target off the coast of Pensacola the ship was never scrapped and in 1956 it was given the state of Florida. Since 1993 she has been a Florida Underwater Archaeological Preserve and serves as an artificial reef and popular diving spot.

Blue Ridge Models has released an entirely new resin kit of this class the Massachusetts. This is a welcome addition in that it boasts the correct center armored citadel which is often incorrectly molded as a solid deck on many early pre-dreadnaught resin kits.

The kit is a deluxe version which contains an Art Wox wooden deck and an excellent set of photo etch, also by Art Wox. And a complete set of Brass Barrels by Infini. Instructions are printed on heavy paper in full color and the standard Blue Ridge flag and ship number decal sheet is also included.
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The hull is a single piece casting with an incredible amount of detail carefully molded in. Blue Ridge Models took a lot of time on the master as the molded hull is remarkably free from tooling marks that plague some resin kits. The casting is clear and bubble free and will require very little clean up. I could not find a reliable waterline length to check scale but her load waterline width is well documented sixty nine feet thee inches. According my calipers the hull is only 1/1000 thousandths of inch to wide, in other words perfect. 
Please note that I did not wash the hull before I took the photos, but rather just as she came out of the box. The black specks on the model are not defects, but tiny bits of foam from the box and not casting defects. I did not wash the kit as I wanted to photograph it right out of the box. The level of detail on the casting is some of the best I have ever seen. You will not be disappointed.
Please note that I applied liquid mask to the hull before I took the some of the photos. The casting is not distorted at all and any distortions you see are because of the liquid mask. The level of detail on the casting is some of the best I have ever seen. Note how thin the casting is for the aft superstructure bulkhead. A problem with many pre dreadnought resin kits seems to be the armored citadels or bulkheads are often cast too thick, if not just represented as a solid deck. That is not the case here! You will not be disappointed.
The Wood deck by Art Wox seems complete and also is correct. I have not taken it out of the bag to test fit it, but I have never had an Art Wox deck that did not fit well, this one should be no different.

The three calibers of Infini Brass Barrels are up to Infini’s usual high standard and will make a nice addition to an already great kit.

The Resin Parts come on 6 sprues with the center boat walkway and crane bases modeled on a separate bagged flat. The parts are very well cast with very little in the way of flash, the only flash really being a section of tissue thin flash on one the sprue that contains the beams that support the ship’s boats. 
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There is one large fret of photo etch that is packed with detail. This set include not only nice details for the ships boats, but the ships quick firing guns are also provided as well. This is one of the more extensive photo etch frets I have seen come with a kit that was not one of the “overkill” aftermarket sets. There is enough detail here to build a fantastic model.
The instruction are clearly laid out in four pages of full color. The detailed photos showing the placement of the photo etch will be extremely helpful.
Blue Ridge Models has raised the bar in 1/700 scale resin models with this excellent and well-engineered kit. The addition of full photo etch details, brass barrels and the Art Wox wooden deck make this kit an outstanding value at only 69.95 all in. If you need to add the first class of American battleship to your fleet, this kit will not disappoint.