Naval Historical Center Photo - USS Ohio 1911
Laid down at the Union Iron Works, San Francisco, in April, 1899 as one of three Maine-class battleships, the USS Ohio was launched in May 1901 and commissioned in October 1904.
Ohio and her sisters were a slightly larger, improved version of the proceeding Illinois-class. With this class, the Navy returned to the more traditional machinery layout, which resulted in the dispensing of the side-by-side funnels found on the Illinois-class.
As flagship of the Asiatic Fleet, Ohio sailed west in April 1905. She returned to the United States in 1907, where she prepared to join the voyage of the Great White Fleet. As the fourth ship in the 3rd Division of the 2nd Squardron, Ohio under the command of Captain Charles W. Bartlett set sail from Hampton Roads, Virginia on December 16, 1907.
The fleet at first commanded by Rear Admiral Robley Evans and then Rear Admiral Charles Sperry traveled down one cost of South America, through the Strait of Magellan and up the other coast of South America, finally arriving in San Francisco on May 6, 1908. Ohio was then part of a contingent of ships that visited the Pacific Northwest in May and June 1908.
With the fleet reassembled in San Francisco, and now under the command of Rear Admiral Sperry, the ships set sail for Hawaii on July 7th, arriving in there on the 16th. From Pearl Harbor, they set sail for New Zealand and Australia where their arrival in Sydney was greeted by over 250,000 onlookers. From Australia it was onto the Philippines and then to Japan, which they reached on October 17th, after sailing through a major typhoon.
The fleet was given a rousing welcome and treated to continuous events during its week long stay in Japanese waters. The visit to Japan also helped ease strained relations between the host country and the United States, when some thought the two countries might go to war.
After visits to China and some fleet exercises in Philippine waters, the fleet headed back towards the United States, via the Suez Canal, Mediterranean Sea and a stop in Gibraltar. On February 22, 1909, it arrived back in Hampton Roads, where it was greeted by President Roosevelt.
The cruise had been a technological and diplomatic success. The experience gained on the cruise of the Great White Fleet led to change within the Navy: the grand white and buff paint schemes gave way to more ominous and warlike gray paint. The military masts gave way to cage masts, and the top-hamper of the ships was substantially reduced.
Ohio was modernized in a similar fashion, losing her colorful paint and gaining one, then two cage masts. Assigned to training duties, she made her home port in New York. When turmoil in Mexico endangered American lives and property, she was part of the squadron that sailed to Vera Cruz to occupy that town and prevent arms from getting to Mexican rebels.
After this affair, Ohio became part of the reserve fleet in Philadelphia, hosting midshipmen cruises in 1915 and 1916. With the United States entry in to World War I, Ohio was re-commissioned into the fleet in April 1917. Sailing out of Norfolk, she provided training and participated in various maneuvers. Place in reserve again in January 1919, USS Ohio was decommissioned on May 31, 1922 and sold for scrap in March, 1923.
WIth the release of the USS Ohio, another United States Navy pre-dreadnought is brought to market by Commanders Series/Iron Shipwrights. Previous releases include the USS Iowa, USS Kearsarge and USS Illinois. This newer release differs from those in that while those models depicted the ships in their pre-1909 buff and white livery, the Ohio model depicts her after her switch to an overall gray and the installation of her two cage masts.
The bottom of the hull has a prominent "rib" of resin over pour, with a resin stub in the center of the hull - but these can be easily removed. There are also many small pin holes along the bottom of the hull. Again, these are easily fixed with putty, and are confined only to the bottom of the hull. All in all, this is one of the better hulls I've seen on an Iron Shipwright kit.
release of the USS Ohio is a welcome addition to the list
of United States Navy pre-dreadnoughts produced by Iron Shipwrights.
A USS New Jersey (BB-16) has just been released - hopefully this
means a Connecticut-class will be in the offing.
For the most part, the model is well cast and appears to be in scale. Without a set of plans, I can't vouch for the accuracy, but the kit appears to match photos and line drawings. The weakest part of this kit are the small parts and instructions, but that shouldn't prevent you from being able to build a decent replica of this pre-dreadnought battleship for your collection. My verdict: I would recommend this model to anyone who's built a resin kit and has some photo-etch experience under their belt.
The USS Ohio retails for $225.95. I purchased mine directly from Iron Shipwright.