MidShip Models 1/700 USS New Mexico BB-40 1941

Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The three New Mexico class battleships were commissioned between 1918 and 1919. They were similar to the Pennsylvania class but had a clipper bow to improve sea keeping. As built they had cage masts, but in the 30's they were modernized and received towering superstructures and anti torpedo bulges. 

As war raged in Europe, New Mexico sailed as part of neutrality patrol. When Pearl Harbor was bombed the US Navy found itself short of battleships and she sailed for the west coast. Initially she escorted convoys of ships to the south west Pacific. Later she supported the invasion of Aleutian islands lending her guns to bombard Japanese forces on Kiska. Out classed by modern battleships, New Mexico still proved her worth by supporting the invasions and bombardment of many of the Japanese island strongholds. 

Following an overhaul in Bremerton, she sailed to Leyte Gulf covering the convoys and lending her anti aircraft guns to the relentless air attacks. She was hit by a Kamikaze while softening up targets onshore. Even though her commanding officer, and many other high ranking officials were killed, she continued to fire away at the enemy. Following repairs at Pearl Harbor New Mexico headed to Ulithi with other battlewagons to blast away at the enemy. She destroyed eight suicide boats, but was later hit again by Kamikazes and forced to withdrawal to Leyte. She was preparing for the invasion of Japan when the war ended. She was among the ships to witness the surrender in Tokyo Bay on September 2nd.

Decommissioned in July 1946, she was sold for scrapping a year later. New Mexico received 6 battle stars for World War II service. 

This new kit from Midship is actually the old Classic Warships kit. New molds have been made from the master and new parts have been added. The kit depicts the ship during 1941.

The hull is cast waterline style with almost none of the superstructure. The deck has nice wood planking and the hull looks to be correctly shaped. The casting is pretty good with only a few areas that will need cleanup. 
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The superstructure comes cast in many separate parts. I would prefer to have some of this cast with the hull, but this will make modifications easier. The parts are all cast in the open face mold style and will need some extensive flat sanding to get rid of the overpour. The deck also has nice wood planking and the reinforced splinter shields look very good. There is a lack of surface detail on the walls of most parts. Doors and portholes will have to be added by the modeler. The shapes appear to be correct for this class of ship.
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The main gun turrets are cast with gun barrel openings and nice gusset detailing along the base. The bottoms will need sanded but this is preferable to having to remove casting gates in locations where there is surface detailing. The gun barrels are also cast in resin and are acceptable, but I suspect that many will replace these with aftermarket barrels. 
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The 5" 25 cal guns are the same as those used in many of the old Classic Warships kits and current Midship kits and while they are well cast they are not correctly shaped. They are probably good enough for most modelers but you might consider replacing them with Corsair Armada versions. The gun directors on the other hand look very good. They are nicely shaped and even have the hatch details present.
Three  of the larger whale boats and two covered launches are provided cast in resin. Detail is pretty good and these will just need the casting gate removed from the stern and some minor cleanup.
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This kit features two of the MidShip standard weapons sprues to supply the small weapons and fittings. The rafts are molded in two styles and are both nicely done.   This will supply the small weapons as well as give you a bunch of extra spare parts you can use for other projects.
There are only a few metal parts in this kit. Masts, anchors, and main gun directors. 
A photo etch fret is supplied to add the fine details to this kit. These include nice aircraft catapults, and cranes. Inclined ladders and lots of railings are provided. These parts are relief etched to help give them a 3D appearance. This is a complete fret and really enhances this kit.
There is also a length of plastic and brass rod included for the mast and yardarms.
The decal sheet is a real treat and includes flags and pennants as well as both prewar and early and late war hull numbers. These are printed by Microscale and are typical of the high quality decals they usually produce. They are nicely registered and sharp.
The instructions are ten pages and more extensive then their other kits. They include plenty of assembly views and should be sufficient to guide you through the building process. A great reference book to help you would be Classic Warships Warship Pictorial #18 USS New Mexico

Also available is the other members of the class;  USS Mississippi, and USS Idaho in their 1941 fits.

I wouldn't recommend this kit to a beginner, but anyone who has tackled a few resin kits shouldn't have a lot of problems building this ship. This kit is yet another resurrected Classic Warships kits. It is not really up to today's standards but the inclusion of a nice photo etch set, new plastic parts, and sharp decals helps to make it a pretty good value. It's biggest drawback is the thickness of the resin overpours on the parts. this is one area where MidShip could improve on the quality of their kits. This kit is a little pricey at it's MSRP of $100, but you can usually find it for sale for a lot less. 

These kits are available now at Pacific Front and Freetime Hobbies

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