HP Models 1/700

USS Idaho BB-42 New Mexico class Battleship
Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The successors to the Pennsylvania class were the New Mexico Class Battleships. They were similar in appearance to them in their as built configuration, but had a clipper bow. They were originally built with a cage mast but were rebuilt with a massive superstructure instead of the fighting tops on a tripod, as was used on the Pennsylvania and Nevada class. The wartime modifications were not as dramatic appearing as on some of the other Pearl Harbor survivors. 

The three New Mexico class Battleships were in the Atlantic on neutrality patrol when the war began and thus were spared the fate that fell on the other battleships. The Idaho and sister ship Mississippi  went to join the Pacific Fleet immediately after the attack and arrived at  San Francisco at the start of 1942. In October 1942 she underwent a refit at  Puget Sound Navy Yard and by April 1943 she was operating in the Aleutians. She was used as the flagship for the bombardment and patrol force around Attu during the landings that took place in May 1943. 

Idaho sailed to San Francisco later that year for repairs and more upgrades to her anti aircraft and radar suite. Following this she supported the  the invasion of the Gilbert islands with her big guns. From there it was off to the Marshalls, then on to Kavieng, New Ireland, for a diversionary bombardment on 20 March 1944. A pre invasion bombardment of Saipan kept her busy in June, and later Guam for more bombardment assignments. The Idaho moved on to Peleliu in September and began bombarding the island to give the US a forward base prior to the invasion of the Philippines.

The Idaho returned to Bremerton for much needed repairs in October 1944. After a period of training she sailed to Iwo Jima, where she blasted enemy position to allow the Marines to take the island. Her last major action was at Okinawa, fighting off kamikazes and bombarding the island. She was near missed by one of five attacking kamikazes and forced to retire for repairs. She returned in time to help see the island captured. She operated around  Leyte Gulf until hostilities ceased 15 August 1945. Idaho was in  Tokyo Bay and witnessed the signing of the surrender on board Missouri on 2 September. She was decommissioned 3 July 1946 and was placed in reserve until sold for scrap 24 November 1947.

Idaho received seven battle stars for her World War II service. 


Displacement 32,000 Tons
Dimensions, 624' (oa) x 97' 5" x 31' 1" (Max)
Armament 12 x 14"/50 22 x 5"/51, 8 x 3"/50 2 x 21" tt.
Armor, 13 1/2" Belt, 18" Turrets, 3 1/2" +2" Decks, 16" Conning Tower.
Machinery, 32,000 SHP; Geared Turbines, 4 screws
Speed, 21 Knots
Crew 1084.

HP-Models has designed this kit to represent her in the 1945 appearance, but it would not be hard to back date the kit to an ealier fit. The hull is nicely cast with with nice deck detail and planking. The scan on the right doesn't really do justice to the hull. It also appears to match the drawings I have of the Idaho.
click images
to enlarge
Superstructure parts are cast on paper thin wafers and is pretty good overall in detail. Splinter shields are all intact with no damage and very thin. Some parts such as the cranes will need a little work to cut away the web between the pole and boom. This part would be better replaced with brass rod and rigging.
Most of the weapons are pretty good, I'm a little disappointed by the main gun turrets, they are over simplified. They look a lot like the ones Classic Warships had in their now out of production California kit. The basic shape is there but they could use a little extra detail. The 5" 38 cal secondary guns are pretty good, but the other weapons look like copies of the Skywave weapons. 
The Instructions consist of an "A" and "B" size sheet of the  plan and elevation views, and exploded view, and a parts list. Barely adequate for construction of the ship.
The decals are printed on a sheet of paper and are a little too blurry for my taste. Dunagain decals make Naval Ensign set that would be a much better alternative.

This is one of the earlier offerings from HP and isn't as good as their latest kits like the Arizona. The hull and superstructure are good, but the weapons could use a little work. My kit was priced at $98.00 and came from Pacific Front Hobbies, they now carry an extensive line of HP kits. Check out the other HP Models on sale in the latest Pacific Front Update.

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