MidShip Models 1/700 USS California 1941

Reviewed by Timothy Dike

The USS California (BB-44) was a Tennessee class battleship. The California was present at Pearl Harbor moored on battleship row on December 7th. Like her sistership, she was repair and extensively rebuilt and returned to fight on. 

More of the California's history can be viewed on  the DANFS page.

This new kit from Midship is actually an upgrade of the old Classic Warships kit with some reworked parts and many new ones. The kit depicts the ship during 1941 as she was at Pearl Harbor

The hull is cast in the typical waterline style with deck planking inscribed into the surface. The anchorways are clean with no molded-on chain a big plus in my book. Casting is pretty good overall and there is plenty of surface detailing.
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The superstructure parts are cast on resin wafers. Some flat sanding will be needed to separate the parts from the carrier resin. Shapes look pretty good and the parts are pretty well cast. Deck planking is well done and the splinter shields are pretty thin. There are location rings for the funnels that should make fitting an easier task.   
The fighting tops look pretty much like the plans and photos I have seen. 
The secondary gun directors look correct as well.  While this kit shares many common part with the Tennessee, the superstructure parts are unique to this ship. 
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Main guns are cast in resin with pretty good detailing. These are an improvement over the original Classic Warships metal versions. Separate gun barrels are included with cast on blast bags. 
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 pretty 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.
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. Flash on these sprues is getting pretty bad and it might be time to rework the mold. 
Two Kingfisher Float planes are included supplied by Trumpeter. They are molded in clear and have look pretty good. I am not a big fan of clear molded parts, but some may like this feature. It allows for the canopy to be masked off prior to painting and the mask to be removed to reveal a clear effect.
There are a number of parts that are supplied cast in white metal. These include the king post for the cranes, main and secondary gun directors and the ships boats. Some of these parts a bit flashy and will need some clean up.
A photo etch fret is supplied to add the finer details to this kit. These include nice aircraft catapults, and cranes. Inclined ladders and lots of railings are provided. The latter are a little thick, but perhaps easier to work with than the thinner ones. Some parts are relief etched to help give them a 3D appearance. It appears everything needed is included on this fret and no aftermarket items are needed to complete this kit. 
There are also lengths of plastic and brass rod included to fabricate some of the other parts.
The second fret includes the two cage masts. Boat cradle and racks are included as well as some really nice sky lookouts not typically found in 700 scale kits. 
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 nicely registered and sharp.
The instructions are nine pages with a bill of materials, subassembly views and exploded views. Also helpful are the plan and elevation views.

This was a pretty good kit when first released by Classic Warships, but Midship Models has made it even better by upgrading the main guns, adding new photo etch, decals, and plastic parts. It will make a fine addition to your Pearl Harbor fleet. This kit is #MPK320  1/700 Midship Models USS California BB-44 (1941) with a list price of $100.00 US. 

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