Regia Marina 1/700 USS Washington
North Carolina Class Battleship
North Carolina Class Battleship
Reviewed by Timothy Dike

The North Carolina Class Battleship was the first of the Fast Battleships, a radical departure from the previous dreadnought style Colorado class. Abandoning the cage masts and tripod superstructure this new class had a sleek appearance and was the basis for the later South Dakota and Iowa class. The North Carolina and Washington were the only two of this class built as a more compact arrangement was tried to the successive South Dakota's. Both ships in this class led rather storied careers, but it was the Washington that will always be remembered for engagement with the Japanese Battleship Kirishima. It was in this battle that Admiral Ching Lee stopped the Japanese bombardment force and dealt the enemy a serious blow by sinking the Kirishima. The Washington went on to participate in most every engagement in the Pacific war. Pausing only to have repairs made and the occasional refit done.


 Displacement 35,000 Tons 
 Dimensions, 728' 9" (oa) x 108' 4" x 35' 6" (Max) 
 Armament 9 x 16"/45 20 x 5"/38 AA, 16 x 1.1" 12 x 0.5", 3 AC 
 Armor, 12" Belt, 16" Turrets, 1 1/2" Main Deck, +5 1/2" Armored (2nd) deck, +3/4" Third Deck, 16" Conning Tower. 
 Machinery, 115,000 SHP; G.E. Geared Turbines, 4 screws 
 Speed, 27 Knots 
 Crew 1880.

For years 1/700 scale modeler's have had only one choice for a North Carolina or Washington. The Aoshima kit was a decent kit in it's day but had quite a few problems that needed to be fixed to make an accurate model. Fixing them was beyond the abilities of the average modeler. Along comes Regia Marina, an Italian company known for it's line of fine 1/700 scale Italian Navy resin kits. They have entered the US Navy ship market with this ambitious and welcome release. This kit will build a Washington from any era, a North Carolina may also be built, but has a separate instruction sheet.

The hull is cast with most of the superstructure in place, which should cut down on your building time. I compared the lines of this kit with the plans I have. It certainly has that distinctive wide bow and the deck details look good. It is easy to make out the deck winches and the anchor and capstands look correct. 

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Overall the casting looks pretty good and there is very little flash or signs of defects. The only real concern I have is that there is a slight negative camber to the decks, probably caused by shrinkage. It probably wont be noticeable once all the details are place and it not worth the effort to fix. The surface details are well done and leave very little for the modeler to add.
A kit of this size deserves a few extra views of the hull
Since most of the deck levels are cast on the main hull, there aren't that many other superstructure parts. The ones that are cast separate are all pretty well done with just a light touch of flash to remove. Since the parts are all cast using a two piece mold there is no "over pour" on the bottoms of the parts to remove. The parts are cast on resin sprues much like an injection molded plastic kit so only the attachment points will need sanded.
The turrets are nicely detailed with blast bags molded on and separate machined aluminum gun barrels. The barrels are nice but the ends are not center-drilled like those available from Clipper and Waveline. The open ends on the barrels are probably not a big concern as we modelers seem to obsess over things like this when in realisty the gun barrels were typically covered or plugged to keep them clean and dry, unless they were at battle stations. 
Secondary guns vary in detail and quality. The twin 5" 38 cal gun mounts are well done with cast on sights. While the quad 40's look like Skywave copies, but will look much better when you add the photo etched gun shields. The 20 mm guns are a combination of a Skywave style pedestal and photo etch brass gun barrels. 1.1 guns are also included in case you are doing an early war version.
Miscellaneous parts are pretty good overall. Some of the finer parts such as the Mk 51 gun directors came out pretty fine. There were a few parts such as life rafts that had an occasional air bubble, but there are extras provided just in case.
There are three separate Photo etch frets include in the kit. They consist of the usual rails and ladders on one fret with some nice additions such as quad 40 mm gun shields and 50 cal and 20 mm machine guns. The other fret contains the various radar's, catapults, and boat cranes found on the North Carolina class BB's. The last fret contains the boat cradles.
Instructions are several pages of detailed assembly drawings, ranging from exploded views to plan and elevation views showing the armament for various time frames. Painting instructions give the camouflage measures that the Washington wore over the years.

A long awaited kit kit for the serious modeler. Accurate and well cast it has everything you need except the paint and glue. I can add that Regia Marina also has a good reputation and excellent customer support. When my first kit arrived it had a damaged hull, an email to them brought a replacement in a timely fashion with no hassles. My kit came from Pacific Front and it is listed for $95 in the latest update. It might be a little pricey for the average modeler, but considering the amount of work you will have to put into the Aoshima kit, I think it is worth it. I look forward to seeing more US Navy ships from this manufacture on the market soon.