Trumpeter 1/700
USS Washington BB-56

Reviewed by Timothy Dike
BB-56 Photos by Sean Hert

Note this review is identical to the USS North Carolina review except for the deck, sprue A and the instructions.

The North Carolina Class Battleship was a radical departure from earlier designs. There long sleek shape was the fore runner of the more modern Iowa Class BB's. Both the North Carolina and her sister ship the Washington had rather storied careers, serving in both theaters of war in battles from Guadalcanal to the Japanese mainland.

This latest kit from Trumpeter is a scaled down version of it's larger 1/350 cousin

The hull is one piece molded in the waterline style. A separate flat waterline base and full lower hull are molded in red plastic. The hull is molded nicely and appears to match the plans I have of her. There is not a lot of surface detail on the hull to comment on as it is pretty smooth. I test fitted the deck and it looks like this is going to be a nice fit. Click images
to enlarge
The deck is one single part with quite a bit of detail molded on. I would have preferred that the shields and ammo boxes had been made separate like the 350 version, but the parts would be pretty small and hard to handle if they did.
The deck is nicely planked and I am pretty pleased with the overall detail. I don't like the molded on anchor chain, as real chain looks much better. Nor do I like the thickness and height of the splinter shields, but for 1/700 they are not bad. There are even some metal plates with bolt detail in several spots. These look nice, although I'm not sure what they covered.
The first sprue contains the upper decks and superstructure parts. Most are pretty nice with nice planking detail where appropriate. Splinter shields are thick like on the main deck. One 16" turret top is included here as there are only two total on the weapons sprues below.
More superstructure parts are included here. The superstructure walls are all separate parts, but have lots of surface detail on them including many open portholes. There is a couple of ships boats with flat backs that I don't recognize. They seem a little over simplified and I'm not sure they are accurate.
More superstructure walls, also detailed with open portholes and surface mounted equipment.
There of two of these sprues with mostly weapons on it. They include the 16" main gun turrets, bases, and gun barrels. The barrels are included with and without blast bags. This is a nice option for the modeler. The turret sides are separate and nicely detailed. Yes there will be some seams to fill, but that is the price you pay for the extra detailing. The 5" twin gun mounts are molded like Dragon does theirs. These parts are better than those included in the Trumpeter Essex class carriers. The funnels are included here, so this is not a dedicated weapons sprue.
There of two of these sprues with mostly weapons on it. These are the smaller guns and fittings. The 20 mm guns included here are rather plain and simplistic. They are not as detailed as the ones used on the Trumpeter Lexington, why not copy those here? Some of the 20 mm guns don't have any shields, but there are 20 (40 total) with molded on shields included. These are similar to those included on the Baltimore class kits. 50 cal, 40 mm quad, and some 1.1" mounts are also included. I like the 1.1" guns, but was not impressed by the other guns. The boats and rafts are pretty good on this sprue. There are also some more superstructure parts on this sprue.
A display base is included for full hull display. I wish the cool waterline bases that are included in other 700 scale Trumpeter kits had been supplied.
A decal sheet is included with flags and hull numbers for both North Carolina and Washington. Aircraft markings for the Kingfishers are included as well.
A sixteen page instruction booklet describe the assembly in great detail with a variety of sub assembly views. These instructions are well done and should provide all the information that is needed to build this ship. For painting, a color plan and profile sheet is included with the Ms-22 camo shown.

Overall a nice kit, the detailing is pretty good in most places. I am a big fan of these Battleships so maybe I am more critical of some of the mistakes. I think it can be built up into a great kit, and it is certainly light years ahead of the old Aoshima North Carolina kit made many years ago. However I don't understand why the sprues were laid out the way they were, and why the superior 20 mm mounts that Trumpeter already produces in another kit was not used here. They took the time to improve on the plain 5" twin mounts, but neglected other items. In some cases scaling down larger 350 scale ships has produced really great 700 scale kits. Examples are the Lexington and Nimitz class carriers. But this ship falls short of those kits. Having said that, I still think this is a great addition to the 700 scale world, it just could have been better.

Thanks to Martin Quinn for his historical summary.