Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The USS South Dakota was the class leader of a second new class of Fast Battleship to replace the aging prewar designs then in service. Laid out like the preceding North Carolina class, the four ships of this class were a little shorter in length and had a more compact superstructure. The South Dakota or SoDak as she was nicknamed was unique among her sisters in that she only had eight twin 5" gun mounts. The SoDak was fitted with the latest search and fire control radar and packed a tremendous punch from both the main and secondary armament. The SoDak was rushed into service to help counter the Japanese forces then roaming around the South Pacific. She proved her worth as a Carrier escort at the Battle of Santa Cruz by shooting down a large number of attacking aircraft and possibly saving the Carrier Enterprise from air attack in spite of taking a direct hit on her number two gun turret that effectively knocked that turret out. Hastily repaired  she later engaged Japanese surface ships at Guadalcanal without the full use of that damaged turret. She then came under the combined attack of a host of Japanese warships. Suffering a critical power failure at the same moment the South Dakota received the concentrated fire from all of the enemy ships at once. She sustained considerable topside damage but more importantly she drew the enemies attention away from the USS Washington that was then able sink the Battleship Kirishima. The SoDak withdrew from the battle and returned home. She was hailed as the famous Battleship X, and got to take credit for winning the battle. It was common practice at that time to censor the names of ships in the battle zone. SoDak was home and thus was named in many news reports as being a hero of the battle. Understandably this created some bad blood among the crew of the USS Washington as they were not allowed to be memtioned as the hero's that they were while they were still in the war zone. In spite of this the South Dakota returned to the war repaired and sporting even more anti aircraft guns. She spent most of her time as a fast carrier escort lending her tremendous anti aircraft firepower to protecting the carriers, but never again went toe to toe with another Japanese warship. She survived the war only to end up being scrapped like her partner the USS Washington, the two most important Battleships of the war.
Yankee Modelworks has produced this famous warships in her mid to late war fit. This is a heavy duty kit, with a hull of almost 2 feet long and with a solid resin hull cast in waterline style. This kit has been out for quite a while but has been overlooked by the major ship modeling sites. Since this is one of my all time favorite ships. it is only right to share it with all of you. It is obvious from looking over this hull that Mike Bishop has done his homework in researching this kit. He as correctly captured the Alligator bow of this ship, as well as the other details.
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Compare the images below to the Hasegawa 1/700 kit to see the differences. Unlike the smaller scale plastic kit this hull has nice deck planking detail and chocks. There were a few bubble holes on my hull but nothing a drop of super glue won't fix. The only thing I don't like about this hull is the very thick over pour that has to be sanded away. Thankfully YMK has inset this excess about an eighth inch from the hull edge to help keep track of how much you are removing.
A separate lower hull is pretty well cast and other than a really thick over pour looks real good.
The superstructure parts are mostly cast as separate deck levels. This should make back dating this kit to 1942 relatively easy. You might notice that on some levels that the doors are cast open for a more realistic appearance. The parts are all well cast with the exception of the resin over pour on some parts. This is a bit thick and more work to sand flat. But the visible areas of the various parts are well done and any extra sanding you have to do will be well worth it.
The Big 16" guns with their 16" 45 caliber naval rifles are well represented in a combination of resin and white metal. The turrets have some really nice surface detailing. There are no casting gates to remove as the turrets are poured from the bottom of the base. This eliminates that extra cleanup that to remove casting gates in visible areas. Separate blast bags really enhance these gun mounts. The cast metal barrels are pretty nice, but not as impressive as machined gun barrels like those Steve Nuttel is now producing. But you can always chuck these in a drill and lightly sand them for a more uniform appearance.
The twin 5" 38 cal turrets are pretty well cast, with sighting hoods and nice hatch detail. The gun barrels are pretty good but need a bit of sanding to finish them up. Overall these turrets appear to be the correct shape and size and are perfectly acceptable. These were state of the art a few years ago but not as nice as some of the recent offerings such as the new Paper Lab 1/350 turrets.
The quad 40 mm are made up of cast metal bases and injection molded gun barrels. The former is pretty good, but the gun barrels are simply the best on the market. They are thin and nicely shaped and have long been sought after by modelers seeking accurate gun barrels. 
Other metal parts include some really nice main and secondary gun directors. Yankee Modelworks produces some of the best small gun directors there are in this scale. You even get Pelorus mounts and different searchlights. The life rafts are the typical YMW open bottom ones designed to work with the separate PE net bottoms.
Kingfisher float planes are included. A bit of sanding to remove the flash and these will be ready to go.
If you are building full hull then you will need the cast metal propeller shafts with resin hubs. These will go nicely with the photo etch blades included on the photo etch frets shown below. These shafts can be cleanup using the same technique as mentioned for the main gun barrels.
Two photo etch frets are included. The first one includes the catapult assemblies with some really cool relief etching on the deck. The aft crane and radar's are nicely etched as are the other items such as 40 mm gun shields and 20 mm gun mounts
The second fret includes the railings and platform details as well as some nice gun shields for the 20 mm guns. The railing are exceptionally well done with drooping chain between the access locations. Check the thumbnails below for more close ups. 
Generic Hull numbers with flags and aircraft insignia are included as well.
Instructions consist of a 12 page booklet with a series of plan and elevation drawings show various parts placement. These are nice but I would like to see some more 3D illustrations.


This is a nice kit of one of the most important battleships of all time. As near as I can tell the kit is quite accurate and except for the sometimes excessive resin over pour it is a great kit. Everything you need is included in this kit except paint and rigging. I would not recommend it for a beginner, but anyone who has build plastic ships with photo etch should be able to build this one. This is Stock Number: YKM-35099 with a retail price of $ 549.00, a bit pricey but I have seen this kit on sale for less. Check Yankee Modelworks website for this ship and her sisterships as well as a host of other 1/350 subjects from WW2 to modern day subjects.