Hasegawa 1/700 USS Alabama

WW2 Fast Battleship
Reviewed by Timothy Dike
Statistics for South Dakota Class as built:

Displacement 35,000 Tons
Dimensions, 679' 5" overall  x 108' 2" wide x 36' 2" (Max)
Armament 9 x 16" 45 cal main guns, 20 x 5" 38 cal DP gun in twin mounts AA, 12 x 1.1" 12 x 0.5", 3 AC. Note light and medium AA changed as the war progressed with 1.1 and 0.5 cal guns being replaced by 40 mm and 20 mm guns
Armor, 12 1/4" Belt, 18" Turrets, 1 1/2" +6" +1/3" Decks, 15" Conning Tower.
Machinery, 130,000 SHP; Westinghouse Geared Turbines, 4 screws
Speed, 27 Knots
Crew 1793.

The superstructure parts are not bad, the fit is pretty good but this kit was designed over 30 years ago and is rather dated in quality and fineness of detail. When first released it was years ahead of the Box scale kits produced in the USA. The splinter sheilds are too short and too thick and the detailing is rather plain. Another problem with this kit is the three raised 40 mm gun tub bases. These are only present on a 1943 or later South Dakota and they should be sanded off for all other ships of this class. Not an easy task, but if you go that far you might want to also sand off the poorly done deck planking and rescribe it.

The armament varies from pretty good to poor. The main guns are the best parts of the bunch, but are not really that good. A better alternative is the new Pit-Road GB-05 Turret set. But these turrets are far more accurate than those in the Aoshima North Carolina kit.

click images
to enlarge
 The twin 5" 38 turrets are usable but really should be replaced with those in the Skywave E-9 weapons set or the Loose Cannon 5" 38 cal set. The 40 mm and 20 mm are also in need of replacement. I would also replace the gun directors. It was kits like this that Skywave made their weapons sets for in the first place.
There is one primary difference between this kit and the South Dakota kit. This kit has two extra twin 5" 38 cal guns mounts to make room for additional quarters. The parts that are distinct to the Alabama are included on the sprue at the right.
The kit also includes the standard flat waterline bottom and weights. A decal sheet includes a couple of flags.
The instructions consist of the front and back of an 8-1/2" x 22' sheet. The text is mostly in Japanese so I can't comment on it. The back side includes several exploded views that clearly show parts placement.

This is one of the kits that hooked me on 1/700 scale waterline ships. When it was new it was quite a nice kit compared to the sparely detailed box scale kits of the day. But it clearly falls behind the quality of the current Hasegawa kits. Hopefully it will soon be added to the list of kits that have been retooled.

My biggest problem with this kit is the Crocodile bow. The real ship had a bow shaped more like an Alligator, wider and with a more blunt appearance. Compare the kits bow with the photo of the South Dakota's bow. The Revell 1/720 Massachusetts has a better bow that can be grafted on if this bothers you.
To me this is still a fun kit to build and there are a bunch of photo etch sets that will make it look even better, but to be honest I have never attempted to do all the work needed to make this kit accurate. I would rather wait and pay extra for a good resin kit.

Note this review is identical to the  South Dakota review except for one sprue and the instructions. 


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