Trumpeter 1/700 Modernised Iowa Class Battleships

Reviewed by Jeff Hughes
Finally the much anticipated release of the Pitroad (Skywave)/Trumpeter modernized Iowa Class battleships have hit the US shores. The kits, the USS Iowa in her 1984 fit and the USS New Jersey in her 1983 fit are a joint effort between Pitroad (Skywave) and Trumpeter. The Pitroad (Skywave) versions are sold only in Japan and Trumpeter, as I understand, has the remainder.
The Trumpeter kits are molded in a light grey plastic, the Iowa has 223 parts and the New Jersey has 222 parts. The parts are crisply molded but do contain some flash. The aft fantail 40 mm gun tubs on the Iowa kit are badly formed, and they are just "ok" on the New Jersey kit. The water line hull of the Iowa is warped significantly, the New Jersey is not as badly warped. The boxes for both kits are sturdy but could have been a little larger as the parts are squashed in and both kits had broken parts. This is nothing major and easy to fix for any modeler. Click images
to enlarge
There are two main differences in the two kits. One is that the Iowa comes with the drone control antenna radome located on the aft stack and the New Jersey comes with the SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare gear. Secondly, the helicopter landing area on the New Jersey fantail looks as though it is made from larger pieces of wooden planking while the Iowa is smooth.
The detail is rather good on all parts except the Seahawk helicopters, two of which are provided in the kit. The Seahawk is the same as found in the new modern weapons set V from Skywave. The only difference is that the landing gear is molded on and not separate pieces like the Skywave version. Unfortunately, the location holes for the landing gear are still visible above the molded-on gear.
The 5 inch 38 caliber gun housings are smaller than the 5 inch gun housings found in the Skywave USN WWII weapons E9 set. Those found in this kit are much closer in size to the original 5 inch 38's found in the older Skywave E6 USN WWII weapons set. The gun barrels do not have blast bags, which is correct from the pictures I was able to find.

The Tomahawk Armored Box Launchers are nice in that they can be shown as either closed or open showing the actual missiles.

The Harpoon launchers do not appear to be as crisp as the ones found on the modern weapons sprue from Skywave, but they are not bad in appearance.

The CIWS gattling guns have the same problem as the ones found in all Skywave modern kits, the gun barrels are over scaled and need to be replaced with brass rod. The back of the CIWS radome has a flat spot from injector pins (used to pop the sprue from the mold). Why this area was chosen, I don't know, as it will make it difficult to correct due to the round radome. The radome is smaller and more true to scale than previous Skywave versions.

The main deck is in three pieces. The center piece is molded in, the fwd and aft pieces need to be glued in place. Now I don't usually build WWII ships, so I have little to no experience with this, but I wonder how the heck I am going to get the seams hidden and keep the teak deck looking decent! The deck pieces, both fwd and aft do not fit very well. They will need to be shimmed, because the two pieces that need to be glued in place are lower than the molded-in deck. Now some good news, the aft deck only has a small section of teak to teak, the rest is depicted as smooth, a result of modernization of the ships. Still this will require some filling and sanding to make it look good. The fwd section is another matter. Luckily, warning lines are supposed to be installed exactly where the decks meet!!! The fwd deck will still need to be shimmed and a little effort will be needed to make the gap disappear. It appears this will be easier to hide to make it look right.

The decals appear sharp and there are variations between each kit. Included are decals for the two Seahawks as well as warning lines and helicopter landing markings.

The instructions are on one large sheet and provide enough detail to easily build the kits.

Upon dry fitting most of the parts I did not notice any real problems, in fact it went together rather easily. If you plan to build them out of the box it will be a fairly easy construction except of course for the deck pieces.

I guess no kit is perfect. If you want to build a modernized Iowa or New Jersey and are not interested in resin, these two kits are the only game in town. Skywave's input with Trumpeter's price equals great kits to build that are easy on your wallet!


The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, 1986/87 
The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, 1995


This kit lists for $22.95, you can get it from Trident Hobbies  for $19.99.