Combrig 1/700 USS Salem

Reviewed by Timothy Dike
June 2013
The USS Salem, was a Des Moines class heavy cruiser commissioned in May 1949 the last of the all gun cruisers built by the US. She represented the ultimate in wartime cruiser design. Although she was completed too late to serve in WW2, she made the rounds showing the flag around the Atlantic and Mediterranean the 50's. Salem became the flagship of the Sixth Fleet. 

The Salem was spared the scrappers torch following years of mothball duty. She was restored and remains a museum ship in Quincy, Massachusetts. 

You can read more of her history in the DANFS page here.

This new kit from Combrig represents the ship in 1949 and is correct for her 50's service. 

The hull is well cast in waterline style. Much of the lower superstructure is cast in place. 
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The superstructure parts are cast onto a thin resin wafer. The detailing is very nice, but you will have to spend a little time flat sanding to remove the wafer. Funnels are nicely done and are engineered to plug into the mounting holes on the hull. This allows for a precise fit without worrying about over sanding.
The three main guns are cast in one piece with separate gun barrels. The turrets fits snugly into the mounting holes in the hull. The blast bags are cast onto the turret. Resin barrels are provided but these will be nice is you use aftermarket brass barrels. 
The 5" twin gun turrets are well cast and include cast in holes for the included resin gun barrels. Again, if your using brass aftermarket ones, these will work really nicely. 
3" 50 cal guns mounts are cast as two piece assemblies. These are very fine in detail, perhaps too fine as there were broken gun barrels on some as well as a broken yoke or two. The directors are nicely cast and detailed. 
There is a nice assortment of ships boats and rafts, nicely shaped and well cast. Two helicopters are provided, one Sikorsky R-5, and one Piasecki HUP Retriever / H-25. 
A photo etch fret is included with everything from helo rotors, to radar assemblies. Bridge windows are a nice touch. The old stern crane is also a photo etch assembly. The only thing lacking is the railings. 
The Instructions are six pages with a plan and elevation on the front, graphic bill of materials, and four pages of exploded views. These seem to be well drawn and show the basic assembly.
If your looking to expand your Cold War fleet, you need this old gun cruiser in your fleet. This one is accurate and very nicely detailed and just the ticket for the Salem in her early years. It is the best one I have seen. 

This kit is available for $86.95 at Freetime Hobbies. Check the Combrig site for details on where to get yours and for other new Combrig kits.