MidShip Models 1/700 USS Pensacola CA-24

Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The Pensacola class was the first cruisers completed under the restrictions of the Washington Naval Treaty. Two ships were built, the Pensacola CA-24 in 1930 and Salt Lake City CA-25 in 1929. They presented a unique silhouette with their towering fighting tops with all of their ten 8" main gun armament installed in four turrets. Their gun arrangement was unusual in that the triple turrets were installed over the twin ones. Pensacola came in well under the 10,000 ton limit. At least until wartime upgrades pushed her over. These cruisers while lightly armored were fast and well gunned for their size. Intended as scouts these heavy cruisers usually wound up escorting carriers during the war.

When war broke out in the Pacific, Pensacola was escorting a convoy to the Philippines and was diverted to Australia. She returned home to Pearl Harbor and patrolled the waters around Hawaii later joining up with carriers Lexington, Yorktown, and later Enterprise in 1942. She fought at Coral Sea and Midway and later in the Solomon Isles. She remained with Enterprise during the November battles around Guadalcanal and escaped most of the carnage until returning to intercept Japanese ships in Ironbottom Sound on November 30th 1942.  Minneapolis and New Orleans were hit by torpedoes launched by the Japanese destroyers and Pensacola turned to avoid them only to catch one amidships that flooded her engine room and started fires all over her main deck. Honolulu following close behind was able to avoid her and the torpedoes, but Northampton took two torpedoes herself. 

Pensacola was in danger of sinking, but her crew was able to put out the fires and stop the flooding. She limped to Tulagi and tied up in the primitive harbor to make repairs. Hid under camouflage nets she was made sea worthy and was finally able to steam to Espiritu Santo for more permanent repairs. Pensacola returned to action after further repairs in Pearl Harbor and worked her way across the Pacific with the rest of the fleet enacting her revenge. She survived the war and even the atomic bomb experiments at Bikini Atoll only to be sunk 10 November 1948 after tests were done to evaluate the radiological effects of the blast.

Pensacola received thirteen battle stars for World War II service.

This kit from MidShip Models is an upgrade of the old Classic Warships kit. It depicts the ship in 1941 and can be made to represent the ship during the prewar years or 1942 with a few upgrades. 

The hull is cast in the waterline style. Detail is pretty good for a kit that was designed so long ago. The hull looks like it has the right shape and includes two rows of open portholes as she had in the prewar years. Most of these were filled in when war broke out. Some of the superstructure is cast on and also includes open portholes. The quality of the casting is good with no flash or visible defects to fix.
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The superstructure parts are cast on a thin wafers. Portholes are open on some parts but surface detail is a bit limited. The funnels have a slightly hollowed out appearance and a deflector on the fore funnel. 
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The triple and twin turrets look good, with cast on sighting hoods and hatches on the face. Most modelers will probably want to upgrade the barrels to brass, but these look pretty good for resin. Secondary 5" guns are Skywave clones but with good detail.
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Two types of boats are provided in resin. These are to be used in conjunction with the ones in the plastic weapons sprue and the metal castings.
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This kit features two of the MidShip standard weapons sprue to supply the small weapons and fittings. The rafts are molded in two styles and are both nicely done.   This will supply the small weapons as well as give you a bunch of extra spare parts you can use for other projects.
The SOC float plane and ships anchors are cast in metal. These parts have a lot of flash on them and will need some extra cleanup. I would suggest cutting the crane kingpost and using it with the photo etch crane shown below. There are some very small boats included as well, but these appear to be 1/1200 scale boats that were packed in by mistake.
A photo etch fret supplies all the railings, catapults, cranes, and many other items. This fret is common to the Salt Lake City and Pensacola is not relief etched but does have a lot of nice details that are not typically provided in this scale. 
The decal sheet is a real treat and includes flags and pennants as well as both prewar and early and late war hull numbers. These are printed by Microscale and are typical of the high quality decals they usually produce. They are nicely registered and sharp.
The instructions are eight pages with a bill of materials, subassembly views and exploded views. These are an improvement over past instructions but I would still like to see some 3D assembly views.

This old kit was pretty good when it was first released. It is not as detailed as some of the newer kits available today. But it has been upgraded with photo etch, decals, and weapons sprues and will give you a pretty good base to make most any mid to prewar version of the Pensacola. It's nice to see Midship upgrading the old Classic Warships line. List price is $70 US. These kits are available now at Pacific Front and Freetime Hobbies. Currently Freetime lists this kit for $56.24 making it a pretty good deal for this ship.

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