Classic Warships 1/700 USS Portland

Portland Class Heavy Cruiser
One of the essential players in the Pacific theater was the USS Portland often lovingly referred to as "Sweat Pea" by her crew. The Portland was the name ship of a new class of heavy cruisers that improved upon the earlier Northampton Class. There were only two of this class, the other being the USS Indianapolis. She was armed with nine eight inch guns in three turrets as was the most typical Cruiser arrangement secondary armament was in the form of eight single 5" 25 Caliber dual purpose guns. Like other cruisers of that era she had her seaplane hanger deck located amidships. 

Classic Warships has chosen to model the Portland in her 1942 fit, with her original tall superstructure and tripod mast. If you wish to model her is a later version, using the Tamiya Indianapolis kit would be your best bet, as later wartime refits severely reduced her superstructure and lowered her tripod mast as well. 

The hull on my kit was nicely molded with the exception of the splinter shields. Unlike plastic kits these are extremely fine, and some of mine were slightly damaged. There were no holes or other casting defects on my kit. This casting seems to follow the lines of the ship well, though it scales out a few scale inches short in length and beam. In 1/700 scale this is not noticeable anyway.
 The superstructure parts are molded in the typical Classic Warships style and are crisp and have a very thin over-pour to be sanded away. I would advise you to purchase a set of plans from the Floating Drydock or get the new Classic Warships Indy and Portland book to refer to help locate the superstructure parts properly. The instructions show the proper order and arrangement, but don't give overhang dimensions and exact placement. Having once learned how hard it is to remove superglued parts once they have been placed, I would really appreciate having an actual reference to go by.
The white metal parts are nice, and there is only a small amount of flash to remove. The 5inch25 cal guns look pretty good as well. The 8 inch main gun turrets are plain looking, but then so was the prototype. I would prefer having a mounting pin cast in for locating purposes as well. You also get some 1.1 anti-aircraft guns as well that look pretty good, but there are no 20mm guns in the set. Classic makes a photo etch set that includes them, but I would prefer to have them included. SOC seaplanes and the usual searchlights, life boats and life rafts are provided as well. The catapults will need a lot of cleanup, and the cranes are a little undefined but I suspect most modelers will replace them with photo-etch sets.
Instructions are the main weakness of this kit, they consist of a one page exploded view with a small auxiliary view of the forward superstructure. I have seen the excellent drawings that appear in Classic Warships new books, and think it's time to upgrade the instructions in the kits to that level.
My conclusion is that this kit will build into an accurate model of the Portland. It will make a nice addition to your waterline fleet. It is a must have for the Friday the 13th US Task force modeler, but has a little room for improvement.