1/700 Combrig New Orleans Class Cruiser

Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The New Orleans class was born of the Washington Treaty that limited cruiser design to 10,000 tons. The ship was an improvement over the earlier Northampton Class Cruiser with better armor and improved armament. The Astoria was typical of this class and operated in the Pacific during the early war years. She was with the Lexington when Pearl Harbor was attacked and was present at the Battle of the Coral Sea and Midway. She was sunk during the infamous Battle of Savo Island in the opening phase of the Naval Battles of the Solomon Isles.
Displacement 9,950 Tons as built. Up to 13,000 full load in 1942
Dimensions: 588' 0" (overall) x 61' 9" x 22' 6" (Max)
Armament  9 x 8" 55 cal guns in three triple turrets
8 x 5" 25 cal Dual Purpose guns
4 x 1.1" Quad Anti aircraft guns
6 x 20 mm
Aircraft Up to 4 SOC Float planes could be carried
Speed 32.0 Knots
Combrig has chosen to depict this kit of her in her 1942 configuration after her 1.1" and 20 mm guns were mounted. A prewar version of this ship would be easy to build with minor modifications.
The Hull on this kit is very well cast. My sample sits perfectly flat and has only some light flash on the bottom edge. The anchor chain detail is left off as photo etch chain is supplied. One nice thing about the way this kit is designed is there are areas on the deck scribed to help locate the superstructure parts.
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Once you get past that you will notice the fine detailing on the deck, with finely scribed deck planking that looks too scale.
Superstructure parts are cast on a thin resin wafer and are equally fine in detail. The splinter shields are amazing and very thin. Note that the 5" 25 cal gun shields are cast separate so you can easily do a prewar version of this ship without having to do any major cutting. The aircraft hanger is cast in two parts, open in the center. Funnels and other parts are really nice.
The main guns are cast in such a way that there is no casting gate to remove. The slight over pour is along the base mount and this preserves the detail of the turret itself from sanding mishaps. The gun barrels are cast in resin with blast bags. The kit includes some nice 5"25 cal open mounts that are cast as a gun and separate barrel. The 1.1" guns are the same ones that I ranted and raved about in the new USS Porter kit. They are simply the best 1.1" resin gun assemblies on the market today bar none. They are also available separately if you want to upgrade your other kits.
There are a number of 20 mm gun pedestals designed to mount the photo etch 20 mm gun assemblies.
The ships boats are very detailed for their small size. Be careful removing them from their bases to avoid cutting off the rudder detail included. There are two type of life rafts included and you can even make out the netting detail in the bottoms.

You will be amazed to notice that there are open chocks included that look accurate for this scale. 

Resin masts are included if you chose not to replace them with brass one. These will be adequate if no rigging is added, but I would just use them as a reference for cutting brass rod replacements.

The kit includes a really nice SOC Float plane cast with separate wings and fuselage.
There are two photo etch frets provided. One has details common to both the Minneapolis and the Astoria. It includes inclined ladders, catapults, cranes, and various other details. The latter includes the 20 mm guns with platforms and Astoria specific detail items such as the searchlight platform and the really cool open bridge face window/wall assembly.
The Instructions are pretty basic with a plan and elevation view on one side and an exploded view on the other. The detail is pretty good and improvement over some earlier ones but still lacking in close up details.
You will find plenty of pictures in the New Orleans Class Cruiser Photo Album, Warship Pictorial #7. Squadron Publishes their US Heavy Cruisers in action Part 1 that has some photo's to refer to. But I can't recommend the drawings.

This is a great kit with loads of potential. The quality of this kit shows that Combrig is committed to continued improvements and detailing.. There are a few New Orleans Class cruisers on the market with one notable one being the Waveline kits of the San Francisco and the New Orleans. This one surpasses them in all aspects and at $45.00 (US) from  Pacific Front Hobbies this kit is almost less than half the cost. This kit is a tremendous value for the modeler. I highly recommend it.

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