Trumpeter 1/700 USS Astoria CA-34

Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The USS Astoria CA-34 was one of the early New Orleans treat cruisers built to the limits imposed by the Washington Treaty. She was similar to her sister ship, but not identical. This Trumpeter kit represents her in the early war period from Pearl Harbor, thru her loss at Savo Island. This kit includes many of the same parts as the New Orleans and San Francisco, but there are two dedicated sprues that include new parts for this specific ship. 
The hull is molded in the typical waterline style with a separate red molded lower hull. The fit between the two appears to be quite good. The upper hull is molded with plenty of portholes along the sides. These all have the gutters molded over them, sometimes referred to as eyebrows. These didn't come out as well as they did on the superstructure parts as the hull sides are curved and holes were somewhat elongated by the molding process.  Click images
to enlarge
The anchor hole is also too flat and two dimensional. It needs to protrude out from the sides of the hull more. One other issue is the molded on propeller guards. These should really be a separate part as most modelers will end up sanding these off and replacing them anyway.
This sprue includes some superstructure, the catapults, and the funnels. The latter have some little nubs along the joint with the skirt that don't belong there. This is probably a result of the digitizing process and these should be removed. The walls have plenty of surface details with hatches and what appears to be conduit molded
SPRUE B (x 2)
There are two of these sprues in the kit. They include the early style of main gun turrets with the rounded front face. Slide molding was used here to allow this to be done in one piece. Only the sighting hoods and gun barrels are separate parts. There are also life rafts, ships boats, and secondary guns to name a few. The guns are done the same way the old Skywave style ones were done and are fixed at the zero elevation angle. 
The boat cranes and gun directors look nice, while the boat davits are over simplified.
SPRUE C (x 2)
This sprue included the later style flat face turrets, (not needed on this kit). 40 mm gun mounts and molded stairs  The main gun barrels came out pretty well. 
This sprue was special made for the Astoria and includes some ship specific superstructure parts. An Astoria nameplate is also provided.
The deck is molded in two halves with some pretty nice deck detailing for 700 scale. Surface detailing is pretty good.
This is another Astoria specific sprue and includes the other superstructure parts. Detail is pretty good overall with deck planking on some decks and braces on the turret base. 
The standard Trumpeter ships base is included. You have your choice of a flat waterline base as well.
An SOC float plane is included molded in clear plastic. The detail is  pretty good, although the wing struts are molded solid. You will need to be careful as clear plastic is more brittle than the softer gray plastic. But it does allow you to create a clear canopy.
A simple decal sheet is included with flags, hull numbers, and early war aircraft ensignia. They are well registered and include numbers for CA34, as well as a set of  numbers for CA32, 36, and 37.
The instructions are an eight page booklet with all kinds of exploded views. They are step by step and cover all the assembly steps. A nice full color painting guide is provided to show markings for the ship and float plane.

While not perfect, this kit will build up into a nice representation of the Astoria. It is an affordable alternative to resin for 700 scale modelers. A nice addition for those of you seeking a model of this famous ship in her early war fit.

Thanks to Stevens International for the review sample. These kits should be showing up in your local hobby shops now. It is listed as #TSM-5743 1/700 USS Astoria CA34 Heavy Cruiser 1942 with a retail price of  $36.95 US. Stevens is the exclusive importer for Trumpeter kits in the US. If your hobby shop does not carry Trumpeter kits have them contact Stevens International or try their Hobby Shop Locator to find one that does.