|The Portland class cruisers were originally intended to
be little more than an Improved Northampton class. As a follow-on class
to the underweight Northhamptons, originally 5 were intended, but only
2 were completed as Portlands. The other three hulls were allocated into
the following New Orleans class. The Portlands had additional armor over
the machinery spaces and double the secondary battery of the Northampton
design, while the torpedo tubes and bulbous bow were deleted. The torpedo
tubes no longer fitting into USN cruiser doctrine, and it was believed
the bulbous bow would cause pounding and subsequent damage to the frames.
The USS Indianapolis CA-35 was commissioned in November of 1932. The Indianapolis worked up and trained heavily in both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans in the years preceding World War Two. She is perhaps best known for 2 events in her life; she carrying the parts for the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Little Boy, to Tinian Island in July of 1945. She is perhaps better know for her loss 2 weeks later, on 30 July 45, which led to the single largest loss of life at sea in the history of the United States Navy.
USS Indianapolis is perhaps the second most famous US Navy ship, and certainly the most famous US cruiser, from World War Two. Academy is the first to market with a USS Indianapolis in 1/350 plastic. This kit comes in a sturdy box, with a dramatic painting of Indianapolis sailing through rough seas (the cover art shows the SK radar mounted to the wrong mast). The sides are decorated with 3D renders of the model CAD. The box also has a paint chart, so modelers can know what paints are required while still in the hobby shop.
|Indianapolis's hull is split at the waterline into two
hull halves. The hull's dimensions appear a few millimeters short in length,
but good on beam. The two halves align beautifully; the seam between the
hull is quite smooth. The upper hull has tabs which fit inside the lower
hull, aiding in the alignment, but the perfect, matching width of each
piece is the real trick.
The upper hull has the hangar and after deckhouse bulkheads molded as part of the whole. It is well detailed with portholes. There is the external pipe on the starboard side which carries gasoline for the aircraft. This pipe leads from the forward tank near the bow back to the hanger area. The Indy's armor belt is also present; Academy's decision to not mold the many rivet heads appears to be a good choice, as this detail would have been difficult to model with a scale appearance. The upper hull also appears to have a slight raised line, marking the deep-draft part of the waterline, and has small, solid fairleads at deck level where appropriate. There are also three upright post along the centerline; these posts will support the deck pieces, and should prevent sagging. The anchor bolsters have only a small hole for the shank of the anchors to fit through.
|The composition of this kit harkens back to that of older
kits; there are three large sprues of parts, instead of the more common
trend of smaller, more numerous, sprues. Sprue C also includes the forward
superstructure/deckhouse, although the part was not fastened to the sprue,
just included in the same plastic bag.
The deckhouse is well detailed; the base for "B" gunhouse has two rings with raised bolts- and it obviously designed to allow the gunhouses to rotate after construction. The watertight doors have the correct shape, but the four-panel WT doors are a bit oversized. The molded on splinter shields for the twin 20mm's on the 01 level are pretty thick.
The sprue has the two deck pieces for this ship. The forward deck has simulated planking detail where appropriate, and both decks have the same base for the gunhouses seen on the deckhouse. The decks have bollards and ventilation ducts molded on, but these are fairly simplistic in appearance. The stern 40mm tubs' splinter shield is also thick- a trend throughout this kit.
The rest of this sprue is parts to make up the multiple levels of the bridge.
|Sprue D has the two decks which make up open 5" gun decks
amidships, the funnels, main mast, aircraft crane and hangar doors. The
two decks have raised anti-skid walkways, and the effect is fairly strong.
The various superstructure parts are detailed with WT doors, portholes and external conduit and ventilation ducts.
|This sprue has a large variety of details for Indianapolis.
Both 8" gunhouses are on this sprue, along with the mantlet and barrels.
There are four open 5"/25 mounts on E as well. Both the 8" and the 5" barrels
have been slide-molded to allow for open muzzles. The 8" barrel cylinder
appears oversized for the 8"/55 Mark 14's Indianapolis was equipped with
The bases for the quad 40mm Bofors mounts are pretty plain in appearance, as are the bases for the open 5"/25's- they have raised tread detail and the fuse-setter.
Multiple types of life rafts and floater net baskets are included; the life rafts have various mounting styles, and not all are used on this kit Indianapolis. There are also some solid ladders, whale boats, anchors, paravanes, and 36" searchlights on this sprue. The dome for one of the TDY-1a radar jammer antennas is here; another antenna, a spare, should be included for mounting to the deckhouse near the funnel.
|Sprue G is a different quality and color of plastic than
the preceding sprues. This black plastic is stronger yet more flexible
than standard model styrene. A sample was shaved from the sprue, and normal
hobby solvent-type cements did work, albeit with slightly reduced effects.
(Tamiya Extra Thin and Model Master Liquid Cement used for testing)
This sprue has the twin 40mm Bofors guns; two of these for each quad. The single, pedestal mounted 20mm Oerlikons are not used on this kit, but this sprue also has the pedestals, shields and twin 20mm needed. The SK antenna, half of a TDY antenna, and the funnel caps and screens are also present.
The anchor chains are also modeled in this slightly flexible plastic, although they are pre-shaped for the anchor runs. The running gear for all four shafts, the screw and rudder are also on this sprue. The shafts have the bearings and support strut molded in as one part. The propellers are well formed, but the shape and angle of the blades is wrong.
|A stand and nameplate molded in the same black plastic. The pedestals have posts to fit into the holes which need to be opened in the lower hull.|
|A small decal sheet with hull numbers, insignia for the seaplanes and two versions of what appear to be US Flags. Sadly, these flags have *83* stars, not the 48 appropriate for 1945. Also, a decal for the "kill" markings for the bridge wing would have been a nice addition.|
|The instructions consist of a single sheet with multiple
folds; a single page of info and 7 pages of instructions. There is an additional
sheet with a parts location diagram, and painting instructions on the reverse.
Interesting, the parts diagram lists a large number of unused parts.
One nice thing about Academy instructions; they seem to actually follow the order in which most model builders actually build ships!
The first of two announced 1/350 Indianapolis kits (Trumpeter also has one announced for 2013), Academy again beats Trumpeter to the market. This famous ship, long absent from the 1/350 modeling world, finally makes her grand appearance. While some of the details on this kit are not as crips and detailed as the latest available from aftermarket vendors, this kit will build up into a good-looking Indianapolis, and will have loads of opportunity for extra detail.
Given the large number of unused/variant parts, Academy is sure to release an earlier fit of Indianapolis or a Portland in the future. Academy lists this kit a skill-level 4 out of 5, which is probably about right. Highly Recommended!
Thanks to MRC for the pre-release review sample. These kits should be showing up in your local hobby shops soon (April 2013). Academy's 1/350 USS Indianapolis CA-35, kit# 14107 has an MSRP of $59.00. MRC is the US importer for Academy model kits.
|Freetime Hobbies has this kit on preorder for only $46.95. Also available is an upgrade with photo etch and brass barrels that you can preorder for $44.95. The set includes a full relief etched photo etch set, nine CNC machined 8"55 cal main gun barrels, and eight 5"-25 cal secondary gun barrels. OR the Deluxe edition of the kit, which includes Photo Etch and Metal Barrels for $84.90.|