Tamiya 1/700 USS Indianapolis

Portland Class Heavy Cruiser
Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The Tamiya Indianapolis has generated a lot of excitement, being one of the few US Navy subjects to hit the market in recent years. Tamiya has broken some new ground with this kit, as it is far superior to any of the other US Ships they have produced to date. There has been much speculation that this is just a retooled Matchbox kit. Well after a quick look in the box I can assure you it is not. This is a completely new tool with all new parts and very little in common with it's Matchbox competitor, other than the same general shape and somewhat similar parts layout. 
 The hull is molded in two separate halves, with a two piece deck and a waterline bottom insert. The hull has the correct shape and matches the drawing of the Indianapolis in her final configuration. The forward deck features fine deck scribing to represent the wood planking. It is raised, but doesn't look objectionable.
The superstructure parts are nicely molded as well, with portholes and hatches crisply molded. Some parts even have lookout slits recessed into them. The splinter shields are as thin as practical with an injection molded part. However the shields around the forward most quad 40 mm guns were too short, and the modeler may want to replace them with brass or plastic sheet stock. The catapults include the flat platform and a separate launch rail lacking only the handrails. The aircraft crane is a good as you can get in plastic, but not a match for a photo etched one. Hanger bay doors are separate and leave you the option of detailing the interior of the aircraft hanger bay. The radar is the weak point on this sprue, with indented lines rather than raised ones making it harder to simulate the open wire frame. Again a good candidate for a Photo etch replacement.
Two weapons sprues are included with this kit, leading one to believe that Tamiya may be offering a USN  Weapons set in the future. Here Tamiya has broken new ground with the 8" main guns including a base that inserts into the deck, and separate sighting hoods. The 5" 25 Cal guns are molded as a base and separate gun, the combination looks very accurate even for 1/700 scale. The quad 40mm guns are exceptionally nice with the gun barrels molded in pairs to be inserted into the base, giving you the ability to elevate them to any angle. You also get twin 20mm guns with a mount that doesn't look over scale.  Be careful with the 20mm and 40mm gun barrels as they are very fragile.
The main and secondary gun directors are easily recognizable. There is even what appears to be several parts the shape of a Pelorus, and what might be Mk-51 directors. There are also life rafts, search lights, and a propeller guard that doesn't need to be replaced by Photo etch. The Sea hawk float plane actually looks to scale, with separate main float and out rigger floats.
The instructions are well illustrated and should leave no doubt as to where everything goes. I would like to see some of the parts named so I know what I am looking  at without digging out all the books. You will find plan and elevation views with the Indianapolis shown in her Ms-22 paint scheme. You will probably want to get the new Classic Warships Indianapolis and Portland Warship Pictorial Photo Album for the best reference.

Decals are included for the aircraft and hull numbers for the Indy. Flags are provided not as decals but printed on a velum like paper designed to be folded and glued together. The turrets can be made to rotate by attaching the bearing like retainers to the bottom of the shafts.

 Last but not least, what would a waterline kit be without that standard metal weight.
In conclusion I have to say Bravo to Tamiya for possibly the best 1/700 scale US Navy plastic kits to hit the market to date. This ship will look good "Out Of the Box" or with a little photo etch added, a real show stopper. When I heard the first rumors of another Indianapolis kit, my first reaction was "why, we already have one". But this kit truly does her justice. I certainly hope we will see more US Navy heavy cruisers in the future. 


This kit is highly recommended 

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