Academy and Trumpeter USS Indianapolis by Matt Taskforce48
The USS Indianpolis is to WWII cruisers as the Arizona, Bismarck, Yamato are to WWII Battleships. Thatís why it is so surprising that it has taken this long to see a 1/350 Injection Molded kit of this ship. Well the past several months has not only seen one large Plastic company field an Indy but two! 
Academy of South Korea was first to market with their Indy and now a couple months later we have Trumpeter of China. Not Trumpeterís first time releasing a duplicate subject after another manufacturer, but I look at this as healthy competition for the hobbyist as each company brings a little something different to the table.  There is a detailed in box review of the Academy version here, as a fully built example here. An in-box review of the Trumpeter kit is available here. The purpose of this review isnít so much to review as much as just compare some key details and help you decide which kit might be more suitable for you the modeler, with that being said let start the comparison; Click images
to enlarge


Both come packed in very sturdy boxes with some dramatically different box art. indy02
Academy has opted to mold their hull in the older familiar style of Trumpeter with a upper and lower hull split at the waterline. indy03
Trumpeter went with the full hull split down the centerline option. I personally prefer to build in waterline and the academy option is much more desirable. I know many modelers like full hull and detest having to fix the seam that sometimes can occur with a waterline split so they may prefer the Trumpeter version. indy04
In comparing the two, I find the Academy rendition to be sharper and more accurately capture the look of the Indy. The Trumpeter version seems soft on the detail and has the AV fuel line molded both Port and Starboard where as my references show it only being on the Starboard side. indy05
There was some talk of how neither kit accurately captures the fore foot of the proto type. After reviewing photos, I feel the Trumpeter kit get this closest.  The Academy version is a little too narrow and the old Yankee Modelworks resin kit is way overdone.  indy08
The biggest win for Academy without a doubt I feel is the rendering of the stern below the waterline. It truly captures the shape of the hull of the prototype. The Trumpeter kit seems to be bloated in this area and it just doesnít look right. indy09
The Academy kitís length is almost spot on coming in at 20.9Ē inches long which is pretty close to the prototypes 350 dimension of 20.92Ē. Trumpeters version is noticeably longer at 21.1Ē inches. Beam should measure out at 2.26Ē but both the Trumpeter and Academy version measure in at 2.12Ē so a little skinnier than they should be.  indy10
Both kits come with very nicely rendered decking. indy11
 By 1945, the only wood decking the Indy had left was on the Fore deck. Bollards are not too bad on either kit but the bits and chocks are near none existent, barely being present in the form of spur like bumps on the Trumpeter kit and little solid bumps from Academy.  Academy has molded the anchor chains separately which is a nice touch for the modeler that does not wish to super detail as well for those who like to add real chain. Trumpeter has modeled theirs in place and for some this will be fine with paint and wash, most will have a job to remove and clean this up. indy12
The barbettes are just cylinders protruding from the deck of the Trumpeter deck whereas with the Academy version you have definition and bolt details. I canít speak to accuracy but the Academy version looks like one would think the barbette would look on the prototype versus Trumpeters. indy13
 On the Main Deck you see the Hangar sides being completely separate from the Trumpeter kit which could lead to some bad seams to try and cover up where as the Academy integrates the larger assemblies into the deck and hull already. As you go further aft, itís the same story with the Barbette for Turret #3 but Trumpeter had opted to mold the stern 40mm tub as a separate piece which I prefer vs. the Academy versions having it molded in. indy15
Both kits are broken down similarly, the 01 deck level in the Academy kit is curiously included loose and not attached to a sprue. Both kits seem to capture the shape and dimensions of this structure. Academy blows Trumpeter away though in the detail department.  Although Trumpeter has portholes with rain gutters, the gutter are so fine that a good coat of paint might cover them. Hatches are minimal in detail and it looks like both P+S sides are mirrored, Academyís has gutters over the hatches, waffle pattern hatches, electrical conduit, booms and ladder rungs and Port doesnít mirror Starboard. The step in the deck also looks like Academy has captured this more accurately than Trumpeter. indy18
As most people know by now, the hangar roof and aft gun deck on the academy kit comes with molded in tread plate. While a nice touch, it is overdone and seems out of place since this is the only place it appears on the kit but not the proto type. Trumpeter has opted not to do the same thing but as you can see the decks basic shape is almost identical between the two kits. Academy has opted to also mold the base of the aircraft crane in place which will limit the modelers ability to pose the crane without scratchbuilding. indy22
Academy again wins in the small detail department, most deck overhangs have molded in supports. Here I compare the platform that the forward MBD was situated on. Shape wise they both look good but Academyís has ribbing and detail on the bottom which will be easily visible on the completed kit.  indy23
One detail though that Trumpeter takes Academy out on though was the wind deflector running around the face of the air defense platform. Trumpeterís version could be easily drilled out giving you a very realistic appearance vs. the blocky molding from Academy. indy25
The Academy kit I feel is slightly better engineered, probably one of the best examples if the forward MBD housing. Trumpeter is molded as left and right halves, problem is the seam will run right through the hatch molded on the face. Even with the best of fit and alignment some sandy will probably be needed which will obliterate the hatch. Academy has split their piece front and back which will make the seam run across the smaller side panels where it will be easier to take care of clean up. indy27
The Main Battery of the Indy is nicely captured on both kits. Only major difference being in breakdown. 

Academy molded the barrels individually which these then get inserted into a central sleeve much like the real thing. This method will also help modelers wishing to use brass barrels available from Aber, Master and soon Pontoís. The included barrels are molded with hollow muzzles. 

Trumpeter has all three barrels molded as one piece also with hollow muzzles. Either way should build up nice and easy but the Academy version lends itself to easier detailing here. Both kits include an extra gun mount.

The Secondary battery of 5/25 guns are both much better carried out here than in any other injection kit. Both capture the essence of the 5/25 but here Trumpeter takes out Academy in detail and accuracy. Both have diamond tread molded in to the base, Academy is a little over done, Trumpeters is technically not accurate either but it is subtle and should look good when finished. Academyís fuse setter rack is molded into the base and you assemble to pieces for the yoke and then the gun mounts to that. Still better than most attempts, but Trumpeter really goes all out with an 8-piece assembly. These are little kits in their own with separate fuse setters rack, trainer and pointers wheels and yoke. The gun breech captures the prototype very well and the elevating gear even has noticeable teeth on it. indy33
40mm Battery, both kits try to amp it up with their 40mm mounts. Trumpeterís 6 piece affair does a flip on their 5/25, it attempts to capture a 40mm quad mount but Academy steals the show in detail here. Academy does this with one piece less than Trumpeter and does it just sharper, you can make out the handle on the top door to the breech and the flash suppressors are clearly defined. The mount even has the pointer and trainer seat molded in along with foot pedals.  indy35
20mm twin mounts. This is a tough one, both look over sized but I think Trumpeterís are a hair better. They capture the feel of a twin 20 a little better than Academyís and have a shape representing the mark 14 gun sight. Academy has shoulder rests molded in but the space between barrels I feel is too much. Academy has plastic shields and Trumpeterís are PE and both have molded in ammo cans as well. indy36
 Here the Trumpeter kit wins hands down as there is none included with the Academy kit. Trumpeter has included most radars, catapults, more delicate pieces of the aft radar tripod mast, 20mm shields and more. This might prove daunting though to beginner level builders as they include these PE parts with no plastic alternative. The catapult could prove to be challenging whereas the plastic one in the Academy kit is amazingly sharp for plastic and a only two pieces. Still kudos to Trumpeter for including some of these finer rendered parts. indy37
Neither kit is perfect and if you want a good looking 1/350 USS Indianapolis, either kit will produce those results. It just depends on what you are looking for and what you want to build. Both kits include some parts to back date her to her late 44í configuration including Academyís SOC Seagull (Thank you for not molding it clear!) and both kits have the bow 20mm gun tubs with Academy actually including the single 20mm guns. It will be interesting to see if anything comes of this for earlier versions or even a kit of her sister the Portland. Please feel free to contact me via PM on the message board with any questions about the two kits that I did not cover.

More of Matt "Taskforce48" Enochs's work.
Updated 8/1/2013