1/700 Combrig

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 Minneapolis was typical of this class and operated all over the Pacific during the war. She was nearly sunk at Tassafaronga, losing her bow to a long lance torpedo. She made it back to Mare Island, San Francisco and was refitted to fight on.
Displacement 9,950 Tons as built. Up to 13,719 full load in 1943
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
6 x 40 mm Quad Anti aircraft guns
17 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 1943 to 44 fit after repairs from Tassafaronga. If you want to do a prewar version it might be easier to get the Astoria kit and make the minor superstructure 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.
click images
to enlarge
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 quad 40 mm gun mounts are impressive with barrels cast in pairs. 

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. 

Even the little Mk 51 directors are easily recognizable and very scale appearing.

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 Minneapolis specific detail items.
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.
Excellent drawings are available in Classic Warships Warship Pictorial #2 on the USS Minneapolis. This book is now out of print but still in stock from some suppliers. 
Also published is the New Orleans Class Cruiser Photo Album, Warship Pictorial #7 that will come in handy when building this kit. 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 it 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.

© ModelWarships.com