Classic Warships 1/350
Art by T.A. Flowers from Warship Pictorial #5
USS San Francisco CA-38
Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The USS San Francisco was a member of the New Orleans class of Heavy Cruisers. She was one of the most decorated ships of WW2. She was Admiral Callaghan's flagship at the naval Battle of Guadalcanal Friday November 13th 1942. She survived one of the most punishing battles to fight on and help win the war in the Pacific. Classic Warships first offered this kit a few years ago and I have been waiting to get my hands on one. Well it is available again and is the perfect kit to represent the Frisco in 1942 or earlier. It can also be used to build an early war version of the  Tuscaloosa.
I've come to expect good detail from Classic Warships and this kit is no exception. The hull is nicely cast in  tan resin and has some really nice detailing. I was most impressed with the molded on anchor chain on the bow. Most modelers are used to scraping off this type of detail, but you won't have to as this looks very realistic. Note how the chain is wrapped around the capstans. I noticed a few area's with some flash on them but nothing that will be difficult to sand away. As you can see overall it looks good. Applying the railings should go easy as there is waterway that runs along the deck. It is perfect for setting the base of the railing in.
click images
below to enlarge
A kit of this size deserves a few extra views of the hull
Superstructure parts are nicely molded and well defined. An extra superstructure top is included to build the Tuscaloosa. My only complaint with these parts is the thickness of the over pour that has to be sanded away on the bottom of each part. 
The funnels look good and have the appearance of a hollow part so you wont need to drill them out. Two different style of hanger bay doors are included, but the one you want is the corrugated one.  The other one was used on a the Frisco after she emerged from a major reconstruction to repair her battle damage. The gun tubs are separate which should allow you to back date this kit to a prewar version if you are so inclined.
Main Gun turrets are a two part assembly with separate cast metal sighting hoods and main gun barrels. All you need to do is drill locating holes for the hoods and barrels, and sand and join the turret halves.
A lower hull was included in my kit, test fitting shows that it lines up pretty good. Cast metal propellers and rudders are included. Note the propellers are cast correctly as right and left hand versions. This detail is often overlooked on some kits. Almost all ships with more than one propeller are designed to have counter rotating props, with propellers rotating outboard.
There are quite a few cast metal parts, all are well cast. I especially like the propeller guards that look like they are actually made with angle iron as the real ship would use The hollowed out main gun directors and the 5 inch 25 cal guns came out nicely as well. The 1.1 inch gun barrels are a little plain looking, but they are the most accurate available. The gun base is well done on both the 1.1's and 5" 25's.

Boats and Rafts

Ammo boxes and miscellaneous parts

Secondary Armament, 5-25 cal, 1.1 inch, and 20 mm guns.

SOC Sea Planes
floats and catapult cradle
A Photo etch fret is included with catapults, cranes and that all important searchlight tower. Railings and ladders and other parts are included as well. The etching is nice and the parts are well defined.
In the past I've complained about the instructions or better yet lack of instructions in some of Classic Warships kits. But I guess I have not seen too many of his 1/350 kits. This one has an instruction booklet and a nice set of 1/350 plans drawn by T.A. Flowers. The instructions are very detailed and show all the parts and their locations. Specific differences in the ships are noted where applicable. I would advice picking up a copy of the Classic Warships San Francisco and the New Orleans book for the ultimate reference.
Conclusions: Accurate, well detailed and complete, everything you need to build a nice San Francisco or Tuscaloosa prior to 1942-43 is here. If you want to build one of the other ships in this class Classic Warships also makes a Quincy kit that will also build the Vincennes and a New Orleans kit that will build an Astoria or Minneapolis. Available exclusively from Pacific Front Hobbies this kit is listed for $190.00 in the Pacific Front  update.