MidShip Models 1/700 USS San Francisco

Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The resin department of MidShip models is cranking out more Classic kits, old Classic Warships kits that is. This one a late war Frisco features the ship after a major rebuilding. Gone are the old bridge wings and now she has a more compact superstructure and more modern radar. This kit is based on the 1944 appearance, but could easily be modified to a 1943 version with some minor radar and light AA adjustments.
The hull is nicely cast with thin splinter shields and the surface detail is pretty nice. My sample is pretty much flash free with only a little  along the waterline. Surface detail is abundant and the shape looks pretty good to me. I'm not a big fan of molded on anchor chain, but you can tell real chain was used on the master and this looks pretty good. 
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The superstructure parts are cast on a thin resin wafer. These appear to be new parts designed using new rapid prototyping methods. The shapes look good and features such as splinter shields are pretty thin. There is a lack of detailing for the vertical surfaces though, so you might want to add some hatches and drill a few port holes here and there. The funnels are nicely shaped and hollowed out a bit for a more realistic appearance.
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The main and secondary guns are cast in resin. The main guns look nice and have that distinctive flat turret face that the later New Orleans class had. There is a lot of flash under the sighting hoods that will need a bit of cleanup. But the shape looks correct. 
The 5" 25 cal gun bases look pretty good with a simulated diamond tread plate design on the base. There should have a yoke to hold the gun though. Instead it is set up like the old Skywave open 5" mounts but with a lower more correct profile.
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 The crane bases and directors are cast in resin. They appear to have the proper shape and a minimum of flash. Flag bags are also included. The gun directors look good with nice hatch details and only a touch of flash.
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This kit features the MidShip standard weapons sprue to supply the small weapons and fittings. The rafts are molded in two styles and are both nicely done.   This will supply the small weapons as well as give you a bunch of extra spare parts you can use for other projects.
The SOC float plane and ships anchors are cast in metal. The float planes will need a little cleanup to remove the little gates.
A photo etch fret supplies all the railings, searchlight platforms, and cranes. This is based on the 1/350 Yankee Modelworks (ex-Classic Warships) New Orleans class photo etch and it is a great bonus for this kit. It includes nice boat and aircraft cranes, and catapults. Even some nice sky lookouts that you don't normally see in 700 scale.
 The railings include bow rails that angle upwards. The searchlight platform is nice, but not correct for this ship. You will have to cut it down like it was on the real ship.
The decal sheet is a real treat and includes flags and pennants as well as both prewar and early and late war hull numbers. These are printed by Microscale and are typical of the high quality decals they usually produce. They are nicely registered and very sharp.
The instructions are seven pages with a bill of materials, subassembly views and exploded views. Pretty good overall, but it would be nice if some of the finer points of assembly were explained. There is nothing to show you how much of the photo etch is put together. 

A quick note about packaging. I love the way these kits are boxed and packed. They come in a sturdy cardboard box that fits nicely on the shelf (for us kit collectors). The parts are shrink-wrapped onto a cardboard insert so they should be able to survive the abused of mailing. A nice touch for these ships.

It's nice to see Midship upgrading the old Classic Warships line. This kit was very nice when it first hit the market over 10 years ago, it's better now. It's nice to know that even with the addition of the photo etch fret, new decals, and the extra weapons set, it is still only $70 retail. You can get yours now from Pacific Front and Freetime Hobbies.

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