Niko Model 1/700 USS San Francisco

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. 

Niko Models has yet another famous warship captured in 700 scale resin. This is one of my favorite ships and I am pleased to see it represented so well in my favorite scale.

The hull on this kit is cast with much of the lower superstructure cast in place. The casting is very well done, and the detail is very finely executed. The deck is nicely planked and includes an open aircraft hanger. Splinter shields are nicely done with external bracing where appropriate. Anchor chain is left off, but does have a raised line running along the anchorway. This should help make the otherwise flat photo etch chain appear to stand out more.
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The superstructure levels are very well cast. The detail is impressive, and the parts look good. These appear to match the layout of the San Francisco plans that I have. I am tempted to replace the square windows with 350 scale ladder stock to give the windows an open appearance. The splinter tubs are nice and thin, and there is a fair bit of detailing on the walls. The funnels look pretty good as well.
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The main guns are nicely shaped with the squared off turrets that the Frisco used. The gun barrels are cast individually in resin with blast bags cast on. The turrets are cast with flat bottoms so you will have to measure to find the center before attaching. This is an approach that I dislike and I hope that future releases from Niko will include a mounting pin to help locate the turret.
The 5" 25 cal open gun mounts are very detailed and impressive in their casting. These are designed so that you can elevate the gun barrels.
The Curtis Float plane is well cast with even the ailerons being nicely scribed. If you are careful, you could cut and pose them! The crane base and kingpost is fairly detailed and should look very nice with the photo etch wrapped around.
The ships boats and rafts are also very detailed with planking along the hull, and in the bottom of the whale boats. The life rafts have netting detail in the bottoms, and some are equipped with rations.
Two brass photo etch frets are included. One with the railings, including swept up bow railings. The other has all the cool parts, and many are relief etched. Searchlight towers, aircraft catapults and cranes, and 1.1" guns are among the parts included. The masts are constructed by folding the photo etch over and laminating smaller sections on top to give it a somewhat rounded appearance. It looks like everything you would need to do a 42 Frisco is included.
The instructions are four pages, three of them exploded views using photos of the actual kit. These are pretty good, but they could benefit from a nice plan and elevation view. I do like the way they show the photo etch parts 

A highly detailed and accurate kit of the San Francisco. In my opinion, this is the best kit of the Frisco released to date. Almost everything you need is included. This kit is listed in Pacific Front Hobbies catalog for $65.00 a great price for a highly detailed kit like this with photoetch. They carry the entire Niko line of ships and many more hard to find, high quality kits.