Trumpeter 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. Much has been written about her so I will spare you the history lesson. You can read more here.

This new kit by Trumpeter is based on a 1942 Frisco. It can also be used to build an early war version of the  Tuscaloosa. It is very similar to the USS New Orleans kit with the exception of two new sprues noted below.

The hull is molded in the typical waterline style with a separate red molded lower hull. The fit between the two appears to be quite good. The upper hull is molded with plenty of portholes along the sides. These all have the gutters molded over them, sometimes referred to as eyebrows. These didn't come out as well as they did on the superstructure parts as the hull sides are curved and holes were somewhat elongated by the molding process.  Click images
to enlarge
The anchor hole is also too flat and two dimensional. It needs to protrude out from the sides of the hull more. One other issue is the molded on propeller guards. These should really be a separate part as most modelers will end up sanding these off and replacing them anyway.
This sprue includes some superstructure, the catapults, and the funnels. The latter have some little nubs along the joint with the skirt that don't belong there. This is probably a result of the digitizing process and these should be removed. The walls have plenty of surface details with hatches and what appears to be conduit molded
SPRUE B (x 2)
There are two of these sprues in the kit. They include the early style of main gun turrets with the rounded front face. Slide molding was used here to allow this to be done in one piece. Only the sighting hoods and gun barrels are separate parts. There are also life rafts, ships boats, and secondary guns to name a few. The guns are done the same way the old Skywave style ones were done and are fixed at the zero elevation angle. 
The boat cranes and gun directors look nice, while the boat davits are over simplified.
SPRUE C (x 2)
This sprue included the later style flat face turrets, (not needed on this kit). 40 mm gun mounts and molded stairs  The main gun barrels came out pretty well. 
This sprue was special made for the San Francisco it includes the parts of the superstructure that differ from the New Orleans. The molding looks good overall, but the flag bags will need a bit of work. Some window framing is a bit thick, while other parts look pretty good. Compare parts #H11 & H12 below with those on another sprue to see #J12 & J13 for instance.
The deck is molded in two halves with some pretty nice deck detailing for 700 scale. Surface detailing is pretty good.
This is another San Francisco specific sprue and includes the other superstructure parts. Detail is pretty good overall with deck planking on come decks and braces on the turret base. I don't care for the molded on paravanes on some parts.
The standard Trumpeter ships base is included. You have your choice of a flat waterline base as well.
An SOC float plane is included molded in clear plastic. The detail is  pretty good, although the wing struts are molded solid. You will need to be careful as clear plastic is more brittle than the softer gray plastic. But it does allow you to create a clear canopy.
A simple decal sheet is included with flags, hull numbers, and early war aircraft ensignia. They are well registered and include two sets of numbers for CA38, as well as a set of  numbers for 39, and 44.
The instructions are an eight page booklet with all kinds of exploded views. They are step by step and cover all the assembly steps. A nice full color painting guide is provided to show markings for the ship and float plane.

While not perfect, this kit will build up into a nice representation of the Frisco. It is an affordable alternative to resin for 700 scale modelers. A nice addition for those of you seeking a model of this famous ship in her 42 fit.

Thanks to Stevens International for the review sample. These kits should be showing up in your local hobby shops now. It is listed as #TSM-5746 1/700 USS San Francisco CA38 Heavy Cruiser 1942 with a retail price of  $36.95 US. Stevens is the exclusive importer for Trumpeter kits in the US. If your hobby shop does not carry Trumpeter kits have them contact Stevens International or try their Hobby Shop Locator to find one that does.