Cyber-Hobby 1/700 USS Chicago CG-11
Cyber-Hobby 1/700 USS Albany CG-10
Reviewed by Timothy Dike
April 2013

The new USS Chicago  was originally a Baltimore Class Heavy cruiser built during World War Two. She was rebuilt as a guided missile cruiser  and rejoined the Navy as CG-11 in May 1964. LIke her sistership the USS Albany, the Chicago lost her 8" main and 5" secondary tun turrets and had them replaced with a new  Tartar and Talos SAM launchers. Two triple torpedo tubes, an ASROC launcher, two 5 in/38 cal open mount guns and a couple of ASW Helicopters would be the new armament. 

Her towering superstructure employed new Aluminum construction to save weight. The cruiser spent the next two years evaluating and testing her new systems. Chicago got underway for Yankee Station in the Tonkin Gulf in May of 1966 and operated as part of Task Force 77. Chicago remained in the area putting her advanced radar to good use by providing identification of friendly aircraft in the region. Following a short trip to Hong Kong for a port visit, the Chicago returned to operations off Viet Nam. This time she was responsible for Mig detection along the North Viet Nam-China border. 

In 1967 Chicago returned to the west coast for training and other duties. She would again sail in the Tonkin Gulf  before being called to the Sea of Japan following the seizure of Pueblo by North Korea. Chicago returned to South East Asia and completed several cruises earning her the Meritorious Unit Commendation for her efforts in developing the PIRAZ concept (positive identification and radar advisory zone). 

The Chicago was was active in Tonkin Gulf and the Pacific throughout the 70's. By this time many new ships were coming into service and upgrading the Chicago was determined to be too expensive. She was decommissioned in March of 1980 and finally sold for scrap in 1991. You can read more in her DANFS entry here

Cyber-Hobby has released another Cold War warrior. This one will allow you to build the Chicago in her prime during the 60-70's. The kit is identical to the Albany with the exception of the Decals, instruction and of course box art. 

The reader might want to take into consideration that I consulted for Dragon on this kit. My opinions might be a bit biased. However I think the photos speak for themselves. 
The lower hull on this kit is well molded with the smooth flowing lines found on the Baltimore Oregon City class. The lines closely match the plans that I have and the fit with the upper hull is very good.  Click images
to enlarge
 The upper hull is also well done with the proper lines. The stern correctly transitions from the rounded shape at the deck level to the squared off end at the waterline. The chocks around the edges of the deck are well molded and many are opened up. The bits are nicely done too. 
The major superstructure parts are molded with detailing on almost all sides thanks to extensive use of slides in the mold. If you have ever been frustrated joining parts and then having to fill all the resulting seams, you will really appreciate the one piece components.
Sprue D features most of the weapons and fittings used on this kit. Modelers are sure to like the missile launchers with realistic launch rails that pivot and the separate missiles. Boats, davits, and missile directors are well molded in this small scale. The directors are also designed so that they can be posed at various angles. One thing that you may notice is that the Talos missiles have been changed on this sprue. Thanks to Phil Hays AKA DrPR  for providing the proper dimensions.
This sprue contains the bulk of the fittings directors, and small parts. The 5" 38 cal open mount is well done as are the director yokes. The ships boats are a little plain but the shape is good. The girder work  is well done and turned out pretty good for plastic, although I suspect most modelers will prefer the optional photo etch included further down in this review. But it is nice to have a choice. 
This sprue contains the towering superstructure that includes the bridge and funnels. They too are molded as single components thanks the extensive use of slides in the mold. The superstructure is truly impressive molding with lot of detail on all sides. The bow deck insert is pretty good, but I do not like the molded on anchor chain. A nice hinged rudder is also included here. 
The base for this kit has been designed based on how most modelers like to display their ships in full hull mode. The stands which resemble lamp finales are even slide molded so they have no seams to fill and sand. Hole locations are provided so all you have to do is open them up with a knife or drill. 
A simple photo etch fret is included with inclined ladders, some railings, and girder work is also included. Some relief etching is used on the radar antenna to give it a more realistic look. 
The decals are the usual sharply rendered ones produced for them by Cartograph. They include warning circles, helo deck markings, draft marks and of course flags and hull numbers.
The instructions are six pages with lots of subassembly views that are easy to follow. The last page features a painting guide showing decal placement. 

Yet another great Cold War veteran ship to add to your fleet. This kit features State-of-the-Art molding, and fine detailing. With some minor changed to the radar, this kit can be used to model the Chicago at any point in her Guided Missile days.  

These kits are available now. Look for them on the shelves of your favorite hobby shop. More info can be found on the Dragon Models website.