Shanghai Dragon 1/700 USS Normandy

Aegis Class Cruiser
Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The USS Normandy is one of the newer Ticonderoga Class Cruisers. They are essentially Aegis versions of Spruance class destroyers sharing the same hull, but with a superstructure designed around the Aegis radar system. Early Tico's were built with rail type missile launchers (included in the kit), but were replaced in favor of the newer VLS, Vertical Launch System.
The hull is molded in one main piece with a bow insert. The hull lines look pretty good and match the line drawings and overall dimensions I have access to.
You will have to do a little puttying to hide the seam where the bow insert fits in, but this should be pretty easy. There is an SH-60 Helicopter included that is molded in three parts, two halves and  very thin rotor blades that are fine enough that you could get away without replacing them with photo etch. 
Weapons are a little on the thick side, but recognizable. The phalanx could use a little more detail, but without a magnifying glass it is hard to see it anyway. The superstructure parts are nicely molded with hatches and other surface detail included. The masts are molded as thinly as practical in this small scale and are quite acceptable. 
A bonus with this kit, is the lower hull option for those who chose to display their kit this way. I prefer to to model my ship in there natural enviourement, but who knows one might need to do a ship in drydock, in which case you are taken care of.
There is VLS cover on a separate sprue so that the mold did not have to be modified from the earlier Ticonderoga Class. It is still possible to model the earlier ships but there is no #4 on the decal sheet. There are marking for all of the ships from #50 on,  as well as deck markings for the landing pad.
The instructions are well illustrated with several pages, and should leave no doubt as to where everything goes. The front page highlights the extra parts that you will not need for this ship. A nice touch, as it will save you a lot of headaches. I chose not to scan all the pages of the instructions as there are quite a few pages and web space is at a premium.
 The last page has a plan and profile sheet with painting notes, and decal placement references. You should have no difficulty figuring out where everything should go.

In conclusion this was a good kit when Skywave first introduced it, and is even better with the lower hull added. It could benefit from some of the photo etch sets available, but otherwise will look pretty good right out of the box and will be right at home with your modern naval fleets.

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