JAG's 1/700 Virginia Class CGN

Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The four Virginia Class Guided Missile Cruisers represented the largest nuclear powered cruisers built. Roughly the size of a WW2 cruiser these ships were based on the Charles F Adams class destroyer enlarged to accomidate the nuclear power plant. Originally classified guided missile frigates (DLGN), these ships served from the 70's to the 90's. The huge expense of maintaining the nuclear reactors was the primary reason for not upgrading them further, and all four ships have since been retired. 
Displacement 11,000 tons Tons (full)
Length 585' overall
Beam 63.0' 
Draft, 29'
Complement 519
Aircraft, 1 LAMPS can be carried 
2 x 5"/54 cal Mk45
2 x Mk26 launchers w/68 Standard missiles and ASROC capability
6 Mk 32 Torpedo tubes
Propulsion, 60,000 SHP; 2 G.E. D2G Reactors turning Geared Turbines with 2 screws
Speed 30+ Knots.
click to enlarge
JAG has done it again, and released another important Cold War veteran. This one will build either the Virginia CGN-38, or her sisters, Texas CGN-39, Mississippi CGN-40, or Arkansas CGN-41. JAG has modeled her in her original as built condition, though a later version can be built with the JAG USS Virginia Update set

The casting is absolutely gorgeous, no bubbles no voids, no sign of any defects. The hull has the entire superstructure cast in place making this a pretty simple kit. I'm amazed by the way JAG was able to cast the deck overhangs without flash or mold breakage. Refer to the images on the right for close-up views of these superstructure details.

Doors and hatches, and all kinds of surface detail is cast on the kit with surprising sharpness. Helo deck tie downs are represented by recessed detail not possible in an injection molded kit. A light wash on the finished kit will really bring these out these details.

Click images
to enlarge
The parts count is relatively low with so much detail cast in place. The turrets and some platforms are cast on a thin resin wafer that is so thin that just handling it causes it to separate from the parts, meaning they will be very easy to clean up. The ships boats, missiles and launchers as well as all the other detail parts are cast on two runners. Some of these parts are finely cast and care should be used when removing them. Several extra lengths of plastic rod are included to fabricate the mast.
A photo etch fret is included with helo deck netting, spray shields, radar's, antenna, ladders and anchors. JAG chose not to include railing to keep the cost down. Some modelers don't use them and those of us who do probably have a stock pile of extra railings.
A decal sheet is supplied with all hull numbers and ship names in the class. Warning circles are provided as well as helo deck markings. Battle "E"'s and ship decorations sometimes referred to as fruit salads. Placement of these are not shown in the instructions so refer to photo's of the ship you wish to build for exact placement. The decals are all sharply registered and look better than my scanner was able to show. I have adjusted the contrast somewhat to get the white marking to show up.
The instructions consist of the front and back of a B- sized sheet (11" x 16"). This a little beyond the max size of my scanner, so the instructions are cropped a little. One side shows an exploded view of all the components with separate views for the radar assemblies. The other side shows the plan and profile as well the parts breakdown and stats of the ship. These are more than adequate to build this ship without having to break out all the reference books.

Finely cast and very detailed, this kit will make a fine addition to your cold war navy. The only other kit of a Virginia class CG is the old Out of Production Sealine kit and it come no where near this one in quality. JAG kit number JAG0125 CGN USS Virginia sells for $60 retail and is available now.

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