Niko Model 1/700 USS Roanoke CL-145

Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The Roanoke CL-145 was a Worchester class light cruiser laid down in May 1945. She was launched two years later and finally commissioned at Philadelphia in April 1949. The concept of this new class of cruiser dates back to 1942. She was to be armed with the new 6"47 cal semi-automatic dual purpose main gun that could target both airborne and surface targets. This was the same gun used in Cleveland and Brooklyn class cruisers, but mated to an automated shell handling system that could feed the shells at a higher rate. In practice the complicated machinery proved to have problems with jamming. With the second world war over, the need for such a gun system was limited. New missile defense systems would soon replace the heavy main gun armaments on most ships. Only two of this class were completed, but they were put to work filling the gap until newer post war designs could make it into service. Roanoke served in both the Atlantic and Pacific and was active until decommissioning in October 1958.

Niko Models has produced yet another unique warship in 1/700 scale. This one depicts the Roanoke towards the end of her career. 

The hull on this kit is cast waterlines style with much of the superstructure in place. The casting is clean and well done. Details are sharp and well defined, but the superstructure walls look a little plain. 
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The bridge and various platforms are well cast with braces along the splinter shields where appropriate. Funnels have hollowed out tops and recesses where photo etched grills will fit, a nice touch.
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The main gun turrets are well cast with sighting hoods and frames around the gun slots. Cast resin gun barrels are provided as well. The 3" 50 cal anti aircraft guns are well made and detailed. They have separate bases with nice intricate details and separate gun barrel assemblies that can be mount and elevated just like the real versions. 
Ships boats are pretty detailed with nice rudder detail cast on. There is also a single Sikorski HO3S-1 helicopter to mount on the stern. 
Gun directors, searchlights, flag bags, and all kinds of other finely cast details are provided on these resin sprues. Some parts such as the cable reels came out very nice. Most of these parts are pretty impressive for their small size. 
An extensive photo etch fret is included with relief etching used to help bring out the details. There are plenty of railings for the ship and all kinds of other fine details. Mast yardarms, stern crane, and many of the various platforms are included on this fret. There are even helicopter details. 
The instructions are six pages, four of them exploded views using photos of the actual kit. These are well done and should be sufficient to build the ship.

A highly detailed and accurate kit of the Roanoke a kit you will not likely see in plastic anytime soon.  This kit includes everything you need to build this kit except maybe paint and glue. It is kit is listed in Pacific Front Hobbies catalog for $79.00 a great price for a such a complete kit. They carry the entire Niko line of ships and many more hard to find, high quality kits.