Midship Models 1/700
USS St. Louis CL-49

Reviewed by Andrew Payne

I recently picked up the Midship Models kit of St. Louis in her WWII guise. Nice looking, very complete kit, although it seems to have a chronological identity crisis (more on this later).

Packaging is a very sturdy cardboard bow with a 1944 aerial photo of the original on the cover. The parts are individually bagged (except the hull) and well secured to a cardboard insert. I found no broken parts, although the PE fret was slightly bent near one corner.

Click images
to enlarge

I was impressed by the quality of the resin castings. No bubbles or incomplete pourings anywhere, the small bits on a paper-thin runner – on a par with some of the finer 1/700 resin makers.

The two SOC Seagull aircraft are littered with flash, but seem well cast. Details include separate upper wings and all three floats.

The plastic weapons sets have been reviewed before, so I won’t elaborate (it’s the standard 1/700 USN weapons set by Midship – see http://www.modelwarships.com/reviews/ships/dd/dd-406/700-ms/stack.html). I would’ve preferred a PE option for the 40mm/1.1” quads, since the plastic details are much too coarse (In fact, the plastic 40mm seem about the same diameter as the resin 6” barrels!)
The PE is also very fine, perhaps too delicate for my big, fat fingers. It’s done in brass, much like the Tom’s sets (I prefer Stainless in 1/700, again because of the aforementioned fingers)

Decals seem quite good, and the sheet seems identical to the set in the MM Gridley class kits.

Instructions seems pretty complete, although ambiguous in the period represented Specifically:

  1. The box claims it is a kit of St. Louis in 1942.
  2. The box photo displays the ship as it came out of San Pedro in October 1944 (see USN photo 19-N-72219 of the ship off San Pedro, California, on 5 October 1944 in camouflage Measure 32, Design 2c).
  3. The first page of the instructions also says the ship is represented in 1944
  4. The assembly diagram claims 1941 (and calls for 1.1” guns, etc.)

There are no rigging diagrams or painting guides included, nor any other detailed ship’s diagrams. This is disappointing, indeed one of my pet peeves – the manufacturer has obviously gone to great effort to make a fine reproduction, obviously working from detailed references. Why not include a small reproduction of the prints as part of the kit? Even smaller side and overhead images would a great deal of help to the document library-deprived builder.

That said, judging by the location of the after deckhouse, the uniquely-shaped secondary battery gunhouses, and the AA fit called out for in the diagram provided, I believe that the kit will represent either an earlier-war St. Louis (CA-49) or, with little work, USS Helena (CA-50) before her loss. Building her as an earlier Brooklyn-class would require significant modification.

I paid $55 (US) for the kit at the Norfolk Naval Station LHS (Support the Local Economy!) and bought it purely on impulse (not really, since I had seen it at the shop the week before and fought off the impulse then, before finally succumbing…)

Overall, the kit looks like a gem, and the (nearly) all-inclusive outfit is the kind of advantage that will move this ship ahead of others in the assembly line. In fact, I’m aching to start putting this thingy together!

© ModelWarships.com