|The San Diego was a member of the Atlanta class light cruisers, often referred to as Anti-Aircraft Cruisers (CLAA). The early ships of this class were built with eight 5" 38 cal twin turrets, (the two waist turrets were eliminated in favor of 40 mm on later ships). These small cruisers (6,000 tons) were ideal for acting as Carrier escorts or Destroyer leaders, though they were known at times to go up against surface ships. The first four ships of this class had a round style bridge, while later ships had an open style square bridge.|
|This is one of the original Skywave kits, it was quite a step forward compared to the Matchbox USS San Diego that was then on the market. The kit was offered in two versions, the Atlanta and San Diego though both include parts to build any of the early Atlanta Class Cruisers. The first four Atlanta class cruisers had an open platform around the bridge, while the kit includes an alternate part with the bridge wall extended out. This part does not belong on the San Diego or San Jaun. Use the stepped bridge instead. The use of the bridge front with the sheer front is based on poor quality photo's that have appeared in many books that appear to show this. Better photo's have since emerged showing that these cruisers did indeed have the step.|
|The hull on this kit is molded in three pieces with the front deck being molded separately and the lower hull inserting into the bottom of the upper hull. The hull appears to be very close, but deviates slightly in the sheer lines, compared to the plans included in Glen Arnolds book Atlanta Class Cruisers of WW2.This book is a must have if you are building any ship in this class.||
|The armor belt is too thick should be sanded almost flat. It also extends way too far back. The superstructure looks good, but you have a lot of seems to be filled to close the gaps.|
|This kit includes two sprues of the old Skywave E-6 weapons set. The 5"38 turrets are a little over scale but still acceptable, but the gun barrels could pass for Heavy Cruiser main guns. These could be replaced with brass rod or better yet replace the whole set with Loose Cannon's new resin 5"38 turrets. The 20 mm are also a little too thick, but in this small scale a part that size is pushing the envelope of injection molding abilities. A better alternative is to replace them with Corsair Armada 20 mm PE guns.||
|Decals are included with hull numbers for several ships in the class and a US flag.||
|The back of the box include the standard plan and profile view with painting instructions for a prewar ship.|
This kit is now out of production now. The molds were sold to Dragon, who produced this kit as the USS Oakland with an added lower hull and later style square bridge. I've included this review here in case you have the DML/Dragon kit and wish to build and Atlanta or Juneau.