Pit-road Skywave 1/700
USS Cleveland CL-55

reviewed by Timothy Dike
Pitroad's Skywave line of ships and accessories has been filling a void in our collections for over 20 year. This kit was introduced a few years ago, and it broke new ground then with it's excellent molding and accurate details. Much has been written about some of the shortcomings in some of their earlier works, so it is only right to make light of some of their greatest successes! I believe this kit is one of them. The USS Cleveland is the lead ship of a new class of World War two light cruiser that represents the lessons learned in earlier classes. The Cleveland's were the most numerous of the US Navy light cruisers and this kit will build the earlier "round bridge" style Cleveland class cruisers. Later ships in this class were built with a square bridge, Pitroad also has a kit of it in their USS Miami. 
The hull is nicely shaped and has some very fine deck lines scribed into the surface. There is an insert for the bow decking, typical of a lot of their ship kits. The ship is a little undersize in length and width but this is barely noticeable. Parts fit together nicely and the modeler will have very little puttying to get a good fit. The chocks are even molded on the deck. Click on the 
thumbnail images
below to enlarge

The superstructure parts are very nice, porthole, ladders, and other details are cast on. Splinter shields are very thin and look good even in this small scale.
Two of the Skywave E9 weapons sprue's are included for the guns and other fittings. I like this approach as I get to accumulate a lot of extra parts for spares. The 5" 38 cal dual gun turrets are the best available in plastic. The 6" 47 cal main guns are made up of three separate barrels and separate gun sights. Cranes and catapults are very nice, but better replaced with photo etched replacements.
A generic decal set is provided with hull numbers and flags of many Nations. 
Decals are also provided with the generic Skywave "stars and bars" decals. Again more extra decals for your other projects as you will only need a few of these! click to enlarge
The instructions are well done, and consist of four pages. There are a couple of exploded views showing where all the parts go and even the beginner will have no problem assembling this kit. The last page has Camouflage design sheets for CL-55 in MS 32, but this is actually MS-12 Mod that she wore in 1942. The pattern is correct it is just mislabeled. The other ship is the Birmingham CL-62 in MS-33 /6d that she wore in 1944. This one is correct and like the other one shows port and starboard elevation with plan view.

click to enlarge
Round Bridge Cleveland Class Ships:
  • CL-55 USS Cleveland
  • CL-56 Columbia
  • CL-57 Montpelier
  • CL-58 Denver
  • CL-59 Santa Fe
  • CL-62 Birmingham
  • CL-63 Mobile
The back of the box includes a painting guide showing the USS Cleveland in MS-22 drawing in 1/700 scale.