1/350 Trumpeter
USS Lexington CV-2

Reviewed by Timothy Dike
Laid down as one of the Constellation-class battle cruisers, Lexington and her sister Saratoga were converted to aircraft carriers as part of the Washington Naval Treaty in 1921. Large and fast, the two carriers became the test bed and proving ground for US Naval Aviation in the 20’s the 30’s. 
On December 5, 1941, Lexington departed Pearl Harbor, carrying planes to reinforce the garrison on Midway Island. Two days later, the Lady Lex was still at sea when the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor. She joined up with Enterprise to search for the enemy task force, which they fortunately did not find. Joining with “Sister Sara”, the Lexington was part of the abortive attempt to relieve Wake Island in late December. 
After spending time on patrols protecting Oahu, in February the Lexington was en route to raid the Japanese base at Rabaul when her Task Group was attacked by Japanese planes. During the attack – in which seventeen attackers were shot down – Lt Butch O’Hare won the Medal of Honor for splashing five planes himself. 
In March, she teamed with the carrier Yorktown to raid Lae and Salamaua, then returned to Hawaii, where her 8 inch guns were removed and replaced with 1.1 inch anti-aircraft guns. 
By May, Lex and Yorktown were back together, operating to blunt Japanese attempts to move on Port Moresby and Australia. On May 7th, Lexington’s planes found and sunk the Japanese light carrier Shoho, prompting the famous “Scratch one flat top” radio call. However, bigger game was afoot. The Japanese fleet carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku – veterans of the Pearl Harbor raid - were still out there waiting to be found and looking for the American task force. 
On May 8th, the two sides found each other. While Shokaku was heavily damaged by American planes and Zuikaku had her air group chewed up, the Japanese were able to penetrate the American CAP and anti-aircraft fire around 11 in the morning, scoring hits on both US carriers. 
During the attack, Lexington was struck by two torpedoes and three bombs. The gallant Lady Lex shook off the blows and was able to steam at 25 knots and recover her air group while her damage control teams beat back the fires. It looked like the Lexington was going to survive until she was rocked by a massive explosion early in the afternoon. The bomb damage had caused gas vapor leaks below decks. The vapors reached a generator that not been shut off, igniting the fumes and dooming the ship. 
Ablaze and wracked by explosions, Lexington was abandoned at 5 o’clock in the afternoon. Drifting towards the Japanese and refusing to sink, she was finally dispatched by torpedoes from the destroyer Phelps, sinking at around 8pm on May 8th.

Yet another 1/350 carrier from Trumpeter of China. This one faithfully represents this famous carrier as she was in 1942 at the time of her loss.The kit consists of 20 sprues with 583 parts and a 20 page instruction booklet.
The hull is a huge one piece part open on top and bottom. There are port holes that even have rain gutters molded over them. A full lower hull or waterline flat bottom is provided molded in red plastic. Since the Lexington was originally designed as a battlecruiser there is no provisions for a hanger deck. But there are several cutouts in the hull for the ships boats.
Click images to enlarge
The flight deck comes in three parts with a separate lower deck platform for the stern.The decks are nicely planked  with nice netting detail. I would recomend  replacing the netting with photo etch.The seams looks like they will be pretty easy to hide. Test fitting shows that the three deck peices line up pretty well even without sanding. 
The splinter sheilds on the gun tubs are pretty nice with outside bracing.
Sprue A
The first sprue includes some of  the walls. They have some really nice detailing with hatch and port hole details and even electrical conduit and other items molded on.
Sprue B
This sprue contains some of the gun tubs and sponsons.
Sprue C
The funnel has some pretty nice ladded detail molded on.
Sprue D
The funnel tops are molded with grills that are nice enought that there is no need to replace them with photo etch. 
Sprue E
The bridge windows are molded open and are nicely detailed.The molding is so fine that even the yardarms on the mast are usable.
Sprue F
Is the weapons spue. Two are included with 50cal. 20 mm, 1.1" quad, and 5" gun mounts. All are pretty well done. I like the way the 20 mm guns are done, but the 1.1" gun barrels have what looks like recoil springs molded on. A little Mr. Surfacer putty will help fill these in and make them look better. The sprue also includes ships boats and even the cradles that they are mounted on.Other parts are also well molded.
A base is included to display your ship on should you chose to build it full hull. A nameplate is also included that can be used for both waterline or full hull.
The decals include the aircraft insignia that were used early in the war.The red stripes for the tail and tiny white aircraft markings. They are nicely registered and much improved from the kit supplied decals 
The aircraft in this kit are simply the best available in this scale. They are like little kits in themselves and are molded in gray, black and clear styrene. Many have details that are really fine for their size. The aircraft included are of three types also included on the Trumpeter USS Hornet. There is a bit of flash on the really thing sections like the wing tips, but nothing that isn't easily cleaned up.

F4F4 Wildcat Aircraft Set (four included).
 The F4F4 Wildcat fighter is a later varient than the F4F3's that operated on the Lexington. To my knowledge no folding wing Wildcats were ever operated on the Lexington. But these aircraft will work just fine as long as you don't build them with wings folded.

TBD-1 Devastator (three included).
These torpedo bombers have recessed panel lines and folding wings. A clear canopy and landing gear and prop molded in black.The only thing missing is a torpedo to hang underneath

SBD3 Dauntless (six included).
These fixed wing dive bombers also include recessed panel lines. 

These aircraft are also available separately as:
  • Item #TSM-6202 1/350 F4F4 Wildcat Aircraft Set (10/Bx) $12.95
  • Item #TSM-6203 1/350 TBD1 Devastator Aircraft Set (10/Bx) $12.95
  • Item #TSM-6204 1/350 SBD3 Dauntless Aircraft Set (10/Bx) $12.95
The instructions are a 20 page booklet showing the assembly in a step by step process that is easy to follow. Very thorough and well illustrated.
A full color B-size sheet has color painting and decal placement for both the ship and the aircraft.
Out of the box buildup from Manufacturer.
Another impressive kit from Trumpeter. This is kit #TSM-5608 1/350 USS Lexington CV2 Aircraft Carrier retailing for $129.95 (USD), but can be found on sale for less in most places.

Thanks to Stevens International for the review sample. They are the exclusive importer for Trumpeter kits in the US. If your hobby shop does not carry Trumpeter kits have them contact Stevens International or try their Hobby Shop Locator to find one.