Trumpeter 1/700
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.

For many years now, modelers have had only one choice in Lexington kits. The Fujimi Lexington was not a bad kit in it's day, but is way behind the curve in molding technology. Enter Trumpeter of China with yet another new kit for 700 scale modelers. Hot on the heels of their successful 1/350 Lexington, this kit has much in common with it's larger cousin. It has a very similar parts breakdown and uses much of the same innovative molding. The ship is portrayed in her final fit of 1942 as she was at the Battle of the Coral Sea. Just like she is portrayed on the box art, seeming to sail off into history.

The hull is one piece molded in the waterline style. A separate flat waterline base and full lower hull are molded in red plastic. The hull has numerous portholes molded open with rain gutters. There are several openings for the ships boats in the hull sides.  Click images
to enlarge
The flight deck is one piece with nice wood planking and other surface details. The safety netting is molded to the deck, but most modelers will probably remove these in favor of photo etch replacements. The deck elevator openings are molded in the open so you can show the elevators raised or lowered.
The aft deck is molded a single part with the splinter shields attached. I like the external bracing on the gun tubs.
This sprue has the flight deck elevators and interior parts. The walls in the elevator well have plenty of surface detailing and the elevator can be positioned at any point from fully lowered to raised. The recesses for the ships boats that fit into the hulls sides are also included here.
Many of the other deck edge splinter shields and included on this sprue. I was impressed by the whaleboat molded with separate seats and deck, really nice for 1/700 scale.
The funnel sides and much of the superstructure are on this sprue. They also include open portholes and nice surface detailing. 
The rest of the bridge superstructure is molded on this sprue. It features open square bridge windows and plenty of nice detailing. There are quite a few parts and some modelers may be a little intimidated by this assembly.
There of two of these sprues with mostly weapons on it. The 20 mm guns are the best plastic ones I have seen in this scale even if they are lacking shields. Most modelers would likely have replaced them with photo etch anyway. 
The 50 cal machine gun mounts are really nice for this scale. 5" open mounts and 1.1" guns are pretty good too. I hope that the parts on this sprue eventually find their way into a separate weapons sprue.
Besides just giving you a full hull and waterline option. You get a base and nameplate for full hull display. But the real plus is the inclusion of a waterline base molded in a blue translucent color. This base has a moderate wake around the ships outline. The base sits about 3/4" tall, but I am thinking about cutting the sides off and mounting mine to a flat wood base. 
SBD Dauntless Dive Bombers (12 included).
These fixed wing dive bombers are molded in clear plastic and include recessed panel lines and nice detailing. Separate landing gear and propellers are included.
TBD-1 Devastator (6 included).
These torpedo bombers have recessed panel lines and have separate propellers and landing gear. .The only thing missing is a torpedo to hang underneath the fuselage.
F4F Wildcat Aircraft Set (12 included).
 The F4F Wildcat fighter was the standard Naval fighter during the early war years. These fixed wing aircraft are also molded clear with recessed panel lines and separate gear and props.
A decal sheet is included with aircraft markings. Red and white tail stripes are included for each aircraft. 
A sixteen page instruction booklet describe the assembly in great detail with a variety of sub assembly views. These instructions are well done and should provide all the information that is needed to build this ship. For painting, a color plan and multiple profile sheet is included also showing the aircraft. Decal location is called out as are the colors used to paint all the parts.
Yet another impressive kit from Trumpeter. They has been on a roll lately, producing a variety of high quality kits that ship modelers have been waiting for. I'm glad to see subjects that have been so well done in 1/350 scale scaled down to 1/700. Especially when it turns out this well. This is kit #TSM-5716 1/700 USS Lexington CV2 Aircraft Carrier May 1942  with a list price of  $27.95 US. A great price for a large well detailed kit of this important ship. 

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. Thanks also to Martin Quinn for his historical summary.