Trumpeter 1/350
USS Saratoga CV-3

Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The USS Saratoga was the second of the Lexington Class carriers.  Laid down as part of six Lexington-class battle cruisers, Saratoga and her sister Lexington were converted to aircraft carriers as a result of the Washington Naval Treaty. The other planned  battle cruisers - Constellation, Ranger, Constitution and United States - were scrapped incomplete on the building ways.  Large (they were the largest ships in the world for sometime) and fast, the two carriers became the test bed and proving ground for US Naval Aviation in the 1930ís. 

Saratoga performed solid service during the war - she just missed the Battle of Midway and participated in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons - but her record was diminished in some eyes by being torpedoed twice in 1942 and being severely damaged by kamikazes off Iwo Jima in February, 1945.  Saratoga ended World War II as a training carrier, then met her demise as a target during the post-war atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll, where she sank after one such test in 1946.   Today, she's a popular diving attraction for visitors to the atoll. 1

HULL PARTS
As with their other 350 scale ship, this one has a full hull or waterline option. The lower hull is molded in red plastic and the other parts in gray. The hull is not the same as the one used in the Lexington kit and has been modified to represent the prewar appearance. Like that kit the molding is very good and features some nice detail. I had suspected that Trumpeter would reuse most of the Lexington kit to make this, but most of these parts are all new and very few are recycled from the other kit. Click images
to enlarge
FLIGHT DECK
The flight deck is molded in 3 sections with wood planking detail molded to the surface. Safety netting is molded to the deck edges, and I wish this was a separate part, but it looks pretty good for plastic. 
SPRUE A
Superstructure walls are very detailed with plumbing detail on the surface and port holes molded open.
SPRUE B
The bridge windows are molded open and have just a bit of flash to clean up.
SPRUE C
The massive funnel and superstructure are included on this sprue. The watertight doors came out looking very nice.
 
SPRUE D
Elevators, prop shafts, rudder, and various superstructure walls. As with the other parts, well done.
SPRUE E
There are two of these weapons sprues included in the kit. The detail is remarkable on some of these parts. A definate improvement over earlier kits and an encouraging sign for future kits.
DISPLAY BASE
A display base and name plate are included for full hull display. 
AIRCRAFT
The aircraft in this kit are all new and represent the prewar airwing. They are molded in clear plastic so you don't have to mask off the canopies if you don't want to. These are molded with separate propellers and landing gear. Panel lines are recessed and the lines of the aircraft look pretty accurate for this scale. There are four of each in the kit, but they are also available separatetly in six packs.
BFC Bomber/Fighter Single-Engine Bi-plane (x 4)
Also available separately as #TSM-6246
F3F Fighter Single-Engine Bi-plane (x 4)
Also available separately as #TSM-6245
TG2 Torpedo Bomber (x 4)
Also available separately as #TSM-6248
SBU Scout Bomber (x 4)
Also available separately as #TSM-6247
DECALS
The decals include deck markings and and plenty of squadron markings for the various aircraft types. The latter are very colorful and will look good on the yellow wings of the prewar airwing.
INSTRUCTIONS
A 20 page instruction booklet is included to guide you through a step by step assembly process. The parts are all called out and placement is well illustrated throughout. Like their other kits, the instructions are first rate.

A nice B sized color sheet is included with camouflage markings for the ship and aircraft. Paint colors are called out as well.

Conclusions:
Yet another impressive kit from Trumpeter. This is kit  #TSM-5607  1/350 USS Saratoga CV3 Aircraft Carrier with a suggested list price of $129.95. This is a great price for such a large well detailed kit. It is nice to see a prewar version of this kit made available to the plastic modeler.
 

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.



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