Trumpeter 1/700
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 Solomon's - 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

I expected that this kit would share a lot of parts with the Lexington kit, but the hull, flight deck, and all the sprues are all new on this kit.

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 without the splinter shields as they were not added until she was refitted. 
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. The crane came out well for plastic as did the main mast.
There of two of these sprues with mostly weapons on it. The 5" gun mounts and 8" twin turrets are nice for plastic. Boats feature wood deck planking, raised but still nice. There are even several open chocks and other small details.
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. 
All aircraft are nicely molded in clear plastic. They feature separate landing gear and some have separate tail surfaces.
TG2 Bomber Aircraft 
SBU Scout Bomber 
 F3F Fighter
BFC Bomber/Fighter
A decal sheet is included with aircraft markings. A variety of squadron markings are included for each aircraft. Deck stripes and flags are very well done.
A twelve 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. This one is most welcome, as prewar ships have been overlooked for years. This one will allow you to model a bit of color with a deck full of Yellow Wings. This is kit #TSM-5738   1/700 USS Saratoga CV3 Aircraft Carrier  with a list price of  $34.95  US. A nice price for a large well detailed kit of this important ship in this unique prewar livery. 

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.