Review by Felix Bustelo
The Yorktown and her sisters comprised the first class of United States Navy ships to be designed as aircraft carriers from the keel up. The Yorktown, Hornet and Enterprise all played vital roles during World War II in the Pacific Theater. The Yorktown was present at the Battle of Coral Sea in May 1942. This battle was the first naval engagement where the opposing fleets never actually made visual contact. The battle was conducted entirely by carrier based aircraft. The Yorktown's most famous action was her role as part of the carrier force at the Battle of Midway about a month later. The Japanese carriers responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbor were all sunk and the tide finally turned in the Pacific naval war. Unfortunately, the Yorktown was sunk by a Japanese submarine the day after the battle was over while going home to repair damage she sustained at Midway. In 1999, Dr. Robert Ballard conducted a search for the carriers lost at Midway and found the wreck of the Yorktown, which is in remarkably good shape.
The Revell kit of this important ship is a fairly good representation that suffers from a minor identity crisis, on which I will elaborate shortly. The kit measures 20.25 inches overall and at 1/480 scale, will match up nicely with the 1/500 scale Nichimo kits of the Japanese carriers that fought at Midway. The kit has a total of 131 pieces molded in a medium gray plastic. While the molding is generally good, a little above par for a Revell kit, some of the parts are over scale and there is quite a bit of flash. The level of detail is also not bad and is also typical for a Revell kit.
The full hull and flight deck are each one piece, which facilitates construction. The hull has slightly raised rings representing portholes and molded hangar doors. On the flight deck, the fore and aft elevators are molded in such a way as to make it easy to cut them out to model them in a lowered position. Parts are provided for a hangar deck towards the bow of the ship, which can be seen through the open doors that are on the bulwarks. In fact, the photo of the completed model on the side of the box shows two airplanes sitting on this hangar deck.
The island is where the kit suffers from its confusion, as it is a mixture or pre-war and late-war variants. The island has the prominent aircraft signal board, which resembles an old-fashioned movie theater marquee, that was removed in early 1939. The kit also has an aft pri-fly station that was added only to the Enterprise later in the war. So, you can build the kit as a pre-war Yorktown by removing the aft pri-fly housing or as she appeared in the war by also removing the signal board. In either case, some surgery will be required to correct the island.
The kit's smaller parts are generally suitable with one major exception. The 5"/38 guns are truly horrible. These guns are molded as a trapezoid shaped box with a tapered rod sticking out of it. The 5"/38 guns were open mounts during the war so these are complete wrong. Perhaps the pre-war guns had some kind of housing or shield, but if so the solid blocks are still ridiculous.
The kit comes with 20 airplanes which all look like Dauntless dive-bombers. Some of the planes had sinkholes in the either the wings or the fuselage and have pegs for landing gear. They could be passable if you clean them up. But the lack of variety in aircraft, the Yorktown also carried Devastator torpedo bombers and Wildcat fighters, is disappointing.
The decal sheet provided in the kit is of good quality. Flight deck identification markings, the letters YKTN, are provided but these were used only in her pre-war fit. The name for the stern, draft marking for the bow and stern and 40 old style roundels for the aircraft are also on the sheet. However, the red dots in the middle of the white stars are noticeably off-centered and the hull number is not provided.
As is the case with most Revell offerings, this kit is basically
good and is a fair representation of the ship being modeled. In some aspects,
this kit is better than other Revell kits while at the same time suffering
from the flaws that are common with the line. Yet, this is a kit worth
purchasing and with some work will make an excellent model. There are a
variety of aftermarket parts to detail and improve this kit and the attention
given to this kit by these producers is a testament that the kit is good.
Gold Medal Models has an extensive photoetch detail set that is a must
to build this kit. Nautilus Models has a resin upgrade, which includes
a correct island and armament for her Coral Sea fit. Finally, White Ensign
Models has a line of 1/500 scale resin aircraft that include accurate Dauntless,
Avengers, Wildcats, Devastators and Wildcats.