|The USS Hornet, CV-8, was laid down in September 1939 as the third member of the Yorktown-class aircraft carriers. She was commissioned in October 1941 and spent the next six months working up in the Atlantic. The ship is best remembered for the celebrated Doolittle Raid on Japan in April 1942. For that raid, she embarked sixteen B-25s which were flown off the deck about 600 miles from Japan. Her normal compliment of aircraft was stowed below in the hangar deck. Although the raid caused minimal damage, the propaganda value of the raid was immeasurable. The Hornet participated at the battle of Midway, but was sunk at the Battle of Santa Cruz on 27 October 1942. She was hit by four bombs and sixteen torpedoes from both US and Japanese vessels.|
|This article is a follow-up to an in-box review done on Trumpeter’s USS Hornet kit. This buildup incorporates a number of aftermarket accessories that enhanced the final appearance of the kit.||click to
|For this build, I incorporated five different photo-etch
(PE) sets, three Gold Medal Models (GMM) and two White Ensign Model (WEM)
sets. The primary PE set is the:
|The kit itself looks great in the box. The plastic parts are molded without flaw, although there was some flash present on some parts. The main difficulty that I ran into with this kit was the fit of the hangar deck walls. This is most likely the product of panagraphing the master from a resin kit. This theory is bolstered by the misshapen bow and minor inaccuracies inherent with the original resin pattern.|
|I started the model by detailing the hull. The bow
is not correctly shaped, having a “tug-boat” appearance that is most noticeable
when built as a full-hull model. Instead of reshaping bow, I decided
to live with a waterline model since the inaccuracy is less apparent.
Missing from the hull is the armor belt, which I add using strip styrene.
I also drilled out the portholes and hawspipes for the anchors. Using
a technique from Keith Bender, I added hull plating by building up layers
of paint on the hull. The hull is cleanly molded but is devoid of
detail. To give the hull more life, I added boat booms and fuel lines.
I then applied the Modified Measure 12 paint scheme. Hull number
decals from Classic Warships completed the hull work.
|The hangar deck interior was built using WEM’s Interior Fittings and Accessories set. This set comprises PE overhead girders and vents and templates for assembling the hangar deck walls. Assembly of the overhead girders was straightforward and their installation inside the hangar deck was perfect once the main longitudinal truss aft was cut short to fit properly. I used the templates in the set to assemble the interior walls. I added bits of styrene and spare PE doors and fittings to add detail to the interior. The fit of my scratchbuilt walls was right-on.|
|Once painted, I added the interior walls to the hangar
deck. Before the girders were installed, the F4Fs, TDBs, and SBDs
that made up the airwing were emplaced with white glue. Since I did
not build an entire airwing, I liberally arranged the aircraft to give
the illusion of a full compliment of aircraft.
|For my build, I assembled 46 aircraft – 12 F4F Wildcats, 12 TBD Devastators, 6 SBDs, and 16 B-25s. Each aircraft is in itself a mini-kit, with separate wings, fuselages, nacelles, propellers, and landing gear. PE brass from GMM’s USN aircraft set and WEM “The Airwing” set added extra details to each. For the USN aircraft, I used decals provided in GMM’s 1/350 WW2 USN Aircraft Insignia Decals (GMM 350-6D) since the decals provided in the kit are incorrect for April 1942. At that time, the US Navy still had the red “meatball” in the center of the star. The decals settled down well with SolvasetTM. Testor’s Dullcoat sealed the decals.|
|The aircraft are finely molded in plastic with exceptional detail. Even the propellers look incredible and PE equivalents may not be required. All the aircraft were assembled as indicated by the instructions. The seams required minor filling with superglue and sanding with 400-grit sandpaper.|
|The F4F Wildcats are cool little aircraft when assembled.
All of mine were assembled with the wings folded, although there is option
to have the wings extended. Be careful with the horizontal stabilizers,
as they did not fit well into the guide holes in the fuselage. GMM
provides parts for the complex landing gear arrangement. For two
aircraft, I hollowed out the cockpit and added parts from the WEM PE set.
These extras included an instrument panel, floor, seat, and control
stick. Although the PE parts were tiny, careful handling and placement
led to good results.
|The SBDs were easy to assemble. The fit was good
except at the wing root. To hide the seam, I used a combination of
white glue and paint since sanding would have damaged some of the intricate
panel lines. For one aircraft, I hollowed out the cockpit and installed
WEM interior details made up of an instrument panel, two seats, bulkhead,
floor, control stick, and machine gun. The result, after cutting
the canopy into two sections, was astonishing. If I had more time,
I would added interior details to all the aircraft.
|Like the SBDs, the TBDs were a cinch to assemble but had
a noticeable gap in the wing root to fuselage joint. I installed
WEM’s cockpit details to one aircraft and am impressed by how much extra
it adds to the aircraft. WEM provides an instrument panel, seats,
cockpit floor, bulkhead, and machine gun.
|The B-25 US Army Bombers|
|Assembly of the sixteen B-25s was straightforward, although
a prominent seam in the fuselage required filling. Of note, the underside
turret needs to be removed since these were not on the aircraft flown off
the Hornet. Missing as well are the two dorsal turret guns on the
dorsal turret and the tail guns. I left the latter off and used fine
plastic rod for the former. After painting and assembly, I applied
General Quarters Decals fantastic set of decals. The set includes
insignias, correct aircraft numbers, red fuselage stripe, “US ARMY” decals,
and nose-art for six aircraft – including the “Ruptured Duck” of Thirty
Seconds Over Tokyo fame. With references from the Internet, I was
able to place each aircraft in the proper sequence.
|I completed the hull by adding GMM’s excellent hose reels, ladders, railings, and cranes. All assembly required for these fittings was easy since GMM has etched in folding lines. The catwalks from GMM are an incredible addition to the model and are worth purchasing. These went on easily and accepted the 20 mm guns and directors with minimal trouble. Speaking of the weapons fit, GMM provides gun shields, sights, elevation wheels, and shoulder harness for the 20 mm weapons. I replaced the 5”/38 plastic barrels with brass tubing and added railing to these mounts. The 1.1” “Chicago Pianos” were Classic Warships parts that are far superior to the kit parts. Once painted, these weapons were added to the model. The boats were detailed with more GMM PE parts.|
|The flight deck comes in three pieces and shows good planking
detail. The deck is, however, devoid of arresting wires, pulleys,
and crash barriers. Both GMM and WEM provide these parts in their
PE sets. I added the GMM parts to the deck before painting.
I then mounted the deck onto the hull. Mating these creates a couple
of seams that only careful filling and sanding will eliminate without scaring
the adjacent planking detail. I chose to use white glue as a filler
|The final step in building the hull was construction of the island. This was simple to assemble but required some filler. GMM’s PE details enhanced the island’s appearance with catwalks, radars, ladders, and yardarms for the masts. After painting, I installed the rigging using monofilament line. The island was attached to the hull and the model mounted to its base.|
|My USS Hornet was one complicated model especially since I used five
different PE sets, three separate decal sets, and scratchbuilt a host of
missing detail. The end product, which took me more than 6 months
of work (not consistently though), is a wonderful addition to my collection.
All of the PE sets that I used were easy to work with and did not cause
any assembly problems. Aside from some inaccuracies in the kit and
fit problems, this was one enjoyable build.
The photoetch sets were obtained through Gold Medal Models and White Ensign Models. The decals were courtesy of GMM, Classic Warships, and General Quarters Decals.