Trumpeter 1/350
CV-8 USS Hornet

Reviewed by Kelly Quirk
Well folks, this one was worth waiting for! After Trumpeter's shaky start in to the world of large scale carriers (1/500 Nimitz Class), I was a bit apprehensive when I first heard about the 1/350 Hornet. Still, deep inside I couldn't contain my excitement. Trumpeter has obviously been paying attention, and has developed a very steep learning curve. This model is down right impressive. At 28" long the hull is a behemoth, and the molding is about as close to perfect as I've seen in plastic.
There are a total of 433 parts, and in giving them all a quick glance the molding is near perfection, with no flash whatsoever. I did notice a couple very minor sink marks, especially in one of the ships motorboats. The funnel cap on my model was smashed and cracked, I can't figure out why as the package arrived in perfect condition. I'm sure the part will be replaced by photoetch anyway, so no worries there. Click images
to enlarge
You only get eight aircraft with the kit: 2 each of B-25's, Wildcats, Dauntless and Devastators. The molding on these planes is spectacular. Recessed, crisp panel lines, optional folding wings, and something very innovative - clear canopies! It would have been nice if the top gun turret on the B-25's was molded in clear as well, but that is a small nit to pick. I honestly can't see how even some photoetch can dress these planes up more, with the exception of some perforated dive flaps. Even the props are molded so well they appear to be in scale. These are the best 1/350 scale aircraft I have seen, in any medium. If using the B-25's, be sure and carve off the bottom gun turret, as they were not carried on the Doolittle raid. Decals for the planes include roundels and serial numbers for the B-25's, but no nose art. Separate aircraft sets (in sets of 10) are available.
There has been some talk about the bow being the wrong shape. I have no plans with me at this time but in looking at the pictures in the ModelWarship's photo archives, I do notice the bow doesn't seem to curve out as much as the model does. Will I go through the extensive work to fix it - probably not. To my untrained eye, it isn't off by much. You have the option of assembling the model full hull or waterline. The bottom hull dry fits to the upper hull very nice.
The deck molding is again, well, spectacular. The surface detail is plentiful and crisp, even the tie down strips are very evident. The deck is molded in three sections, and I'm hoping the seams will be cooperative with me. Dry fitting them shows that they fit together fairly well. Any sanding in this area will be a big no-no. Trumpeter gives you the option of putting the forward elevator in the up or down position. A hangar deck is also included, with a nicely engraved floor. There is no other detail molded inside the hangar deck, so some detailing must be done by the modeler if desired. Maybe somebody can provide us with some good reference material in that area - hint hint. All the hangar doors are molded in the closed position, but it appears it will be easy to cut open whichever doors and at what position you desire. 
The superstructure is also well detailed, and things that are usually way out of scale on ship models are molded very thin and crisp. This is where a good fret of photoetch will come in handy, with radars, railings, ladders etc. Trumpeter provides two options on how to configure the Island, different parts for either the Tokyo raid or the battle at Midway.
The 20 page instruction book is well designed. The diagrams are nicely drawn, and assembly appears to be straightforward. Also a great full color page is included for painting and marking guidelines.
Conclusions: The Trumpeter Hornet is every bit as good as any of the 1/350 scale ships made by Tamiya, and in many ways it is even better. Trumpeter has announced some very exciting future releases, including an Essex class (due early 2003), I believe the Lexington and Saratoga, and - be still my heart - a 1/350 Nimitz class! If Trumpeter stays with their current quality with these ships, they will quickly take over the title of "King of the 1/350 scale Ship Market". As for the Hornet - I highly recommend it! Stay tuned to in the future, as I will be building this baby soon!