Gallery Models 1/350
USS Intrepid CV-11

Reviewed by Martin J Quinn
October 2014

The USS Intrepid (CV/CVA/CVS-11) was one of 24 Essex-class carriers designed and built by the United States in the 1940's.   These ships formed the back bone of the United States Navy's Fast Carrier Task Forces that carried the war across the Pacific Ocean and to the shores of the Japanese homeland during World War II.
Intrepid was built by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, in Newport News, Virginia.   Her keel was laid just prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.  Launched in April 1943; she was commissioned in August 1943.   After a shakedown cruise in the Caribbean during the fall of 1943, she headed west, arriving at Pearl Harbor on January 10, 1944.   She almost immediately went into action, participating on raids of the Marshall Islands that began on January 29th.   With the Marshall Island neutralized and US Marine landings in progress, Intrepid shifted her attention to the Japanese stronghold of Truk in mid-February.  On the night of February 17, 1944, she was stuck with an aerial torpedo, which partially disabled her rudder.   She was able to return to Pearl Harbor for temporary repairs by steering with her engines and erecting a jury-rigged sail that helped keep her on course. 

After temporary repairs at Pearl Harbor, it was determined that the damaged required a trip to a repair facility on the west coast of the United States.   Intrepid arrived in San Francisco on March 22, 1944, where she stayed until early June.  Upon completion of repairs and upgrades, the "Mighty I" headed west once again, participating in attacks on the Palau Islands, and in the lead up to the planned invasion of the Philippine Islands during September and October 1944. 

Once American forces landed on Leyte, the Japanese had no choice but to contest the landings.   Kicking off the elaborate Operation Sh?-G? 1, the Japanese attempted to thwart the invasion.   It was a scout from Intrepid that spotted the Japanese Center Force approaching through the Sibuyan Sea.  During the subsequent Battle of Leyte Gulf, aircraft from Intrepid's air group helped sink the Japanese super battleships Musashi (for more on this, I recommend the excellent Intrepid Aviators by Gregory Fletcher) during the Sibuyan Sea portion of the battle. 

With the Japanese carriers spotted of Cape Engano, Intrepid raced north with the fast carrier groups to intercept the Japanese Northern Force.  During this phase of the battle, an Intrepid aviator got a hit on the Japanese carrier Zuiho, and either an Intrepid or Cabot aviator put a torpedo into Pearl Harbor veteran Zuikaku.  Post Leyte Gulf, Intrepid and the fast carriers stayed on station off the Philippines, hitting targets to neutralize Japanese airpower.  On October 30, 1944, Intrepid was hit by a Kamikaze, killing 10 and wounding 6.   This was just a portend of what was to come. 

On November 25, 1944, the American task force that Intrepid was part of was attacked by a large group of Japanese aircraft.   A Zero fighter carrying a bomb penetrated the air defenses and crashed into the flight deck.  The bomb penetrated the deck and exploded in the hangar deck, causing much damage and many casualties.   A short time later, a second plane crashed into the flight deck as well, causing additional damage and casualties.   While Intrepid was able to keep station in the task force while fighting the fires, the damage was significant, and once more, she headed to the US West Coast for repairs. 

Repaired and refitted again, Intrepid headed west once more in February, 1945.   She arrived in time to join the carrier raids on the home islands in mid-March.  On March 18, 1945 - the day before the USS Franklin was grievously wounded - Intrepid had a near miss when a Betty bomber blew up only 50 feet from the carrier, causing some minor damage and fires.    Joining the Okinawa campaign, Intrepid's aircraft helped sink another Japanese battleship - this time Yamato.  She continued to operate off Okinawa in support of the landings there.   On April 16, 1945, while engaged in air strikes against the enemy, she was attacked by upwards of five kamikazes.   All but one were destroyed before getting to the ship.   The last plane crashed into the flight deck with such force that it punched through to the hangar deck, where its bomb exploded, killing 8, wounding 21 and destroying 40 planes.   Yet again, Intrepid's damage required a trip to the West Coast.  Her repeated trips to the US West Coast for repairs earned her the derisive nicknames "Evil I" and "Decrepid". 

After the latest round of repairs (Intrepid was the most frequently damaged of the Navy's fast carriers), she returned to the fight, striking targets on Wake Island on August 6, 1945.  It was to be her last action of the Second World War.  Post war, Intrepid was put in reserve status in February 1946, before fully decommissioning in March of 1947. 

In 1952, Intrepid left San Francisco for Norfolk, Virginia, where she underwent modernization and conversion to become more capable attack aircraft carrier.  During her yard period, she was reclassified as CVA-11, the "A" standing for Attack.   She left the yards and was recommissioned into the reserve fleet in June, 1954.   In October of that year, she because the first carrier to launch aircraft from US-built steam catapults (earlier versions were British built).  Shortly after this, CV-11 was fully commissioned and joined the Atlantic Fleet, deploying several times to the Med in 1955 and 1956. 

In September, 1956, she went back into the yards for seven months for yet another upgrade, to bring her up to SCB-125 standards.   These upgrades included the angled flight deck,  enclosed hurricane bow, mirror landing system, mark 7 arresting gear, air conditioning and having the Primary Flight Control moved to aft end of island.   She also had her #1 (forward) elevator lengthened (her #3 elevator had previously moved from centerline to starboard deck edge during the  SCB-27C refit).

Over the next four years, Intrepid operated in both the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, performing various duties, including carrier qualifications for the F-4 Phantom fighter.  In 1961, CVA-11 became CVS-11, signifying the switch from attack to anti-submarine carrier.   This switch also required a trip to the yards for more refits and upgrades.  In 1962, Intrepid was the recovery ship for the Project Mercury space capsule, which she helped recover on May 24, 1962.  Less than two years later, she repeated this role as recovery ship for the Gemini space flight, recovering both astronauts and space ship on March 23, 1964.  Later that year, she entered the New York Navy Yard for another period of upgrades, which were finished in Bayonne, New Jersey when the NY Navy Yard was shuttered. 

Fresh out of overhaul and back to peak efficiency, the "Fighting I", as she was now known (according to Robert Sumrall in Warships Data 4, CVS-11 dropped the "Mighty I" in deference to the newer and larger USS Independence, CV-60) found herself off the Vietnam coast in 1966, launching her first strikes against enemy targets in mid-May.   During her time on station off Vietnam, her air group flew almost 5,000 sorties, destroying or damaging many trucks, railroad cars and bridges.   She ended 1966 on the East Coast of the United States, undergoing another refit, this time at the Norfolk Navy Yard. 

Ready for action in early, 1967, Intrepid headed back to the Pacific via the Med and the Suez Canal, arriving in the Tonkin Gulf in June of that year.  While on duty on Yankee Station, her air group flew over 9,000 sorties, wreaking much havoc from the DMZ to the Chinese border.   The success of her air group - they earned the name "Bridge Busters", due to their proficiency in taking down bridges - earned the ship and her crew a Navy Unit Commendation.   By November, she was headed home by way of South Africa, for another yard period. 

Following further refitting at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Intrepid returned once again to Yankee Station in June, 1968, to begin air operations against the enemy, coordinating strikes with her sister ship Bon Homme Richard.  Her aircraft once again devastated the enemy, destroying bridges, a SAM site, a truck park and the HQ of a Vietnamese Infantry Division.  In September, 1968, one of her F-8 Crusaders piloted by Lt. Tony Nargi shot down a MIG-21, while his wingman damaged a second MIG.   Operations continued over North and South Vietnam and Laos until late December, 1968, when she once again headed for the United States, where she arrived in February 1969.

Intrepid was overhauled once more, this time at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, returning to service in September, 1969, once again functioning as an anti-submarine carrier.   She performed this role, sailing from the North Atlantic to the Caribbean to the Mediterranean to the North Sea until April, 1973, when she returned to the United States for the final time.   In July, 1973, CVS-11 was taken out of active duty and was placed "in commission in reserve" until March, 1974, when she was decommissioned for the last time.   Intrepid languished in the reserve basin at the Philadelphia Navy Yard until February, 1982, when she was transferred from the Navy to the Intrepid Museum Foundation, in preparation for her conversion into a museum and tourist attraction in New York City.   Opened in August, 1982, CVS-11 continues to perform this duty to this day, tied up to Pier 86 on the west side of New York's Manhattan Island, where she is visited by over one million people each year, according to the Intrepid Museum website. 


  • Length: 898 feet (SCB-27); 894 feet, (SCB-125)
  • Beam: 101 feet 
  • Draft: 28.7 feet
  • Displacement: 40,600t full load
  • Warship's Data 4 USS Intrepid, Robert Sumrall
  • Essex Class Carriers, Alan Raven
  • The Essex Class Carriers, Andrew Faltum
  • Various websites, including Wikipedia, Naval Historical Center, Navsource and others
The USS Intrepid

Intrepid comes in the by now familiar sturdy Gallery  black accented box, with an attractive painting on the box top (see image at the top of the page). Upon removing the lid, you'll find the box packed to the top with parts, all nicely packaged. The flight deck - which is on the bottom of the box - is wrapped in a clean plastic bag,  and the large one piece hull is secured with by cardboard boxes both fore and aft. The aircraft, lower portion of the island and photo-etch all  come in a smaller box inside the larger box for further protection. 

The hull is molded as a large single piece hull.  It is solidly cast, with thick plastic sides to stiffen the hull against warping. This dimensional stability will be enhanced with the addition of both the hangar deck, hangar sides and flight deck. The only parts of the main hull that are molded separately - other than the struts, shafts and props - are the sonar dome in the forefoot and the bilge keels.  There is no waterline options or indicated waterline; water-lining this hull will be slightly more challenging than most.

The hull has many surface details molded on.  This high level of detail is well executed, and looks great. The conduits and pipes running along the hull are nicely done.  The upper part of the bow and the bottom of the hull shows some slight mold lines, but they will be easily removed with some light sanding.

When trying to figure out the length of the modernized Essex-class kits, the Naval Historical Center website said the carriers with the full SCB-125 upgrade ended up 894 feet long.  The kit measures out to about 30 inches overall (this includes the aft gun tub), which comes in a little shorter than the 30.6 inches it should be in scale.  When put against the older 1/350 Trumpeter short-hull Essex kit, the Gallery hull is actually SHORTER in length than that kit (the Trumpeter Essex kit, for what it's worth, seems to scale out almost perfectly in overall length).   The Intrepid is almost spot on in beam at about 3.5", which equates to the 101 feet of the real thing. 

There are two different decks, consisting of three parts.   The main flight deck is molded in one large piece, while the hangar deck is two pieces.   The flight deck has a lot going on - there are both planked and smooth surfaces, along with the prominent tracks for the steam catapults, raised lines for the flight deck markings and raised arrestor gear - both the cables and the covers the sit on either side of the flight deck and finally lots of depressions for the tie downs. 

In Alan Raven's Essex Class Carriers, it's stated the angled flight decks were covered with various panels and overlays to protect the deck.  My recollection of being on the Intrepid in New York City is that you can see the outline of planking through some of these panels and overlays, but not everywhere (and it's been awhile since I've been on board), so the mix of planked and smooth deck seems to be correct.   While I'm not a huge fan of the raised lines for the flight deck markings, they are subtle and should be less visible under a coat of paint and then decals.   The tie downs look a little deep, but should also benefit from a coat of paint.  All in all the flight deck is well done - I especially like how the planked areas looked, and the single piece deck is a huge improvement over the old Trumpeter kits.   Another nice touch - which is repeated throughout the kit - is ribbing underneath exposed overhangs, which replicates support bracing.  So many model companies leave this smooth, it's nice to see Gallery include this, even if these ribs are probably a little under scale. 

With the hull being slightly under scale in length, the flight deck appears to be as well (even though I couldn't find an official flight deck length anywhere), but it's proportional to the hull, so not really noticeable. 


Not much to say about the two parts that make up the hangar deck.  It's festooned with scribed rectangles and tie downs.  Considering you won't see much - or perhaps any - of it once the hangar sides are up and the flight deck is down, it's fine. 

Excluding the aircraft, there are 11 spures in the kit.   Sprue A is one of the seven larger sprues in the box, with a great variety of parts on it.   Here you'll find the struts, shafts, sonar dome for the bow (in two pieces, like the bulbous bow was for the Iwo Jima) and a variety of sponsons.   One of the failings of the Trumpeter Essex class kits was that the struts only had a single "arm" to them, which was incorrect.  The struts in the Gallery kit all have two "arms".    All the parts here are nicely molded, with no flash or ejector pin marks on exterior surfaces. 

B is also a large sprue, and on it there are hangar bulkheads, platforms and support arms for the landing system.   The detail on the exterior of the hangar sides is well done.   The interior sides - like the old Trumpeter Hornet - has no detail at all, other than some odd waffle board like patterns that must be part of the mold making process.   On one of the platforms on this sprue, you will find some subtle ejector pin marks on the underside. 

Sprue C has more hangar bulkheads, hangar doors, vent covers, the prominent escalator from the ready rooms to the flight deck, some platforms and detail parts.   Detail on the exterior of the hangar bulkheads is excellent.

This sprue is mostly platforms and gun galleries that go around the sides of the hull.   The upper horizontal surfaces of the narrower platforms have a textured "grating" in them that is really nicely done.   A good wash will really pick up the detail here.  The gun tubs have braces on the insides of the splinter shields, which is a nice touch, and all of the platforms have the structural ribbing as on the flight deck.  The only negative is there are more ejector pin marks, but they are all confined to the bottoms of the platforms. 

More sponsons and bulkheads are found on Sprue E, along with the aft flight deck support columns and some more gun galleries.  Detail is again excellent, with finely molded cables, hatches and ribbing. 

More hangar bulkheads, the flight deck elevators, some lattice masts and the name plate make up the bulk of sprue F .  Detail on the elevators mirrors my comments on the flight deck earlier in the review.  The lattice mast parts or very well done, and should look fine out of the box.   Even though she operated as an attack carrier off Vietnam - which is what the kit depicts - Intrepid's official designation was still one of an anti-submarine carrier, which is reflected in the nameplate, which sasys  USS Aircraft Carrier CVS-11 Intrepid.

Sprue G is a small sprue with big parts on it.   The majority of the parts are large sponsons, which support the angled flight deck.   As before, the detail is quite nice, with open hatches and vents, cabling and ribbing on the undersides. 

Sprue H is twice as nice, as there are two of this smaller sized tree in the box.   Here you'll find chocks, the 5 inch guns, anchors, directors, bridge equipment and the props.   Everything is well molded, with no flash.  The 5 inchers look pretty good, but hard core modelers may way to replace them with aftermarket upgrades. 

You'll find many parts to trick out the island on sprue J, which has many of the islands platforms on it, along with other assorted small parts.  Detail is again good - the molded in bridge windows look pretty good.   The undersides of the platforms have more ribbing, but also have more ejector pin marks. 

Another one of the smaller sprues, K has an assortment of smaller parts for the island - some platforms for the masts, signal lamps and other such bits - as well as the upper part of the island and funnel.  The smaller parts look good, while the slide molded upper island is both well molded and detailed, and captures the distinctive shaped funnel of the modernized Essex class nicely. 

The lower bridge is a separate slide molded part that comes inside a plastic bag which itself is inside the small box that holds the aircraft sprues and the photo-etch frets.    Detail is well done, with many molded on doors, cables and ladders.

This kit comes supplied with a small air group, consisting of four each of the following aircraft:

A-4 Skyhawk 
E-1B Tracer
EA-1F Skyraider
F-8 Crusader
UH-2B Seasprite

Each aircraft and it's parts on contained on one sprue except the Tracer, which has two sprues per aircraft.  Mercifully, the aircraft are NOT clear plastic.  Hopefully this means manufacturers are listing the modeling community.  All the aircraft are well molded and have decent detail, albeit heavy panel lines. 

F-8 Crusader 

E-1B Tracer

EA-1F Skyraider

A-4 Skyhawk

UH-2B Seasprite

Gallery's Intrepid comes with six photoetch frets, labeled Photo etched A, B, C (x2) and D (x2).  Fret A has the lattice support structures for the deck edge elevators and the ships crane.  Fret B has the lattice work for the radar on the starboard side of the island, along with various safety nets and inclined ladders.   Fret C has more parts for the deck edge elevators, while Fret D is all railings (and all the same style).   The photo-etch all looks good, and some of the parts on Fret B - like the safety railings - even have relief etching, which is a nice touch.

The standard display base is included.
There is only one sheet of water slide decals included with the kit, but it has all the markings for the flight deck, elevator deck edge warning stripes and the aircraft.   Some of the decals for the angled portion of the flight deck are over ten inches in length each, which will make them difficult to put in water and apply to the deck.   Masking and painting the deck, using the raised lines, might be in order here.  One omission: the Intrepid had a very distinctive "BEWARE OF ET BLAST INTAKES AND PROPS" on the port side of the island, as well as an emblem on the front of the island.  Being that these are a distinctive part of the ship, it would have been nice if these had been included in the decal sheet. 

A 28 page instruction book is included, using familiar construction order and methods. The only real options the modeler needs to decide upon during the build is whether to have the hangar doors opened or closed. 

A one page painting guide is included, giving color callouts for the ship and the airgroup. 

An injection molded,  modernized angle-deck Essex Class carrier has been a 'holy grail' item for many ship modelers for a long time.   With this release, one has finally been released for the very first time.   It was worth the wait, as, overall, this is a very good kit.   It's well molded with crisp details. 

Not to say it's perfect:  It is slightly under scale in length, and the lack of detail in the hangar is a bit of a disappointment (though you can't see much compared to a World War II Essex), as is the omission of the underway replenishment booms and gear.   Then there are those ejector pin marks on the undersides of many platforms, but with a little work those can be cleaned up, and don't do much to diminish the overall quality of this kit.   The relatively small air group and the lack of any deck equipment is also a bummer, but hopefully Gallery will release these separately, as they did for the aircraft for the Wasp and Iwo Jima. 

All in all, this looks like it will be a pretty straightforward - and enjoyable - build.   My verdict: Highly Recommended!

Thanks to MRC for the review sample. Gallery Models is exclusively imported into the USA by MRC.  This kit is  your local hobby shop or favorite online retailer now! It is kit #64008 and retail price is $329.98.