Hasegawa CV-14 USS Ticonderoga
1/700 Scale Fleet Carrier

Reviewed By Timothy Dike

Representing the lessons learned from earlier carrier development the Essex class was the ultimate wartime carrier. Although a few feet shorter than the Lexington class carriers these purpose built carriers were much better equipped to defend themselves and conduct air opps. Designed to carry at least 91 aircraft, most would carry over 100 by time the war ended. These carriers were so well built that most remained in service through two more wars and underwent a variety of conversions that extended their operational life. 
Though this kit has been on the market for some time it is still widely popular today, needing only some weapons upgrading, and photo etch to make it into a respectable model. The hull is molded in one piece with a cut out for the bow section to be inserted. There is plenty of room to add a hanger deck if one so desires. I don't have detailed plans for this ship, but it compares well to the photo's and line drawings I do have. 
Hasegawa chose to use the same mold for both the short hull Essex and the long hull Ticonderoga variation. The Tico had this extension, mainly to clear a better field of fire for the bow mounted quad 40's. You will have to do a little puttying and sanding to hide the joint when assembled. But this is a pretty simple fix. 
The flight deck is nicely molded, even for a kit of this age. The deck planking is represented by raised lines, and some modelers will probably want to scribe new ones and remove the raised details. The placement of the port catapult is wrong compared to photo's of the various Essex class CV's I've seen.  It should not be aligned with the starboard one, rather it should be set back This is a difficult problem to overcome, and it would have been better for Hasegawa to have left it off entirely, as most carriers were originally built with one, having the second fitted later in the war. There was an article that appeared in Plastic Ship Modeler by Bert McDowell, on how to correct the flight deck, if one is ambitious enough. They were issues 97/1 and 97/2, check their website for back issues.
The superstructure parts are well done, and represent the typical Essex class well. The modeler should consult plans or pictures of the ship that they chose as there were many wartime variations of armament. The Ticonderoga and several other carriers carried no gun sponsons on the starboard side. You will have to fill in the slots and sand them smooth to fix this. The hanger deck walls have some doors partially rolled up and should have the open area cut out or at least painted flat black to represent the 
The weapons are this kits major weakness, as they barely resemble the real thing. I would replace them with those found in the Skywave E9 weapons set and the various Photo etched sets available. 
The decal sheet only includes the number 14, so lets hope you are modeling that ship. There is a limited number of striping included, but you may want to invest in Gold Medal Models WW II carrier numbers and markings to do it right.
There are two sprues of aircraft included in the kit, featuring the F4U Corsair, SB2C Helldiver, Grumman F6F Hellcat, and the TBF Avenger. These are the same aircraft included in Hasegawa's U.S. Navy Plane set and are pretty accurate, though they could use a little more detail.
 The instructions include a painting guide for the Ticonderoga, but the line drawing is that of the Yorktown or one of the other carriers to have the three quad 40's on the starboard side below the Island structure. The Tico was first painted in MS 33/10a, later in MS 21. I would recommend getting the Floating Drydocks "Camouflage 2 Fleet Carriers" for a better reference on painting. Squadron Signal also offers their Essex Class Carriers in Action book that has photo's of the many different carriers.  The aircraft painting and markings are also shown in the marking sheet.
The rest of the instruction sheet is dedicated to the assembly process and is pretty straight forward, lacking mainly in parts descriptions. The various subassemblies went together rather well, but again you will want to have some good reference material on hand to portray the actual ship you are trying to model. 

There are two sets designed for this kit Tom's ModelWorks makes their set #700 specifically for the fleet carrier, and Gold Medal Models set #700-7   World War Two USN Aircraft Carrier set. Tom's set is a little more extensive than the Gold Model set as it also includes the catwalks for under the flight deck, and their 20mm guns. The Gold Medal Models set is more generic but very fine in detail. Flagship models also offers a couple of sets that that can be used on this ship, the #700-13 rails and ladders set, and their #700-6 set for the radar.

This kit is a good generic representation of an Essex class carrier and a good starting point for any Ticonderoga class fleet carrier, or a post war carrier if one has the time..

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