|HISTORY AND SPECS|
|The Commencement Bay was the lead ship
of a new class of escort carriers that were based on the Maritime Commission
T3 type tanker hull. They were not conversions from existing ships, but
were built from the ground up as escort carriers. They were an improvement
over the earlier Sangamon Class with an upgraded engineering layout. These
carriers featured a 501' x 80' flight deck with two catapults and plenty
of 20 mm and 40 mm guns from the start.
Arriving late in the war, the Commencement Bay served mostly as a training
carrier, although some her sister ships did see some action. Many class
members were converted to ASW carriers after the war, and later aircraft
transports during the Viet Nam conflict.
|Fleetnet of Japan has another 1/700 kit that is sure to
please the Waterline Ship Modelers. This new Commencement Bay kit fills
a void in the US Navy Escort Ship classes.
|The hull is cast in water line style with an open hanger deck and separate flight deck. The casting is very sharp and the bottom of the hull is hollowed out to reduce the resin thickness. The surface detail is very nice and there was barely a hint of flash anywhere. Two notches on either side of bow locate the forward flight deck braces. A nice deck winch and anchor detail is cast in as well. I like the way the hull sides have locator indention's for the gun tubs to attach to.||Click images
|The flight deck is one piece with top and bottom detailing. The deck features cast on planking and tie downs. While the underside has realistic bracing cast in place. The elevators are cast in the raised position.|
|SMALL RESIN PARTS|
|The superstructure and gun platforms are cast in resin on this sprue. Some of the 40 mm guns are also included. Casting on these parts is very fine as well. The parts are all cast on sprues in a closed mold complete with locator pins where needed. That will make the kit go together much easier and with very little cleanup. The mast is a piece of work with some nicely cast platforms that are amazingly straight and flat.|
|WEAPONS SPRUE x 2|
To supply the remained of the parts two Skywave E-9 weapons sprues molded in plastic are included. This will give you plenty of spare parts for other projects. For those of you that are not familiar with the Skywave weapons sets, you can read the review here.
|MANUFACTURERS BUILDUP PHOTOS|
|These are photos of the kit built up out of the box. Very
impressive, even without photo etch.
|A decal sheet is included with flight deck numbers for CVE 105 thru 109. Deck stripes are also included.|
|The instructions are three pages with a parts list, exploded
views and camo design sheets for several of the ships.
This is a very nicely engineered kit with plenty of detail. This would be a good kit for those waterline modelers to try out as a first resin kit as it designed very much like an injection plastic molded kit. The buildup photos show that it will make a very nice out of the box build. Advanced modelers will recognize the great starting point it provides and combined with either Gold Medal Models or Tom's Modelworks Escort carrier photo etch sets, can be a real winner.
Fleetnet kits are available direct or in the United States from Pacific Front Hobbies for $110.00. It might seem a little pricey, but this is a unique subject that you will not likely see in plastic. This kit is very nicely detailed and I hope to see Fleetnet continue to produce the rest of the US Navy Escort Carriers in the future.