Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The USS Princeton was built at the Philadelphia Navy Yard September 14, 1943 and commissioned November 18, 1945. She was completed to late too late for world war two, but operated in both the Atlantic and Pacific until being placed in reserve. The Korean conflict brought her out of reserve and she  became a forward base of operations for US Navy Jets badly needed over the skies of Korea. She was reclassified as CVA-37 in late 1952 and operated in the attack role sending her aircraft on many missions to take out troop concentration, and infrastructure in the North. After the truce was signed she returned to the US for conversion to an ASW carrier. New carrier classes were then coming on line and the old Essex class carriers were put to work in other roles. Princeton operated a hunter-killer team of S2F Trackers and UH-34 helicopters until 1959. She was later converted into an amphibious assault ship and designated LPH-5 and operated in this capacity during the Viet Nam conflict. In 1969 she served briefly as a space recovery ship for the Apollo 10 mission. She was finally decommissioned and sold for scrap in 1971.

Princeton received 8 battle stars for service during the Korean Conflict. 

Dragon has chosen to model the Princeton in her ASW role during the 50's. The basic Essex class kit has been upgraded with new aircraft and other parts to allow you to model this post WW2 carrier. 
The hull is one piece with a separate hanger deck and lower hull.. There is some really nice porthole detail with eyebrows (rain gutters) above them and plenty of piping, vent, and other detail. The many openings to the hanger deck are all left open with separate roll up doors that can be shown open or closed. Click images
to enlarge
Probably the most exciting item on this kit, is this detailed hanger deck. It included some interior details and nice deck plate details. 
This kit includes the long straight flight deck which is appropriate for this ship. It is the same as the one included in the Randolf kit. There are also some parts from the Antietam kit included but you will not need them for this ship.
This sprue also labeled B is new to this ship. It included some of the island specific details such as the new funnel and some mast parts. 
This sprue is identical to the one in the Essex kit. It contains some of the walls that form the hanger deck as well as the separate roll up doors. Various platforms and other details are very sharp. You might also notice that there are carly floats molded on the underside of many of these platforms. One other thing that I noticed was the absence of those dreaded Aztec stairs. Finally a kit that you don't have to try to scrape them off the platforms.
This sprue is similar to the one in the Essex kit except it has been extended on the bottom side to include the four platforms and sponsons shown below. The other items on the sprue include the walls and doors seen on the above sprue. It also included the boat cranes and deck edge elevators as well as the folding deck antenna masts. There are two different deck edge elevators; one with molded on underside detail and one without. The latter is designed for use with the included photo etch fret shown below. Again the modeler is presented with a choice in how they wish to build their ship.
These sprues include many of the gun platforms and bridge platforms. Notice that in most cases the underside bracing is present. There are also several extra platforms that are not used on this kit.  Also notice the open grills in the top of the funnel cap, nice!
This sprue contains many platforms used on the this ship as well as some extra parts that are not needed. 
Only two parts are used on this sprue so you will have many extras for the spare parts box. 
This clear sprue includes many bridge parts used on the kit. The idea is to mask off the windows and paint the part. When you peel off the masking tape, you will be left with clear windows. 
A stand is included to mount your ship on if you chose the full hull option. 
SPRUE K (x 2)
This is the weapons spure and there are two of them in the kit. It includes the many anti-aircraft guns and various fittings used on the ship. Various radar's and other detail items are also included. 5" 38 cal guns are included in both open and closed types. The 40 mm guns are not bad but the gun barrels are a little thick. The 20 mm are also a little thick, but I really like the way they are molded. The front shield is offset from the pedestal and the separate gun can be mounted at any angle just like the real ones. You also get Mk-51 directors, searchlights and even some pelorus mounts. All are as fine as injections molding permits in this scale. Not to be overlooked are the nice life rafts that have some nice netting molded on.
The island is another really nice part in this kit. The main sprue pictured below is from a very complex multi-slide mold that allows for detail to be molded on almost all sides. On a conventional mold, there are two halves and the parts need to be able to slide out of the mold. This prevents some surface detail from being included as it would be scraped off as the part was ejected out of the mold. The mold used here has what are called slides that pull from different directions. This allows detail to be cast on the sides and then before the part is ejected those parts of the mold slide out of the way preserving the detail. These types of molds are expensive and require quite an engineering effort to design.  This goes to show that Dragon is committed to offering the most accurate kits to modelers and is willing to invest in the Research and Development to bring it about.
The bridge has all kinds of detail on it from extensive conduit piping, to the watertight doors and molded on ladders. The four dual 5" 38 cal gun mounts on this sprue are a testament to how detail can be preserved with this type of molding technology. The sights on the gun houses rival that that we see in resin kits.
This sprue contains some of the quad 40 mm gun tubs that mount under the flightdeck. Most of these parts are not needed on this ship.
SPRUE P (x 2)
This is a second weapons sprue that adds an important weapon to the kit. Specifically 20 mm twin mounts. Dragon has created a brand new fret to add this weapon that was added later in the war. Additional 40 mm quad mounts and gun directors are also added.
A nice photo etch fret is included with the elevator underside bracing, and even some radar's and crew figures. The fret is relief etched to bring out the details on some of the parts. 
The decals by Cartograf include the aircraft insignia that were used during the war and include the red outlined insignia used briefly by some squadrons. The deck striping and lines are well done. They are all nicely registered and much improved from the typical kit supplied decals. Several ships names are included so you can do other ships with these decals. 
Two types of aircraft are provided in this kit. The Anti Sub warfare S2F Tracker and the HU-34 Helicopter molded in clear plastic.
S2F Tracker  One with wings extended and one with separate wings that can be folded. Includes separate landing gear, propellers and even gear doors. 
HU-34 Helicopter. Two included with separate propeller blades and landing gear. The tail assembly is also separate as it could be folded. 
The instructions are an eight page booklet showing the assembly in a step by step process that is easy to follow. It looks like first pages that show the weapons call for too many 20 mm guns. You will have to do a little research depending on what year you are building your CV to represent. 
Here's another nice touch, a bonus tug boat to help you dock this carrier. It will help give you an idea of this ships immense size when displayed alongside the carrier. This tug is not just an extra thrown in, it is an all new mold produced with the slide molding technology that is fast making Dragon famous.
This kit will make a nice ASW  Essex class carrier.  It is well designed and packed with options. The modeler has many choices when building this kit. Full hull or waterline, Open hanger doors or closed, clear deck or opaque, and your choice of original or modified angle deck versions. With all the extra parts in the kit, you could probably model other similar carriers by swapping out some parts. Save the rest for other projects. 

Dragon USA lists this kit with an MSRP of $34.95 US. More than a fair price when you consider the extras. It even improves on their previous release the Essex. I am extremely pleased to see Dragon expanding their Essex line to include Korean era, and can hardly wait to see what's next.