Corsair Armada
1/700 AR-4 USS Vestal

Repair Ship
One of the lesser known survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor was the USS Vestal a repair ship that was tied up alongside the USS Arizona at the time. The Vestal was originally built as a fleet collier in 1909, she was converted to a repair ship and served in that capacity during the first world war. The Vestal was assigned to the Pacific Fleet and based at Pearl Harbor. She was hit twice by bombs and damaged by the catastrophic magazine explosion of the Arizona. In order to save the ship was grounded to prevent her sinking. The Vestal was quickly repaired and put back  into service and sailed to the South Pacific where she helped repair ship then fighting in the Solomon Islands. The ships repaired by Vestal reads like a who's who of the Pacific War, with clients such as the Big E, South Dakota, New Orleans, St. Louis, and Pensacola, just to name a few. While she never sank an enemy ship she was instrumental in helping to stem the tide of the war during the crucial resource short  early days of WW2. She survived the war earning two battle stars for her service, not bad for a repair ship.
Displacement 12,585 tons
Length 465' 9" oa
Beam 60' 1"
Draft 26' (mean), 36' 6" (max.)
Speed 16 kts
Complement  about 400
Armament 4 x 5"/51 cal gun and 1 x 3"/50 cal gun
The hull is nicely cast and very detailed in the typical Corsair Armada style. Deck planking is very well done and looks like real planks and not just raised lines. Even the unusual anchor machinery is well executed. It is amazing to note how the portholes and doors are present even on the inner sides of the upper deck levels.
The superstructure parts and deck levels are also well cast. They are done in the open face style but the over pour is extremely thin and should be very easy to remove. Some nicely done deck winches are included as well.
Boats and miscellaneous fittings are all well done. Extra lengths of plastic rod are included to make some of the parts called for in the kit.
Instructions are without a doubt the best available for any kit in 1/700 scale. Mike Czibovic is a master at providing more than enough information to build his kits. Other manufactures should take notes. There are eight 8-1/2" x 11" sheets included with three pages of history and a tribute to Medal of Honor winner Cassin Young who commanded the ship during the attack on December 7th.

An excellent kit by any standards, it is accurate and detailed and the only thing I can find to complain about is the lack of photo etch. Photo Etch was not included to keep the cost down and also because not every modeler chooses to use it. This kit will build up just fine without it but add it and watch a great kit become a work of art. I highly recommend this kit. 

This kit is from Pacific Front Hobbies was listed for $55.00 in December 2001.