- Published on Tuesday, 07 June 2011 10:44 Robin Jenkins
1/1200 U.S.S. Yorktown (CV-5)
Kit number 05800
Available from Wonderland Models for £5.39
I've always found the Yorktown class of US aircraft carriers amongst my favourite American vessels (below). It's a combination of their purposeful shape, the fact that there were only 3 of them (CV-5 Yorktown, CV-6 Enterprise and CV-8 Hornet) and the fact that some or all of them were involved in all of the early major naval battles or actions in the Pacific in the period 1941 -42 (the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo, Coral Sea, Midway, Eastern Solomons and Santa Cruz) that have always fascinated me. Only Enterprise survived this period, with Yorktown lost at Midway and Hornet at Santa Cruz.
I have modelled all three of the vessels at various points in my life. In the early 1970s, I discovered that modelling magazines existed - the old Airfix Magazine was followed by Scale Models, Military Modelling and, a long-forgotten Almark title, Modelworld, that ran for less than 2 years, but which contained a wide range of interesting and informative modelling articles, quite a few being based around conversions. I remember buying the then-new 1/1200 USS Hornet from (I believe) Altmark themselves at a long-gone model shop in Bristol, and using an article in Modelworld, I carried out my first ever conversion, converting the ship to the earlier, smaller carrier, U.S.S. Ranger (CV-4). Even then I was aware that the quality of the base Hornet kit was not great, the large holes in the deck for mounting the aircraft on being much more untidy and unsightly than the clear decks of Airfix's various aircraft carrier kits, even to my young eyes.
Now, my past has caught up with me. I have in my hands a re-issue of that old Hornet kit from the 1970s, reboxed as U.S.S. Yorktown by Revell; I know that the moulds have passed through the hands of Casadio, MPC, Esci/Ertl and Modelpower before reaching Revell, who previously released the kit in their "Miniships" range in the mid 2000s. There are two small grey sprues, a small decal sheet and an instruction pamphlet. The first of the grey sprues (above) contains the waterline hull, internal hanger decks, one piece bridge, funnel top, ships boats, masts, cranes and single engined aircraft.
The second sprue (below) holds the flight deck, more cranes and single engine aircraft, together with some twin-engined B-25B Mitchell bombers; these were appropriate for the original version of U.S.S. Hornet, since she carried 16 of them on the Doolittle Raid, but they are of no use to Yorktown.
Finally, we have the instruction leaflet and decal sheet (above). The decals give numbers and stripes in yellow, which were peacetime deck marking colours; therefore, the correct colour scheme for the ship is not as shown in the instructions, but a pale grey hull and superstructure with a natural wood deck.
I do wonder who this type of kit is aimed at. Its almost snap-together nature makes it suitable for a younger modeller or a larger scale wargamer, but any other modeller will probably give it a miss. There are many faults, some of which I was able to identify as a young teenager all those years ago:
- the hull height is too tall
- the bow shape is nothing like Yorktown
- the AA gun fit is wrong
- the island structure is too thick and too far aft in position
- the single seat aircraft (Wildcat, Dauntless or Devastator) cannot be identified since they are so poorly shaped
- all of the detail parts are overscale
Actually, thinking about it, since the Mitchells are better mouldings, this would look better as Hornet in its striped Measure 12 camouflage. Sand down the hull base by 2mm, add filler to shape the bow, replace some of the details with sprue, wire or card, fill all the holes meant for the aircraft, scratchbuild the correct 20mm mounts and carve the correct boat fit from sprue or balsa scraps; you will then have a finished model that will be passable. without this effort, it unfortunately will look only as good as a detailed toy boat.
So what do we think?
An old acquaintance who time has not treated well and who is seriously at the end of her modelling life. OK for a younger modeller (who will struggle with some of the parts), or for a fan of the ship class willing to put a lot of work into the kit to get a half-decent result.
Our thanks to Revell for the review sample. To purchase directly, click THIS link.