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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:12 am 
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Model Monkey
Model Monkey

Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2005 9:27 pm
Posts: 2984
Location: USA
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Tamiya's 1/350 scale USS Missouri BB-63 has been around since 1985 and many are very familiar with it. Like other Tamiya 1/350 scale kits, brilliant models have been built from this kit. IMHO, it's a great model, despite its age. In- and out-of-production over the years, this kit is often available on online auction sites.

General observations:

1. Essentially accurate in shape and dimension with some exceptions*, the kit is big but lacks bulkhead detail. It's an excellent model out of the box but it begs for further detailing. Photoetch is a big help.

2. It is a further development of Tamiya's 1/350 scale USS New Jersey BB-62 molding, released a year earlier, thus has some post-war hull details that are not accurate for a World War Two-era Missouri. These include the vertical hull-side drain pipes that should be removed as stated in the kit's instructions. This will require careful cutting and/or sanding. A common, household cuticle trimmer can help.

3. Other than the drain pipes, the kit's hull sides are molded smooth with no strake detail. The real ship's hull is constructed of several levels of over- and under-lapping strakes. Also, the real ship's shell plating (the "skin") has several vertical reinforcing butt straps midships at regularly spaced locations along the top three strakes.

4. The kit's radar fit and aircraft are accurate for her 1945 Pacific combat service. For those wishing to depict the ship during her 1944 Atlantic shakedown, when the ship wore her dramatic camouflage scheme with characteristic "Nike Swoosh" on the starboard side, remove the Mk.57 directors, cut away their associated platforms, and replace the kit's SC-1 Seahawks with OS2U Kingfishers.

5. Like many other large-scale plastic ship models, the main deck is molded in three pieces requiring careful alignment during assembly. The joints are in places where the seams will be noticeable.

6. Wooden deck planking seams are raised.

7. The superstructure shape overall looks very good. Most vertical surfaces have no detail. Aftermarket photoetch is your friend.

8. Compared to The Floating Drydock's "Plans Book" for USS Missouri, there are some dimensional inconsistencies between the kit and that publication as well as slightly different 16"/50 cal. barbette locations. However, these problems are not noticeable, being more trouble to fix for most modelers than is worth the effort. Purists may choose to do so. However, correcting these differences would cause fit problems with aftermarket wood deck products.

9. The bridge windows, aircraft catapults and aircraft handling crane are molded solid.

10. Between the funnels are two triple Bofors towers. The interior bulkhead of the towers has no detail. The splinter-shielding of the uppermost tub of these towers is misshapen. One side should be flatter. Correcting this would pose problems for aftermarket photoetch ammunition racks. If using photoetch ammo racks, no correction is recommended.

11. The splinter shielding for the two Oerlikon positions on the main deck astride Turret #3 is misshapen. If an aftermarket wooden deck is to be used, no correction is recommended.

12. The 5"/38 twin mounts have the correct Mk.28 shape. 8 of ten of these mounts have an integrated blast hood, molded solid. The other AA weapons (quad Bofors and single Oerlikons) look good but molded a bit heavy, likely a limitation of injection molding. If desired, any of these AA weapons types can be replaced with more finely cast, better detailed, 3D-printed, resin, and/or brass aftermarket products available from several manufacturers.

13. The screw blades are molded thickly.

14. When compared to official US Navy blueprints dated 1940, the Tamiya kits' 16"/50 cal turrets are actually over-scale, too big by about 11% and slightly misshapen. They are closer to 1/315 scale, about 1/16th inch too wide and about 1/8 inch too long, and the barrels are set slightly wider than they should be. For rivet counters, there are too few rooftop rivets (actually screw-heads on the real turrets) and the armored rangefinder and viewfinder hoods are molded solid with closed shutters. The large hoods have a recess on the bottom, visible from below, presumably to save material while molding. Although the scaling problem may sound bad, this problem is not noticeable to the casual observer. For purists, true-to-scale, highly detailed 3D-printed aftermarket turrets are available here:
http://www.shapeways.com/product/JJ4GS5 ... for-tamiya

Overall, this is a great model kit all by itself, out of the box. If desired, its features can be easily improved and further detailed with aftermarket products.

Additional comments are invited.


* There are some hull shape issues but in my humble opinion, the model looks good as is. For purists, the main deck and hull just at the stem is too wide. The stern is slightly out of shape and there should be a short skeg between the inboard propeller shaft skegs. The bulbous bow looks a bit narrow.

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-Steve Larsen

Complete catalog of over 1900 designs for scale modelers:
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