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In-Box Review
USS North Carolina BB-55

by: Kenny Loup [ GATOR ]

Originally published on:
Model Shipwrights

A Brief Ship History:
The North Carolina was the lead ship in a two ship class that included the USS Washington. Commissioned in 1940, she was the first of the fast, 16” gun battleships. The USS North Carolina went on to fight in all areas of the Pacific theater.

The kit, box, and what’s inside:

The kit comes in a medium weight, open lidded style cardboard box, which is adorned with a beautiful illustration of the North Carolina wearing 1944 Measure 32-18d camouflage and escorting the USS Enterprise. After opening the box, you will see several sealed plastic bags containing the various parts of the kit. The main deck and the waterline plate are bagged together, and the upper and lower hulls are packaged together using foam paper to secure them. The instruction sheet, painting guide and decals round out the contents.

Once you open the box and start to examine all the sprues, the first thing that you will notice is the beautifully molded weather, or main, deck. The amount of detail here reflects Trumpeter’s rise as one of the premier ship model manufacturers. The planking is well defined, but not overdone. Molded on to the decks are the 20mm ammo lockers, used to hold the spare drum magazines, life rafts and various ship fittings. Trumpeter has even gone as far as to mold the latches on the lids of the ammo lockers. The gun tubs are also molded on to the deck. While they are a little thick, they are acceptable for the scale. Other noticeable details include hatch bolt patterns and hinges and the grid patterns in the balsa life rafts.

On Sprue A, the modeler will find the boat, or upper, deck, the main assemblies of the bridge, parts for the island and the mast. Details such as the planking, ammo lockers and life raft carry over to the boat deck. The detail on the various bridge parts are nice, but the modeler will notice some mold seams and injector pin marks that will need to be addressed. If you pre-fit all the bridge pieces before applying glue, some of the pin marks may be hidden.

Sprue C contains the bridge and island bulkheads, a few of the ship’s life rafts and parts for one of the funnels, the propulsion system and one of the radars. Included on this tree is the shield in front of the forward 16 in turret. This part is usually molded on to the deck. Trumpeter has even included the bracing found on this piece.

Sprue D holds the bulkheads for the superstructure, the remaining bulkheads for the bridge, the propellers and some deck fittings. Again, the molded-on detail is outstanding. The bulkheads feature crisp hatches with latches, and open port holes with rain gutters. Take care when prepping these parts. You wouldn’t want to lose any of these details.

On Sprues E and F, you will find the 16” turrets, the 5” secondary armament and a host of anti-aircraft armament including 20mm, 40mm and 1.1” cannons. Also part of the E sprue is two sets of 16” barrels, one with blast bags and one without, more deck fittings, another funnel, and the Vought Kingfisher aircraft. The sides of the 16” turrets are cast separately so be prepared to fill a few seams there. The 5” turrets are some of the best you will find. But, after examining all the previous details, this comes as no surprise. The 5” barrels themselves are cast as one piece a la Dragon and can be positioned at various elevations. The gun directors appear to have the proper amount of hatches, and the radar detail will really “pop” with a wash. The 40mm mounts include a very subtle anti-slip grid on the base and you will even find that Trumpeter has included the gun directors for the 40mm and 20mm guns. The one drawback of this kit is the 20mm guns themselves. They appear to be the same molds as was offered with Trumpeter’s 1/700 cruiser kits. They are very basic and include no shields. Why the manufacturer didn’t use their latest 20mm with the shields is unknown. The 40mm and 1.1” guns are excellent and even have a hint of the recoil springs.

The Decals

The decals are of good quality and the insignia for the Kingfisher aircraft are in register. Both the American flag and Navy Jack have the appropriate amount of stars. The sheet also includes the hull markings for both the North Carolina and the Washington.

The Instruction Sheet

The 12 page instruction sheet is typical of Trumpeter. The first two inside pages are parts and sprue diagrams. The instructions are very clear, and show exact placement of each part and subassembly. The painting guide shows the North Carolina in camouflage measure 32/18d

Final thoughts for this first look:

With the exception of the 20mm guns, this is a very nice kit and a prime out-of-box build, as I will start in part 2 of the review. Once again, Trumpeter has set the bar very high with this kit. When compared with older battleship kits in the stash, Trumpeter is head and shoulders above the rest. For those modelers who like to use photo-etch details, this kit will build into a sure prize winner.

Many thanks to IPMS/USA and Stevens International for providing this excellent review sample!
Highs: Mold details, fitting of parts
Lows: Sink marks, 20mm guns
Verdict: Good subject, high quality model, exquisite details and highly recommended
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:700
  Mfg. ID: 05734
  Suggested Retail:  $27.95
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Feb 04, 2007
  NATIONALITY: United States

About Kenny Loup (gator)

I was the kid that his dad would say "Hey, there's a war movie on." and come running. As a kid, I dived head first into military history. We would always have to stop at the USS Alabama on our way to Florida. I also got to visit the Seawolf Park and the Alamo on vacation, too. All things I want ...

Copyright ©2021 text by Kenny Loup [ GATOR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


Clean and solid inbox, mate. . .thanks for your time, energy, and efforts! And isn't the new review layout fantastic? Much more reader friendly, IMHO, and a better overall appearance. Keep Modeling! ~Gunny
FEB 16, 2007 - 03:49 PM
Excellent review Kenny! She's a bit out of my (Child-support-paying ) reach at this time, but (Realizing that my reply is close to a year old-hey, it's been a ROUGH year... ) I have close to 225 Full aspect & detail Pics of the "Showboat" as she sits today. If there's enough interest (like, anybody, I guess..) I can probably upload these to the site for general use. Even got some closeups of the spare Prop & some of the ammo & stowage. Oh, yeah, some interior shots of the Gun Directors, If anyone's nuts enough to get that deep into the details... Anyway, Thought I'd offer, & If I get a nibble I'll commence w/ the uploading. She's a fine Lady to this day, & I hope to see some scale manifestations to do her justice. Clear skies & Following Seas, LD.
JAN 02, 2008 - 12:29 PM
Aye, mate...check yer pm's...
JAN 02, 2008 - 10:54 PM

What's Your Opinion?

Click image to enlarge
  • USS North Carolina BB-55
    Box art
  • USS North Carolina BB-55
    Bow deck details - although the chain is casted, the level of detail is good
  • USS North Carolina BB-55
    More parts detail
  • USS North Carolina BB-55
    Main Hull and deck parts
  • USS North Carolina BB-55
    Aft deck - note the tubs and deck details
  • USS North Carolina BB-55
    01 deck andmain turret parts
  • USS North Carolina BB-55
  • USS North Carolina BB-55
  • USS North Carolina BB-55
    Secondary armamnet sprue
  • USS North Carolina BB-55
  • USS North Carolina BB-55
    Decal sheet
  • USS North Carolina BB-55
    Instructions sheet
  • USS North Carolina BB-55
    Exquisite painting guide, giving the modeler info on both Port and Starboard sides, as well as top view. A nice touch.