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In-Box Review
USS San Francisco
Midship Models' 1/700 USS San Francisco CA-38, 1944
  • sf_1

by: Kenny Loup [ GATOR ]

Originally published on:
Model Shipwrights

The following inbox review is of Midship Models, resin kit, 1/700 scale, USS San Francisco CA-38 as she appeared in 1944.

The vessel...

The United States Navy’s second ship to bear the name “San Francisco”, New Orleans class cruiser CA-38 was laid down on September 9, 1931 and commissioned on February 10, 1934 with Capt. Royal E. Ingersoll as her skipper. After a thorough shakedown cruise she returned to Mare Island Navy Yard to finish gunnery installation and undergo flagship conversion. In February 1935, she joined Cruiser Division (CruDiv) 6 at San Diego and begun her career as a Navy warship.

Like many USN warships that would later take the fight to the Japanese, the San Francisco was at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Undergoing a major overhaul of all systems including her weapons, The San Francisco did her best by transferring men and ammunition to other ships, including her sister, the New Orleans, to help fend off the attackers. After readying her fro war, the San Francisco sailed out of Pearl with revenge on her mind. Her first wartime sortie was to escort the Saratoga to Wake Island with reinforcements. When Wake Island fell, the convoy was diverted to Midway to boost defenses there.

The new year found the San Francisco escorting several task forces in both defensive resupply missions and offensive strikes against the Japanese held Gilberts, Marshalls and Solomons. After a busy month of January, the San Francisco found herself taking a break from action to perform escort duty for troop convoys leaving the US Pacific Coast. Her sailors would need the time to relax, for her next stop was the Guadalcanal-Tulagi meat grinder.
The San Francisco would go on to participate in the invasions of Makin and Betio, the Burton, Berlin, and Beverly islands, Saipan, Luzon, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. When all was said and done, the San Francisco (CA-38) earned 17 battle stars during World War II. She was decommissioned in 1946 after twelve years of service and sold for scrap in 1959.


Displacement-9,950 Tons
Dimensions-588' 0" (oa) x 61' 9" x 22' 6" (Max)
Armament-9 x 8"/55, 8 x 5"/25, 8 x 0.5" 4 Aircraft.
Armor-5" Belt, 8" Turrets, 2 1/4" Deck, 5" Conning Tower.
Machinery-107,000 SHP; Geared Turbines, 4 screws
Speed-32.0 Knots

The box, and what's inside...

The kit comes in a very nice, heavy weight, hinge lidded cardboard box. On the lid, you will find a photo of the proud San Francisco as she looked in 1943 and 1945 in her MS22 camouflage.

Inside the box, you will find 4 plastic bags full of plastic and resin parts, one brass photo-etch fret, one decal sheet, the waterline resin hull and the instruction sheet. The resin hull is cast with the main part of the superstructures in place.

The deck details are extremely crisp, and the only clean up required on this sample is the bottom of the hull. A few passes over a piece of sandpaper will take care of that.

Sprue A is Midship Models weapons set, that is available as a separate aftermarket kit. These two sprues hold the ships boats, life rafts, small caliber weapons and torpedo tubes. The instructions will tell you that not all the parts are needed to complete the model. This leaves some very nice bits and pieces for the spares box.

In the first large resealable bag, the modeler will find all the necessary resin parts to build this kit. There are six different pour stubs that for the sake of this review I will list as Sprues B through F.

Sprue B gives you all the resin parts needed to complete the ships superstructures. Included is the forward stack platform, midship search light platform, gun director platforms and mast platforms. All of these parts are attached to a thin sheet of resin that will make clean up of these parts easy.

Sprue C holds the three 8” gun turrets, the main armament of the cruiser. The turrets are nicely cast and will require very little clean up. As with Sprue B, the turrets are mounted on a thin sheet of resin.

Sprue D contains the 8” barrels for the main battery. Midship Models has conveniently molded the barrel and blast bag as one piece. No making blast bags for the lady are required!

Sprue E yields the ship’s 5” anti-aircraft guns. These weapons are beautifully cast in resin and are attached to the pour stub in such a way that detaching the part, and clean up will be a breeze.

Sprue F finds a thin sheet of resin that contains the bases for the 5” guns. Like the guns, these are expertly molded and will require little clean up.

The smaller, re-sealable bag contains the white metal parts for the cruisers two SOC Seagull scout aircraft, and the ship’s anchors. As a nice added detail, you will also find the catapult cradles for both aircraft.

Details, details.....

The brass photo-etch fret includes railings for the ship and catapults, the aircraft catapults themselves, aircraft details, radars, floater nets, 40mm gun sights, 20mm guns and shields, yardarms, stairs, jackstaffs and even the ship’s bell. The main deck railings are curved to aid in installation, a nice touch not found in some photo etch sets.

It looks that the only thing not included in this set is the kitchen sink, but that could be made from the left over bits. My fret did come slightly bent on one corner. With a little patience and TLC though, this can be straightened out.

The kits decals are a standard 1/700 USN set, that accompanies all Midship Models kits. They are nicely printed and give you ample choices if you wish to modify the kit to portray one the San Francisco’s sisters, or just want to keep them for spares.

The instruction sheet is a four page, front and back printed booklet, that clearly identifies all the parts by their nautical names. The instructions themselves are easy to follow, and even gives the builder tips when handling photo- etch parts. Very nicely done.

Final Impressions...

When I opened this box, I was pleasantly surprised at how crisply molded all the resin pieces are. The arrangement of the platforms and turrets on thin, resin pour sheets, is a great plus in this modeler’s view, as parts detachment and clean up will be much easier than had they been on pour stubs. The parts that are attached to stubs however, are done so that the risk of the part breaking during detachment is minimal.

The inclusion of the main superstructures in the casting of the waterline hull is also a plus. In my view, the actual kit assembly should go relatively quickly with the main portion of the construction focusing on the details, such as the photo etch. I find that this can keep a project moving along without the modeler getting bogged down with a lot of sub-assemblies.

As far as the drawbacks for this kit, I only see two, both of these not due to poor engineering. As I mentioned earlier, the photo etch fret came slightly bent in one corner. This can be fixed with a little care and a delicate touch. The second drawback is that one of the scout aircraft looks to have taken an AA hit to the tail. Fortunately, I had planned on using Trumpeter’s clear plastic Seagull to take advantage of the planes molded in clear plastic. I’m sure if I contacted Midship Models, a replacement aircraft would be provided.

The San Francisco is an important ship subject, as you can follow the course of the war through her actions. She was at Pearl Harbor for the onset of war, and she helped keep the Japanese busy during the hit and run raids in the early months of the war. She was a survivor of the terrible sea actions around Guadalcanal, and she helped liberate the Philippines and took the war to Japan’s doorstep with the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. The San Francisco proudly served her country in it’s time of need and never hesitated to go into harms way.

Reference Sources:



Navy historical Center
Highs: Crisply molded with quite a bit of detail for such a small scale. Very detailed set of photo etch included.
Lows: None with the kit itself. The PE fret had some minor bending and one of the aircraft had a small defect.
Verdict: This is a very nice kit of a proud ship that served her country well, and went in harm's way constantly throughout her career.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:700
  Mfg. ID: MPK 305
  Suggested Retail: 74.99
  Related Link: Midship Models
  PUBLISHED: Jan 30, 2008
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Midship Models!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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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.


Looks like another nice kit. I think I am starting to become a fan of resin. Thanks Kenny!
FEB 01, 2008 - 02:15 AM
Resin does offer a way to get the detail we all like. The only down side to the kit would have to be the white metal peices. They don't show the detail that the resin offers and tend to detract from the kit.
FEB 01, 2008 - 02:30 AM

What's Your Opinion?

Click image to enlarge
  • sf_1
  • Kit Contents
    Kit Contents
  • Instructions, pg 2
    Instructions, pg 2
  • Stern  Deck Details
    Stern Deck Details
  • Instructions
  • Sprues E and F, AA Gun Details
    Sprues E and F, AA Gun Details
  • Midships Details
    Midships Details
  • Sprue B, end view details
    Sprue B, end view details
  • Details, close-up
    Details, close-up
  • Hull Assembly
    Hull Assembly
  • Sprue B Details
    Sprue B Details
  • Deck Details
    Deck Details
  • Sprue E
    Sprue E
  • Sprue B, Superstructure Details
    Sprue B, Superstructure Details
  • Sprue C and D
    Sprue C and D
  • White Metal SOC Seagull
    White Metal SOC Seagull
  • Sprue B, end view
    Sprue B, end view
  • White Metal Details
    White Metal Details
  • Sprue B, top
    Sprue B, top
  • Decal Sheet
    Decal Sheet
  • Sprue B
    Sprue B
  • photo-etch fret
    Photo-etch Fret
  • Sprue A
    Sprue A