Tenn port MS 21.jpg (26395 bytes)
United States Navy Battleship
Tennessee
BB-43

1:700 Scale Waterline Kit
by Classic Warships


In-the-Box Impressions
By Rob Mackie

The Classic Warships 1:700 scale USS Tennessee is a waterline model depicting the ship in its 1944 fit.  One of two Tennessee class battleships   (the other was California), Tennessee survived Pearl Harbor with minor damage, unlike California which was was sunk.  California was refloated and both ships subsequently underwent a radical overhaul.  They were rebuilt from the deck up, and gained so much extra beam (16 feet) that they could no longer transit the Panama Canal.  The Classic Warships kit depicts Tennessee in its post-rebuild form, so if you are looking for an early war, cage-masted Tennessee, this kit is not for you.  The rebuilt Tennessee class somewhat resembled South Dakota class ships.  They had a central citadel crowded with 40mm, 20mm and 5" gun armament and lost the 1920s "look" characteristic of the battle fleet at Pearl.

 Tenn Stern MS 21.jpg (22019 bytes)
Stern view of USS Tennessee 1944
(Note the curved dark line on both port and starboard side of deck.
  This is the deck outline prior to the 1943 re-build)

The Model
The Classic Warships kit consists of a very finely cast hull, resin superstructure/deck levels, and numerous white metal guns and fittings.  There is also a small etched brass fret with catapults and an aircraft handling crane.  This is a generic fret used on many Classic Warship kits, so most of the PE parts will go into the spares box.   The hull casting is especially noteworthy.  It captures nicely the hybrid quality of these re-built battleships as well as having a lot of deck detail. There are no watertight doors on the hull casting so add your own from plastic strip or etched brass (or ignore them.  In the dark MS 21 scheme carried by Tennessee they are hardly noticeable in this scale.). The white metal is quite acceptable, especially the 40mm guns.

A minor amount of scratchbuilding is required.  There are two pole-shaped boat cranes aft that should be fabricated from brass or plastic rod. The pole masts will also need to be made from rod stock (not included). Neither 20mm guns nor railing is provided so you will need to buy the appropriate Tom's or GMM fret.  The kit can be built either as California or Tennessee.  The ships were identical with the exception of a few 20mm mounts.  And with a little extra work the kit can be converted to a late war West Virginia. The Squadron Battleships in Action, Part I, is a good reference as well as the Volunteer State Battlewagon: USS Tennessee. Both these books are in the $8 range and are useful supplements to the instructions. The Squadron book has a stunning color drawing showing California's port and starboard dazzle scheme, should you wish to do something more dramatic than the Tennessee's dark MS 21 livery.

California Post Conversion.jpg (12765 bytes)
USS California 1944

Instructions consist of an exploded view and what appears to be a schematic from another source.  There is no parts list against which to inventory the box contents, an oversight that Classic Warships should address in future releases.  It would also be helpful if Classic included a list of parts the modeler needs to scratch build from rod stock.  Experienced modelers will figure this out readily enough, but resin beginners won't.

I'm glad I picked up this model at the IPMS Nats as I find late war Tennessee class battleships fascinating.  The minor amount of scratchbuilding required is easy, though I suggest that Classic be more explicit in its instructions regarding the items the modeler needs to add.  It is one of the better 1:700 releases from Classic Warships.  The model sells for $75.  See the Classic Warships page for availability.

Click on thumbnail image to view full size picture

Tenn01.jpg (24260 bytes) Tenn02.jpg (16008 bytes) Tenn03.jpg (16168 bytes) Tenn04.jpg (44795 bytes)
Tenn05.jpg (68668 bytes) Tenn06.jpg (76645 bytes) Tenn07.jpg (32851 bytes)