The Dragon Premium Edition 1:700 scale Arizona upgrades the original release of the Arizona by Dragon. The changes include replacement of all hard plastic and cast metal parts found in the original release with injected plastic versions. A second brass photo-etch fret is also included in the new edition, which contains aircraft crane, boat handling cranes and other details, which will much enhance the model. One big change is the inclusion of a lower hull and fittings that will allow the modeler to build a full hull version.

The Pennsylvania Class battleships – what was so special about them? They were not the first ships to mount the 14-Inch gun. That was the New York Class constructed two years earlier. They were not the first to mount triple 14-Inch guns since the preceding Nevada Class had introduced that feature. They were not the first with twelve 14-Inch guns, Fuso beat them there. All or Nothing protection was also introduced with the Nevada. The Pennsylvania Class was the last USN battleship to have rounded turrets and the ram bow, as the following New Mexico Class introduced angular turrets and the classic clipper bow. No, what makes the Pennsylvania Class so interesting was the end of Arizona BB-39 on December 7, 1941. 


Hull
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The design for the Pennsylvania Class went through a number of variations. From the start the design called for armament of twelve 14-Inch guns but then went to other designs, including eight 15-Inch guns in twin mounts. Even the final design was changed. It had call for reciprocating engines but the two ships were changed to turbines. The Arizona was laid down on March 16, 1914 in the New York Navy Yard about five months after Pennsylvania. Although the basic design was for an improved Nevada, the Pennsylvania Class were significantly larger than their predecessors. At 608-feet overall, the design was 25 feet longer and almost 4,000 tons heavier. The engines produced 31,500 shp, which was 5,000 shp over Nevada and 6,700 shp over the Oklahoma, which was powered with vertical triple expansion (VTE) engines.

Launched on June 19, 1915 Arizona was completed October 17, 1916. Arizona was not sent to Great Britain upon the entrance of the United States into World War One. She, along with the other oil fired battleships, stayed back and only coal-fired ships joined the Grand Fleet, as fuel oil was in short supply in Britain. Arizona was a unit of the Atlantic Fleet until 1921 when she was transferred to the Pacific. 


Hull
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She went east for a refit/modernization at Norfolk, Virginia from July 15, 1929 to March 1, 1931. After completion it was back to the Pacific but this time as flagship of the Pacific Fleet in 1932. In 1934 she was flagship of Battleship Division 2 and flag of Division1 in 1937. As the political/military situation in the Pacific heated up in the late 1930s, Arizona received minor refits at Puget Sound in March 1939 and June 1941. On the morning of December 7, 1941 she was preparing to receive her CXAM radar with USS Vestal tied up alongside. Although she received a total of one torpedo and eight bomb hits, it was the one bomb hit that detonated the forward magazine that forever froze the USS Arizona in history. The film and stills of her explosion were some of the most memorable and evocative images to the American public during World War Two.

USS Enterprise should be the most renowned ship of the United States Navy during World War Two but if you ask the average person at a mall or on the street, if they could name any ship, it probably would be the USS Arizona


Superstructure - Sprue A
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The Dragon Premium Arizona
In the late 1950s the Arizona kit by Revell was probably the best warship kit commonly available in the US. Compared to other Revell offerings, it had remarkable detail and fidelity. It has held up so well that it is still available a half a century after its initial release. Other Arizona kits were the less than successful 1:720 scale Revell kit and one from Lindburg, Yikes! No less than four Arizona kits have been released in the last couple of years and that does not include the 1:350 resin Toms/Iron Shipwright kits. Banner/Trumpeter put out a very successful 1:350 scale kit and Minihobbies issued a 1:700 scale kit, which though it was better than the old Revell 1:720 scale kit, still had significant problems. Some years ago Hi-Mold of Japan issued an outstanding resin 1:700 scale kit of USS Arizona. In that most popular of scales, nothing came close to the Hi-Mold kit…..until now.

The Dragon Premium Edition 1:700 scale USS Arizona is a truly remarkable kit. It is a moderately priced injection-molded kit that can successfully take on an excellent, much higher priced resin kit on the same subject matter. A trend that was established a few years ago was the renaissance of production of 1:700 scale injection-molded kits. Japanese firms would completely redo kits that had been around since the early 1970s. Redo is not the right word, as they completely brand new kits of much greater detail than the kits they replaced. Tamiya started releasing new subjects that had not been done before. In 2003 Dragon made a big statement that they intended to be a major player in the 1:700 market with the Admiral Ushakov (click for review of Dragon Admiral Ushakov) and Piotr Veliky Soviet/Modern Russian Rocket Cruisers and now the Arizona. Except with the original release of Arizona, Dragon went to the multimedia approach. The Dragon Premium Edition has fixed what was unpopular with the initial release and added a brass photo-etch set. 


Superstructure - Sprue A
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Hull Detail
The Dragon Arizona compares very favorably with the resin Hi-Mold kit. The Dragon Premium Edition hull comes in four parts; hull bottom, main hull, foc’sle, and aftermost quarterdeck. Both the hull sides and decks are packed with detail. The hull sides have all of the angles and curves, plating and strakes, and torpedo bulges that add great interest and exceptional detail to this model. On the deck the steel plates just aft of the quarterdeck break shows rivet heads. Undoubtedly, they are over-scale but they look very fine an exhibit a dedication to detail found in this kit. The Dragon kit does have what many modelers would consider a minor disadvantage, aztec steps. Actually they are better than the prototypical stair step aztec steps. They are triangular and show foot treads and railing but are in essence souped-up aztec steps. Many modelers will wish to remove these with a hobby knife and use photo-etched brass inclined ladders in their place. The drainage scuttles along the waterline are far too large. If you wish, you’ll get a more accurate Arizona by filling these in and then drilling out the scuttles with a small drill bit. As far as accuracy, you can be the judge. Here are a series of photographs with major decks laid on top of the 1:600 scale drawings found in Battleship Arizona; An Illustrated History, Paul Stillwell’s definitive study of the USS Arizona. Compare the 1:700 scale Dragon kit with the 1:600 drawings and draw your own conclusions as to the fidelity of the Dragon model. 


Armament - Sprue B
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With the Premium Edition, Dragon includes a lower hull that will allow the modeler to build a full hull version of the ship. The lower hull includes bilge keels and horizontal strengthening strakes, which although on the thick side, still provide extra detail. All other under water fittings, such as rudder, propellers, and propeller shafts are also included. Also a cradle/display stand for the model is provided for those wishing to build the full hull version.

Smaller Parts
The Dragon Premium Edition kit box top states the kit is comprised of 220 parts, up from the 154 parts listed with the original kit. Although I have not counted them, I believe it. There are six sprues containing the multitude of parts for this kit. From 5-Inch/25 open mount guns to the directors and other fittings, care has been used by Dragon to add detail at every level. The two Kingfisher floatplanes and ship’s boats are in clear plastic. This will allow for an impressive presentation of the glassed areas, once they are painted. The control tops are exceptionally well detailed and are in my opinion better than those in the Hi-Mold kit and are now of plastic, rather than the hard rubber tops in the initial release. Aft crane, boat cranes and the two catapults are solid and the model could be improved with brass photo-etch replacement items, which Dragon includes in the Premium Edition for the cranes. The stack galleries, catapult, as well as the tops, which were all originally hard rubber parts, have all been replaced with standard injected plastic versions. 


Aircraft, Replacements and Lower Hull Fittings - Sprues C & E
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The 14-Inch turrets are two piece affairs with a plastic bottom half and plastic turrets replacing the cast metal upper halves found in the initial release. The turret tops are very well done with apron and bracing, turret top lines and other detail. One detail that is molded onto the turrets is the vertical ladder on the turret sides. If you wish to replace that with photo-etched ladder, it will now be much easier to do so than with the original metal turrets.

Multi-Media
As with the initial Dragon release, the Premium Edition includes brass barrels for the 14-Inchers as well as the plastic ones found on the armament sprues. The included brass barrels are very nice, with drilled-out muzzles and more significantly a slight flare at the muzzle. This flare is so slight that sometimes it is not noticeable in photographs. However, it was a common feature of the big naval guns produced before and during World War One and was present on the Arizona. Brass anchor chain is also included. The links are elongated, like the prototype chain, rather than circular. In 1:700 scale the chain appears to be a trifle large but still is a very nice and thoughtful addition by Dragon. The kit also comes with two brass photo-etch frets. One, provided with the original kit contains mostly railing. This fret also has some extra crane detail and hull side boarding ladders. The railing ends in individual stanchions, in the style used by Eduard, rather than have a bottom runner in the style of GMM, Toms and WEM. This is strictly a matter of preference, as some prefer the individual stanchion approach. I prefer having a bottom runner as it materially assists in attaching the railing. The top rail is also on the large side. The second photo-etch fret corrects the deficiencies of the solid cranes found on the plastic sprues. This fret was not part of the initial Dragon release. It provides stern aircraft crane, boat handling cranes & tackle, vertical ladder for stack, and aircraft propellers. However, there is no replacement of the solid catapults. Dragon also provides a small decal sheet with Kingfisher markings, stern name plates, national ensign and jack. 


Brass Parts - Barrels, Chain & Photo-Etch
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Instructions
The instructions for the Arizona is basically one long sheet folded into all intents and purposes six pages. The textual coverage, which is fairly minimal, is in Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish. Through a modular approach everything is clearly laid out in the drawings. Brass photo-etch parts are shown in blue in order to differentiate them from the plastic parts. There is a painting guide provided in the form of a plan and profile. Colors are listed all six languages as well as numerical codes for Aqueous Hobby Colour, Mr. Colour and Italeri Paint Number. For instance the hull and lower superstructure color is listed as dark gray, duhkel grau (sic, should be dunkel), gris fonce, grigio scuro, Chinese, Japanese, #305 Aqueous Hobby Colour, #305 Mr. Colour and #1723 Italeri Paint Number. As mentioned earlier, there is a separate small insert for the special version, which shows using the brass barrels, rather than the plastic ones. All in all, the instructions are pretty much the standard Dragon format. However, photo-etch from the new brass photo-etch fret is identified with MB numbers in order to distinguish it from the parts of the original fret, listed under MA designation.  


Box Art, Decal Sheet & Instructions
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Verdict 
How different is the Dragon Premium Edition 1:700 scale Arizona from the original plastic release? The new release replaces all of the unpopular hard rubber parts and cast metal parts with injected plastic versions. Additionally the Premium Edition includes a second brass fret, which primarily provides detailed cranes. One further significant addition, which is in common with other DML Premium Edition releases, is full lower hull for modelers wishing to build a full hull version of the famous ship. All of these features are value added additions and if you do not have the original DML Arizona, provides a better, more complete kit than the initial release. 

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