Aaarrgh Mateys! Did a Kingís ship come close to bagging you on the last voyage? Are the brethren of the coast snickering behind your back at your limp sails and barnacled hull? Is your peg leg going through the deck planking and your hook lost its shine? Are you marooned with bare Bofors and denuded Oerlikons? Donít walk the plank in despair, your good ship Carolina can still be the pride of the Spanish Main with the help of brother Loren Perry of Gold Medal Models. Brother Loren is well known among all the riders of the brine as a supreme ship outfitter. Peg Leg Perryís old address at Fisherman Bay Road was a well-known haunt of many an honest smuggler and his new address must earn admiration of any red-blooded sailorman. Your Polly may want a cracker but you will want the Gold Medal Model 1:350 Scale USS North Carolina/Washington Fittings Set.

No fat galleon on the Main carries more golden treasure than that packed on this GMM brass photo-etched fret designed for the Trumpeter USS North Carolina. Whatís more it wonít cost you a kingís ransom of your hard-earned doubloons to outfit your North Carolina with the finest in relief-etched brass fittings. Think of what the ladies at Tortuga will say when you pull into port sporting these beauties. You donít need to be Captn Blood to know that youíll be in like Flynn with the IPMS lassies. So put your spy-glass to your good eye and spy the delicacies brought to you by brother Loren.


Electronics
NC7511fret.JPG (34094 bytes) NC7529fretdet.JPG (31868 bytes) NC7514sk2.JPG (32900 bytes)
NC7515sk.JPG (27507 bytes) NC7539mk12.JPG (30072 bytes) NC7540mk22.JPG (29155 bytes)
NC7541mk37.JPG (34238 bytes) NC7544sg.JPG (21596 bytes) NC7547mk3.JPG (30150 bytes)
NC7549mk8.JPG (25629 bytes) NC7550mk8.JPG (27328 bytes) NC7554sc2.JPG (21190 bytes) NC7527tdy.JPG (26732 bytes)

The fret measures a generous 9 7/8 by 7 1/8 inches jammed with detail for your North Carolina . Actually it is for your North Carolina or Washington as there are optional parts that apply to earlier fits of the pair. This is most noticeable in the wide spread of electronic fittings for the model. Of course the radar fittings changed throughout the war. GMM brings you different systems for different fits. At the end of the war the Mk 8 radar was in use for the directors of the main guns. These parts include not only the radars but also the system supports that secure the array atop the visual director. GMM not only provides this but also the earlier Mk 3 radar for those that wish to build an early to mid war North Carolina / Washington . Not only will your 16-inch guns be on target thanks to GMM, your 5-inch/38 guns will be dead on with the multiple parts to add to the Mk 37 secondary gun directors. GMM gives you the Mk 12 radar, the late war addition of the Mk 22 radar, plus two-piece mounting brackets for each set.

Likewise for the main search radar there are options. Included are the late war parabolic SK-2 as well as the earlier rectangle SK to please every modeler. Other radars include the SG, Mk 27, and SC-2. The electronics fit doesnít just stop with radar. GMM provides handy electronic array for the battleships with inclusion of TDY antennae. Although the electronics fittings are numerous, the largest parts on the fret are the cranes and catapults. The catapult decks have the realistic tread grid pattern relief etched on the parts. The catapult sides and bottoms are in one piece with the sides folded up in assembly. To examine the excellent detail provided by Gold Medal Models you need not go any further than the photographs of these parts. Just contrast the beautiful relief etched catapult sides of the GMM parts with the solid catapults found in the Trumpeter kit. The exquisite detail also includes turn-table decks with folding railing and three pieces of crew walkway around the perimeter of each catapult. Each of these four parts for each catapult has open hole perforated treadway for the most realistic representation possible of this machinery. Also included for the catapult are two aircraft shuttles/cradles for the seaplanes.


Large Equipment & Superstructure
NC7519cat.JPG (33850 bytes) NC7520catdet.JPG (28035 bytes) NC7521catdet.JPG (28093 bytes)
NC7522catdet.JPG (30533 bytes) NC7523catdet.JPG (21035 bytes) NC7531acrane.JPG (27925 bytes) NC7516bcrane.JPG (35007 bytes)
NC7518doors.JPG (20541 bytes) NC7528funplat.JPG (32400 bytes) NC7530funplat.JPG (26911 bytes) NC7551hawse.JPG (21390 bytes)
NC7545caps.JPG (25585 bytes) NC7552yard.JPG (23855 bytes) NC7556port.JPG (30742 bytes) NC7557port.JPG (24153 bytes)

Next in size are the three cranes provided in the fret. The largest is the single aircraft crane found at the stern. GMM provides a one-piece crane in which the four sides fold together. Frankly, there is no comparison with the GMM part with the kit-supplied part. Just as the solid catapults donít hack it, the solid cranes are crude compared to the open brass parts. The aircraft crane even includes the vertical ladder for the crew to access the top of the crane. There are two boat cranes, each of which has a lattice crane arm. Although these crane arms are smaller than the boat crane, they are no less detailed than their larger brother. They feature the same excellent open latticework with vertical ladder. For each type of crane GMM provides two types of optional hooks, block and tackle. There are enough hooks to fix up your entire crew. For the boat cranes four parts of pulley/rigging in two styles are provided.

Your AA armament is in for a major refit with this GMM fret. The Trumpeter parts leave a lot off their plastic renditions. To be fair, a lot of this detail canít be adequately done in plastic. There are 16 sets of detail parts for the quad 40mm Bofors positions. Each of these gun mounts receives brass parts for a relief-etched gun shield, rear mount guard railing and gun sights. GMM provides a base template for the modeler shape the railing to the correct angles before it is mounted to the Trumpeter plastic base. Just as the plastic Bofors have no shields, the Trumpeter 20mm Oerlikons are also shieldless and further, are totally devoid of detail. Unless, you are building a toy, you need the detail provided by GMM to dress out these guns. The fret includes 240 parts just for the Oerlikons. Included are 60 gun shields, 60 shoulder rests, 60 gun sights and 60 training wheels. The five-inch/38 turrets even get some additional detail with gun sights.


Armament, Smaller Fittings, Railing
NC7524bof.JPG (25782 bytes) NC7525bof.JPG (29057 bytes) NC7542bof.JPG (29359 bytes)
NC7534oer.JPG (19127 bytes) NC7543oer.JPG (17638 bytes) NC7546ac.JPG (23929 bytes) NC7533reels.JPG (34679 bytes)
NC7537boats.JPG (24703 bytes) NC7517carley.JPG (33373 bytes) NC7538pad.JPG (26733 bytes) NC7555plat.JPG (23174 bytes)
NC7536inclad.JPG (37673 bytes) NC7558rail.JPG (39633 bytes) NC7559rail.JPG (29665 bytes) NC7560rail.JPG (30032 bytes)

Loren provides plenty of additional detail for the superstructure. Both funnels have intricate walkways around them with platforms on the front of each stack. These are not found in the kit parts. These alone add architectural richness to the funnels and GMM provides fine funnel caps/grates as replacements for the thicker plastic parts provided in the kit. Among the smallest parts on the fret are some true indicators of the extraordinary level of detail worked into this product. The North Carolina and Washington were unique in the run of USN fast battleships in the inclusion of a good number of portholes in the forward superstructure. Each of these portholes had an armored cover with vision slit that would fit over it in battle or be raised above it in normal steaming. GMM includes these armored portholes with open vision slit. Unless your vision is incredibly good, youíll have to use magnification to see this detail but it is there. There are four types of relief-etched watertight doors provided on the fret. Trumpeter has doors on the plastic bulkheads but the GMM doors are significantly better in detail. To attach the brass doors youíll have to sand off the plastic doors or at least at a minimum, the plastic doorsí detail for the brass doors to fit flush. Eight life rings are also included for bulkhead decoration. Yardarms with foot-rails are provided for the masts.


Parts Contrast
NCC7578cat.JPG (33294 bytes) NCC7579cat.JPG (26825 bytes) NCC7580cat.JPG (28762 bytes) NCC7582crane.JPG (30575 bytes)
NCC7581crane.JPG (20942 bytes) NCC7592crane.JPG (31500 bytes) NCC7591crane.JPG (17980 bytes) NCC7575doors.JPG (23445 bytes)
NCC7589bof.JPG (21173 bytes) NCC7588oer.JPG (22867 bytes) NCC7597oer.JPG (21216 bytes) NCC7573caps.JPG (23374 bytes)

Deck detail gives pride of place to the two hawse covers. The anchor chains run through the hawse but each of these openings had a grating covering it. GMM gives you these beautifully detailed and intricate gratings. Your anchor machinery will also benefit with the six relief-etched brake-wheels included on the fret. There are four relief-etched cable hose reels. GMM provides the frame and end reels but the modeler will have to cut plastic rod to the correct length for the center spindle. How about two fine leadsmanís platforms with railing and perforated tread to ensure a successful passage through tight shoals. Four boat chocks are included as well as a number of different deck hatches in different styles. Some of these deck hatches are two-piece affairs with a small circular porthole that can be attached open or closed.

The fret contains a number of enhancements for the smaller craft carried aboard the battleships. There are rudders with propeller parts for two shipís boats as well as pulley fittings for their rigging. Propellers are provided for two SOCs or two Kingfishers. For Carley rafts the GMM fret includes ten round corner raft bottoms and twelve square corner raft bottoms as well as individual raft paddles. Of course railing is a Gold Medal Model specialty. This fret contains the custom tailored bow railing runs to allow the railing to fit smoothly with the bow sheer. The rest of the main deck railing is also specifically designed for the kit as openings in the railing for bollards and other deck edge fittings are designed into the railing runs. Some of these runs have sections of open links where you can count each individual link, although most railing had a protective cover over the links. There are a total of six different styles of railing and the instructions show the location of each type. Many modelers overlook the importance of something as generic as inclined ladders. Trumpeter provides parts that are supposed to be inclined ladders but they lack handrails and more resemble a section of monkey bars with circular tubing rather than flat rectangles for the foot treads. GMM provides 16 fully detailed inclined ladders, eight large and eight small, for the kit. To round out the package eleven runs of vertical ladder are provided.


Parts Contrast
NCC7574mk22.JPG (26837 bytes) NCC7584mk12.JPG (23712 bytes) NCC7585mk8.JPG (17938 bytes) NCC7586mk3a.JPG (20752 bytes)
NCC7593sk2.JPG (31498 bytes) NCC7587mk37.JPG (26220 bytes) NCC7596hawse.JPG (17763 bytes) NCC7577carley.JPG (24994 bytes)
NCC7590king.JPG (16370 bytes) NCC7583inclad.JPG (27877 bytes) NCC7594vlad.JPG (24724 bytes) NCC7595vlad.JPG (27449 bytes)

Instructions
The instructions with this fret conform to the standard GMM format. Included is one large back-printed sheet, which covers attachment of all of the included parts. A series of modules show through drawings and text assembly of the various parts and generally they can be assembled in any order. The modeler is free to pick and choose which brass parts he wishes to incorporate into his model. The first page contains general assembly tips with 15 specific modules on: catapults; SK-2; SC-2; Mk 27; aircraft crane; TDY ECM antennae; SG; life raft details; Mk 37; cable reels; SK; propellers and Mk 8. The rear side of the instructions contains ten more modules. These include: 5-inch sights; boat details; Oerlikon details; Bofor details; boat cranes; bridge portholes; funnel platforms; superstructure fittings; deck details; railing and final details. Additionally a short bibliography on the ships is included. The instructions are presented in a clear and concise manner. However, a lot of information is crammed into the instructions. The text is small and you may need magnification to make sure you donít miss anything.


Instructions
NC7561inst1.JPG (12167 bytes) NC7562inst1a.JPG (22949 bytes) NC7563inst1b.JPG (24529 bytes)
NC7564inst1c.JPG (30102 bytes) NC7565inst2.JPG (13909 bytes) NC7566inst2a.JPG (30005 bytes)
NC7567inst2b.JPG (22416 bytes) NC7568inst2c.JPG (27971 bytes) NC7569inst2d.JPG (18034 bytes)

Verdict
Well matey, the Gold Medal Models 1:350 scale USS North Carolina/Washington brass fittings set will shiver your timbers with all of the detail included. With these relief-etched brass parts, your North Carolina will swash her buckle with the best of the brethren of the coast. A Trumpeter North Carolina built from the box will be lubberly in comparison to one built with GMM detailed parts. While your mates who build from the box are sure to run afoul of the IPMS shoals, modeling mates who take advantage of this true compass of Peg Leg Perry are sure to find fair wind and a following sea.

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