So bunkie, youíre tackling the Trumpeter Nimitz? At 1:350 scale that birdfarm is one big model! Are you building it straight from the box or are you going a step beyond? Odds are, most are going to add photo-etch detail from some source. In between Loren Perryís long ranging journey across the length of Washington State to cast multiple ballots in that stateís latest governors race, he has found the time to release what any modeler would need to build their Nimitz right.

Loren has actually produced two frets which combined provides a formidable array of exquisite parts just begging to adorn the model. With these frets Loren allows you to go far beyond one step in detailing the Nimitz. With these photo-etched frets in your hands, youíll be fully conditioned by the Gold Medal Models Gym & Health Club to finish the marathon of Nimitz building with endurance to spare. Body builders have to train for years to reach their physical perfection. Loren didnít want you to wait that long to perfect your build of the Nimitz so he brewed his magic elixir of brass that allows the modeler to achieve instant muscle tone for his match against the Trumpeter giant. 

The two frets are the standard Nimitz photo-etch set 350-28 and the Nimitz extra detail photo-etch set 350-29. In theory this will allow the modeler to choose the level of GMM detail that they wish to add to their carrier. It is possible to just acquire set 350-28 to add the essentials, although there are also some esoteric luxury items on the fret as well. Or, if you want to go a mile beyond, you can also acquire set 350-29 that contains "extra detail." However, when you see the parts on the "extra detail" fret, this wonít be an optional fret but an essential one.

GMM Nimitz Set 350-28
This set is listed as the "1/350 Scale USS Nimitz Fittings Set" and that is what it contains, fittings, fittings and even more fittings. All of the detail on the Gold Medal Models is of premium quality but some detail parts included in this fret are more important than other included parts. At the top of the hierarchy are the radars. From the SPS-43A or SPS-49 radar atop the prominent mast to the smaller radars atop the small island mast, radars occupy prominent positions on the Nimitz and on the 1:350 scale version of her. The plastic parts provided by Trumpeter are very good for plastic parts but donít cut the mustard in face of the GMM brass parts. In the all important radar category, GMM supplies four on the fret. The largest involves the option that you have for the large radar mast aft of the island. However, it is really an illusory option in that your selection is predetermined by the year of fit of the Nimitz or her sistership, that you are building. The largest of the radars is the SPS-43A and directly replaces the plastic parts in the Trumpeter kit for an early version Nimitz. An interesting sidebar is that Loren notes in the instructions that the Trumpeter SPS-43A had incorrectly added part of the later SPS-49 radar. So apparently if you want to get the correct shape for this radar on the Nimitz as built, replacement of the plastic part is necessary. Even if replacement was not necessary, it has to be highly desirable because of the far greater fineness and impact of the GMM parts. Now we come to one of the many optional parts that form a large portion of both frets but especially 350-29. Fret 350-28 has plenty of options on its own and one of the largest is the SPS-49 radar. More complex than the SPS-43A and with a prominent counterbalance/horn, the SPS-49 replaced the SPS-43A on the modernized Nimitz and Eisenhower and was fitted from the start on CVN-70 through CVN-76. If you are building your carrier in one of these fits, the GMM SPS-49 is an absolute requirement. There are two smaller radars on the short mast on top of the island and fret 350-28 provides direct replacement for these. The SPS-10 and SPS-48 radars are multipart brass arrays that provide intricate replacement for the solid plastic parts provided in the kit.

Also aligned in the electronics fit of the warship but smaller in size from the large radars are numbers of antennae fittings and Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) array. Some of these brass systems are direct replacements for plastic parts found in the kit, such as intricate sector antennae for Trumpeter parts F61 and whip antennae for Trumpeter parts D31. Others are additions to the electronic fit, such as Direction Finder (DF) antennae or loops and ECM antennae. As with the larger radars, plastic pieces cannot hope to replicate the fineness of these delicate arrays and any modelerís Nimitz will look better with the GMM parts. 


GMM Nimitz Fret 350-28
Nim5052fret.JPG (131877 bytes) Nim5062radars.JPG (129597 bytes) Nim5070rad.JPG (142077 bytes)
Nim5059anchors.JPG (123692 bytes) Nim5063ant.JPG (149116 bytes) Nim5064braces.JPG (115228 bytes) Nim5065bases.JPG (150047 bytes)
Nim5055wipers.JPG (137614 bytes) Nim5057reels.JPG (138882 bytes) Nim5060bi.JPG (162996 bytes) Nim5061litters.JPG (176046 bytes)

As a total percentage of the fret, the largest category of replacement brass parts are for catwalks/safety netting. On 350-28 almost all of the replacements are for safety netting, rather than catwalks. The Trumpeter kit comes with safety netting as the deck edges for the flight deck. This safety netting is found on the edge of the elevators, at the aft end of the flightdeck, at the forward end of the flightdeck and along the overhang of the angled portion of the flightdeck. Trumpeter has done a good job in capturing the looks of the netting but it is solid, rather than a web structure. Again as with the radars, this is an inherent difficulty as a result of the capabilities of plastic injection. The plastic injection process is not capable of capturing all of the openings or fine detail found in the netting, which is abundantly captured with GMM photo-etched brass. To use the GMM safety nettings, youíll have to take out your Xacto or other hobby knife and have some very simple out-patient surgery. For the safety netting replacement, it is a rather simple matter to remove the plastic safety netting with your hobby knife, sand the area of attachment smooth and then add the intricate brass safety netting. When it comes to catwalk replacement, the operation is more complicated but as fret 350-28 contains mostly safety netting rather than catwalks, Iíll save the description of catwalk replacement for the portion of the review which concerns fret 350-29. It may seem obvious but to avoid mixing up the brass safety nets one with the other, I recommend replacing the safety nets one part at a time. Start with the elevator edge safety nets as they are the simplest and will give you good experience before going on to the bow, stern and angled deck safety netting replacements, each of which use multiple pieces of brass from the fret.

The safety net arrangement also provides options for the modeler. The exact arrangement of the bow and angled deck edge varied among the ships of the class. There were three different versions of the bow deck edge, one for Nimitz as built and represented in the kit, one for CVN-69 and CVN-70 and the last for CVN-71 through CVN-76. There were two variations for the edge of the angled deck with CVN-69 through CVN-76 having a different arrangement than that on the Nimitz. Whichever ship you are building, Gold Medal Models provides the correct safety netting for your flattop. The instructions clearly show and describe which parts are used on which ship. As with the safety nets themselves, if you are not building an early Nimitz, some simple alterations of the plastic parts will be necessary. 


GMM Nimitz Fret 350-28
Nim5067cat.JPG (139138 bytes) Nim5068cat.JPG (135273 bytes) Nim5058srails.JPG (114364 bytes)
Nim5054rail.JPG (105163 bytes) Nim5056rail.JPG (123454 bytes) Nim5053lad.JPG (145016 bytes)
Nim5066catlad.JPG (135535 bytes) Nim5083inst1.JPG (65483 bytes) Nim5084inst1a.JPG (171707 bytes)
Nim5085inst1b.JPG (124381 bytes) Nim5088inst2.JPG (63547 bytes) Nim5084inst1a.JPG (171707 bytes) Nim5085inst1b.JPG (124381 bytes)

Railings also occupy a significant percentage of fret 350-28. The railings are not generic, one size fits all railings, but are precisely designed for specific areas or parts of the ship. GMM provides full coverage of hull railings, island railings, elevator railings, hangar opening railings and stern railings. Once again there are optional parts included. The Nimitz was not built with bridge window railings, they were added after the refit, but all of the others were built with them. GMM provides these railings as part of the mix.

A prodigious assortment of other items are provided on this fret, large and small. The largest are the two anchors, which are direct replacements for the unusual anchors supplied in the Trumpeter kit. However, far smaller and far more esoteric are some of Lorenís other inclusions on the fret. You can stage your own Tour of France, or more accurately your own Tour of Nimitz, with the eight bicycles provided in the fret. Bicycles were used for fast transport on the hangar deck but budding Lance Armstrongs may wish to stage their own race in a diorama. Isnít this hazardous inside a pitching carrier? No problem, if any of any of your contestants miss a turn and slam into the fuselage of an Intruder or other aircraft, your medicos wonít have to resort to the firemanís carry to take the injured rider to the sick bay. Loren has thoughtfully provided seven Stokes litters to make the corpsmanís job easier. When it comes to inclement weather, your Nimitz will be prepared. Any Autozone automobile store could only wish that they had in stock all of the windshield wiper blades that GMM has provided on this fret. Other finely detailed, relief etched parts include multitudes of fuel hose reels, accommodation ladders, safety cage ladders, inclined ladders (large, small, flightdeck catwalk), anemometers, life rings, flightdeck vertical ladders, and assortment of doors in various styles.

GMM Nimitz Set 350-29 "Extra Detail"
Officially this fret is named "1/350 Scale CVN Extra Details Set", as if it were some supplemental details that are beneficial but not required. Loren really lets the cat out of the bag with this annotation found on the instructions for 350-29, "Both detail sets (Nos. 350-28 and 350-29) are required to fully detail the Trumpeter Nimitz-class kit." Although some modelers may be content to just add the wealth of detail already found on 350-28, its my guess that the vast majority will want to run that extra mile and add the equal wealth of detail found on 350-29. The parts found on this fret as a supplemental in nature as those found on fret 350-28, i.e. they are not supplemental, they are essential. 


GMM Nimitz Fret 350-29 - Masts, Platforms, LSO & Equipment
NimE5026fret.JPG (142401 bytes) NimE5036masts.JPG (138982 bytes) NimE5037masts.JPG (159752 bytes)
NimE5038masts.JPG (117569 bytes) NimE5039masts.JPG (126767 bytes) NimE5044fender.JPG (100917 bytes)
NimE5030lso.JPG (158215 bytes) NimE5035plat.JPG (144117 bytes) NimE5032plat.JPG (150783 bytes)
NimE5043tilly.JPG (150309 bytes) NimE5028tractors.JPG (144439 bytes) NimE5029plat.JPG (111158 bytes) NimE5034ecm.JPG (145163 bytes)

First comes the huge radar mast aft of the island. GMM provides seven different masts that vary in the proportions of latticework to solid structure that each mast contains. As a general rule, the earlier masts had more lattice work and the later masts were solid but also with their own variations. Which you use depends upon the ship or fit that you are building. Masts are included for Nimitz early, Ike early, Nimitz intermediate, CVN-70 through CVN-72, CVN-73 through CVN-75, Nimitz late and Ike late. In the case of each mast variation GMM provides all of the specific and requisite platforms, railing and fittings for each particular version. As a further option, you can attach the doors in open or closed positions.

Other essential items include the LSO platform and screens, transom boat fender for CVN-71 through CVN-75, tilley crane with block and tackle, aircraft towbars, ordnance jettison ramps, and underway replenishment hoses. What about your crewmen who are not interested in the bicycle races on the hangar deck which has come about as a result of 350-28. Loren has catered to the Tractor Pull crowd with the parts he has included with 350-29. GMM provides enough extra detail for the tow tractors in the form of tow hooks, exhaust outlet detail, front grill, and steering wheels to satisfy any Future Farmer of America or make any John Deere dealer green with envy, even though their tractors are already green. For the Silver Spoon crowd GMM supplies extra shipís boats detail with bow windshields, steering wheels and keel/rudders. Now they can yacht in safety and panache. 


GMM Nimitz Fret 350-29 - Catwalks & Instructions
NimE5041catsup.JPG (169074 bytes) NimE5042cat.JPG (138227 bytes) NimE5045cat.JPG (126820 bytes)
NimE5046cat.JPG (144694 bytes) NimE5047cat.JPG (124227 bytes) NimE5048cat.JPG (152920 bytes)
NimE5050cat.JPG (60403 bytes) NimE5051cat.JPG (59349 bytes) NimE5089inst1.JPG (64782 bytes) NimE5090inst1a.JPG (170515 bytes)
NimE5091inst1b.JPG (134718 bytes) NimE5092inst2.JPG (62392 bytes) NimE5093inst2a.JPG (97332 bytes) NimE5094inst2b.JPG (131108 bytes)

So far about 60% of the fret has been described but what about the balance of the fret? Just as a large percentage of 350-28 had replacement safety nets for the deck edges at certain locations, 350-29 contains coverage for the balance of the ship in the form of replacement catwalks. If you look at the catwalks that ring the flightdeck on the Trumpeter Nimitz, youíll notice that they are solid with solid, clunky aztec steps for the inclined ladders. Do you want your huge Nimitz to have equally huge Aztec steps, right out of the 1960s Airfix era? Now you can yell, "Be out, foul step!" with wholesale replacement with shimmering brass detail from GMM for not only the aztec step but the catwalk itself. At each location on the Trumpeter kit that comes with a catwalk, GMM has designed a specific replacement in brass. One eye-popping difference is in the catwalk itself. Instead of the solid catwalk in the Trumpeter kit, each GMM reproduction has the open rectangles of the original catwalk. This alone makes a tremendous visual difference. Another substantial addition is all of the supports that are underneath the catwalk. They are on 350-29. Even if you donít replace the catwalk itself, you can still add the supports. By replacing the catwalks you can also easily remove the unsightly aztec steps and add brass photo-etched inclined ladders. Why Trumpeter chose to have aztec steps on their Nimitz is beyond me. It would have been far better not to include them at all so that the modeler simply could add brass ladders at the appropriate positions. The size and price of the kit makes it clearly aimed at the adult modeler, who should not have to go through the ordeal or expend the time in cutting out those cartoons that pose as ladders.

Unlike the replacement of the safety nets, there is more involved in the surgical procedure for the replacement of the catwalks. In fact more care and precision is needed. You will need to save the solid splinter shielding on the catwalk edge. Therefore use a high degree of care when cutting these from the catwalk base so they are not damaged. In the instructions GMM suggests just cutting out the catwalk flooring and aztec steps, while leaving the bulkheads attached to the deck edge. That would clearly be the fastest and simplest procedure to be used. Then after cleaning, all you would have to do is add the brass perforated flooring, supports underneath, inclined ladders and other fittings. However, if that is not possible there are alternatives. One is to remove the catwalk from the deck edge before removing the splinter shield from the catwalk base. That way youíll have better access to the inside juncture of the shield and base. Then attach the bulkhead to the brass flooring before attaching the whole subassembly back to the deck edge and addition of other fittings. In any event, the manner in which you wish to "skin the cat" is up to you and the degree of comfort that you feel with a particular procedure. As with replacement of the safety nets, handle catwalk replacement in modules. Complete one section before starting on the next. 


Parts Comparison: Kit Parts & Replacement Brass Parts
NimC5074rad.JPG (128503 bytes) NimC5079anchors.JPG (133668 bytes) NimC5077bases.JPG (89658 bytes)
NimC5078bases.JPG (115883 bytes) NimC5080cat.JPG (117438 bytes) NimC5081aftcat.JPG (95075 bytes)
NimC5082inclad.JPG (95438 bytes) NimEC5072mast.JPG (138043 bytes) NimEC5076tilly.JPG (126482 bytes)

Verdict
The build of thousands of 1:350 Trumpeter Nimitz, not to mention the many sisterships, can now proceed at flank speed through the artistry of Loren Perry of Gold Medal Models. GMM in both 350-28 and 350-29 has provided delicate and essential detail in brass to dramatically improve your finished flattop. As Loren stated in the instructions for 350-29, both frets are necessary to "fully detail" the Nimitz. If anything 350-29 is even more essential for builds of the sisterships because of the optional radar masts. No matter which of the Nimitz Class super-carriers that you are building, these two GMM frets will vastly improve your finished model. 

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