Time to Party! If you have a 1:700 scale Nimitz class aircraft carrier, put on your dancing shoes and lime green leisure suit! It is time to get under the glittering disco ball! If disco isnít your bag, no problem, it is still festival time. Whether you like Mardi Gras or Carnival, the Gold Medal Models photo-etch set for 1:700 class Nimitz class carriers has more treats than a PiŮata Grande. As any Nimitz Nut knows, all Nimitzes are not created equal. People have their favorites and individual units within the class have distinctive differences. The GMM grab bag of goodies accounts for these differences in this fret by providing optional parts for most of the carriers of the class.

How is your tower of power? One of the most noticeable differences among the carriers of the Nimitz class is the mast design. Some ships share the same design, some ships have unique designs and some units have changed designs after refits. Gold Medal Models provides the different mast designs in this fret, so almost any unit in the class can be depicted. OK, here is what I mean. GMM gives the modeler Nimitz early mast, Nimitz intermediate fit mast, Nimitz late fit mast. Thatís three different masts just for the Nimitz CVN-68. Also provided are masts for: Eisenhower early; Eisenhower late; Vinson /Roosevelt /Lincoln mast; and Washington /Stennis /Truman mast. The differences is not just the percentage of open lattice panels versus solid bulkheads, but also the top platform. There are three top platform designs; a small square for early designs, a four-pointed star for intermediate designs and a large two-level square for latest Nimitz design. With all of the mast designs, there are a series of smaller platforms at different levels of each mast. For CVN-70 through CVN-75 you get an added treat of a conical Sea Sparrow radar platform. Another unique item included is the transom cage, which serves as a boat tender in CVN-71 through CVN-75.

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Gold Medal Models also provides a whole panoply of radar arrays. The radar fit also varied with the time period of the ship and GMM provides a complete selection of fine photo-etch radars to replace ungainly, chunky solid plastic radars. For the as built Nimitz and Eisenhower there is a large rectangular SPS-43A. For the modernized Nimitz and Eisenhower, plus the other units CVN-70 through CVN-76, GMM gives you the curving SPS-49. Smaller radars are also provided with the SPS-48, SPS-10/SPS-67 and sector antennae. Kit back on this island vacation. If the mast and radars werenít enough, GMM goes the extra mile in island detail. Whether it is a vertical ladder with enclosing safety cage or safety railing on the islandís top deck. Other electronic arrays provided on the fret are DF antennae for the island, ECM antennae, and whip antennae.

Next to the radar masts, the most dominant feature of this fret are the large numbers of safety nets. Each of these nets is designed to exactly fit specific locations on the Trumpeter model and are executed in a very fine mesh. Different parts are provided for those units that had a different bow flight deck configuration. Whatís more, these nets are relief-etched with the frame surrounding the mesh slightly higher than the mesh. For solid flight deck galleries, GMM provides inclined ladders to replace the solid ladders on the kit. Of course youíll first have to use your hobby knife to remove the plastic ladders. Other gallery accoutrements include cable/hose reels, vertical ladders and ordnance jettison ramps. The jettison ramps can be attached in an up or down position. For hangar openings with the elevators, GMM provides upper catwalk safety railing for when the elevator is lowered or hangar opening safety railing when the elevator is raised. There is also deck safety railing to be placed around the perimeter of the elevator position when the elevator is in a lowered position.

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The hull sides get the same treatment with railing parts specifically designed by Loren to fit each opening in the hull sides. There are only two such positions on the port side but there are seven such openings on the starboard side. However, another decoration for the port side is a replacement hull side catwalk at the stern. The Landing Officer will be extremely happy with the complete LSO position found on this fret. This includes a relief-etched safety net, platform and windscreen. At the other end of the ship are relief-etched blast deflector ramps. Other parts include anemometers for the mast, underway replenishment hose assembly, crane hooks and yardarm rails. Although GMM includes aircraft parts on a separate fret, this fret includes aircraft towbars. However, even without aircraft parts, GMM still has created the opportunity for your crewmen to get around with six 1:700 scale bicycles.

Instructions are in standard Gold Medal Models format. The fret comes with one back-printed page of instructions, which are organized in a modular format. GMM uses clear concise drawings and text to show and describe photo-etch assembly and attachment. On page one are modules for: the various radar masts identified by specific ships; DF antennae, ECM antennae; whip antennae; various radars; safety cage ladders; transom cage and tow bars. On the second page are modules for: gallery/catwalk detail; safety nets; hangar and elevator details; LSO platform; bicycle assembly (really only involves twisting the handlebars); island detail and hull side detail.

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With the Gold Medal Models for the 1:700 scale Nimitz class aircraft carriers, you can go to a non-stop party. The set is so flexible and covers so many unique details of the various units of the class that youíll want to build more than one of these carriers. With different radars on early ships, different radar masts by ship and fit period, and a transom cage only on some units of the class, those are just three of the major areas of differences among the ships. GMM provides for all of these options, plus a lot more just on this fret. About the only thing not included are 1:700 scale baseball cards for the spokes of the 1:700 scale bicycles.