Super Carrier Set

Gold Medal Models
1:720 Scale Etched Brass

In-the-Envelope Review

Les Dorr

Over the years, Italeri has issued 1:720 scale kits of almost every modern U.S. Navy aircraft carrier from USS Forrestal (CV-59) to the recently commissioned USS Harry S. Truman. Out-of-the-box, they build into respectable ship models as 1:720 scale models go, but they lack fine detail.

A few years ago, Gold Medal Models produced a 1:720 "supercarrier" photoetched detail set for Revell’s USS Enterprise and Italeri’s USS Nimitz. While the details were the usual excellent GMM quality, the set covered only those two ships. In 1998 GMM issued a much expanded supercarrier fret with parts for detailing any of the Italeri supercarriers as well as the Revell Enterprise.

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Supercarrier fret
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This new fret is comprised of a 3.75" x 7.5" brass sheet. Numerous one-, two- and three-bar railings are grouped in the upper left corner. Flight deck/elevator netting and radar masts for the different ships make up most of the remaining details. The set also includes many flight deck catwalk and inclined railings that replace the heavy injection molded kit details. All parts are numbered and named on the brass sheet itself. Carefully separate each part from the fret with a sharp X-acto blade.

The radars include SPN-6 and SPS-12 (for USS Enterprise), SPS-8A (Forrestal class), SPS-43A, SPS-10, SPS-48 and SPS-49. The parts are quite fine but very delicate. They probably won’t tolerate mistakes so think before you start working them.

A set of spidery radar masts corrects a weak point on the Italeri kits. The solid-molded lattice towers in the kits don’t look right. Also, the later Nimitz-class ships should have a solid, not lattice, mast. The GMM set includes masts for Kittyhawk, Constellation, America (click here for a review of the Italeri USS America), as well as both early and late Nimitz-class carriers.

The sheet is full of pleasant surprises. There is a tiny set of boat rudders and pulleys, plus open doors for the radar masts. The set also has a "Tilly" aircraft crane, island floodlights, folded and opened rotors for an SH-3 helicopter, props for an E-2C Hawkeye and refueling probes for A-6/EA-6 aircraft.

The GMM instructions are comprehensive and concise. Many of the pictures identify the kit parts to be replaced with  photoetched details. The instructions also include clear diagrams for placement of the flight deck netting on each class of carrier.

If there’s a drawback to the new supercarrier set, it’s that there are sufficient parts for the detailing of only one carrier. There are not enough elevator nettings and radars for a second. At $18 the new supercarrier set isn’t cheap, but it is a high quality effort that is definitely worth the price. The set is available from Pacific Front as well as directly from

Gold Medal Models
Route 2, Box 3104
Lopez, WA 98261

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