ISAlaska46.jpg (43932 bytes)
Battlecruiser
USS Alaska
CB-1


Iron Shipwright
1:350 Scale kit

In-the-Box-Review
by
Dave Judy

(Photographed by Rob Mackie)


At 27 3/8" long, the Iron Shipwright 1:350th USS Alaska is a large ship. The actual battle cruiser was 808.5' in length with a maximum beam of 91', not too much smaller than the Iowa class battleships. The kit's dimensions scale out to within 2% in length and 1% in beam, quite acceptable for a resin kit. It should be noted that in evaluating the Iron Shipwright USS Alaska I referred to US Battleships in WWII by Robert O. Dulin Jr. and Wm. H. Garzke Jr., with line drawings by Robert F. Sumrall. I also used photos from US Cruisers: An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman, with drawings by Alan Raven.

After comparing this kit with the aforementioned references, I was quite pleased with its proportions and accuracy. As a side note, the ship's general layout differs depending on the source of the drawings and the date. I checked photos to determine accuracy of various details such as stern hose reels, gun tub positions, bollards, deck hatches, and catapult towers. At first I thought there were discrepancies such as a missing stern hose reel, but subsequently found it on the brass fret. It also appeared that the catapult towers should be flush with the side of the hull, not inset as on the kit. Subsequent examination of photos indicated they were in fact inset and not flush with the hull, so the kit is correct in its placement of these prominent towers.

The hull is cast in upper and lower halves ( for those squeamish about introducing a $ 300 model to a table saw! ). The upper is cast to the lower edge of the armor belt for those building a waterline model. This allows for the depth of the " water", and eliminates having to shim the hull so that it does not sit excessively low in the water. The upper hull had about 1/8" bow midship. This gremlin rears its ugly little head in many large resin castings. The problem can be cured by either by immersing the hull in a hot bath, or by sanding off the overpour, heating, then placing on a flat surface to cool. ( Note: the wife may give you some strange looks ).

The major resin parts, ( turrets, funnel, superstructure parts etc.) match the drawings. As for the small resin parts, these are well cast with a minor amount of " feathery" flash. Some parts had small voids. I fill these with two part epoxy putty. While still soft I trim the putty with a sharp X-Acto knife and upon drying sand lightly to feather the filler into the surrounding resin.

The instructions are a vast improvement over previous Iron Shipwright kits.  There are 9 pages of plan and 45 degree exploded views. There is a separate parts list for each construction step, and the relevant parts of the brass fret drawing are included in each assembly step! ( Now you got it guys!!).

The brass fret contains fine relief-etched .007 thickness parts. The bracing under the catapult frame, the load block rigging and the " headache" ball for the cranes are especially noteworthy. The deck railing is from Tom’s Modelworks and includes various 1,2, and 3 bar rails.

This is an "in box" review, so I cannot comment on ease of assembly.   However, if it builds as easily as the Iron Shipwright Graf Spee, it will an easy build indeed. At Virginia Beach I had the opportunity to see a semi-built USS Alaska at ISW’s table, and it appeared to go together rather easily.

The two piece full-hull version of the USS Alaska sells for $325, the waterline version $290. Customers ordering the model direct from Commander Series Models, Inc., get 15% off the normal retail price as well as free shipping worldwide.

Click on the thumbnail images below for full size pics of the USS Alaska

For More information contact

Commander Series Models, Inc.
Iron Shipwright Division
551 Wegman Road
Rochester, NY  14624

Phone: 1-888-IRONSHIP  (1-888-476-6744)
Email: dparis@eznet.net

inst 01.jpg (48405 bytes)
Instructions 1 of 9
inst 02.jpg (55351 bytes)
Instructions 2 of 9
inst 03.jpg (41946 bytes)
Instructions 3 of 9
inst 04.jpg (52489 bytes)
Instructions 4 of 9
inst 05.jpg (49288 bytes)
Instructions 5 of 9
inst 06.jpg (43681 bytes)
Instructions 6 of 9
inst 07.jpg (47251 bytes)
Instructions 7 of 9
inst 08.jpg (45179 bytes)
Instructions 8 of 9
inst 09.jpg (43401 bytes)
Instructions 9 of 9

etched brass.jpg (102819 bytes)
Etched Brass
ISAlaska45.jpg (37357 bytes) ISAlaska47.jpg (31476 bytes) ISAlaska43.jpg (40221 bytes) ISAlaska44.jpg (35401 bytes)
ISAlaska40.jpg (26302 bytes) ISAlaska35.jpg (28888 bytes) ISAlaska42.jpg (41481 bytes) ISAlaska41.jpg (36430 bytes)
ISAlaska37.jpg (64305 bytes) ISAlaska39.jpg (29796 bytes) ISAlaska36.jpg (17548 bytes) ISAlaska34.jpg (27325 bytes)
ISAlaska33.jpg (53818 bytes) ISAlaska09 forecastle top view.jpg (19025 bytes) ISAlaska08 qtrdeck top view.jpg (18753 bytes) ISAlaska07 midfwd top view.jpg (20700 bytes)
ISAlaska06 mid top view.jpg (18947 bytes) ISAlaska01 guns.jpg (43988 bytes)
Guns
ISAlaska02 levels.jpg (36651 bytes)
Deck Levels
ISAlaska03 tubs.jpg (43683 bytes)
Tubs, stack & fittings