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USS Nashville
Brooklyn Class Light Cruiser
Iron Shipwright 1:350 Scale Model
Nick Wellington

The Brooklyn class light cruisers were the U.S. Navy’s first attempt at a "treaty light cruiser", a direct result of the London Treaty of 1930. In effect, this treaty banned the construction of heavy cruisers, on which the U.S. Navy had previously focused its construction efforts. As the US Navy studied feasibility of small cruisers, they felt that this compromise was unacceptable, and the Brooklyn design started off from where the New Orleans class heavy cruisers left off. The ships ended up as a totally revised design, being the source of all subsequent U.S. cruiser designs up to the Des Moines class. Probably the most noticeable feature of the class is the gun layout, an unprecedented fifteen 6" guns in five turrets, three forward and two aft.

The USS Nashville herself led a very eventful life. Commissioned in 1938, the ship spent most of her American career in the Pacific War Zone. Highlights of these four years include being the flagship of General MacArthur for the first parts of the Philippines invasion, and taking part in the "liberation" of Shanghai in late 1945. Sold to Chile following WW2 and re-named Capitan Prat, Nashville served for many years in the Chilean Navy. For her WWII service she earned 10 battle stars, more than any other Brooklyn class cruiser.

Vital Statistics
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USS Nashville
Displacement: 9,767 tons; 12,207 tons full load
Length: 608'4" oa, 600' wl; Beam: 61' 9"
Range: 10,000nm @ 15 kts; Top Speed: 32.5 kts
Armament (as built): Fifteen 6" (5x3); eight 5"(8x1)
Torpedoes: none
Aircraft: four, Catapults: 2
Complement: 868

The Model
Iron Shipwright’s 1/350 USS Nashville model is a two-part full hull representing the ship from 1943 to late 1944. The hull castings themselves were very clean, with only a few pinholes in the cast-in deck vents. There was about a 1/8" overpour on the upper hull, which had to be sanded off. This is no problem for anyone experienced with flat sanding. The superstructure and guns are all cast in resin, with minimal overpour. Some of the smaller parts had air bubbles wrecking them, but Iron Shipwrights generally gives you more than you need. Two etched brass sheets are included with the kit: one for Nashville specific details, and one for railings and ladders. Unfortunately, the brass is not relief etched, but as most ISW kits the majority of detail is cast in, so this does not prove a problem.

On a side note, a couple of the superstructure levels were broken in shipping and were replaced by Jon Warneke and Ted Paris with no questions asked. Jon also gave me a free set of Kingfisher floatplanes to replace the kit supplied Seagulls, as I discovered that Nashville carried Kingfishers during the period in which I chose to represent her.

Overall, construction proved fairly easy, with no real problems encountered. Much of the superstructure is cast in to the hull, which cuts down on construction time considerably. The various superstructure parts also had locators, which cut down on the guesswork of positioning the levels.

To begin construction, I started with mating the upper and lower hulls. This is most likely the hardest part of construction, as an error here can ruin an entire model. Once these pieces are glued, they are not coming apart. I will not go into detail of mating the pieces, as it has been covered in other articles at the "Warship Home" website.

After the hull is assembled, I fully paint it, which I will go into detail below. As a general rule, I always start on the armament of a ship before the superstructure. For the Nashville this consists of the 6" turrets, 5" mounts, 40mm mounts, 20mm mounts and both main and secondary gun directors. In all of these assemblies, the only problems encountered were with the 6" turrets and main battery directors. Since ISW uses resin instead of white metal, the 6" barrels are prone to warpage. I ended up heating all of the barrels and rolling them on a flat surface to straighten them before gluing them to the turrets. For the main battery director, the problem encountered was with the Mk. 8 radar. I believe this assembly is over-complicated and extremely hard to accomplish. You need to acquire plastic stock of different diameter to fold over the radar. Even after acquiring this, I could not get the radar to fit perfectly. I am pleased with the final result though.

Photos of Nick Wellington's Completed USS Nashville
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Instead of adding the superstructure level by level, I find that it is much easier to complete each sub-assembly first and add them all at the time. Which you start on first does not really matter, but I chose the forward superstructure. The deck levels go together effortlessly, with much more time being spent on actually cleaning them up and painting. For a ship of this size, the Nashville has surprisingly few sub-assemblies. This in part is due to the cutting down of superstructure size for weight reductions. In total, the sub-assemblies consist of the forward superstructure, the aft superstructure and searchlight tower. All of these went together fairly easily with the exception of minor fit problems on the searchlight tower, which required about 1mm of trimming on the resin base. After these assemblies, all that needs to be added to the hull are the smokestacks and aviation facilities. The stacks require extra care, as these are extremely easy to misalign, which I learned first hand!

As I already mentioned, there are no real problems posed in the actual construction of the kit. This is not to say that construction is totally straightforward. Almost all of the problems I encountered were actually due to the instructions, which could be improved. As a plus, they do have templates of both masts, but they leave out such things as the motor whaleboat placement, two Mk.51 director tubs, and the correct catapult arrangement. To rectify this, I strongly urge anyone buying this kit to purchase the Floating Drydock plans. They will simplify construction greatly. The way I see it, what is an extra $15 after you’ve spent $200 on a resin model!

Painting of the USS Nashville was perhaps the most difficult part of the modelling process. It is not the actual painting that was hard, it was the fact that I chose to paint the ship in an obscure paint scheme that as far as I can tell is undocumented. For most of her wartime career, the ship was painted in Ms. 21: all vertical surfaces navy blue and all horizontal deck blue. For a short time in 1944 the ship was painted in Ms. 31/21D, a modified destroyer pattern, with ocean grey in place of the original dull black. Thankfully, Jon Warneke emailed me the original pattern to work from, but I still had to find as many pictures as possible. With all of this, I drew up what was most likely the pattern, although many liberties were taken, especially on the deck, which might or might not have carried the deck blue/ocean grey scheme. You can use the pictures of my model as a template, but be warned that they are not necessarily accurate!

For the actual painting, I used Polly Scale USN colours. While not totally accurate, I like the paint itself and am horrible at mixing my own colours. Most of the pattern is conducive to masking, but the deck had to be treated differently. I tried masking, but could not get it to work. Instead, I airbrushed as close to the pattern as possible, then touched up the edges with a small paintbrush. You cannot tell I did this upon close inspection, and even if you could it’s a wood deck, colour variations can be expected!

Overall this is a very good representation of a mid to late war Brooklyn class cruiser. While the kit is not perfect, I would recommend it to any experienced modeller wanting to build a ship of this class.

USS Nashville Resin Parts
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Superstructure levels (2 views)
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Funnels, superstructure levels
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6" turrets, 40mm mounts
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Misc resin parts
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