The United States built six large four stack armored cruisers armed with 8-inch guns. One was USS California. As armored cruisers fell out of fashion, the ships were given the names of cities within the states for which they were originally named. This freed the state names for use on battleship construction. USS California was renamed USS San Diego. San Diego was the largest USN warship lost to enemy action in World War One. She struck a mine laid by a U-Boat off of Long Island, New York and went down fairly quickly. Steve Berti of New York City wished to build the USS San Diego as she appeared during World War One. The starting point was the Commander's/Iron Shipwright 1:350 scale model of USS South Dakota, armored cruiser. The South Dakota was a sistership to California and the ISW kit portrayed the ship as completed with military masts. To portray the San Diego, the military masts had to be landed, a cage foremast added and other parts of the kit reworked. The boat deck was replaced with Evergreen grooved sheet, as it was easier than re-scribing after removing the extra life boat mounts. The bridge was replaced. The cage mast is Tom's cut down. The anchor cut outs (wash boards) were filled and the bow scroll was (gasp) removed. The rear bridge was eliminated and a radio shack put in it's place.

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