January 10, 1941 was a momentous day for the design of aircraft carriers of the USN, only the events of that day had nothing to do with any ship or sailor of the USN. From the advent of the Lexington and Saratoga , aircraft carrier design for the United States Navy always emphasized the offense. The offense of any carrier was its aircraft and the more a ship design could carry, the greater would be its striking force. Of course speed was a factor but top speed was sacrificed to a modest degree in the Ranger and Wasp. Armor and gun power were strictly third place considerations after air wing size and speed. As a consequence the USN, and to a slightly lesser extent the Imperial Japanese Navy, built aircraft carriers which were dominated by offense and large numbers of aircraft. With the Ranger and the Yorktown designs, the wooden flight deck amounted to superstructure over the main deck, which was the hangar deck. As designers were working up the new Essex Class carrier design, the design parameters for this class, were still shaped by the experience of the previous Yorktown class. The ships of the Essex class were much bigger and more capable than the Yorktown, Enterprise and Hornet but the main deck was still the hangar deck. It was the hangar deck that received armor and not the flight deck.

The aircraft carrier designs of the Royal Navy had evolved differently. British carrier designs and the Fleet Air Arm FAA has a whole suffered for two decades due to self inflicted wounds. First was their selection of which ships to convert to carriers. While the USN and IJN converted very large battle cruiser hulls (battleship with Kaga), the RN converted the much smaller large light cruisers/light battle cruisers/ Fisher's white elephants, the Furious, Glorious and Courageous. Any way you slice it, these three hulls were much smaller than the giants selected for conversion by the Americans and Japanese. Then you thrown in the HMS Eagle, a mistake built on a 21-knot battleship design, sistership of the battleship HMS Canada. The second misfortune to befall the FAA was to place naval aviation under the care of the new RAF. Pilots didnít want to serve in the FAA where promotion was slow and they were saddled with inferior aircraft. The RAF emphasized the heavy bomber and procured aircraft designs for the FAA under the tragically wrong assumption that naval aircraft would not operate in areas where they would face land based aircraft.


Plan & Profiles
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As an aside, if one examines military organizations in which a separate airforce demands and receives practical control of all aircraft, the navy always losses. The stagnation of the FAA between the wars is just one example. The Luftwaffe and Italian airforce strangled German and Italian naval aviation at birth, and the lack of naval aviation was always an extreme handicap to their operations in World War Two. General LeMay and the bomber bunch saw no need for aircraft carriers when the mighty B-36 could carry atomic bombs halfway around the world. Of course they never raised the issue that the B-36 was slow and very vulnerable to fighters and that some (as it turns out all) conflicts of the future would involve conventional and not nuclear weapons. As a consequence the airforce managed to kill the USS United States CVA-58 in 1949 and grab its appropriations. The next year when the Korean War erupted, tactical aircraft were needed not strategic bombers. However, the Royal Navy eventually saw the error of trusting another service to train their pilots and procure their equipment. In the nick of time they managed to wrestle away the FAA from the heavy bomber bound RAF.

A new carrier design also immerged, the excellent Ark Royal. However, the Ark Royal, which had a fairly large air group did not have an armored deck. The RN did not accept the assumption that their carriers would not operate within the range of shore based aircraft. Indeed they saw that the greatest threat to their carriers would come from that source. To protect against that threat the Royal Navy decided to go to carrier designs with armored flight decks. Basically, the hangar was made an armored box. The armored flight deck above protected the hangar from bomb penetration but the design also greatly restricted the size of the air group that could be carried.  


Quarter Views & Bow Detail
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On January 10, 1941 one of these armored carriers, HMS Illustrious, was severely damaged by JU-87 Stuka attacks off Malta . As a part of the Lend-Lease program not only were warships sold and built for the Royal Navy in the United States, but also war damaged RN warships could be repaired in American yards. After receiving temporary repairs at Valetta , Malta , Illustrious made her way out of the Mediterranean and off to the USA for repairs. HMS Illustrious arrived at Norfolk , Virginia and from May to November 1941 underwent repairs in the American yard. Yard personnel as well as USN personnel were amazed at the damage suffered by the British carrier. It was agreed that even a carrier of the new Essex design could not have survived the pummeling that Illustrious received and survived greatly because of her 3-inch armored flight deck. By then World War Two was upon the USN. The carrier shot to the top as the dominant weaponís platform in the Pacific and early carrier battles proved that carriers with wooden flight decks could be easily damaged if not sunk by opposing aircraft. The sinking of all four first line Japanese carriers at the Battle of Midway to SBD dive bomber attacks, was an unmistakable indicator. However, the USN needed a lot of carriers quickly and the Essex class filled that role. However, in spite of the excellent qualities of the Essex class, even if none were sunk, the carriers still could be severely damaged when their unarmored flight decks were penetrated, as seen with Bunker Hill and Franklin .

However, the USN still wanted fleet carriers with armored decks but any new design would still have to be capable of a speed of 32 knots. Nothing increases the displacement of a shipís design like the requirement for high speed. To allow sufficient space for the machinery plant required to propel an armored fleet carrier at a speed of at least 32 knots would require a huge leap in displacement and size over the ships of the Essex class. There were very few yards capable of building ships of the great size needed for contemplated armored deck fleet carrier. The USN was planning on building a new battleship design of the Montana class but with the start of the war and the concurrent decrease in the role of the battleship with increase in the role of the carrier, the Montanas went to the back burner. The yards slated to build the Montanas could be tasked with building the new carrier design instead. Not all of the large yards could be engaged in building new carriers, as the navy still needed to keep some of the largest dry docks available for repair of damaged warships. However, on August 7, 1942, two days before the invasion of Guadacanal and Tulagi, the first armored deck giant was ordered at Newport News and was designated CVB-41. The name selected for the new behemoth was USS Midway, selected in October 1944, after the over whelming carrier victory that had occurred only two months before the order for the ship. The name Coral Sea was chosen for CVB-43 in September 1944 and CVB-42 was not named until April 29, 1945, when she was named Franklin D. Roosevelt after the President who had died on April 12, 1945.  


Hull Detail
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On January 21, 1943 the second of the class was ordered from the Brooklyn Navy Yard. On June 14, 1943 two more carriers were ordered, as CVB-43 and CVB-44 were ordered from Newport News . To free up space in the large docks for this construction and for repair of war damage, the Montana class battleships were finally dropped on July 21, 1943. The USN forecast two more CVBs for 1945 construction plans, CVB-56 and CVB-57, for a total of six of the new design. The CVB-44 order was cancelled at the end of 1943, when it was realized that this new design would take some time to build. CVB-56 and CVB-57 were cancelled on March 27, 1945. Although this very large, complex design, took longer to build than an Essex , Midway and FDR still finished in a comparatively fast period of time. Midway was laid down on October 27, 1943 and commissioned on September 10, 1945 and FDR was laid down on December 1, 1943 and commissioned on October 27, 1945. The Coral Sea was the last of the three to be laid down on July 10, 1944. With the end of the war construction on her slowed to a peace time tempo and she did not go into commission until October 1, 1947.  

Oddly enough, the size of the aircraft complement on the new design was not the predominant design requirement. The USN had always opted for large air groups in carrier design. With the Midway class armor and speed took front place in the lists of requirements. However, since the hull necessary for the first two requirements guaranteed a hull size much larger than that in the Essex class, the large size also made possible a much larger air group. Although the Essex class was built after the expiration of the London Treaty, the design of that earlier class had been haunted by the restrictions of the expired treaty. To allow for quick building the Essex design was based upon the Yorktown design, which was built under treaty constraints. With the Midway class designers could start with a blank sheet and design a ship totally free from the effects of the London Treaty. However, even with this new design, a ghost from the arms restriction treaty still crept into the design. USN brass was still worried about side protection and wanted side armor proof against 8-inch shellfire. This requirement was a vestige from the days when carriers could mount guns up to that size. The requirement remained even though surface ship engagement of carriers would remain a very rare aberration in the Pacific War. This requirement was also due in part, because of the loss of HMS Glorious to Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in the Norwegian campaign in spring 1940. The design eventually was given a very tall (16-feet) armored belt of at least 8-inches in thickness. Only Akagi at 10-inches and Kaga at 11-inches had thicker belts among carriers.


Starboard Galleries
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The design was to be powered by 12 large boilers, compared to 9 in the Essex class. The Westinghouse geared turbines in Midway and Coral Sea , General Electric in FDR, developed 212,000 shp and gave the ships a maximum speed of 33 knots. Unlike many ship designs, which could not operate at maximum speed for long, endurance of the CVBs at top speed was worked into the design. The ships had very good under water lines and in spite of being larger ships than the Missouri class battleships, which used the same power plant, they were capable of the same or higher speeds than the battleships. With a capacity of 9,7000 tons of fuel oil, the class was designed to steam at 33 knots for 140 hours, allowing it to steam 4,600 miles in that period. This was not just wishful thinking as in 1946 USS Midway steamed from Guantanamo Bay , Cuba to Rio de Janeiro , Brazil at high speed. She covered the 4,452 miles without refueling at an average speed of 32.56 knots. Now that is hauling buns! Of course the range of the carrier would be greatly increased in traveling at cruising speed rather than top speed. For the first time in a carrier design, the beam of the ships at 113 feet, exceeded the width of the locks of the Panama Canal .

USN designers had examined closely the battle damage suffered by Illustrious on January 10, 1941. Although the 3-inch deck armor of the British carrier had largely decreased damage to the hangar below, it had not absolutely defeated the 1,000 pound bombs dropped on her. None of the battle damage suffered by Illustrious had come from the sides. After this analysis it was decided that the hangars of the Midway class did not need to be the armored box as found in the British design. The flight deck was armored to at least 3-inches and probably considerably more but the USN was tight lipped about the actual thickness of the armored flight deck. It was decided that the hangar sides did not have to be fully armored as in the British design. In part the location of the heavy AA armament was chosen to provide some protection to the hangar sides. The huge side galleries, so characteristic of this class, were given 18 five-inch/54 single enclosed guns. Each of the 5-inch gun positions, nine per side, was situated on a very tall barbette. The height of the gun house and barbette basically was the height of the hangar. It was thought that these gun positions would stop many of the shells or bombs that may hit on the side of the ship. Midway and FDR were completed to this design but only 14 five-inch guns were worked into Coral Sea .  


Port Galleries
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Another reason for placing the long rows of 5-inch guns on side galleries was to prevent their interference with flight operations. The five-inch/38 guns, especially the twin mounts could degrade flight operations and in the event of the twin mounts firing across the deck stop operations as well as cause blast damage. The Midwayís 5-inch/54 guns not only had longer range than the 5-inch/38 guns of Essex , their lower position on the hull did not interfere with aircraft operations on the carriers. In addition to the 5-inch mounts, 21 quad 40mm Bofors were also worked into the design. Found at the bow, the stern and also in the side galleries, they along with the 5-inch ordnance were considered the prime AA weapons systems on the ship. Coral Sea finished with only 19 quad 40mm positions but the guns themselves were not installed per Terzibaschitsch. By the time that these carriers were being completed, the 20mm Oerlikon had already come to be considered as too light and short ranged to face the current air threat. Originally the ships were slated to receive 82 Oerlikons but this was reduced with the declining effectiveness of the weapon. Even so, Midway and FDR did received 28 Oerlikon mounts. Although there were a handful of these weapons in the side galleries, they were primarily clustered in a gallery at the end of the aft turndown and in two deck edge galleries at the bow.  

The large size of the hull created a very large hangar and these ships could pack a huge air group when completed. Different loads were calculated depending upon the mix of aircraft carried. One variant was 97 F4U Corsairs and 48 SB2C Helldivers for a total of 145. Another later load called for 27 F8F Bearcats, 32 twin engined F7F Tigercats and 73 F4U Corsairs for a total of 132. Carrying only twin engined F7Fs, she still could pack 82 of these large aircraft into the hangar. Maximum load of single piston aircraft was calculated at 153. The hangar was 764 feet long and at its narrowest at the stack trunking, 92 feet wide. The flight deck was 932 feet in length and 113 feet in width, except it narrowed to 107 feet at the island. Because of its width it was thought capable of landing two aircraft at once but this certainly would have been a desperation measure.


Clear Flight Deck
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In September 1947 captured V2 missiles were test fired from Midway during Operation Sandy and later tested the Regulus I cruise missile. All three ships were kept in the Atlantic for Atlantic and Mediterranean missions. When the Korean War started in 1950, it was the Essex class that went to war and the Midways stayed in the Atlantic . There were some early changes to the ships. The Oerlikons were deleted fairly quickly and the next change was to replace the quad Bofors with twin 3-inch guns. As built Midway and FDR had Mk 37 directors on a tall cylinders fore and aft of the island. By 1947 the bridge had been enlarged and the forward director moved to a position on top of the bridge. The title photograph shows this arrangement. Coral Sea apparently was finished with these modifications in place. The ships still kept their long galleries of 5-inch/54 guns until the early 1950s but at some point in the late 1940s, Midway and FDR had four mounts removed. The removal of these mounts was to balance out the increased weight of replacing the Bofors with twin 3-inch mounts. Also during this time deck weight capacity was increased in order for the ships to operate the big AJ Savage, which could carry nuclear weapons. The navy wanted this capability in order to compete with the USAF in funding battles. These removed mounts came off the aft galleries on each side. 

SCB-110 modernization the armor belt was removed. With this heavy weight taken off an angled deck could be fitted. An enclosed hurricane bow was fitted and the 5-inch mounts resited and reduced to ten. The twin 3-inch mounts were also moved around and reduced to 22. The aft centerline elevator was removed and a starboard side deck edge elevator added. Franklin D. Roosevelt went into Bremerton Naval Shipyard in July 1954 for this refit, which took two years. Midway received the same treatment at the end of 1954 and did not go back into service until November 1957. Coral Sea did not receive the same refit. Instead on July 23, 1956 she was ordered to receive the SCB-110A refit, which removed both centerline elevators and provided three deck edge elevators. Only three 5-inch guns were retained, beam increased to 121 feet and displacement rose to 49,250 tons (63,383 tons fl).  


Round-Down, Island, Elevator & Aircraft
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For the other two, by 1963 the five-inch mounts had been reduced to four and all of the twin 3-inch mounts had disappeared. The forward centerline elevator was not replaced by a 2nd starboard edge elevator until 1969. This was part of a second rebuild at Hunterís Point, California . This was project SCB-101.66 and Midway did not rejoin the fleet until January 31, 1970. Deck space was increased by a third in an effort to have her match the capability of the Forrestal class. FDR did not receive this full refit but did receive a much more austere version. After this refit Midway was the most capable of the class because she was able to operate aircraft 13 tons heavier than those that could operate on the other two. This increased capability gave her a longer service live and Midway was still in service after the other two had gone to the breakers. The USS Midway can still be seen as a museum ship in San Diego, California, although her appearance is far different from the straight deck ship, which was the best carrier in the world 60 years earlier. (History from: Aircraft Carriers of the US Navy, 1978, by Stefan Terzibaschitsch; Aircraft Carriers of the World, 1984, by Roger Chesneau; The Midway Class Carriers, by Richard M. Anderson, Warship #2 1975)  

Loose Cannon USS Midway
So, all of you Essexes think you are the hunks of carrier beach. Youíre wrong! Move over you 90-pound weaklings for the Loose Cannon Midway, the true brawn of the beach. Longer, wider, an armored flight deck, more and better AA guns and 40% more aircraft, the Midway is the champion in any sand-kicking contest of USN fleet carriers at the end of World War Two. Poor old USS Enterprise CV-6 with only half the displacement of this giant is purely a lisping mommaís boy. Any modeler who has a copy of the Loose Cannon USS Midway will probably tell you that their first impression of it was its size. It is big and bold. There are actually two parts to Loose Cannon. Loose Cannon Ė West is Hugh Letterly in Colorado . Hugh specializes in the odd and obscure, as well as gators for the Loose Cannon lineup. Loose Cannon - East is David Angelo in Florida . Apparently, the frequent hurricanes that David experiences do not detract from his pursuit of the big ticket item. David specializes in the larger models for Loose Cannon. For World War Two warships the USS Midway is the biggest ticket out there, at least for ships that can earn their keep. I known! I know! There are some of you that will say, ďWait a minute here, the Yamato, Mushashi and Shinano were bigger! What about them?Ē Well, I agree that they hold the record as the biggest targets but as effective offensive weapons system, at the end of World War Two the battleships were merely dinosaurs, to be hunted by carrier aircraft. The Shinano was just an oversize aircraft transport, as she didnít even make a good fleet carrier.  No, the Midway is queen, even if she was completed just too late to make it to the show.  


5-Inch/54, Directors & Smaller Bridge Parts
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The Loose Cannon USS Midway portrays that carrier, or the Franklin D. Roosevelt, as they commissioned in the fall of 1945. There is a full complement of eighteen 5-inch/54 in the wonderfully distinctive side galleries, plus you get all of the tried and true USN AA favorites. With 21 quad Bofors and three deck side galleries of 20mm Oerlikons, the Loose Cannon USS Midway has more barrels than all of Milwaukee . If however, you wish to model Coral Sea, you will have to make some changes as she completed with four fewer 5-inch, 2 fewer quad Bofors (no Bofors per Terzibaschitsch), probably no Oerlikons and an enlarged bridge with Mk 37 atop, rather than on a cylinder in front of the bridge. Because of the manner in which the kit is designed with barbettes, gun houses, gun and director tubs as separate items, with some research, you probably can build the Coral Sea as completed in 1947. 

The hull of the Loose Cannon Midway measures out at 16 ĺ-inches from tip of bow to tip of stern and 2 Ĺ-inches wide from the outside edges of the gallery sponsons, so get out your yardstick or two foot long rulers and see for yourself the size of this monster. So now you know you are getting one large model in 1:700 scale but what about the quality and features? After the sheer size the next thing you will notice is that the hull is cast with a hangar deck and side galleries in place and a separate clear plastic flight deck. If you wish you can leave the deck clear and have some or all of the aircraft in the hangar. There are some casting marks on the hangar deck, so if you wish to have the hangar visible, youíll need to sand the hangar deck. If you are familiar with any of the Dragon plastic Essex class with their hangar decks, youíll notice that the plastic Dragon hangar deck does have a degree of detail on the deck itself and trunking at the island. With the resin Midway, youíll have to work in the level of detail that you wish for the hangar, as Loose Cannon provides the visible hangar option but you provide the detail. Iím not really sure if the intent of Loose Cannon in providing a clear flight deck was to provide a visible hangar option. The deck may have been done in plastic for the very crisp detailed included but more on that later.


Deck Galleries, Bofors, MK51
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The forecastle starts with twin nice quad bofors positions with splinter shielding around the squared bow of this deck with bofors tubs merging into the splinter shields. There also appears to be a Mk51 tub on the starboard side. There is a separate forward round-down resin piece that fits over the forecastle with the flight deck on top of that. So a lot of the detail will be obscured by the round-down piece. Under this round-down are the anchor windlasses and anchor chains. The tear drop shape of the openings for the anchor cable locker and anchor hawse are delineated in the casting, as well as the anchor chain itself. It is an indicator of Loose Cannonís commitment to quality that they include this level of detail in an area that will greatly obscured by another deck. Flanking the anchor chain fittings are three support posts on each side for the round-down deck. At the aft end of the forecastle there is a small deckhouse with six doors. The two forward facing doors probably wonít be seen in the finished model but the two side doors on each side should be visible, since they are close enough to the hull sides. At the fantail you have a different story because the quarterdeck is short with aft bulkhead being of significant height. Here the overhang of the flight deck will not obscure detail. This short quarterdeck has a raised Mk51 director tub but most of the detail here comes on the aft bulkhead, which has doors, machinery fittings, vertical ladder and cable work as cast on detail. Another nice cast on detail is a small sponson offset to the port for a Mk37 director, with a solitary door in the hull providing access to the position. However, the forecastle and quarterdecks are mere appetizers for the main course, the side galleries.

You canít really talk separately about hull sides and decks when it comes to the side galleries of the Midway. These are positions in which the sides and deck merge through the sponson feature. The Midway was the first ship to make heavy use of sponsons in American aircraft carrier design. This decision was based on many reasons. It cleared the flight deck from the interference of AA fire. It lowered the center of gravity of the ship because the extensive weight of the AA guns was two decks lower than in the Essex Class. Given that an armored flight deck dramatically raised the center of gravity, it was essential to do everything possible to design features that would lower the center of gravity for stability. However, Iíll try to separate the two. You can view the sponsons from the lower face or deck at the top. If you look at the bottom of the sponsons the one distinctive feature, over and above the shape, is a line or cable running almost the length of the ship. 


Oerlikons, Directors, Boats & Rafts
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The sponsons are asymmetrical in that on the starboard side the sponson runs from just aft of the forecastle to just forward of the quarterdeck. From the top it may appear as two separate galleries, separated by the island but from the bottom it is one long sponson. On the port there are two separate sponsons separated by the deck edge elevator. I believe that this cable is a fuel line that was placed externally to the hull that in case of a break in the line, the fuel would vent overboard, rather than inside the ship. This line is a series of zigs and zags, rather than a straight line. At the bottom of the hull there is a slight amount of overpour that will need to be sanded. In my copy there was also a small gap at waterline on the fantail that will require minor filling. This was the most significant defect in the kit and it is rather minor and easily fixed in itself. The sponson decks are dominated by indented circles for exact placement of gun barbettes, directors and boforís tubs. They just line the sides, one after the other. Two other types of detail are cast onto the sponson decks. One type is the bollard with their plates. Although the plates are clearly show, the bollards themselves were more problematical. Some of them are cleanly cast on the hull but some bollards are missing. The other cast feature are side Oerlikon positions. Unlike the Essex Class, there are not many Oerlikon positions on the Midway and these are found mostly in separate bow galleries and a stern gallery. However, there are two twin positions on each side of the sponson galleries. On the port side there is one forward and one aft and on the starboard there are two positions on the aft gallery and none on the forward. Each position has a raised platform for the guns, splinter shield and two ready ammunition boxes cast into the hull.

The bulk of the detail comes with the bulkheads of the galleries. If you have ever seen any of the Star Wars movies, the space ships all have a cluttered look with oddles of fittings and bric-a-brac on the ships for eye candy. Well the Loose Cannon Midway is the Star Wars space ship among World War Two aircraft carriers. The gallery bulkheads are literally jam packed with odd, obscure and arcane detail. I donít know the function for all these odds and ends found cheek to jowl along the hull at the galleries but there is a lot of it. There are doors, cables, and ventilators among the easily recognizable features but there is a lot more than just these. Scattered throughout are interesting isolated alcoves that further add interest. On the starboard side are also found the horizontal supports for the deck side elevator. On the starboard side at the base of the island are plates apparently for the numerous carley rafts found in the kit. The side profile of the hull also has the beautiful cutwater of the design and downward sheer of the forecastle merging with the side galleries. This is good stuff!  


Midway with Major Parts Dry-Fitted
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As mentioned the flight deck is clear plastic, rather than opaque resin. For whatever reason Loose Cannon chose to produce the flight deck in plastic, the result is very nice. This clear deck has much more detail than those produced by Dragon for their Essex class carrier kits. The Midway deck has all of the tie down points, as well as the catapult lines and elevator lines. Also marked on the decks are locator lines for the island, crane, Mk37 director tower, and deck Mk51 deck position. The centerline elevators are part of the deck, so without some cutting the only elevator that can be assembled in a down position is the port side elevator. The deck fits comfortably on the hull, as the resin hull has a raised position on the outboard forward edge of the flight deck at the island. This is at the position of the Mk51 tub and is a convenient point for aligning the deck.

For the balance of the resin parts the largest ones are the forward round-down part and island. The forward round-down is more just than the forward edge of the flight deck. It includes the side 20mm galleries located on each side of the flight deck well forward. It is sandwiched smoothly between the flight deck and support posts on the forecastle. The positions for each Oerlikon has a locator hole and the underside of the galleries have support ribs. The island piece will need some sanding at the bottom to remove the final remnant of the resin sheet. Of course the island is dominated by the massive stack with the triple exhaust vents in the angled cap. The first level is ringed with detail. Fire hoses, doors, piping, bottle racks, vertical ladder, as well as port holes, all add to the detail at this level. Every level has itís own addition to detail, as additional resin parts add some of the upper island decks. Each bridge porthole has a fitting around the circumference, which appears to me to be somewhat out of scale as too large. Below this is a bridge level with square windows. Those windows are not well defined in the casting but since catwalks are in front of and above this position, just painting the windows as black squares should take care of this.


Midway with Major Parts Dry-Fitted
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Lining the flight deck are a series of smaller catwalk galleries. These are attached to the bottom of the flight deck and galleries themselves are slightly below the level of the flight deck. The galleries have strong outboard support ribbing, so these galleries are really prominent on the finished model. There are five of these smaller galleries and each one is different from the others. The two longest galleries, which are on either side of the flight deck aft of the island, have inclined ladder wells, which drop below the gallery and allowed access to the flight deck. The wells are filled but there are indentations that can be painted black to show their presence. The two front galleries have support beams cast on the underside. Additionally there is an Oerlikon gallery for the stern, which fits under the small aft round-down. Two runners contain the six smallest galleries. Two are for the edges of the side elevator and the others are for various levels on the island. The side elevator is another nice part as it has tie-down points on the upper surface and recessed lines for the brass photo-etch support structure.

Now we come to 5-inch/54 turrets, whose long lines made the Midway so distinctive. There are a total of 19 turrets found on two runners, so youíll have a spare. The turrets have good detail with front panels, side doors and panels, and top hatch. Each turret is cast already attached to the high barbettes incorporated into the design. By casting the barbettes with the turrets, rather than on the gallery sponson, it appears easily feasible to modify the 5-inch turret arrangement to allow the modeler to portray the ships after the started landing turrets before receiving the angled deck. Of course there would be more differences than just the number of turrets carried, such as substitution of twin 3-inch AA guns for the Bofors, but with research it can be done. In common with the other resin parts found on runners, there is a degree of resin flash that will need to be removed. The kit comes with 23 barrels which have the blast bags cast onto them. They have good detail but it is a good thing that there are five extras as a few of the barrels had a slight warp. For the quad 40mm mounts the kit comes with 26 mounts. This allows for the 21 mounts needed for the model, plus five spares. Two of the mounts in my copy had broken barrels, so I still had a comfortable spares inventory. The guns have good detail with thin barrels, discernable recoil fittings and loading fittings. These guns a fairly free of flash but there was a little film between each pair of barrels. Twenty-four bofors base plates are found on a resin sheet. The rest of each Bofors mount consists of photo-etch gun shields. There are also 24 Bofors tubs with exterior support ribbing. The tub shield is lower where the barrels cross the edge and this is reflected in the castings. Also on the resin sheet are a couple of levels for the island. For the Oerlikon guns the gun pedestal is in resin while the gun, shield, and shoulder rest are in brass photo-etch. I personally think that this best arrangement for 20mm in this scale as the resin pedestal does a lot to take out of the two dimensional category.


Brass Photo-Etched Parts
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There are four Mk37 directors. Two are mounted on cylinders on the flight deck with one in front of the island and one behind. The other two directors are on the port side galleries with one in front of the side elevator and the other on its own small sponson at the stern. The directors also have nice detail with the top access hatches, side doors and access doors at the base at the bottom of their cylinders. When it comes to directors for the Bofors, there are 22 Mk51 directors, each in their own small tub. In spite of their small size, the Mk51 parts capture the design of this small piece of equipment quite well. The Midway comes with ten shipís boats. At first this presented a question as I couldnít find where boats were stored on the ship. I found one stored on the aft starboard quarter but the real clue came in the inclusion of boat trailers in the photo-etched. It appears that they were stored in the hangar on trailers and taken up on one of the elevators when needed. There is no question of where to find carley rafts. They are found in large quantities on the sponson face below the starboard side of the island and underneath the bow Oerlikon galleries. Loose Cannon provides 12 double stack carleys and 8 single carleys. They are square cornered rafts with good bottom pattern detail. Other resin parts include tow tractors, anchors, signal lamps, crane body, tilley body, radar spindle, SK-2 platform and various platforms for the mast. Additionally Loose Cannon includes three brass rods for the mast. Twenty-four aircraft are provided, divided between F4U corsairs and SB2C helldivers. The aircraft are nicely done in resin with the propellers and landing gear in brass photo-etch. 

Brass Photo-Etch Frets
Loose Cannon provides two brass photo-etched frets with their
Midway. The smaller of the two contains the propellers and landing gear for the aircraft. Extra parts are provided on this fret. For the helldivers, 13 propellers and 14 sets of landing gear are included. For the corsairs there are 15 propellers and 13 sets of landing gear. For both types of landing gear the wheels are relief-etched in that the wheels stand up from the landing gear covers.


Brass Photo-Etched Parts
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The big fret contains the ships specific items. Loose Cannon has packed almost every possible space on this fret with items, including crewmen. This fret measures 6 Ĺ-inches by 4-inches. The largest single assembly requiring photo-etch is the support structure under the side elevator, which requires eight trusses plus a lattice structure, which fits over them. Since Loose Cannon has location recesses on the bottom of the elevator, this should facilitate the assembly. Safety nets line the three open sides of the elevator, so this one elevator is very busy with photo-etch. Next in size are the four flight deck edge antennae. Each tower is one piece of brass in which the four sides are folded together and then folded on the platform, which is part of the piece. These towers are relief-etched and are excellent in quality and appearance. Two smaller pieces are equal standouts. These are two small catwalks that are at the forward round-down of the flight deck. Because of their position, they should be very prominent in the finished model. There are quite a few other lattice work items on the fret. The tilly has a two part crane assembly, plus rig and of course there is also the large cargo crane aft of the island. Also there are eight boat trailers in two different sizes. Each of these trailers also comes with a tow bar and four separate wheels.

There are a number of radars, led by the convex SK-2 array. Of course this is flat on the fret and will require a little work to shape it into the convex shape of the radar. With four Mk37 directors, there are four sets of their associated radars. Each director has a waffle shape Mk12 radar with a W cross-section and an oval Mk22 on the right side of the larger Mk12. These rest in a frame that is attached to the top of the director. Other radars include a SG, SX, SR2, YE homing beacon and a height finder antenna. All types of the armament all also enhanced from parts of the photo-etched fret. Each 5-inch gun/barbette has three handrails on the barbette and two narrow catwalks/handrails at the base of the gun shield. Bofors receive gunshields and the Oerlikons get brass shields/shoulder rests and gun barrels to be attached to the resin pedestals. Other brass parts include boat rudders, yards, LSO platform, floater net baskets, small antennae platforms, funnel caps, vertical ladder and railings.


Decals
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MidC8081ac.JPG (13501 bytes) MidC8082ac.JPG (11408 bytes) MidC8083ac.JPG (6396 bytes) MidC8084ac.JPG (8639 bytes)

Decals
Loose Cannon provides three decal sheets. As with the photo-etch frets, one is for the aircraft and but two larger, identical sheets are mostly for the ship with some for aircraft. Each sheet has one each of the large yellow numbers 41 and 42 for Midway and FDR and two yellow 43 in different sizes for Coral Sea . For the island each carrier gets one shaded number but Coral Sea also has one white unshaded number. That is why two sheets are included, to provide numbers for fore and aft on the flight deck and both sides of the island. These sheets also include deck lines in yellow and white, nameplates for the ships, as well as tail markings and wing markings for aircraft. The aircraft sheet carries national insignia and the ďNAVYĒ for the fuselages.

Instructions
Loose Cannon includes 13 pages of instructions. These can be subdivided into three categories: (1) major assembly steps, (2) smaller subassemblies, and (3) color schemes. The first three pages are the three major assembly steps. The first step really isnít assembly per se but just dry-fitting and adjusting the forward Oerlikon galleries/round-down and flight deck with the hull. Page/step 2 shows attachment of the sponson fittings. Also included here are subassemblies for the Mk37 radars, aft boat position, carley placement, forward catwalks and one bridge level. There is also a crew shirt color table. Page/Step 3 has the main assembly drawing, where the attachment of the deck edge galleries, island, island levels, side elevator, mast and deck fittings are shown. The next six pages show subassembly modules. Included on page 5 are: 5-inch guns; Bofors; boat trailers; tilly crane; small antennae platforms; floater net baskets; cargo crane; boat assembly; Oerlikons and flight deck antennae. On page 6 are: side elevator; SR2 radar; Mk12 & 22 radars and Helldiver markings. Page 7 has: LSO platform; funnel gratings; bow platforms; SX radar; height finder; and SK2 radar. Page 8 includes aircraft crane; SB2C assembly; F4U assembly; SG radar; YE homing beacon and corsair markings. Page 9 has large main mast assembly; radar foremast assembly; and aft radar mast assembly. The last page actually is the small parts painting guide as it includes painting descriptions for the aircraft, tilly, tow tractor and shipís boats. The last four pages show the paint scheme for Midway; decal placement for Midway; paint scheme for FDR and decal placement for FDR. Midway is shown with an attractive MS22 false horizon scheme for 1945 and MS21 navy blue for 1946. FDR is shown in two-tone 5O Ocean Gray and 5N Navy Blue for 1945 and Navy blue 5N overall for 1946. At first glance the instructions appear confusing in that the major assembly steps are shown before the necessary subassemblies are shown. Some subassemblies could have been better illustrated but by and large a quick study of the appropriate module should clarify the assembly of that part. One exception that Iíll make for myself is the correct folding of the forward elements of the SX radar, which still confuses me.


Box Art & Instructions
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Verdict
Loose Cannon has produced a huge, beautiful model of the first appearance of a carrier class that stayed with the United States Navy for half a century. The Midway has all of the bells and whistles expected of a full-fledged multimedia kit with plenty of resin parts, two brass photo-etched sheets and three sheets of decals. Some minor cleanup is needed for many resin parts and the instructions could have been better but these are minor points in comparison excellent overall effort of Loose Cannon in the kit.

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