Victory Ship

1:700th scale model kit
By Loose Cannon Productions

In-box review by: John Sheridan


The Ship:

Liberty Ships vs. Victory Ships 
(from the SS American Victory Website http://www.americanvictory.org/ )

A Liberty ship’s maximum speed was 11 knots, making her easy prey for submarines, so early in 1942, the U.S War Shipping Administration commissioned a design for a faster, 15-knot ship.  Vessels in this new class were to be known as “Victory” ships (officially a VC-2) and were 455 feet in length, slightly longer than Liberty ships, and 62 feet wide.  Cross-compound steam turbine engines with double reduction gears were designed to deliver 6,000 or 8,500 horsepower, and could make up to 17 knots, significantly faster than a Liberty.  Victory ship profiles would feature a sleek, “raked” bow, a raised forecastle, and a “cruiser” stern, markedly different from a Liberty ship profile.

Victory ships were strengthened to avoid fractures in hull plates and ship sides, a problem which often plagued Liberty ships.  Armament for the new ship class was similar to that on Liberty ships, and included one 5-inch stern gun, one 3-inch bow antiaircraft gun and eight 20-mm machine guns at various locations on main, boat and bridge decks for protection from enemy attacks.  Victory ships were designed specifically to allow for easy modification after World War II into other types of cargo carriers, special uses and even passenger ships. 

The first Victory ship, the SS United Victory, was launched on February 28, 1944, and like Liberty ships, production line techniques were used to build the vessels.  The next 34 Victory ships were named for each of the member Allied nations participating in World War II.  The subsequent 218 were named after American cities, the next 150 after educational institutions; the balance received miscellaneous names. 

Regardless of their differences, both Liberty and Victory class ships and tankers were vitally important to America’s war efforts on both fronts during World War II and decisively contributed to the ultimate Allied victory.  The U.S. merchant fleet played a major role in winning the war, transporting an estimated 85% of the troops, ammunition and supplies used to support Allied war effort in both the European and Pacific theaters.  Victory ships also played a significant role during the Korean War and the Vietnam War, transporting thousands of refugees to freedom and carrying material, equipment and ammunition to these areas.

Victory ships were at the forefront of the resurgence of the United States as a world economic power and became the “workhorses” of American waterborne commerce after the war.  To carry American goods around the world in support of the Marshall Plan, private firms chartered hundreds of Victory ships.  Hundreds were sold or leased to foreign countries for use as freighters and some were converted for passenger service.  Others were converted for use as satellite and radar tracking ships for the U.S. Navy; the U.S. Army converted several Victory ships into troop transports.  Some may still remain in commercial service today, more than 50 years after the first Victory ship slid down the slipway.  

Victory and Liberty ships were crewed by members of the U.S. Merchant Marine and defended by an all-volunteer group of U.S. Navy sailors called the Navy Armed Guard.  The operation of these ships during World War II came at great human cost:  The Merchant Marine suffered more loss of life, by percentage of their ranks, than any other branch of service; the Armed Guard lost thousands.  US Merchant Mariners and the Navy Armed Guard are truly the forgotten heroes of WW II.


The Kit:

The kit is packed in a nice sturdy cardboard box that will keep the contents from being crushed. The kit itself is packed in plastic bags and the photoetch is sandwiched between two pieces of cardboard to prevent damage. My kit arrived with no damage whatsoever and al of the parts well secured to the inside of the box.

The kit is comprised of the hull (waterline only), Detail parts, and the Photoetch fret. The detail parts are all made of resin (no whitemetal) and cast on a tree with the parts numbered for ease of placement; nice touch.  The casting of the hull and detail parts is very good with a minimal amount of flash to clean up. There was no warpage of resin parts and I found no casting mistakes or airbubbles in any of the resin parts. As with any resin kit, most of the parts will require a minimal amount of sanding to clean-up and make ready for assembly. 

The Photoetch fret is nicely done and  includes all of the cargo boom tackle. This is a welcome relief since the thought of rigging the cargo booms has been simplified considerably by including it already completed on the fret. The fret also includes ladders, railings, and gun shields. 

The instructions read more like what you would find in a injected plastic model kit. The instructions include drawings as well as text to explain where all the parts go. With the detail parts numbered on the casting trees, assembly of the model should be fairly easy for even a novice modeler. No decals are included in the kit so you are on your own to find some to fit. 

Painting the kit is pretty straightforward since most Liberty / Victory Ships were painting either MS 13 (Overall 5-H Haze Gray) or MS 14  (Overall 5-O Ocean Gray). Some ships attached to invasion fleets were painted MS 21 (Overall 5-N Navy Blue) for deployment directly to forward combat areas. 


Conclusion:

If you are looking for a really nice 1:700th scale model of a Victory Ship then this model is a good one to have. For those of you who like detailed kits, you will not be disappointed with the amount of detail found in this kit.  For those novice modelers who want to build a Victory Ship but are wary of buying a resin kit, you should have no problems in building this kit. My only negative thought with this kit is that I would have like to have seen it come with some deck cargo. Most Liberty / Victory ships carried a considerable amount cargo on the main deck and it would have been nice to have some included with this kit.

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