Like most of the Tamiya line, this kit is quite impressive. There are several minor problems in the superstructure, all easily fixed via minor modifications. I chose to install brass gun barrels, GMM PE, and planked decks. I generally use HO scale 1x3s for deck planking. Its over scale, but looks great once painted. The planking job yields stunning results and is well worth the effort, especially if you want to add significant "collector value" to your model. The challenge lies in removing the "Gack" (deck details) in order to speed up the planking process and create a clean, professional look. You can install the deck detail later, provided youve kept track of where the removed pieces are supposed to go. Once the deck is done, mask off the woodwork (use "liquid mask" in the corners) and touch up the steel bulkheads. I apply a light tan/walnut stain to the wood deck areas, after which I sand them smooth. Light sanding removes some of the stain, but this works to your benefit. Following up with a "Paynes Grey" wash will give your decks a nice, sun-bleached fade very similar to weathered teak.
I used Humbrol paint on the New Jersey simply because I feel Humbrols "pigments" are tough to beat. But make sure you wear a mask when applying these paints they are toxic! As most advanced ship modelers know, ¾ of ones time is taken up in preparing and masking fiddly bits. Its tedious but worth the effort.
Tip: Pick up a bottle of Art Masking Fluid (for water colour) at an art supply store. I find Daler-Rowney to be of good quality. This product will greatly reduce your frustration level, especially when it comes to masking off tight corners and deck "Gack". You can spray or brush right over the masking fluid and peel it away later. But dont use your better quality brushes in brush painting over Daler-Rowney. It will quickly claim your brushes as its own.
Editor's Note: Click here for the Steelnavy.com photo tour of the USS New Jersey