A new breed of ship appeared on November 1, 1955 when USS Boston was commissioned as CAG-1, the Missile Cruiser. The initial missile cruisers of the world’s navies were reworked cruisers of late to post World War Two vintage, in which some gun positions were eliminated in exchange for missile batteries. In the USN it was the Boston Class from the Baltimore Class heavy cruiser and the Galveston and Little Rock Classes from the Cleveland Class light cruiser. The Soviet Navy reworked a number of the Sverdlov Class of large post war light cruisers. The Bostons, Galvestons, and Sverdlovs all retained the bulk of their original superstructure and heavy gun positions. Their heritage could be easily ascertained from their appearance. The Little Rock Class in addition had their superstructure greatly reworked but A turret and the funnels remained. 

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11,600 tons (std 1961), 9,194 tons (std 1937): 
Length- 613 feet (187m); Beam- 62 feet (18.9m); Draught- 20 feet (6.1m)
four (2x2) 135mm/45 (1961) replaced by 135mm/53 in 1968: eight (8x1) 76mm/62 automated cannons: 
One Terrier SAM mount (twin rail)
 Four Polaris intermediate range ballistic missile tubes (missiles never operational)
100,000 shp; 30 knots; Range- 4,500 miles at 18 knots: 
47 Officers and 618 sailors 

The next stage in missile cruiser evolution was the USS Albany. In this three ship class, the entire superstructure was replaced and   armament changed entirely. Except for the hull, these three ships were completely different from their Baltimore and Oregon City Class ships from which they derived. The USN was not the sole navy to radically rework a WW2 cruiser. The Italian Navy took the light cruiser GiuseppeGaribaldi and removed her superstructure, guns and funnels. As with the Albany Class, she was rebuilt from the hull up. However, the Giuseppe Garibaldi was significantly older than the reworked USN cruisers. She was laid down in December 1933 and launched April 21, 1936. Active with the Italian Navy (Regia Marina) during World War Two, she participated in numerous operations. Along with her convoy escort duties, shore bombardment and British convoy interception, she was present at Punto Stilo/Calabria. She missed the Battle of Cape Matapan, having been detached to Brindisi immediately before. On July 28, 1941 she was torpedoed by the submarine, HMS Upholder, and returned to port with 700 tons of water. With the Italian Armistice, she sailed to Malta in September 1943. Except for a very brief period of time on anti-blockade runner duties, she spent the remainder of the war in transport and training duties. 

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In the late 1950s the United States Navy had plans to convert Baltimore Class cruisers to carry eight Polaris intermediate range ballistic missiles; and USS Hawaii of the Alaska Class Large Cruiser to carry twenty of the missiles. In the end it was decided that only submarines would carry ballistic missiles. However, this was not the end of warships designed to carry ballistic missiles. 

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The Garibaldi was rebuilt from 1957 to 1961 at La Spezia. Upon completion, her appearance was completely different from the attractive World War Two cruiser. Though still graceful with her single-trunked, classically streamlined Italian lines, she now carried missiles and - unlike Albany - retained her guns. The gun fittings were entirely new with a main armament of four 135mm/ 45 caliber guns in two twin turrets (replaced by 135mm/53 caliber guns in 1968). Her secondary armament consisted of eight 76mm/ 62 caliber automatic cannons in single gun turrets, four each on port and starboard sides.

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She carried the same twin-rail Terrier anti-aircraft missile-mount fitted to USN cruisers of this period. There was an additional feature, however, that distinguished her from any other ship ever constructed. She was designed and constructed to carry ballistic missiles. Four missile tubes were fitted in her stern, specifically designed to carry the Polaris intermediate range nuclear ballistic missile. This feature obviously caused quite a stir among the naval powers. Garibaldi returned to service in this form in November 1961. The Polaris fittings were experimental and Garibaldi was never armed with the Polaris. She served until February 20, 1971 when she was retired and her personnel transferred to the new missile cruiser, Vittorio Veneto. On September 24, 1978 she was sold for scrap. (History from Cruisers of World War Two by M.J.Whitley, Cruisers of the US Navy 1922-1962 by Stefan Terzibaschitsch and the instructions of the Giuseppe Garibaldi Missile Cruiser from Regia Marina.)

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Just as with the original missile cruisers, the model of the Giuseppe Garibaldi by Regia Marina shares some characteristics with the USS Albany by JAG. (Click for a review of the JAG USS Albany) Regia Marina has cast a tremendous amount of detail into the truly remarkable hull casting. The integrally cast funnel, hollowed out to a great depth, was especially noteworthy. I have never seen this done on any other resin model. If this was not enough, the beautifully formed funnel gratings, again cast integral to the hull, extend down sides of the funnel. This is the best stack casting that I have seen from any manufacturer in 1:700 or 1:350. All that I could ask myself was’ "How did they do that?" The deck and superstructure are similarly alive with finely executed detail. The anchors reside in perfectly formed hull recesses. The Polaris hatches, many of the reels and the various capstans are also part of this casting. There is even detail on top of the anchor capstans. This is a beautiful and outstanding examples of the casting art by any standard.

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Having cast so much detail into the hull, the smaller resin pieces are fairly limited in number. They are located on five runners, and comprise the gun mounts, boats & davits, larger reels, Terrier mount and missiles, two bridge levels, life raft racks, signal lights and the smaller radars and their mounts. The resin runners have the parts identified by an alphanumeric designator as was done in the Regia Marina kit of the Auxiliary Cruiser Ramb. (Click for a review of the Regia Marina Ramb) All parts were perfectly cast with no blemish or breakage. Of special note are the wire thin Terrier missiles, with their exquisitely cast fins and zero warp. The only work to be done on the resin parts was removal of the short resin pour vents & light sanding of the bottom of the hull and the removal of a small amount of casting flash from some of the smaller parts. Another benefit of casting so much detail into the hull is that the kit builds up faster than average. Some parts will have to be made from stretched plastic sprue, thin plastic rod, or wire. These include 76mm gun barrels, whip antennas, and small crane arms on the Polaris deck. The measurements for all of these parts are found in the instructions. Four inclined ladder landings must also be made from resin, plastic or cut from the metal fret. Two are at the stern and two go from the deck to the 01 deck between the forward superstructure and the stack. Their locations are shown on the included profile. 

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Regia Marina includes a full photo-etch fret for the Giuseppe Garibaldi. Because of the two tall lattice masts, mast platforms and two larger radars, the quality of the fret is crucial. Regia Marina has executed it handsomely. The lattice towers and platforms are scored to facilitate bending, and they fold to the proper position with ease. I only encountered one problem. Part D2 is a piece that rests at the top and rear of the foremast, with two horizontal platforms joined by a vertical structure. I had difficulty folding the top horizontal platform to right angle with the vertical structure. Instead of taking a chance and warping the piece, I finally cut the piece along the scored bend line and reattached it at the top of the lattice mast. I love hollow, see through bridges. They are rare enough in 1:350 kits and almost non-existent in 1:700. Regia Marina gives you two on this kit. The lower bridge bulkhead is a PE bulkhead with vision slits. The upper bridge is enclosed in an open lattice structure that reminds me of a greenhouse with a large glass area at the sides and top. The execution of this piece is truly marvelous. Regia Marina even gives you clear plastic sheet for the glass. Be careful in bending the vertical window posts. They are very delicate. I lost several in fitting the "greenhouse" to the bridge and had to replace them with bits of cut railing. In my build I used Micro Kristal Klear, which is a wonderful product and is mentioned in the instructions. It is a flexible clear liquid plastic adhesive and model window forming material. You can use it to form windows inch and smaller. You apply it with a toothpick or a pin. As it says on the bottle, " When dry the bubble will be very thin very clear "window" and the edges to the sills will show, giving a most realistic look." That statement is correct and I’ll being using Micro Kristal Klear on all future projects requiring windows. 

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The Regia Marina fret is of stainless steel and appears to be marginally thicker than brass photo-etch. I regard this as a advantage. The greater tensile strength of the steel over brass makes it very easy to manipulate without disfiguring the PE part. Invariably, I’ll accidentally brush attached PE parts during the construction of a model. The result almost always is a warp, dent, or some other disfigurement that I then have to try to correct, sometimes without success. When I accidentally brushed the Garibaldi PE pieces, I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of any disfiguring bends. In this same vein, the two bar railing on the fret was outstanding in the ease with which it could be folded. It went on without any damage, even after repeated attempts of getting the railing into the proper position. Attaching railing can be a chore but with Garibaldi, it was fun. I used GMM inclined ladders (stairs) rather than the provided ladder because I thought that the GMM parts had a slightly narrower tread width. The fret could have also used one more run of railing. The amount provided fell about one to two inches short of providing complete coverage of all decks. I made up the shortfall with a small bit of GMM railing. Regia Marina supplies machined steel gun barrels for the 135mm main guns. You’ll have to adjust the length of these barrels to the length indicated in the instructions. A pin is provided for the crane boom. It is also cut to the length provided in the instructions. You’ll have to cut two small platforms from the PE according to the templates provided in the instructions. 

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The instructions for the Regia Marina Giuseppe Garibaldi come on three sheets printed front and back. The first sheet has the ship history in Italian and a matrix describing each resin part, also in Italian. The back of the sheet is the color guide. The colors are listed in Italian and English with the recommended Humbrol color number. The second sheet has the assembly instructions on one side with a plan and profile. The back of this sheet has details of superstructure, lattice mast and radar assembly. Locations for parts are shown by their alphanumeric designators, rather than pictures of the parts. Double-check the part with the designator to insure that you have the right one. The third sheet provides eight photos of the prototype. Printed four front and back, they provide a reference during construction of the model. The instructions are thoroughly executed and comprehensive. However, there are a few areas where you can go astray. There are five small radars on the forward superstructure, one on top of the bridge, two on either side of the bridge and two on either side of the stack, they all have the alphanumeric designator F1 but they are of three different types. The one on top of the bridge is the only one of its type so its easy to identify. Of the other four, two have double dishes and two have single dishes. The double dish radars go one either side of the bridge leaving the single dish radars to go on either side of the stack. 

These photos provided by Regia Marina
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The life raft rack doesn’t appear on the instructions profile and appears to be on the deck in the plan. I goofed on this one, I attached it to the deck. It should attach to the superstructure and slant down towards the deck with walk space underneath. See the photos from Regia Marina of completed model for correct placement. The instructions emphasize the placement locations of some of the inclined ladders but not all of them. By my count there will be 14 inclined ladders. Look at the plan provided. Proper locations are most clearly shown there. Another goof of mine was to place double inclined ladders going from the Polaris deck to the Terrier deck. I did this based on the profile detail in the instructions. However the plan clearly shows only one centerline ladder joining these two decks. Regia Marina also provides decals for this model. They consist of four sets of the ships number, 551. Each number is a separate decal, so you’ll have to work with alignment. I did not use them in my build.

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Superb in every category, except for the instructions, which are good but somewhat confusing. Again, as I mentioned in my review of the Regia Marina Ramb, the instructions are better than most found in 1:700 kits. Giuseppe Garibaldi is a unique warship. Until I was informed that Regia Marina was releasing a model of this ship and looked it up in a Jane’s Fighting Ships 1964-1965, I never realized that any surface ship had ever been constructed to carry ballistic missiles. The kit goes together easily and quickly. The quality of the resin casting is top notch, among the best in the world. The PE is very well designed and strong, being very resistant to accidental damage. I found that every step in the construction of the Giuseppe Garibaldi was fun and that’s the bottom line.