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USS Ranger
CV-4

Corsair Armada
1:700 Scale Waterline Model

In-the-Box Review
by
Rob Mackie


Launched in 1933, the USS Ranger (CV-4) was the first US Navy ship designed from the keel up as an aircraft carrier. Her wartime service was in the Atlantic, where she participated in the Operation Torch landings, launched a strike against German shipping off Norway in 1943, and patrolled the North Atlantic sea lanes with the British Second Battle Squadron.  Subsequent to 1943 USS Ranger served as a training carrier, a role in which she continued until her 1946 decommissioning.

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USS Ranger (January 1943)

Corsair Armada, an American producer of 1:700 waterline kits, has earned a well deserved reputation for quality and accuracy.  The USS Ranger (CV-4) release continues that tradition. Repeatedly delayed due to production difficulties, the Ranger is here and it was worth the wait. 

The kit is an all resin affair.  There are no white metal parts nor is any etched brass included.  And it is big for a 1:700 scale model.  The hull is 13 1/2" long and includes a detailed hangar deck.  The impression of size is further accentuated by the high freeboard.  The hull is a large, very straight chunk of resin with no shortage of bulkhead and scuttle detail.  Casting quality is very good.  There is a minor amount of  pinholing that will need filling, but otherwise cleanup is minimal. The flight deck is a long flat resin piece that fits atop the hull. It too is straight and the surface detail is both delicate and convincing. Every resin kit producer with whom I've spoken has mentioned the difficulty of casting an aircraft carrier.  The long, flat surfaces are prone to warpage, and the flight deck and hull castings can shrink at different rates ("differential shrinkage") resulting in a mismatch. Mike Czibovic, the proprietor of Corsair Armada, has successfully addressed these production issues in his USS Ranger kit, and he has done so without using pressure casting.

This is a complex kit, definitely not suitable for a resin novice.   It is essential the modeler read and reread the instructions before undertaking the Ranger.  There are many construction options.  The hangar bay roll-up doors can be opened, exposing the hangar deck yet further. Both the three elevators and the Ranger's six distinctive stacks, which swing outboard during flight operations, are positionable.   Further complicating matters is the choice of fit. The Ranger can be constructed as she appeared in either 1942 or 1944.  Armament and fit options changed substantially as the war progressed and Corsair Armada enables you to incorporate the many alterations.   But pay attention to the instructions!

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USS Ranger (Jan '43)

The smaller resin parts are mounted on sprues or embedded in thin resin wafers.  Quality is good and the kit includes many extras to make up for the occasional bad casting or lost gun shield.  All necessary plastic rod and sheet is provided.

The very complete instructions consist of four 11"x 17" pages and contain much information that is essential for constructing a correct Ranger. Ignore them at your own peril.  They include two camo scheme diagrams, Ms 12 modified (1942) and Ms 33/1A, a particularly challenging 4 colour scheme worn by the Ranger in 1944.  

Criticisms?  At $155 from Pacific Front the USS Ranger is expensive for a 1:700 scale kit.  At first I thought the price excessive, but as I examined the model it became clear that an extensive amount of research and production work was involved in bringing Ranger to market. It is definitely worth the asking price.  The Ranger was 769' in length and Corsair Armada has produced it in such a way (check out that huge hangar deck) that detailing and fit possibilities are too numerous to mention. An etched brass fret for railing, CXAM-1, SK and gunnery radar would have been nice, and what about aircraft?  There are none, nor are there any deck marking diagrams. But these are quibbles. This is a great kit of which Corsair Armada can justifiably be proud.  It was a pleasure evaluating the Ranger.  

Well done, Corsair Armada!

Click thumbnail photo to view full size picture

Ranger.jpg (27688 bytes)
Box art photo
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Hull forward
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Hull aft
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Flight Deck
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Small resin parts
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Small resin parts
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Small resin parts
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Written instructions
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Camo scheme (1 of 2 included)
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Parts list

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