For the newest contestant in the Great Lexington Photo-Etch Derby we have set #3552, USS Lexington CV2 Trumpeter of China photo-etch super-detail set from Tomís Modelworks. Tomís provides two full sets of detail, which encompass not only the necessary standard gear for your Trumpeter Lexington, but also some extra goodies that go above and beyond the commonplace. Neither of the brass frets in this set use relief etching for any of the multitude of parts but instead, the frets present a wide panoply of detail and provide more than a little something extra. 

Fret #1
I arbitrarily call this fret #1 and it contains all of brass parts for Lexington, other than safety nets, vertical ladder and railing. It is the smaller of the two frets included in the set but measuring 5 3/4-inch (145mm) x 3 7/8-inch (96mm), it certainly is not small. Since this set is designed to match the Trumpeter kit, the brass parts reflect the details aboard the carrier in May 1942. Right at the top of the stack is the large, distinctive CXAM radar. This important piece consists of only two parts but in the manner of its design gives the modeler the delicacy and detail of an array with a greater number of parts without the complications of assembling many parts. The grid itself is the standard rectangle but it is with the back framing where Tomís has come up with a simplification of assembly without loss in fidelity. The triangular side frames that join the lower halves of the grid and frame are part of the frame that are simply bent 90 degrees to provide the third dimension to the array.

A good portion of this fret consists of additional detail for the AA armament of the Lady Lex. For the open mount 5-Inch/25 DP guns, this consists of safety railing for the mount. Each mount receives four railing pieces in three styles. Although the two rear rails are of the same shape, each of the longer side rails is of a different design. For the 20mm Oerlikon AA cannons the set provides nice thin gun shields to replace the bulky plastic and also a frame with the gun site and shoulder rest. These parts are used in conjunction with the plastic pedestal and gun from the kit. For armament even smaller than Oerlikons, Tomís goes beyond a standard offering.  


Fret #1
Lex2427fret1.JPG (44803 bytes) Lex2428brace1.JPG (25086 bytes) Lex2435cxam.JPG (28605 bytes) Lex2429oer1.JPG (28768 bytes)
Lex2430reels1.JPG (33727 bytes) Lex2431mg1.JPG (32373 bytes) Lex2445mgd1.JPG (29426 bytes) Lex2433rail1.JPG (27609 bytes)

This fret provides two additional parts for .50 water-cooled machine guns. Of course machine gun barrels heat up very quickly because of the number of rounds going through them so quickly. To continue firing they must be cooled down or changed or a combination of both. Some machine guns were air-cooled and are easily recognizable because of the holes in the jacket guard surrounding the barrel. These types of guns primarily used frequent barrel change to allow for prolonged discharge. These types predominate in the Army because they are comparatively light, although if you have ever toted a M-60 down range, you might say otherwise. Another cooling device was the water-cooled barrel. These types are also easily recognizably because of the bulky water jackets that run the length of the barrel. Water is heavy and the water filled cooling jacket made this type of gun much heavier and less mobile than an air-cooled variant. However, for light AA for a warship, where the machine guns did not have to move, it was thought that water-cooled guns were best suited. They could have a source of replenishable, circulating, cooling water for the barrel jacket and therefore could fire for a long time without the need for a barrel change. On this fret Tomís provides the water cooling lines and reservoir box for these water-cooled machine guns with one part and the machine gun handles with the other. Think about that, these are two very fine extra parts for super-detailing a machine gun in 1:350 scale. To me, that goes beyond what I would expect in a 1:350 scale set. The fret provides 24 cooling lines/reservoir boxes and gun handles. 


Fret #1
Lex2438grates1.JPG (25939 bytes) Lex2439deck1.JPG (23854 bytes) Lex2443plat1.JPG (33075 bytes)
Lex2444platd1.JPG (19357 bytes) Lex2434carl1.JPG (39963 bytes) Lex2436inclad1.JPG (34649 bytes)
Lex2437inclad1.JPG (37921 bytes) Lex2440sbd1.JPG (22684 bytes) Lex2441f4f1.JPG (31804 bytes) Lex2442tbd1.JPG (20918 bytes)

Some of the larger pieces on this fret are the four stack grates, deck supports and a number of under-platform supports. The biggest piece, which is very nicely done, is a long support structure for the 20mm gallery on the starboard side at the base of the stack. Also rather large is the wind break that runs across the deck that Tomís includes in the package. Some of the smaller parts include hose reels and frames, crane tackle & top, Carley float open grid bottoms, inclined ladders in two sizes, boat railing, rudders & propellers and two custom fit runs of railing. Another thoughtful inclusion by Tomís on this fret are parts for the aircraft. There are parts for six SBD Dauntlesses, four F4F Wildcats and one TBD Devastator. The brass parts for each aircraft are very comprehensive and include double-thick folding wheels, landing gear struts, propeller, radio antenna, tail wheel and some other very fine parts. Of course the benefit with this is that it allows the modeler to outfit eleven of the kit aircraft without the need of purchasing a separate aircraft parts fret.

Fret #2
The larger, second fret concentrates on two items, railing and flight-deck edge safety nets. This fret measures 7 1/2-inch (190mm) x 3 7/8-inch (96mm) and uses every inch to provide parts. Railing comes in four styles based upon length and stanchion spacing. Also included are four generous runs of vertical ladder. However, 65-70% of this fret is devoted to the very prominent safety netting that appears all along the circumference of the deck. Tomís provides this netting in different styles, dependant upon the location on the ship and lengths. Each run of safety net comes with a mounting rail that is folded into position. Tomís has provided to the modeler the option of portraying this safety railing in an extended or folded position. However, no matter which position you choose, each piece has a very fine open net pattern. 


Fret #2
Lex2446fret2.JPG (43548 bytes) Lex2447rail2.JPG (35364 bytes) Lex2448rail2.JPG (27656 bytes)
Lex2449rail2.JPG (31635 bytes) Lex2450nets2.JPG (38987 bytes) Lex2451net2.JPG (40169 bytes)
Lex2452net2.JPG (37757 bytes) Lex2454net2.JPG (32909 bytes) Lex2455net2.JPG (46272 bytes)

Instructions
Instructions come on two back printed pages. The first sheet covers a number of the sub-assemblies in 22 paragraphs that cover each sub-assembly. The style uses text and drawing to convey the manner of assembly and specifically what plastic parts are modified or omitted. The drawings are good but not spectacular. Starting at the very bottom of the second page is the start of a sequence of sketches that provide more detail about the assembly involved in certain areas than is found in the 22 numbered paragraphs. There are six such sketches lettered A through F. The largest of these is sketch C, which encompasses all of page three, and is devoted to the attachment of the flight-deck safety nets. Through ample text and good drawings, Tomís provides a comprehensive guide to assembling these crucial parts. These instructions are not as detailed as some, although some portions are very detailed such as the safety net placement, but I had no difficulty understanding or following their sequence.  


Instructions
Lex2456inst1.JPG (10189 bytes) Lex2460inst1a.JPG (13876 bytes) Lex2461inst1b.JPG (19084 bytes) Lex2457inst2.JPG (10443 bytes)
Lex2462inst2a.JPG (24799 bytes) Lex2464inst2b.JPG (17617 bytes) Lex2458inst3.JPG (15204 bytes) Lex2466inst3b.JPG (20537 bytes)
Lex2467inst3c.JPG (24286 bytes) Lex2465inst3a.JPG (21496 bytes) Lex2468inst3d.JPG (25190 bytes) Lex2459inst4.JPG (14557 bytes)

Verdict
Tomís Modelworks
has provided a very nice set of super-detailed photo-etch frets for the Trumpeter USS Lexington in 1:350 scale. Both frets provide a wealth of detail done with a fine touch. Although, there is no relief etching, Tomís does provide extra detail, such as full aircraft parts for eleven aircraft. I still go back to the water cooling tubes with reservoir boxes and gun handles for .50 machine guns, as the prime example of the extra, beyond standard, detail that Tomís Modelworks provides in set #3552. Tomís provides versatility and value. 

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