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.
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.
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.
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.
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.