When I first reviewed the Tom’s main set for theBanner 1/350 Arizona, I described it as concentrating on several main areas of the kit, at a lower cost, as opposed to more broadly trying to supplement all areas of the kit. Tom had stated in several postings that he intended to follow up with additional sets supplementing other areas of the Banner kit. Well I now have the first such in my hot little hands and can say that this one is a winner, though at the cost of some strained eyesight and some fiddley work. The set is designed to super detail the ship's boat area of the upper deck. Basically what you get are the bass parts to detail the ships boats and the racks, cradles and chocks to replace the crude molded blocks provided on the kit. What you get is a 5 3/8 inch by 2 3/8 inch fret of 5mil brass. The set is divided into two broad areas, parts to fit out the boats, and the cradles, racks and chocks to replace the mountings molded into the kit.
First there are 2 sets of thwarts and seats for the open boats. There are also rudders with tillers, and props for all of the boats and the various boat railings, jack staffs and other minute detail to fit out the various ships’ boats. Be warned, much of this detail is tiny and rather fine, although it should really improve the appearance of the boats.
The second area consists of sets of cradles, of 3 different heights, along with bracing and racks for the taller cradles. Assembly requires the modeler to add lengths of 20mil square styrene stock for the side rails on the cradles and build them up into cradle assemblies for each set. There are 40 cradle frames and 12 racks. In the cradles that are mounted directly to the main deck and superstructure decks, 4 frames are used per cradle and 6 cradles are involved. There are also cradles to stack the smaller boats that are nested on the top of the larger boats. These parts are small, delicate, and require a light touch.
There is a sheet of instructions, printed on 2 sides showing how the boats are fitted out and how the cradles are constructed. Location drawings of the applicable areas of the decks are also provided to show where the cradles are to be placed. I would strongly recommend studying the instructions for this set in conjunction with those for the kit, as well as any photos of the ship showing this area of the ship before you start. Tom provides some suggestions on where the stock kit parts can be modified to improve their appearance in addition to adding the brass parts. Each of the boats can be fitted out and completed as individual assemblies prior to their addition to the model. The cradle assemblies can also be pre-built as individual assemblies. Though not specifically mentioned in the instructions, I suspect that the construction of a jig to hold the individual frames in position in proper alignment would be a real benefit. Also, while Tom recommends the use of styrene square stock for the side frames, one with good soldering skills may want to consider the use of brass square stock. I know that K&S makes 31mil brass square stock but I don't know whether they have 20 mil square, although they do have 20mil round stock.
This is not a set for the faint of heart or the beginner. The ship's boats on theArizona are in a very visible location, and the use of this set will add incredible detail to the model. The approach that Tom is taking here will allow the modeler to select the amount of detail that he wants to add, and to not have to pay for detail he is not interested in adding. There is also the open implication that this will not be the last that Tom has to do for this kit!!! Now if someone would just do a set of 5" 51Cal casemate guns and proper gun port covers to replace that awful lack of detail in this area of the Banner kit!!!
The set is Tom's #3529 and lists for $14. In my opinion that's a lot
of detail for the buck.