Welcome, Ladies and Gentlemen, to the main event of the evening, to the most eagerly anticipated bout of the modeling year, to the USS Essex Photo-Etch Death Match of Wrestling Megla-Mania. We have the top contenders from around the world, all ready to seize the brass crown for top Essex photo-etch.

In this corner, wearing the livery of White Ensign Models and attired in his unsightly Speedo trunks, I present the darling of the British Empire, champion of the commonwealth, the baron of brass, the paladin of PE, Her Majesty’s Own Mad Monk of Modeling, Peter …………Hall! Also in Peter’s corner you will find his managers, Caroline and John Snyder and his trainer, Dave Carter. The WEM team appears to be in top form for this bout. Known for their rigorous training regimen, the WEM team leaves no stone unturned, with no detail too small to be omitted in the photo-etched assault for the Trumpeter Essex Championship. 

Essex2794pack.jpg (111088 bytes) Essex2798det.JPG (123963 bytes) Essex2805det.JPG (119777 bytes)

Well, it appears that WEM has brought its full bag of tricks to the championship event. We have heard that WEM has not just prepared a one fret attack, not even a two fret assault but indeed, they have gone to the full three fret extravaganza of detail for the Trumpeter 1:350 scale USS Essex.

Fret A – The Ship Fittings
There is the bell for round one of this no hold barred contest and the Mad Monk charges out of the WEM corner. He goes into a dazzling Fret A, ship fittings program with every move perfectly choreographed. The Fret A Ship Fittings program is designed by WEM to quickly overpower the modeler with a stellar combination of intricate brass parts for the Essex and it is abundantly clear from the start that no mere mortal can resist these beautiful and superbly detailed brass parts. The Mad Monk immediately goes into the Essex side elevator support structure routine and executes a brilliant series of elevator supports and underside bracing that converts the bare side elevator of the kit into a work of beauty with a full support structure underneath. The crowd goes wild!

Oh, Oh, Peter has seen the opening presented by the bare tripod mast that comes with the kit! He is coming in with not one, but two tripod masts and platforms and putting the full Nelson on the Essex. With the inclusion of early and late war masts, support lattice work and mast platforms, the Mad Monk is clearly prepared for anything the Essex Class can throw at him from the various World War Two fits. Each platform comes with all of the triangular braces for the underside, 13 for the short early platform and 15 for the late war large platform. Separate lattice support pieces are provided for both types of masts. 


Fret A - Ship Fittings
Essex2795fretA.JPG (153248 bytes) Essex2799elsup.JPG (118970 bytes) Essex2800elbrace.JPG (90814 bytes) Essex2797smplat.JPG (90603 bytes)
Essex2796largeplat.JPG (93276 bytes) Essex2804tripod.JPG (163429 bytes) Essex2801antenna.JPG (158770 bytes) Essex2810mast.JPG (149228 bytes)

The Mad Monk rapidly transitions into five folding deck edge antenna towers and look, he goes beyond supplying just the towers but also follows through with screens for the antenna bases (on Fret B) and wire spreaders! There is a quick segue into his next attack on the bare five-inch/38 open mounts provided in the kit. He quickly dresses them out with each gun platform receiving six pieces of super-detailed brass. The Mad Monk is picking up the pace and levels a barrage of detailed parts at the Essex. Boat details; various funnel sensor platforms, supports and lattice work; various radar masts; crane hooks, siren platform; crash barrier arms; two types of reproducer boxes with platform; funnel cap grill; yard arms and arrester wire sheaves all designed specifically for the match with the Essex


Fret A - Ship Fittings
Essex2803openmt.JPG (127295 bytes) Essex2802openmt.JPG (125311 bytes) Essex2807grill.JPG (158885 bytes)
Essex2811rail.JPG (143373 bytes) Essex2806wind.JPG (165682 bytes) Essex2809lad.JPG (163217 bytes) Essex2808doors.JPG (162802 bytes)

To complete the veritable tour de force of Fret A, Peter concludes the routine with non-routine railing, ladders, inclined ladders and doors. Six different types of railing are provided; three runs of three bar railing with end supports; eight runs of three bar railing without end supports; one run of drooping chain railing; two runs of open stanchion two bar railing; two runs of close stanchion two bar railing and two runs of elevator edge safety railing. There are 32 inclined ladders in four different lengths and styles, with an additional four runs of vertical ladder and two accommodation ladders. The final touches are 35 doors in two styles, eight life rings and 12 fire hose points.

Fret B – The Sensors
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Mad Monk has now transitioned into his second, Fret B, routine, which is called the sensors fret. The sheer variety of radars included in this fret is staggering. If one of the Essex Class carried a particular radar in World War Two, it appears to be on the fret. White Ensign Models seems to have covered all of the bases. The alphabet soup of included radars include the large parabolic SK2, the large rectangular SK array, SG, SM, SC2, YE, SP, SR, late YE, TDY, Mk 22 height finders, Mk4/12 FC, and two types of radar intercept sensors. Also included are various poles, platforms, safety and LSO jump nets. WEM also includes seventeen Mk 51 AA directors on this fret. 


Fret B - The Sensors
Essex2812fretB.JPG (203232 bytes) Essex2814sk2.JPG (167112 bytes) Essex2813sk.JPG (143929 bytes)
Essex2817sg.JPG (141276 bytes) Essex2816SM&SP.JPG (159136 bytes) Essex2815sc2.JPG (177144 bytes) Essex2819ye.JPG (189847 bytes)
Essex2818tdy.JPG (157989 bytes) Essex2821safe.JPG (179263 bytes) Essex2822safe.JPG (178972 bytes) Essex2820mk51.JPG (159339 bytes)
Essex2825screen.JPG (186439 bytes) Essex2826floater.JPG (181746 bytes) Essex2823floater.JPG (205304 bytes) Essex2824floater2.JPG (207509 bytes)

More than half of the fret is made up of a total of 72 floater net safety baskets. These baskets were all over the Essex and other ships of the USN by the end of the war because the floater net was the primary life saving device carried aboard ship. The crews were so large with a very limited number of boats that the floater nets stored in these conspicuous baskets was the most space effective way of providing for crew survival. With this sensors fret available from WEM as part of this three fret set, the modeler will be censored if he doesn’t provide accurate radar for his Essex Class carrier.

Fret C – Anti-Aircraft Gun Detail
With the third fret the Mad Monk surmounts any lack of detail with the smaller AA provided in the kit. This fret contains 60 Oerlikon 20mm single guns, each of which has the gun with pedestal, shield, shoulder rest and training wheel. For the late war Essex there are ten twin 20mm Oerlikon guns with shielding. The Trumpeter Bofor mounts are supplemented with 14 sets of 40mm Bofor gun detail pieces. Each set adds necessary detail for the plain Jane mounts of the kit. Each mount receives the front shielding, rear safety railing and gun sites missing from the plastic parts of the kit. If for some unlikely reason, this is not a sufficient quantity of parts for you, WEM has this fret available separately as well as a separate fret containing two different types of floater net baskets. 


Fret C - Anti-Aircraft Gun Detail
Essex2827fretC.JPG (159100 bytes)
AA Fret Review WE 3555


Net Floater Basket Review WE 3556

Instructions
With this barrage of parts, the Essex is pinned to the mat in WEM detail in the first round but you know the job is not done until the paperwork is finished. White Ensign Models is renowned for having the best instructions for their kits and photo-etch and their treatment for the 1:350 scale Essex does not deviate from their standard. There are eleven pages of instructions provided by WEM for the assembly for the brass parts included in this fret. As usual each module shows in clearly drawn diagram and lucid text how the parts are used and assembled. It doesn’t get any better. 


WEM Instructions for the Essex
Essex2828Inst1.JPG (65508 bytes) Essex2829Inst2.JPG (169184 bytes) Essex2830Inst3.JPG (78101 bytes)
Essex2831Inst4.JPG (69083 bytes) Essex2832Inst4a.JPG (170070 bytes) Essex2833Inst4b.JPG (78518 bytes) Essex2834Inst4c.JPG (121403 bytes)
Essex2835Inst5.JPG (62696 bytes) Essex2836Inst5a.JPG (90521 bytes) Essex2837Inst5b.JPG (89419 bytes) Essex2838Inst5c.JPG (130917 bytes)
Essex2839Inst6.JPG (58068 bytes) Essex2840Inst6a.JPG (91981 bytes) Essex2841Inst6b.JPG (110491 bytes) Essex2842Inst6c.JPG (76805 bytes)
Essex2843Inst7.JPG (57430 bytes) Essex2844Inst7a.JPG (74959 bytes) Essex2845Inst7b.JPG (130588 bytes) Essex2846Inst7c.JPG (104747 bytes)
Essex2847Inst8.JPG (53094 bytes) Essex2848Inst8a.JPG (102550 bytes) Essex2849Inst8b.JPG (93761 bytes) Essex2850Inst8c.JPG (93086 bytes)
Essex2851Inst9.JPG (53614 bytes) Essex2852Inst9a.JPG (96730 bytes) Essex2853Inst9b.JPG (107705 bytes) Essex2854Inst9c.JPG (93278 bytes)
Essex2855Inst10.JPG (64353 bytes) Essex2856Inst10a.JPG (90865 bytes) Essex2856Inst10a.JPG (90865 bytes) Essex2858Inst10c.JPG (128376 bytes)
Essex2859Inst11.JPG (52281 bytes) Essex2860Inst11a.JPG (96762 bytes) Essex2861Inst11b.JPG (84229 bytes) Essex2862Inst11c.JPG (103015 bytes)

Verdict
If you say that the three fret USS Essex set from White Ensign Models does not address every photo-etch need for detailing your Trumpeter 1:350 scale Essex, Horatio Nelson will rise from his grave and put a full Nelson on you. This is a rather difficult feat for old Horatio, since he was limited to one arm. However, it is no more difficult than the feat carried off by the Mad Monk of Modeling, Peter Hall and WEM. They have managed to provide in exemplary manner, everything that could reasonably be required or wanted to build an award winning Essex Class aircraft carrier with this comprehensive and gorgeous set. 


Parts Contrast
Essex2902Cgrill.JPG (95318 bytes) Essex2904Ctriplat.JPG (95065 bytes) Essex2905C5-38.JPG (112512 bytes)
Essex2906Csc2.JPG (106254 bytes) Essex2907Csk.JPG (128371 bytes) Essex2908Cmk4.JPG (112044 bytes)
Essex2909Cantennae.JPG (168172 bytes) Essex2910Celsup.JPG (165676 bytes) Essex2911Cbofors.JPG (95884 bytes)

 

WEMlogo02.jpg (7338 bytes)
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