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.
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
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.
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.
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
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