Doc Modell
USS Callaway

APA 35

 

Reviewed By:  Rob Mackie

USS Callaway APA 35

Scale: 1/700 waterline

Producer: Doc Modell (from Germany)

Media: Resin

Strengths: Outstanding resin casting, good subject matter with lots of detailing and diorama possibilities

Weaknesses: no etched brass

Price:  $53.00

Available from: Pacific Front Hobbies

The Ship
Picture this: Gear laden US Marines, nervous with anticipation, descending from their ship to a waiting landing craft. What lies ahead - Saipan, Iwo Jima, Pelileu - or an easy day at the beach? For me at least, this is the quintessential Pacific War scene. Yes, I admit I’ve watched too many "Victory at Sea" episodes. But the scene stays with me. And the ships that launched those landing craft were Assault Transports.

Most of these ships were built on mass produced hulls manufactured during WW2. Based on existing merchant ship designs, these hulls were designated "C2" "C3" etc depending on the underlying design. They did yeoman service in WW2 as supply ships, troop transports,destroyer/submarine tenders, and escort carriers.

The USS Callaway was one of twenty-nine C3 hulls completed as assault transports. They comprised the Bayfield class. Fitted with booms enabling them to launch landing craft, they carried a mixed armament of 5", 40mm and 20mm guns. All class members survived the war. As befits her merchant bloodlines, the Callaway was returned to the merchant marine in 1949 where she served as the President Harrison.

The Model
Doc Modell, a German resin caster whose kits are also issued under the W-S-W label, produces the Callaway. The Doc is known for his high quality resin casting and the Callaway is no exception. The hull is exceptionally clean and crisp. Edges are sharp, detail is well defined, and the hull surface is glass smooth. It scales out to within inches of the correct 492’ length and 69.5’ beam, and nicely captures the prominent deck shear of the C-3 hull.

Construction is straightforward and parts placement obvious. Assembly consists primarily of affixing four deck levels amidships. The gun tubs, crane platforms and various fittings are sharply cast in resin wafers, a Doc Modell trademark. The resin carrier is easily removed and the resulting seam eliminated with light sanding.

The guns appear to be copies of Skywave parts. The directions suggest you use stretched sprue for the 20mm barrels instead of the kit provided parts. I concur. Sprue will look much sharper and in scale.

The kingposts (the tall towers from which the crane booms are suspended) are also resin cast. They are useable but I opted to substitute brass. Use the resin part as a template to fabricate these brass rod replacements. This is a worthwhile step that even the newcomer should find easy. And the resulting parts look very straight and sharp.

The kit includes 16 LCPs ("Landing Craft Personnel") and 2 LCMs ("Landing Craft Mechanized") as well as purpose-built lowering booms. My Callaway shows the landing craft stored on deck, but a more intriguing possibility is a diorama of the ship surrounded by landing craft preparing to storm the beaches. The choice is yours.

Directions consist of an exploded view diagram and a measure 32 dazzle camouflage paint scheme. These vessels were also painted in measure 22 (see the photo of the Callaway’s sister ship USS Custer). This is a much easier paint scheme for those of you not inclined to complex camouflage patterns.

Conclusion
I always look forward to Doc Modell kits. Casting sets the standard in 1/700 scale and construction is easy. The USS Callaway is no exception. Both experienced ship modelers and resin newcomers will enjoy constructing this model. Add some Tom’s Modelworks etched brass railing and you’ll have a beautiful replica of an interesting and important WW2 vessel.

Highly recommended.