Trumpeter 1/350 USS Hornet






See review


Rick Cotton





             With her bizarre camouflage scheme, Hornet is quickly recognizable to most ship builders.  She was the shortest-lived of any US Fleet carrier, but her few months of service were packed with enough heroics for any warship to be proud of. The Doolittle raid, Midway and the immortal sacrifice of Torpedo Eight, Santa Cruz, island raiding, Hornet was busy from the day she hit the water until the day she slid under it forever. This model is dedicated to the memory of those brave Americans who sailed forth to war in her, and never returned.



                Trumpeterís new 1/350th scale kit is well-documented on the web for its incorrect bow and a few other minor goofs, but I noticed only one other thing out of whack. The deck crane should be directly behind the islandÖTrumpeter has it slightly offset to port, thus creating a landing hazard for incoming pilots. Oh, well, be careful setting Ďem down boysÖ.


                The hangar deck and hull are a good tight fit. I filled a few seams with Squadron White Putty,and sanded off the molded-on anchor chains, replacing them with Haze Gray-painted jewelry store chain. I drilled out the openings for the anchors, as I wanted to display the ship moored in harbor, with her anchors out. The hangar deck floor was sprayed Testors Gunship Gray, and then masked. The hangar deck bulkheads (thatís WALLS to you land lubbers) had to be detailed inside with bits of plastic and resin, then sprayed flat white, as was the overhead (the underside of the flight deck or CEILING). I cut open some of the rollup doors in the aft section to show some Hangar detail.  I added Plastruct I-beams to simulate the underdeck support for the flight deck. At this point, I built up one TBD Devastator and two SBD Dauntlesses and posed them on the hangar deck before closing this area up. Take care to test-fit and align the bulkheads as close to vertical as possible, as this will save you much grief during the flight deck fitting.


                I didnít follow the exact sequence of assembly and painting in the directions, since I was adding the Tomís Modelworks brass photoetch as I went along. This required painting and building, painting and building, basically in layers as I moved up from the waterline. All external surfaces got a base coat of PollyScale Acrylic Haze Gray  (you know, ďhaze gray and underway..Ē), the decks got Pollyscale Weathered Deck Blue and then the Pollyscale Navy Blue pattern was added to the hull, along with appropriate rust, stains and streaks. By the way, Trumpeterís full color plan included with the kit is an approximation only, check your reference photos carefully for a more exact pattern. Their depiction of dark blue striping on the Island is just flat wrong. Check out the cover of Warship Perspectives Yorktown Class Carriers, and there is the Hornet, in beautiful Technicolor, with Pale Gray stripes on her island! I tried a test pattern on a blank sheet of white card of the Navy Blue, Ocean Gray, Haze Gray pattern as written in the book, but it just didnít look right, and certainly didnít look like the photo, so I shot the model in Navy Blue, Haze Gray, and Pale Gray. The pattern was applied hard-edged, just like the original. Lastly, I added the badly chipped white Bow Wave. On the real boat (that's SHIP. Ed, who's been aboard a few), there wasnít much left of this after the Doolittle raid, but what was there stood out.  The flight deck was also painted Pollyscale Weathered Deck Blue with a few drops of white added, and got some tan drybrushing to simulate the wearing of the original Norfolk Blue deck stain. I used some smeared black pastel chalk to simulate tire skid marks in the landing area, then sealed the entire deck with Testorsí Acrylic Clear Flat.


                I didnít use the photoetch props and wheels provided for the air wing, the kit parts are super as they are. One exception was the use of the landing gear parts for the F4F Wildcats. Those really show up when added, and help stabilize the weak gear of these planes. Also, if you are doing Wildcats, remember that dash-3 models didnít have folding wings, while dash-4 ones did. I believe the Marines got the Dash-3ís, so I did Dash-4ís on Hornet. The SBDís didnít have folding wings (mustíve been a nightmare stashing them below decks) and the TBDís wings folded all the way down to the top of the ďgreenhouseĒ canopy.

                I did use most of the Tomís Modelworks details, however. They really add to the crane, radar fit, guns and island, and are fairly easy to apply, with the exception of that %$^&*# railing around the top of the funnel. Talk about a pain in the posterior! Donít do that part until the caffeine wears off. A couple of sets of Tomís Modelworks 1/350th  scale sailors, and a few extra Torpedo Eight TBDís and some SBDís on deck finished off the boat itself.

                The ship was mounted in ďwaterĒ made of clear silicone caulk, in one thin layer, over a deep blue painted base. Let this stuff cure in a WELL VENTILATED roomÖitíll stink the place up if you donít.


                OK, there she is. Even with Trumpeterís errors, itís a super kit. Iím really a plane builder by nature, but I love flattops too. On to the Essex!

Rick Cotton

May 2003

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