Revell AG 1/700 CL-95 USS Oakland

KIT #: ?
PRICE: ?
DECALS: None supplied
REVIEWER: Mark Hiott
NOTES: Modified USS San Juan kit

HISTORY

The Atlanta Class cruisers were United States Navy light cruisers designed originally as flotilla leaders but which ended up gaining recognition as effective anti-aircraft cruisers during World War II. The first ship of the class, USS Atlanta, was launched 6 September 1941. She had a length of 541ft and displaced 6,000 tons. With eight dual 5 in (127 mm)/38 cal gun mounts (six centerline), the first run of Atlanta-class cruisers had by far the heaviest anti-aircraft broadside of any warship of World War II, at over 17,600 lb (10,560 kg) per minute of highly-accurate, radar-fuzed VT ordnance.

Criticisms of the class included that of a shortage of gunfire directors for the main battery, which reduced its effectiveness. There was also an insufficient number of intermediate AA guns (i.e., Bofors 40 mm). These problems were rectified by late 1942, but the ships were also overloaded, and throughout their lives they had issues with topside weight. Further, ship's armor was relatively thin, having a maximum of 3.5 in (88.9 mm) at the side, with the bridge and mounts being protected by a mere 1.25 in (31.75 mm).

The USS Oakland, was a modified Atlanta-class light cruiser, the group of ships sometimes referred to as the "Oakland-class". This class differed from the standard Atlanta class in that the two aft wing 5in turrets were deletaed and additional AA guns were fitted. She was laid down by Bethlehem Steel Co., on 15 July 1941; launched on 23 October 1942; and commissioned on 17 July 1943. On 1 July 1949, USS Oakland decommissioned at San Francisco. Struck on 1 March 1959, she was sold on 1 December 1959 for scrapping.

THE KIT

The box contains 4 sprues molded in a light gray plastic, 2 for the ship itself and 2 weapons sprues. There are more weapons on the sprues then you will use, so the spare parts bin will get a healthy addition. The 1-piece upper hull is molded with a separate lower section so it can be built as a waterline or full hull. The lower aft section of the hull is also separate, but there is only one choice for assembly so I suppose there are other boxings available. (with or without the torpedo bulge?)

Detail is good and there is very little flash and the ejector marks are on the backs of bulkheads etc. Even the gun tubs have the ejector marks in the center.

Instructions are the usual RoG issue. Four double sided pages with a marking layout on the last page.

CONSTRUCTION

 I got this kit in a multi-kit trade and it had been partly assembled. The hull and superstructure had been assembled and it was painted in Measure 33. In looking through the kit I also discovered that one of the main gun barrels was missing. Since the San Juan mounted 8 5in turrets, I set the kit aside for a while. In the course of some other research, I discovered info about the late war modified Atlanta class ships, the Oakland Class. These ships were basically Atlanta class ships with a modified bridge structure. The AA armament was also increased and the 2 aft wing turrets were deleted. With only 6 turrets, I had enough guns to build an Oakland.

Luckily, the Revell kit includes all the parts needed to build any of the Atlanta/Oakland class ships. Research is needed to determine which parts will be needed to do each ship as the instructions donít make any mention of the extra parts. Using photos off the net I chose to model the Oakland as she appeared after late 1944. The main differences are 2 dual mount 40mm and 4 single mount 20mm located between the funnels, 2 quad 40mm mounts amidships aft, 1 quad 40mm and 2 single mount 20mm on the stern and 2 single mount 20mm on the bow. The stern and bow guns require adding gun tubs, but these are included in the weapons sprues.

The first thing to do was to remove the superstructure that had already been assembled and strip the Measure 33 paint job. The superstructure was easily popped off and a soaking in Easy Off took care of the paint. Choosing the parts I needed, I built the ship in sections: main hull, bridge structure and aft structure. On the hull I added the extra gun tubs called for. Once all the sections were built and painted, they were added to the already completed hull.

While most of the details were nicely done, I decided the supplied 20mm guns were just too big. Not wanting to sink a lot of money into this build, I used a GMM 20mm fret I bought for a different project. The GMM set includes 60 20mm guns and separate gun shields. It was more then enough for both projects. I needed 12 20mm guns for the Oakland, and let me tell you, 1/700 20mm guns are SMALL! I could only build about 6 at a time, and then I got all googly-eyed!

COLORS & MARKINGS

The Oakland was painted in Measure 21 for her entire WW2 service life. Measure 21 is all vertical surfaces 5-N Navy Blue and all horizontal surfaces 20-B deck Blue. I used Model Master Acryl paint applied with a brush. The parts were painted prior to assemble and touched up afterwards. Measure 21 makes for a simple, but bland, paint job.

No decals were installed.

CONCLUSIONS

 

The Revell kit, while simple, builds up into a very nice model. In fact, it looks so nice, that I may end up adding p/e railings at a later date.

While I canít say for sure, I THINK this kit is identical to the Dragon 1/700 CL-53 USS San Diego kit. The sprues sure look the same.

REFERENCES

Wikipedia for the history

LOTS of photos off the Internet

Various book from my reference shelf

 Mark Hiott

January 2012

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