Trumpeter 1/700 USS Ticonderoga CV-14

KIT #: 05736
PRICE: $29.99 MSRP
DECALS: Deck lines, numbers and insignia for air wing.
REVIEWER: Dale Rannals
NOTES: Comes with a nice vac sea surface for waterline display option.


I can do no better than to refer you to Scott’s fantastic preview of this kit.


If you ask me, 523 pieces for $30 is a pretty good deal.  Upon opening the box and seeing all those 500+ pieces my first thought was, “whoa…those are some tiny bits.”  This was going to be interesting.  See, I build mostly 1/48 aircraft…..kits with parts you can actually see.  So all those individual cannon/machine gun mounts was somewhat intimidating.  I have built 1/700 ships when I was a young…errr, younger lad, but, as that has been more than a few months back this was pretty new to me.

Right out I wasn’t sure how I was going to handle the camo scheme.  I figure I could paint while assembling, but matching up the camo lines might prove daunting.  I could build it up then try airbrushing, but masking would be nigh impossible, let alone doing it without breaking all sorts of things off.  So I opted to concentrate on building first, then trying out my brush painting skills later.  At least that was plan “A”.

Assembly begins at the very last step of the instructions.  Odd, aye?  See, Trumpeter would have you build the entire model, and then at the last step attach the hull bottom or waterline plate, depending on which option you’re going with.  I can’t imagine doing things this way……puttying and sanding a hull joint last?  Right.  I was going with the waterline, so this plate was duly glued on the hull.

Back to the beginning of the instructions, the hanger deck is built up.  The instructions are a little vague on the placement of some of the bulkheads, but I managed not to screw up much.  I left about half of the hanger doors open, but since I wasn’t going to detail inside, I painted the whole hanger deck a very dark gray.

A few of the weapon tubs and sponsons where added next.  At this point I decided to start crossing off things in the instructions that I had completed.  Some of the steps contain many subassemblies so for me this saved some confusion.  And pay attention to the part numbers you need.  The sprues are for all the Essex class ships Trumpeter produces so there will be many parts not used.  The flight deck was then attached and then the fun really started.

The next stage has you assembling many of the 20mm gun mounts, and there are a lot of them.  These very tiny parts gave me fits at first, but soon I was “in the zone” with them and things went smoother.  Still didn’t enjoy it much, but I took my time and only worked on one or two tubs (of six or seven cannons) at a time while working on the superstructure area.  Quite surprisingly, very few of these small bits went flying out of my tweezers, and I recovered most of these.  With the cannons and superstructure attached it was a complete quite dignified looking ship, but now I had to figure out that camo.


            Trumpeter includes a nice color profile sheet in the kits, with color callouts in Gunze Sangyo paints.  Since I don’t use these, I had to find some cross references.  The colors I came up with where Light Gray 36495, Intermediate Blue 35164, and for both the deck and hull blues, Dark Sea Blue 35042……all Model Master paints.  The tonal differences for the deck and hull dark blue I would try to achieve via weathering, using oils and pastels. 

            The first part was easy.  I sprayed the entire ship with Dark Sea Blue lightened up with some tan.  I usually spray darker colors first as it makes the lighter colors sprayed afterwards look “dirtier” with less monotone.   After this dried I tried brush painting the Intermediate Blue part of the camouflage.  I quickly came to the realization that, well, my brush painting skills suck.  So much for plan “A”.

            Plan “B” went back to the airbrush.  Luckily, as this is a carrier, I had mostly the hull to worry about, as there just isn’t that much superstructure.  I carefully masked the areas to be painted, first Intermediate Blue and the light gray.  Amazingly I only broke off two 40mm gun barrels with all the handling and taping.  That and the top of the mast.

But it turned out okay.  The superstructure I brush painted…..I don’t want to talk about it.

            The deck number and line decals where then applied and these went on very well.  There are a bunch of the deck line decals, each  an inch to two inches long.  Getting these to form a straight line along a flight deck about 15 inches long is a challenge in itself.  After these dried a light yellow oil wash was splotched on the deck, in sections.  I then took a wide flat brush damp in turpenoid and drew across the flight deck to give it a more “beat up” look and to lighten it from the hull color.  I dotted the hull with tiny spots of oil paints, ranging in colors from grays to reds.  Again, with a brush just damp in turpenoid, I brushed down along the hull, giving it a slight streaky look and to vary the hue of the paint.


            Final construction consisted of the air wing.  And boo on Trumpeter for doing the aircraft in clear plastic.  I see no benefit in this, as canopies are just as realistic painted black in this scale.  But here you get to work with the very little bits of brittle clear plastic.  Little tiny landing gear were attached, then the planes where painted Dark Sea Blue all over (couldn’t bring myself to do the tri-color scheme here).  Tiny propellers were painted very dark gray and attached, and teeny tiny wing and fuselage decals were applied.  While working on these planes, my son suggested I should have some taking off or flying overhead.  I thought this was a very cool idea.  I found the finest wire I had around and attached to two of the planes and placed them in flight.  The wire still looks pretty thick at this scale, so I am searching for something finer still, but this at least gets the idea across.

            The kit also comes with a blue tinted vac sea surface for the waterline display option.  I painted this Dark Sea Blue on the underside and misted some clear flat on the topside to knock down the gloss of the plastic.  I then stippled some white latex ceiling paint on it for the bow waves and wake areas.  Simple, but it gets the point across.


Funny, the oldest kits I have still around are four battleships I built in the “beforetime”.  The oldest, a Testors 1/720 HMS Hood, I built in 1982 and it has survived numerous moves in the Navy (and since) with only a broken mast to show.  It is the oddball in my display case full of aircraft, but still dignified and somehow elegant looking after all these years.  But for some reason, other than a 1/72 U-boat a few years back, I have not built a ship since.  Since working on this my interest has grown and I’ve acquired a few other kits in this scale.

So this was quite different for me and quite enjoyable, even with all those tiny cannon mounts.  The Essex class carriers are very handsome ships, and Trumpeters rendition does them justice.  I wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone interested in the subject.

Thanks for reading this far!

Dale Rannals

October 2010

Kit courtesy of Scott Van Aken and Modeling Madness.

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