Cyber-hobby 1/700 USS Chicago (CG-11)

KIT #: 7121
PRICE: $41.00 SRP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


USS Chicago (CA-136) was a Baltimore class heavy cruiser laid down on 28 July 1943 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, by the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Launched on 20 August 1944 she was sponsored by Mrs. Edward J. Kelly, wife of the Mayor of Chicago, Illinois, and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 10 January 1945, Captain Richard R. Hartung, USN, in command.

On 1 November 1958, Chicago was reclassified CG-11 and towed to San Francisco Naval Shipyard to begin a five-year conversion to a guided missile cruiser. Begun on 1 July 1959, the entire superstructure was removed and replaced with new aluminum compartments, modernized electronic systems, and an improved Naval Tactical Data System (NTDS) equipped combat information center. Representative of the new technological focus on guided missiles, Chicago was refitted with Tartar and Talos SAM stowage, loading, launching, and guidance systems. Two triple torpedo tubes, an ASROC launcher, two 5 in/38 cal guns, and two antisubmarine helicopters rounded out the cruisers’ modifications.

Designed to provide long-range air, surface, and sub-surface defense for task forces, Chicago was recommissioned at the San Francisco Naval Shipyard on 2 May 1964, and was assigned to Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla Nine, Pacific Fleet. Preliminary acceptance trials were conducted throughout the summer until 2 September, when Chicago officially joined the 1st Fleet as an active unit. Following sonar calibration and deperming in Puget Sound the cruiser arrived at her home port of San Diego, California to begin weapons systems qualifications. Examination and evaluation of the new missile systems were completed by 2 December, following successful trials at the Pacific Missile Range off southern California.

On 4 January 1965, the cruiser shifted to Long Beach, California to begin a series of shock tests off San Clemente Island. Equipment tests, as well as damage control exercises, were completed by mid-January. Chicago then departed the area for San Francisco for alterations, receiving upgraded Tartar missile systems and improved electronics. The warship returned to San Diego on 17 April.

For the next two months, Chicago continued shakedown training, engineering, navigation, and seamanship drills as well as missile and electronic exercises. In mid-June, the cruiser began Talos fire control developmental testing with the Naval Electronics Laboratory. This, and later tests, examined guidance improvements and experimented with missile replenishment at sea.

During fleet exercise "Hot Stove" in August–September, Chicago practiced anti-air and ASW operations, including firing ASROC and tube-launched torpedoes against submerged "enemy" submarines. Following an ECM exercise Chicagoparticipated in a competitive missile firing exercise and won a gold Missilery "E" for her Tartar battery. During the first week of October the warship participated in another anti-air exercise, this time shooting down two high-speed, high-altitude drones with Talos and Tartar missiles.

After a cruise to Hawaii from 19 October to 3 November, during which the cruiser practiced tactical data sharing training with Kitty Hawk and Mahan, the ship finished out the year conducting tests and exercises in the San Diego area. Local operations continued in the spring, including more missile evaluation tests through February 1966. Returning to San Diego on 4 March the ship underwent operational readiness, technical proficiency, boiler, electronics, and nuclear warfare acceptance inspections. In April, the warship participated in Exercise "Gray Ghost," where the cruiser operated as tactical flagship for the anti-air warfare commander, Rear Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr..

She completed five Vietnam deployments was finally decommissioned in 1980 and scrapped in 1991.


Cyber Hobby adds to their growing list of US guided missile cruisers with this one of the USS Chicago, probably the best know ship of its class after the nuclear powered USS Long Beach. With a career that spans from  WWII into Vietnam and beyond, it is about time that someone kitted this ship in the sort of detail that modern injected plastic can provide.

Typical of these kits, it can be built either waterline or full hull and a nice display stand is provided for the latter option. Photo etch is included and provides for lifeboat mounts, a radar mast, ladders, radar antenna, some railing and other parts. In many cases, one can use the injected plastic parts instead of the photo-etch. A full list of features is duplicated below:

- Radar dishes possess well-defined detail
- Photo-etched railings included for the deck
- Waterline or full-hull version can be assembled
- Sponsons are represented on lower hull by slide-mold technology
- True-to-scale propellers reproduced
- One-piece slide-molded upper hull w/undercut details realistically represented
- Detailed MK 56 gun directors are accurately presented
- AN/SPG-49 Talos illuminators are presented in detail
- True-to-scale ASROC launcher is presented
- Delicate radar offered w/option of PE or plastic parts
- Open upper-mount and lower-mount 5-inch gun realistically reproduced
- Authentic bridge produced w/slide-molded technology
- Talos launchers accurately produced w/fine details
- Tartar launchers w/intricate detail
- Masts, radar and antenna parts are represented by photo-etched parts w/realistic details
- Photo-etched pole included
- Defined details molded on hull side
- Extremely well-detailed parts like workboat
- Accurate workboat stowage w/photo-etched frames

The instructions are typical of Cyber Hobby/Dragon and provide Gunze along with Model Master paint references. The decal sheet that accompanies the kit (darkened to show the white) is well printed and in register.


You now have another fine guided missile cruiser to add to the growing catalogue of these ship types produced by Dragon/Cyber-Hobby in this scale.


February 2013

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