Encore 1/232 USS Olympia

KIT #: 85001
PRICE: $99.95 SRP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Everything you could ever want.


   USS Olympia (C-6/CA-15/CL-15/IX-40) is a protected cruiser which saw service in the United States Navy from her commissioning in 1895 until 1922. This vessel became famous as the flagship of Commodore George Dewey at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War in 1898. The ship was decommissioned after returning to the U.S. in 1899, but was returned to active service in 1902.

She served until World War I as a training ship for naval cadets and as a floating barracks in Charleston, South Carolina. In 1917, she was mobilized again for war service, patrolling the American coast and escorting transport ships.

Following the end of World War I, Olympia participated in the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War in 1919, and conducted cruises in the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas to promote peace in the unstable Balkan countries. In 1921, the ship carried the remains of World War I's Unknown Soldier from France to Washington, DC, where his body was interred in Arlington National Cemetery. Olympia was decommissioned for the last time in December 1922 and placed in reserve.

In 1957, the U.S. Navy ceded title to the Cruiser Olympia Association, which restored the ship to its 1898 configuration. Since then, Olympia has been a museum ship in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which is now part of the Independence Seaport Museum. It is the oldest steel warship still afloat. However, the Museum has been unable to fund essential maintenance for the old ship, and attempts to secure outside funding have failed. Therefore the current steward, under direction of the US Navy has put the ship up for availability to new stewards. It will take an estimated ten million dollars to put the Olympia in a stable condition.

Olympia was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966. The only other ship named Olympia is SSN-717, a Los Angeles class attack submarine which was commissioned in 1984, so it not exactly a new boat.


Encore has a reputation of taking an older kit, and providing all the goodies necessary to produce a superb model and this one is no exception. Starting with the Revell 1/232 USS Olympia kit, Encore has added every conceivable aftermarket bit, and brought it to you for a price you can afford.

Let's start with the basic kit. This kit was produced in 1959, so is no spring chicken, as they say. It was a time when Revell was heavily into producing a wide variety of kits, many of them in what are now non-standard scales. Despite the age, the kit itself is superbly molded. There is no evidence of wear and tear on the sprues, and while there are ejector pin marks where you would rather not see them, for the most part, they will disappear once the kit is built.

Encore adds to this two sheets of etched brass for a bevy of different parts throughout the build. You also get laser cut wood for the decks, an anchor chain, a wooden base, filials on which to place the completed ship, a few resin parts, metal 6 pnd guns, and brass barrels for every single gun on the ship. I have provided a very large image of all the bits in the kit if you will click on the thumbnail.

The instructions are particularly well done. It uses the old instructions and adds to it in terms of showing where the various additional pieces go and what modifications may need to be made to the kit in order to properly install them. In addition to the excellent drawings and photos, the instructions provide a step by step building sequence for you. If you have ever built a modern Encore boxing, you are aware of how great the full color instructions are. I have included a small section to show what I mean. Full rigging diagrams are provided for those who wish to go that route. In with this are instructions on building the blocks need for the lifeboat davits. There are three basic color options. All have a red lower hull. One is the battle colors of Navy Grey upper surfaces. Next is a slightly later scheme with mostly white uppers and buff funnels. The final takes the buff and uses that for all the weatherdeck bulkheads. A selection of paper flags is also included. Finally, there are a number of photos of the finished, unpainted model, including a number of close-ups that will surely assist in the build.


So there you have it. A kit that provides absolutely everything you need to make a highly detailed replica of a famous American ship. What's more, it is at a price that is well under what one would play for everything separately from various other sources. For those who want a less detailed version, one is made that does away with the metal barrels, laser cut wood and the wood base.



March 2012 

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