KIT: Trumpeter 1/350 USS North Carolina
KIT #: 05303
PRICE: $114.95 MSRP
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Can be built as full hull or waterline


Battleship number 52 was to be called NORTH CAROLINA, but she was never completed.

Between 1919 and 1925, the United States Congress approved the construction of six battleships, one of which would be christened NORTH CAROLINA. She and her five sister ships, IOWA, INDIANA, SOUTH DAKOTA, MASSACHUSETTS, and MONTANA were monster ships. They would have been the most heavily armed capital ship in the world at that time.

While the construction of new ships was exciting, most people did not want a repeat of the arms race that contributed to the tensions leading to World War I. Therefore, President Warren G. Harding invited Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan and China to attend an international conference on the limitation of naval armaments. The group convened in Washington in November 1919 and the meeting became known as the famous Washington Conference producing the Five Power Treaty (included all attendees except China). The signing nations agreed to reduce the size of their navy and to cease building warships beyond an allotted number. In fact, there was a ten-year "holiday" declared on building battleships.

The keel for NORTH CAROLINA had been laid in Norfolk in 1919, but the signed treaty spelled her doom. She was sold for scrap in 1923 along with her five sister ships and WASHINGTON.

When the keel of BB 55, NORTH CAROLINA, was laid in October of 1937, she was the first battleship to be constructed in sixteen years. She became the first of ten fast battleships to join the fleet in World War II. NORTH CAROLINA (BB 55) and her sister ship, WASHINGTON (BB 56), comprised the NORTH CAROLINA Class. Following them were the SOUTH DAKOTA Class – SOUTH DAKOTA (BB 57), INDIANA (BB 58), MASSACHUSETTS (BB 59), and ALABAMA (BB 60) and the IOWA Class - IOWA (BB 61), NEW JERSEY (BB 62), MISSOURI (BB 63), and WISCONSIN (BB 64).

At the time of her commissioning on 9 April 1941, she was considered the world’s greatest sea weapon. Armed with nine 16-inch/45 caliber guns in three turrets and twenty 5-inch/38 caliber guns in ten twin mounts, NORTH CAROLINA proved a formidable weapons platform. Her wartime complement consisted of 144 commissioned officers and 2,195 enlisted men, including about 100 Marines.

During World War II, NORTH CAROLINA participated in every major naval offensive in the Pacific area of operations and earned 15 battle stars. In the Battle of the Eastern Solomon’s Islands in August of 1942, the Battleship’s anti-aircraft barrage helped save the carrier ENTERPRISE, thereby establishing the primary role of the fast battleship as protector of aircraft carriers. One of her Kingfisher pilots performed heroically during the strike on Truk when he rescued ten downed Navy aviators on 30 April 1944. In all, NORTH CAROLINA carried out nine shore bombardments, sank an enemy troopship, destroyed at least 24 enemy aircraft, and assisted in shooting down many more. Her anti-aircraft guns helped to halt or frustrate scores of attacks on aircraft carriers. She steamed over 300,000 miles. Although Japanese radio announcements claimed six times that NORTH CAROLINA had been sunk, she survived many close calls and near misses - such as the Japanese torpedo which slammed into the Battleship’s hull on 15 September 1942. A quick response on the part of the crew allowed the mighty Ship to keep up with the fleet. By war’s end, the Ship lost ten men in action and had 67 wounded.

After serving as a training vessel for midshipmen, NORTH CAROLINA was decommissioned 27 June 1947 and placed in the Inactive Reserve Fleet in Bayonne, New Jersey for the next 14 years until the 1958 announcement of her impending scrapping led to a statewide campaign by citizens of North Carolina to save the ship from the scrappers torches and bring her back to her home state. The Save Our Ship (SOS) campaign was successful and the Battleship arrived in her current berth on 2 October 1961 and was dedicated as the State's memorial to its World War II veterans on 29 April 1962.

Many thanks to When in the Wilmington, North Carolina area, stop and take a visit of this most impressive ship.



Arriving in its usual huge and thick box, this latest release from Trumpeter is a kit that ship modelers have been awaiting for quite a while. Resin kits of this size and scale are generally in the many hundreds of dollars and don't usually offer the kind of detail that Trumpeter has put into this one.

The box securely holds the hull in its own cardboard 'drydock' with the sprues arranged neatly above it; no more than two sprues per plastic bag. Not counting the hull and deck sections, there are 11 large sprues, bristling with parts. Because it is easier to provide two of the same sprues, for certain items, you'll find that there are actually 4 main turrets provided. Same for a few of the smaller items. Each of the main guns is separate and able to move on its own. The barrels for the 5 inchers are also separate. I found the way the turrets are done to be quite novel. Each turret has a center section that includes the openings for the barrels. Then, the detail for the sides is divided into a right and left sides for the main guns and a rear part for the secondary armament. The quad 40mm guns are also a mount with separate barrel pairs. This features of providing separate outer bulkheads to fit onto a core is continued with the superstructure.

All of the deck attachments are separate as well, from the blast shields and plating for the A-A guns down to the small rectangular boxes that are all over the place and I have to assume are ammo storage containers. What this does, is allow the builder to paint the deck prior to attaching all these bits that may be done in other colors. Same for the outer bulkheads as I'm sure these are a different color from the decks. Now how many folks will actually do this is unknown, but the option is there. Also  included are two Kingfisher aircraft, each of those a mini-kit itself.

The instructions are quite complete with 20 large construction steps and several smaller ones for subassemblies. Much of the assembly will be repetitive as there are an awful lot of small bits that fit onto a kit of this size. While I'm sure there are those who will gleefully zoom through building and painting this kit, one really needs to take one's time to make the absolute best out of it. Now standard with Trumpeter kits is a full color painting and markings guide. There is a color chart for Gunze Paints and those who cannot get the Mr. Color line will have to find another source for the Deck Blue. A small decal sheet (not shown) is stapled to the inside of the box and includes insignia for the Kingfisher, hull numbers, and a flag or two.



This one certainly looks the part from the photos I've seen of it while hunting up a background history. Until the Missori came around, it was the best of the Fleet in terms of Big Guns and saw a lot of action. I have to assume that this is in a later war fit because of all the AA guns and I'm sure that the real ship was used when designing this kit. Big scale modelers will be snapping this one up, and though it has a lot of parts, even fairly new modelers should have no real trouble with this one if they take their time.


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