KIT: Trumpeter 1/700 USS North Carolina
KIT #: 05734
PRICE: $27.95 DRSP
DECALS: One Option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


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 tenfast 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.


We have pretty well come to expect Trumpeter to downsize their 1/350 scale kits to 1/700 scale and that is a good thing for most of us who don't have the room for a fleet of 1/350 ships.

We have also come to expect a high level of detail and molding quality from Trumpeter and this kit is no exception. The parts are superbly molded and packaged with no more than two sprues per bag. This helps to keep smaller parts from being lost or broken.

I'm going to guess that the kit represents how the ship was a bit later in the war as there are a LOT of anti-aircraft guns included in the kit. Just about every spare space on the decks seems to have a gun emplacement. Main guns have separate barrels with molded on blast bags. It appears that one could pose the barrels in any elevation one wants. The outer turret detail is separate as on the larger scale kit. The 5 inch multi-purpose guns also have what appears to be positionable barrels.

Bulkhead detailing is excellent and there are a myriad of life rafts to attach to seemingly every free space. Two Kingfisher float planes are also included in the kit. One can build this one as either a waterline or full hull kit. A nice display stand is provided for the full hull version. I sort of thought an ocean base would be part of the kit as it is given in the cruisers and carriers but not this one.

Instructions are excellent with 9 pages of construction drawings. A separate full color painting and markings guide is given using Gunze paint references. The ship is in the splinter scheme shown on the box top. I have to assume that there are decals as well, though my kit did not have them.


Ship fans will be quite pleased with this one and I'm sure it will provide many hours of pleasant construction.

September 2007

Thanks to Stevens International for the review kit.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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