u m m a r y
|Contents and Media:
||57 parts in low-pressure injection-moulded
plastic; 2 x photo-etched parts ; printed US flag
||Fascinating and historically
significant subject; fairly simple parts breakdown; good size in this
scale; includes photo-etch for anchor chain and ladder.
||Significant clean-up required prior
to assembly; surfaces will benefit from light sanding before assembly
||Recommended to experienced modellers
Battle Axe's 1/144
scale USS Monitor is available online from Squadron.com
USS Monitor was one of the first two
steam powered, armoured warships dubbed “Ironclads”. In 1862, at Hampton
Roads, Virginia, USS Monitor and CSS Virginia made history by engaging in the
first modern battle between armoured warships. The result was a tactical draw,
although CSS Virginia was scuttled two months later when Confederate forces
withdrew from the area.
Monitor was 987 tons and carried two
11 inch guns in a rotating turret. The vessel sat low in the water and, apart
from the larger turret, the deck was relatively featureless.
Battle Axe has now released a 1/144
scale kit of the USS Monitor. In this scale, the model measures an impressive
38cm (15 inches) long. The kit comprises 57 parts in low-pressure
injection-moulded plastic, photo-etched parts for the anchor chain and
ladder, plus a printed US flag.
Anyone familiar with Battle Axe’s
aircraft releases will not be surprised at the plastic parts. The plastic is
formed by low-pressure injection. This process results in large sprue
attachments and plenty of flash, but the quality of the parts is good after a
few minuted attention with a sharp knife and a sanding stick. There is
also an alarming number of raised ejector pin marks, but virtually all of
these are hidden after construction and will not interfere with fit. In common
with any limited run kit though, test fitting is absolutely essential to
ensure that all the parts mate without interference.
The main parts feature engraved
surface detail combined with raised rivets where appropriate. The
planking texture on the turret floor is also consistent and good quality.
One quirky aspect of construction is
the method of forming the hull sides. Flat strips
of plastic, scored with vertical panel lines, are
supplied for each hull side. The flat plastic is then bent to the correct
profile using the deck and lower hull as a guide. Although this may seem to be
a primitive technique, it works perfectly well, and is reinforced with
two bulkheads inside the hull.
The model depicts Monitor as she appeared on the day of
her historic battle. Apart from the guns and flags, the deck is bare and
businesslike. However, contemporary photographs and
renderings show that the deck on top of the turret was sometimes covered with
a cloth marquee. Considering the exposed deck, and having personally
experienced the heat of a Hampton Roads summer last year, I can understand why
the crew would crave a little shade. The kit does not include the marquee but
it will be a very simple matter to fabricate the poles from brass rod or
plastic strip, with tissue or foil representing the material cover.
Battle Axe's 1/144 scale USS Monitor will be an
interesting and almost certainly unique addition to the model display cabinet.
With time allowed for preparing the parts and care taken with test-fitting,
this should be a real conversation starter!
Recommended to modellers with some experience building
Squadron for the review sample
Text and Images Copyright © 2003 by
Page Created 14 April, 2003
Last updated 17 December, 2003
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