Trumpeter 1/350th USS Essex CV-9

Reviewed by Steve Jantscher


Kit Summary

Plastic A
Decals A
Instructions B+


The USS Essex was the class name of the aircraft carriers that went on to win the war in the Pacific against the Japanese Navy, finally taking the battle to the home islands near the end of the war. Commissioned on the last day of 1942, the USS Essex was the first of twenty four aircraft carriers of the class that would continue in the service of the Navy until the decommissioning of the USS Lexington in 1991. Their longevity is a tribute to their excellent design. While the Saratoga, Lexington and the three Yorktown carriers bore the brunt of the desperate early days of WWII, it was the fast carrier task forces of Essex class carriers that brought the war to a successful end.

USS Hornet "Extra Detail" set

This kit follows closely on the heels of the very well accepted USS Hornet. That model was a very good representation of that aircraft carrier.This is if anything an even more important release from the point of view of ship modelers, as there really haven't been any 1/350th scale Essex class carrier kits available before now. Has the wait been worth it? I'd have to say yes. There is if anything, a feeling upon examining the kit, a sense of more detail, more finely cast, than when looking at the Hornet kit. Both my friend and I noticed the very fine 40mm quad mounts. These will need an aftermarket photo etch set (come on Gold Medal models) to provide the shields, but otherwise are as good as the best I've seen before in expensive resin ship kits (Blue Water Navy made the best I've seen before this). The only thing I'm sure the serious ship builder will want to add to the kit are photo etch sets to come, providing petite radar and crane, railings and other detail that are impossible to cast as nicely in plastic. I would also have liked an antenna rigging diagram.

As with the Hornet kit, the one disappointment I found is in the complement of the air wing. Only four each of the Hellcat, Avenger and Dauntless aircraft are provided. If you want more, or any SB2Cs you'll have to order the optional sets available from Trumpeter. I can think of nothing better looking than a deck load of aircraft (see the box art for what I mean). However, the quality of those little aircraft are something to behold. They are beautiful! Even the deck etching is better than the Hornet kit, very fine. At over 29 inches long, this kit will make a very fine, but large addition to ones mantel or display shelf. I think I'll be purchasing this kit in the future, after I figure out which ships I can model with this kit, and what different paint schemes I can use. This is another winner. Can't wait until I see my old carrier, the Nimitz come out from Trumpeter. Later this summer?



The Gold Medal Models PE set for the Hornet may also be suitable for this kit.



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I'm sorry, but since the review has been published that product appears to have gone out of production.