Thursday, March 25

Build review: U.S Navy Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. Enterprise (CV-6) in 700th scale from Meng Models

Paul Lee was keen to have a look at the new 1/700th U.S Navy Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. Enterprise (CV-6) in pre-coloured plastic from Meng. How would this snap together kit shape up to the high standards we hold it to? See how Paul build, paints & finishes it in his review...
Build review: U.S Navy Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. Enterprise (CV-6)
From Meng Models
Kit no# PS-005 
1/700th scale
Kit Dimensions: 362mm x 53mm
Well, we see a new ship from Meng coming on the Horizon - the mighty "Big E" U.S Navy Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. Enterprise (CV-6) in 1/700th scale. Not too big on your history with this ship? We take a look at here and then the model from Meng...
History of the "Big E":
“The one ship that most nearly symbolizes the history of the United States Navy in World War II.”
-James V. Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy

The seventh Enterprise (CV-6) was laid down July 16, 1934; launched Oct. 3, 1936; and commissioned May 12, 1938, with Captain Newton H. White in command. The ship’s sponsor was Lulie H. Swanson, wife of former Secretary of the Navy Claude A. Swanson.
USS Enterprise (CV-6) entering San Francisco Bay, 1 July 1939
Enterprise was the most decorated warship of World War II earning 20 Battle Stars—three more than any other ship. In addition, Enterprise was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation and the Navy Unit Commendation becoming the only carrier awarded both the PUC and NUC for service in WWII. On Nov. 23, 1945, Enterprise was awarded the British Admiralty Pennant making her the only ship awarded the prestigious decoration outside the Royal Navy. Notable battles include Battle of the Eastern Solomons; Battle of Santa Cruz Islands; Naval Battle of Guadalcanal; Battle of Midway; Battle of Leyte Gulf; and Battle of the Philippine Sea.
Of the more than twenty major actions of the Pacific War, Enterprise engaged in all but two. Her planes and guns downed 911 enemy planes; her bombers sank 71 ships and damaged or destroyed 192 more. Her presence inspired pride for the Allies and sparked fear into the heart of the enemy.
USS Enterprise (CV-6). Two SBD-5 bombers turn into the landing pattern as they return to the carrier after strikes on the Palau Islands, 20-30 March 1944. 
A crash landing of F6F-3, Number 30 of Fighting Squadron Two (VF-2), into the carrier's port side 20mm gun gallery, 10 November 1943. Lieutenant Walter L. Chewning, Jr., USNR, the Catapult Officer, is climbing up the plane's side to assist the pilot from the burning aircraft. The pilot, Ensign Byron M. Johnson, escaped without significant injury. Enterprise was then en-route to support the Gilberts Operation. Note the plane's ruptured belly fuel tank
After the war, her story became public knowledge and her name was emblazoned across newspaper headlines throughout the country. On Oct. 17, 1945, Enterprise rejoined the fleet in New York Harbor for Navy Day celebrations on Oct. 27. Moored to Pier 26 on the Hudson River, she welcomed more than a quarter-million visitors and rendered “passing honours” to President Harry S. Truman when he inspected the ships at anchor. That night, Night Air Group 55 flew in formation to salute the “Big E.”

USS Enterprise (CV-6) is seen on 17 October 1945, being assisted by tugs to her appointed mooring spot in the Hudson River for the upcoming Navy Day Celebration.
On her last active missions, Enterprise took part in multiple Magic Carpet voyages delivering thousands of Sailors, Marines and Soldiers home to their families. She was moored at Bayonne, New Jersey, on Jan. 18, 1946, and would never sail under her own power again. Enterprise was decommissioned on Feb. 17, 1947, and stricken from the List of Naval Vessels on Oct. 2, 1956. There was a collective effort to have Enterprise established as a national memorial in Washington, D.C., but the repairs were deemed too expensive and ultimately doomed the project.  Enterprise was fully scrapped by February 1960.

The last voyage for the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVS-6), as she moves past the lower Manhattan skyline from the Brooklyn Navy Yard to Kearney, N.J
This kit from Meng:
The Enterprise may be America’s favourite name for ships. It’s used to name the warships of the U.S. Navy, a space shuttle and even the fictional star ships in movies. The most famous one is a meritorious warship, U.S.S. Enterprise (CV-6) aircraft carrier.
The new kit from Meng
The USS Enterprise is the subject Meng has chosen for their latest release in the 1/700 Plesiosaurus Series, and like the Lexington that was released before, Meng has stuck with the snap-fit design which may put off many modellers, but put that aside and how does the model turn out in the end? Read on and find out.

The kit comes in pre-coloured plastic if you don’t intend on painting but that would take away half the fun. The kit gives you the option of a full hull or waterline version and the strakes are pre-moulded to the sides of the lower hull so all you need to do is attach the four prop shafts and their associated propeller. The black boot stripe is provided as a thin section in one piece which is very handy and saves you from a bit of masking, although the end portion didn’t quite snap in as well to the lower hull so I had to glue it in place.
The hangar deck comes next and comes in front and rear halves which fit easily enough into the upper hull. There is a fairly large gap between the two plates but there is no way of seeing it once the kit is complete. You get a choice of movable or fixed elevators, where the movable elevators have a small hole for you to insert the pin on the underside of one of the aircraft provided which then acts as the handle for you to push and pull the elevators up and down, but who would want to do that to one of their models?! In the end, I chose to have the forward and middle elevators raised, and the rear elevator in the lowered position and used all the “fixed” elevator pieces.
The box top tells you that the hangar side doors can be posed open or closed, but this is only true for the forward and rear sections because the hangar doors in the centre section are pre-moulded. The instructions tell you to insert the doors to the open hangar wall sections and don’t mention anything about leaving them off for the open hangar option, but really, it doesn’t take a genius to figure that one out.
The rest is really quite straight forward until you get to the deck, where I discovered that it wasn’t a decal sheet that comes with the kit, but a sheet of stickers. There are three rows of deck lines with each row being composed of several sections so there is a high likelihood of silvering, and being stickers, are a lot less forgiving than decals when the adhesive grabs so on painting it was. Measuring out the spacing of the markings, it wasn’t too difficult to mask the markings and spray them on which looks better anyway.
Meng gives you eight of each of the three types of aircraft carried on the Enterprise, that being the Dauntless, Devastator, and Wildcat, so you’re not going to do a ship with a full load of aircraft on the deck. At 1/700 scale, you’re not going to get a great amount of detail on the planes which are moulded in solid styrene, but the basic shape of the aircraft seems right. I clipped the wings of the Devastator and stored a couple towards the rear of the ship and chose to save myself some clipping by doing Wildcats before folding wings were implemented.
The Dauntless didn’t have folding wings so they were installed as is. The markings for the aircraft is pretty basic with just the star in the circle on wings and fuselages, but as stickers, these were a real chore to attach, as each marking is only one or two millimetres so trying to get them aligned without the adhesive grabbing on was quite the delicate procedure. Decals would have been much easier for
my mind.
The island is once again a relatively straight affair, with the main weak point being the radar array, but that’s about as good as you’re going to get in plastic without going into PE territory.
Underneath the deck is another piece with some of the AA gun emplacements which saves you from a masking exercise by being moulded in a different colour to the deck itself, although the deck does feature two emplacements which you will have to mask anyway. Interestingly enough, the box art shows a row of AA guns at the front of the ship which isn’t provided in the kit.
A base is provided for your full hulled ship if that is what you chose, although it is nothing to really write home about, and is just a generic base for any future ship release, but it does the job.
The verdict: Meng's new 1/700th scale USS Enterprise
The snap fit nature makes painting a breeze since you can paint the major sub-assemblies separately and followed the paint recommendations, and then just “snapped” it altogether. I did find properly attaching the lower hull, upper hull, and deck to each other actually required a good amount of squeezing before that final, and scary sounding click but the end fit was perfect.

The kits details in close...
It’s pretty obvious that with the snap fit nature, the movable elevators, and the stickers provided that this kit is aimed more at the younger modellers rather than us more experienced builders.
However, when you compare the finished product to other 1/700 scale ships, it does scrub up fairly well and offers detail comparable, and in many cases better than other older iterations of the Enterprise by other manufacturers. For the average 1/700 scale ship builder happy to build out of the box, I think this is definitely a worthwhile consideration, and also a good base for those who may want to add that extra bit of detail with PE. 
My only reservation is the provision of stickers rather than the usual water-slide decals, with the stickers being far too unforgiving once that adhesive grabs on, which oddly enough makes it more challenging for younger builders due to their small size as well. Apart from the stigma of it being a snap fit kit, I really can’t find fault with this kit.

Highly recommended.

Paul Lee

Thanks to Meng Models for sending this kit to Paul to build and review. You can see more info on this kit and others from Meng on the Meng Models Website...