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In-Box Review
USS Oriskany CVA 34
USS Oriskany The ''Mighty O'' Essex Class Carrier
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]


Originally published on:
Model Shipwrights

Introduction
USS Oriskany from Revell is a reissue of this beloved vintage Revell kit. It is one of Revell's SSP - Selected Subjects Program - Limited Production kits, advertised as a one-time offer. This is kit 85-0318. The original Oriskany was released in 1968 as kit H-370*. I was very happy when it arrived as I have a lot of happy memories of my Oriskany when I built it as a kid; I still have parts from it in my parts bin.

Revell scaled it to 1/538 - known as "box scale" because the model molded to fit into a standard box. It has 116 parts and the model dimensions are;
    Length: 19-7/8"
    Width: 4-3/8"
    Height: 6-3/8"

Revell recounts the history of USS Oriskany thus:
    "Mighty O", USS Oriskany, went to sea in 1950 after being launched in 1946 and then suspended as it became clear she wouldn't be needed for WWII. She was the last of the Essex-class carriers and, before anyone laughs up their sleeves about her being a johny-come-lately for WWII, remember that she earned battle stars in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Her aircraft really chewed the landscape and earned her a Presidential Unit Citation. Kit features full hull, display stand, four types of aircraft, separate elevator panels, and full decals.

USS Oriskany was an Essex class carrier that was redesigned as a "long-hulled" Essex. That design was sometimes considered a separate class, the Ticonderoga class. The Second World War ended before her launch and construction was suspended until the communist invasion of South Korea. USS Oriskany was improved to the SCB-27 ("27-Charlie") design before commissioning in 1950 as the final Essex-class ship completed.

According to www.navy.mil these are "Mighty O's" stats:
    displacement: 27,100 tons
    length: 911 feet
    beam: 147˝ feet
    draft: 31 feet
    speed: 33 knots
    complement: 3,460 crew
    armament: 8 5-inch guns, 14 3-inch guns
    aircraft: 80

In the Box
USS Oriskany was a big ship and in 1/530 scale it needs a big box. Lots of thick heavy gray plastic and the box top bulges; it's a standard top-bottom box with vintage dramatic boxart showing a Crusader blasting off the deck to chase a pair of "Fagots" or "Frescos" off the starboard bow.

Inside the box is a bag of sprues, a loose one-piece hull, and a loose flight deck, plus decals and an instruction sheet. Four sprues fill the bag:

* Island and superstructure, AA weapons, elevators.

* Hanger deck bulkheads and superstructure and deck parts.

* Elevator and part 16 aircraft.

* Masts, radar, shafts and screws, rotors for helicopters, ASW aircraft, whale boats, cranes, NS-60 Flightdeck crash crane** "Tilly," some tugs, and miscellaneous components.

Keep in mind this kit is over 50 years old. The molding betrays that age. While surface detail is almost all raised lines and molded on, it is fine in size and crisp. However, modelers will have to clean up some flash and remove mold seam lines on many parts. I did not find any sink holes on the ship parts; slight depressions mar the SH-3 Sea King helicopters and one of the S2F Trackers looks like it took an 85mm in a nacelle. At first I did not notice ejector marks that will be visible on the assembled model. Then I looked closely at the enlarged photographs. Some ejector circles are camouflaged by encompassing open doors on the superstructure. Otherwise I don't see any. But those poor SH-3s have those excess plastic overflow tabs. They are wart-like on the fuselages and each rotor blade have pimples near the rotor heads.

Many of the attachment points that hold the parts to the sprues are large. Cutting or nipping will be require to cleanly separate the pieces.

Revell molded some components with an open grid work. There really are not any pieces I'd call delicate or fine but I think Revell did the best they could for the technology of the day.

The air wing consists of the:
    F-8 Crusader x 6
    A-4 Skyhawk x 4
    F9F Cougars x 2
    S2F Tracker x 4
    SH-3 Sea King x 4

A nice representation of the pointy edge of the carrier.

Detail
Revell put a lot of surface detail onto the model. Almost all of it is cast on and relief, even all of those tie-down dimples. Even the markings for the deck and insignia on the aircraft are molded on.

Hanger doors are molded closed. open, and in-between. Aircraft elevators can be attached up or down.

The sides and decks of the ship feature many items: hatches; doors; lifebuoys; lockers; ladders; hoses; cables; conduits; things I have no idea what to call them. I am impressed that Revell even replicated the netting around the elevators and catwalks. Above and below deck are raised lines representing structural members.

I think the 3" flak guns were 3"/50 Mark 22s and the 5-inchers were 5"/38s. Regardless, the model guns are little more than suggestions.

Revell made the gridwork for an elevator underside with open lattice. A mast also features an open structure.

Perhaps the most impressive detail is the tail rotor on each helicopter.

Decals and Instructions
I like Revell's instruction sheet as it lists each part and identifies it by name. The assembly diagrams are line art and clearly illustrated.

Revell now prints decals for the flight deck markings. They also include insignia for the aircraft. The decals are within register and opaque. They feel thin and do not have much carrier film around them.

Revell even includes their sheet of signal flags and ensigns. They are not decals but rather a slick paper that will need to be cut and glued around rigging. They must be a generic signal flag set as the American national flags are printed with 48 stars. There's even a Royal Navy ensign.

Conclusion
For me USS Oriskany is a happy addition to Revell's SSP program. Modelers who enjoy these nostalgic kits should be very happy that this model has been re-released. The model has good surface detail and some ambitious open grid molding. The decal sheet of aircraft insignia and flight deck markings is very welcome.

Molding is not up to today's standards with flash, seam lines, ejector marks - just what one would expect from tools cut in the late 1950s. The parts are robust and the ship should build into a hefty model.

I am satisfied with this release of this old friend and hope to have her painted and on my shelf in the near future. Recommended to those who enjoy nostalgic models and don't mind some TLC.

Thanks to Revell for releasing this model again and providing it for review. Remember to mention to them and retailers that you saw this model here - on Model Shipwrights.

_______
Sources

* A Dr. Thomas Graham wrote a valued book, Remembering Revell Model Kits, and listed the ships that this model was released as: Essex; Bonhomme Richard; Lexington; Oriskany & Wasp; Hornet; Bonhomme Richard; Lexington; Bonhomme Richard. Essex was released in 1958 and the second issue of Bonhomme Richard was in 1979.

** Most images reference the A/S 32A-35 Aircraft Carrier Crash Crane (CVCC) but it has six axles.

Click here for additional images for this review.

SUMMARY
Highs: The model has good surface detail and some ambitious open grid molding. The decal sheet of aircraft insignia and flight deck markings is very welcome.
Lows: Molding is not up to today's standards with flash, seam lines, ejector marks - just what one would expect from tools cut in the late 1950s.
Verdict: USS Oriskany is a happy addition to Revell's SSP program. Modelers who enjoy these nostalgic kits should be very happy that this model has been re-released.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: 85-0318
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jan 23, 2018
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.03%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 81.76%

Our Thanks to Revell!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)
FROM: TENNESSEE, UNITED STATES

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2018 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.



Comments

Frederick, thanks for the review! Despite its age, I agree with you that Revell's Oriskany remains an appealing model and can provide a solid starting point for an accurate SCB-125 Essex class carrier. That said, this is a classic kit with a number of well-known errors. The most notorious of these is probably the too-narrow hull which, though true, is sometimes overstated. The Oriskany’s beam was 101 feet (1212 inches), or 2.253 inches in 1/538 scale. Revell's Oriskany kit beam is 2.125 inches, which is less than a 1/8 inch (5.74 scale feet) too narrow, which isn't that bad on a model nearly 20 inches long. The problem is that the hangar deck bulkheads are too far inboard of the hull sides in order to accommodate the heavy solid railing and excessively wide walkways. This exaggerates the apparent narrowness of the hull and throws off the escalator on the hull side so it doesn't match up with the piece alongside the island on the flight deck above. Reducing the width of the walkways on the hangar deck sides (parts 7, 10, 18, and 20) by about 1/16 inch port and starboard to widen the hangar deck will mostly fix this. I would also recommend removing the raised planking detail from the poop deck (part 1), the main stern deck (part 2), platform deck aft (part 3), sponsons (parts 5L,12, 16, 21R, 22L) and the various island decks (41-45) as these were all unplanked steel. Oddly, Revell designers chose to depict the one deck which actually was planked, the flight deck, without any planking detail at all!
JAN 24, 2018 - 01:57 AM
I built that kit when I was a lad, mid 70s I guess. The name 'Oriskany' has stayed with me all these years, and I have had an abiding interest in the Essex class carriers ever since. don't remember any difficulties assembling, or even if I painted it, probably not. thumbs up, would build again.
JAN 24, 2018 - 06:23 AM
I remember as a kid, I had a whole fleet of box-scale Essex carriers, plus a cone-dome CVN-65. I remember setting them up and moving the various planes around on them. Oriskany was one of them. If I wasn't strictly 1/350 (more to keep my buying under control than anything else), I'd get me a new Oriskany. But then I'd need to get more planes for it, then sister ships, then escorts...
JAN 24, 2018 - 11:56 PM
Thanks Guys, I'm pretty stoked about cutting these parts off their sprues and doing the old girl proud! I can't recall if this was one of my models after I started painting. I know I've seen some off her parts in my bin, but then again, those could very well be from some other Revell carriers. I recall I built a Midway and one with F4D Skyrays, plus one of more of the Yorktowns. Heck, back then, I even built their carrier model that had F4 Phantoms. I snared a HMS Campbeltown recently and look forward to posting a review of it when able.
JAN 25, 2018 - 09:00 AM
Brings back a lot memories as a kid. I can remember the excitement of opening it up and going through the sprue with aircraft. Thanks for the review!
JAN 25, 2018 - 09:29 AM
My Dad was a plankholder on the original Essex in 1942. When this kit came out as the Essex in 1958, he saw it in our local drugstore and had to have it. He would pull it out and look at it occasionally, not knowing where to start. Finally, at Christmas 1959 when he had a few days off, he decided to build it. I have fond memories of sitting around a card table with him and building this kit. As "we" built it, he'd talk about his wartime experiences, which I listened to with rapt attention. He'd never talked about them before. He talked of a TBF loaded with depth charges and three crew members they lost off the bow during their shakedown cruise while looking for German subs off the Atlantic coast. Of being buzzed by two Betty bombers one night at deck level during the Gilberts campaign, and waving to the pilot's before realizing they were Japanese- and the pilots waving back because they thought they were buzzing a Japanese carrier! Of being strafed by Zeros (in which a food locker was hit and cans of tomato sauce started leaking through the the locker vents, leading everyone to believe someone had hidden inside during the attack!). He talked of shore leave in Hawaii, and stealing Virginia Hams from the officers mess, to be made into ham and powdered egg sandwiches in thier metal treatment oven in the aviation metalsmith section. One of his favorite stories was the time he spent on watch as a loader during general quarters on the port quarter 5" 50 gun, and his hearing loss because of it. So this kit brings back some fond memories for me. Dad didn't seem to mind the angled deck, jet aircraft and modernized bridge and island, which were part of the "modernization" program for "his" straight deck Essex, or the fact the kit seemed to be a later "long hulled" Essex version-- he just wanted a model of "his" ship. Later, I built the Trumpeter early war Essex for him, but this kit really brings back some great memories. I'll probably buy one just to build in his memory. VR, Russ
JAN 25, 2018 - 09:52 PM
We broke our quick reply box. Working on it. Until fixed go to topic to reply.
Thanks.
   

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