The USS Sacramento (AOE-1), the first of three ships of its class, was launched on September 14, 1963. She and her sister ship, USS Camden (AOE-2) shared the power plants from the never-completed USS Kentucky (BB-66). Those massive boilers and 23' screws (largest in the U.S. Navy) pushed the “fast combat support ship” to 26 knots while it carried more fuel and more ammunition than any Navy oiler or ammunition ship — plus 800 tons of dry and refrigerated provisions. Sacramento served in Vietnam and the first Gulf War before being decommissioned in 2004 and scrapped in 2007.
Trumpeter’s model is the 1964 version of the ship. The kit can be built as a waterline model or full hull with stand.
First thing: Ignore Step 19 of the instructions and assemble the upper hull and waterline plate or lower hull before the rest. Otherwise, the instructions are straightforward and logical. But they’re not error-free. In Step 7, the unmarked winches are parts H13. In Step 12, the unmarked upper small deck houses are, from bow to stern, parts C13, C12, and A6. In Step 14, none of the mounting holes for the splash railings exist; start from the bridge, gluing the railings even with the edge of the hull.
The deckhouses have angled gluing surfaces. You can’t use clamps, so you’ll have to glue and hold them. However, the angles allow a seamless assembly. Work quickly and add the overhead deck so you can square up the deckhouse before the glue sets.
There are minimal parting lines, and the only sink marks are on the back of the winch control houses. Ejector-pin marks are found in the lifeboats. The sprue gates on most gluing surfaces require careful cleanup. Don’t remove the little nubs on the cargo booms, though. Those are cable guides, and they belong there.
However, the towed array boxes on the starboard stern near the waterline should be removed; they were not there during the 1960s era depicted by the weapons and details.
A sheet of photoetched-metal parts adds detail and mostly replaces plastic parts; choose which you prefer. Only the helicopter deck’s safety nets are exclusively in metal.
For some reason the stern helicopter deck is molded with cargo tie-downs the size of manhole covers, and the helicopter pad’s markings are raised outlines (like 1950s Aurora kits). It would be worthwhile to sand the helicopter deck flat and fill the over-scale tie-downs; you could dimple new tie-downs with a small bit and pinvise to bring them to scale.
For hazy gray, I used Polly Scale acrylic lark gray, an excellent match that airbrushes well. The deck is a Testors Model Master gray, but the name is worn off the label; it looks like flat gull gray. I sprayed the lower hull with Krylon ruddy brown primer. (By the way, the wide boot stripe is accurate.) I also painted the anti-skid walkways atop each boom and added rust streaks for the anchors and oil stains from the fuel-supply connections according to photo references.
Since only one CH-46 helicopter can be placed on the stern, I built only one of the two supplied in the kit; it’s painted with Model Master dark sea blue. If you paint it carefully, it will still have clear windows and cockpit glass.
All the decals are in register with minimal carrier film, and they fit perfectly.
The lack of refueling lines is unfortunate, and adding a full set of photoetched-metal railings would help the cluttered look of the real ship. I doubt anyone will make such a set for this kit, but you could use generic railings — there are many pictures on the Internet to help you place them properly.