Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

Trumpeter USS Tennessee BB-43

Despite being damaged at Pearl Harbor and subsequently rebuilt and designated an OBB (battleship, old) by naval planners, USS Tennessee earned 10 Battle Stars in World War II. During the island-hopping march on Japan, the ship supported assault landings, sometimes firing on targets as close as 600 yards, and gained special respect from Marines calling in close fire support. The 40,950-ton vessel participated in the last recorded battleship versus battleship engagement when Tennessee and five other OBBs in Adm. Jesse Oldendorf’s Task Group 77.2 “crossed the T” at Surigao Strait and sank Japanese battleships Fuso and Yamashiro while protecting the invasion fleet at Leyte Gulf.

Trumpeter’s well-packaged kit includes the option to build the Tennessee either as a full hull or waterline model. The box contains six single parts, 27 sprues, and a photo-etched (PE) fret for a total of 657 parts. Don’t worry — some of the parts are extras, so you’ll only need to squeeze about 500 parts onto a 10.6" x 1.9" deck. Take your time and have fun!

The crisply molded gray plastic parts show little flash and minimal mold seams.

I was pleased to see that the splinter shields for the 20mm galleries are the correct height, a welcome change compared to the knee-high parts found in many older 1/700 scale kits. The 5"/38 turrets are molded from the back with well-defined sighting hoods and hatches.

Some mounting points were a bit thick, and I shaved the inner walls of a number of the structures for flush fits. Dry-fit subassemblies often to avoid problems.

The 24-step instructions provide all the information you need to build the kit, but they require some searching to get it done. For example, Step 5 indicates installation of Mk.37 gun directors, but those parts are not assembled until Step 11. Only three of 58 subassemblies are identified with a lowercase letter for port or starboard placement, so I numbered the latter locations before cutting the parts from the sprues.

Beyond those issues, the building of major sections progressed well.

Steps 8 and 9 produce the beautifully detailed PE crane and catapult, but plastic options are provided.

In Step 23, the prop shafts are reversed: part Q19 is the inner shaft, Q23 the outer.

The painting guide is pretty accurate for the Measure 32/1d camouflage, but the gunship gray called for on the deck is inaccurate. It should be deck blue 20B or ocean gray 5-0. I hand-painted the dazzle camouflage with Model Master light gray and interior black at each stage of assembly, because masking in this scale is difficult and often blocked by gun tubs and other details at the end of construction.

This well-researched and accurate model has a couple of minor lapses. First, the painting and marking guide shows OS2U Kingfisher aircraft — right for 1944 — but the kit provides 1945 Curtiss Seahawks instead. Second, the boxtop shows CXAM radar, but Tennessee was equipped with a smaller SC-2 unit.

Those items aside, the kit accurately portrays the widened hull, compact superstructure, and weapons fit of this rebuilt Pearl Harbor survivor in 1944. It’s a fine tribute to an unsung hero of the 7th Fleet Fire Support Group, which saved many a Marine ashore in a hostile territory.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the May 2016 issue.

Read and share your comments on this article

Want to leave a comment?

Only registered members of are allowed to leave comments. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.


Essential finishing techniques for scale modelers.
By signing up you may also receive reader surveys and occasional special offers. We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. View our Privacy Policy.