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Academy USS Missouri

For the Mighty Mo, Academy turns again to its multicolor plastic (MCP), easy-to-build concept. At first glance, the kit seems aimed at beginners. But it offers experienced builders a challenge that produces a good replica.

The kit consists of eight sprues — five gray and one each in blue, red, and black — as well as several large individual parts. No flash mars the crisp moldings; the parts require only careful trimming and sanding of sprue attachments. The armament was a highlight with 20mm, 40mm, and twin 5-inch turrets finely formed as single units.

The kit provides both waterslide decals and stickers for two versions: a postwar ship in overall haze gray or wartime Measure 22. The latter requires paint, but the former can be built out of the box. I planned to build the wartime version, so I prepainted many of the decks and vertical surfaces before adding small parts.

The build begins with a decision to build the ship with a full hull or to waterline it. Note: Assembly is more press-fit versus snap-fit, so a steady hand and sturdy fine-point tweezers will be required for small parts. I used a touch of cement to secure the bow of the lower hull.

Worried that the necessary pressure might damage the main turrets and decks, I skipped to Step 4 and added the props, shafts, and rudder. Be careful working with the props; the blades are scale-thin and fragile.

Moving to the main deck, the instructions indicate that using thin liquid cement will secure the first 23 of the 20mm guns. (You’ll install 49 by the end). Main turrets rotate through the use of pins and have separate, precolored deck blue tops.

Step 10 creates nicely rendered Curtiss SC-1 aircraft with accurate floats and molded-on propeller. Decals for the scout planes were stiff and needed extra work to conform to the fuselages. This was the only problem I encountered during the build. Here’s my tip for painting plastic aircraft canopies: First, paint the area light gray. Follow with a layer of Citadel Devlon mud wash, then seal with Pledge FloorCare Multi-Surface Finish.

The ship’s massive superstructure, with its myriad protrusions — 20mm, 40mm and 5-inch guns, gun directors, and masts — dominates Steps 11-20. You’ll have no problems if you stick to the printed sequences. The foremast is molded onto the conning tower, eliminating alignment concerns, and the radar screens look good for molded plastic.

The finished model measures a little more than 15 inches long and it looks right. While Academy’s Missouri might be aimed at a beginner, it does have some challenges. Still, anyone with a kit or two under their belt will enjoy building the battleship. It would be perfect for armor, aircraft, or car modelers looking for something different.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the April 2017 issue.

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