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HobbyBoss 1/350 scale USS ‘Missouri’ BB-63 plastic model ship

With more than 1,500 parts, be prepared to spend many hours on this famous WWII battleship
Kit:86516 // Scale:1/350 // Price:$309.99
All-in-one kit that includes lots of detail
Extremely fragile photo-etched parts; metal barrels do not have bores
Injection-molded plastic (gray); 1,529 parts (30 cast metal parts; 387 photo-etched metal parts); decals
One of America’s most famous ships, the battleship USS Missouri BB-63, had an extensive career. Joining the Pacific Fleet in early 1945, it had the honor of hosting the Japanese surrender, ending World War II.

The HobbyBoss 1/350 scale USS Missouri (BB-63) plastic model kit comes packed with parts and details for the ship’s WWII configuration. The model’s whopping 1,121 injection-molded parts are complimented by a further 378 photo-etched metal parts, 30 turned aluminum barrels, and an anchor chain. That’s a lot of kit — a lot of parts, a lot of length, and a lot of time.

An impressive single-piece main deck caps a huge, one-piece hull. The molding is refined, with portholes and other features on superstructure walls that are clearly defined. Pay close attention to the instructions, as some subassemblies are built in steps before they are needed. I planned to paint as many assemblies and parts before installation as possible. I would recommend a method of labeling the various small subassemblies — I stuck mine to labeled pieces of tape mounted to cardboard segments.

The hull assembly includes internal bracing and propeller shaft bearings — these bearings might be better left out, as they caused alignment problems later in the build. I had to add filler to blend the inboard prop strakes to the hull. The fits of all of the major components are impressive. However, I recommend opening up all the mounting holes to allow parts to be more easily inserted when finished.

I assembled the 16-inch main gun turrets, leaving the gun mounts free to rotate. Then, I built up the canvas boots. The turned aluminum barrels have only dimples in the tip for mounting the plastic barrel caps — a dot of gloss black helps create the illusion of depth. Aligning the canvas boots on the turret face and keeping the angle of the main guns consistent takes care. I assembled the 5-inch secondary turrets and the turned aluminum barrels installed in place of the injection molded ones. The barrel tips have no open bore — again, a dot of gloss black creates the illusion of depth.

After building up the various superstructure elements and leaving each deck separate, I painted the decks and lower hull, then the funnel caps. Unfortunately, I forgot to paint the visible funnel interiors.

The extensive amount of photo-etched metal (PE) included adds to the detail tremendously, but it is the most fragile etched brass I’ve encountered — take great care in handling and folding it. It took me three failed attempts to figure out how to fold the tiny floater baskets found all over the ship, which is why there are none on my model.

After painting and masking the deck, I mounted all the railings to the ship. I had to review close-up pictures of the complicated main gun director radars (parts PE50 and PE56) to determine how to fold the PE because the instructions were not clear enough.

The secondary battery director radars are extremely fragile (Step 44), so I decided close was good enough to avoid possible fatal damage. Thankfully, the fragile crane folded easily. The catapults are injection molded, though the sides could probably be better served by PE.

The carriages for the included Curtiss Seahawk floatplanes do not have the angled cross piece or any other visible method to mount to the main float, so I left them off. The included anchor chain must be cut in half — you’ll want references to confirm the routing over deck features.

The 40mm antiaircraft mounts are each five pieces and look great when assembled and painted. Likewise, the numerous 20mm guns with petite PE shields look nice in scale. The many life rafts are individually molded and mounted singly or in stacks.

Once each superstructure item was finished, I mounted it to the ship, working from the main deck upward. A spray of acrylic flat was used as a final finish. Lastly, I mounted the SK-2 radar dish and all gun turrets.

Overall, HobbyBoss has created a kit worthy of the famous battlewagon. The 1/350 scale USS Missouri BB-63 plastic model kit is loaded with extras and details. Be prepared for a long marathon build, though. With more than 1,500 parts, this kit will test your endurance, as it did mine — 106 hours! It’s time for me to build a tiny airplane.
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