USS Lexington CV-2

Box Art

At a Glance:

  • Stock Kit:

    • Trumpeter USS Lexington CV-2 05/1942

  • Aftermarket Parts:

    • Gold Medal Models Lexington/Saratoga

    • EZ Line

  • Paint Used:

    • Tamiya Acrylic

  • Additional Research Material:

    • David Doyle.  Squadron At Sea: USS Lexington CV-2.  Carrollton, TX: Squadron/Signal Productions, 2013.

    • Steve Wiper.  Warship Pictorial #33: USS Lexington CV-2.  Tucson: Classic Warships Publishing, 2009

What You Need to Know:

Trumpeter’s kit representing Lexington at the time of her loss is a welcome addition to the shelves of any 1:700 scale modeler.  This carrier – the first American flattop to be sunk in combat – played a pivotal role in the May 1942 Battle of the Coral Sea, an engagement which thwarted the Japanese thrust toward Port Moresby, New Guinea and removed two Japanese carriers (Shokaku and Zuikaku) from the order of battle being planned for the upcoming Midway Campaign.  An Allied tactical defeat (or, at least, a draw), the battle was certainly a strategic victory for the United States, which had finally checked the seemingly unstoppable Japanese onslaught across the southern Pacific Ocean.

 

Lexington Afire

Lexington in her final moments.

Shokaku under attack

Japanese carrier Shokaku under attack the morning of May 8, 1942.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The finished product

Basic highlighting makes Trumpeter’s ocean base really pop.

The kit as presented by Trumpeter showcases that company’s now-established tradition of researching their subject before releasing the scale version.  Gone are the 8″ turrets that had flanked the island and funnel structure until March 1942; the boat pockets ringing the hull have been rightfully replaced with Oerlikon 20mm mounts where appropriate.  Molding is crisp and, in most cases, far better than what one would expect at this scale.  A clear plastic airwing relieves the builder of the need to struggle with silver or white canopies – just add masking fluid to the canopy and spray away!  Trumpeter is even thoughtful enough to include a display base for the carrier which, while not a perfect representation of ocean textures, will certainly suffice for the builder who has neither the time or patience to custom-sculpt a sea base of their own.

Gold Medal Models has created a fantastic upgrade set for this kit, complete with the usual radar and railings, but also nice features like Oerlikon shields and flight deck safety netting.  The netting was frustrating to apply (actually requiring two distinct attempts), but I attribute that solely to builder error.  Remember, folks, sometimes putting up with the tedium of excessive masking far outweighs the errors that can occur if you try to cut corners.  D’oh!

Diaster!

This is what happens when you try to cut corners.

I wanted to model the carrier as she appeared at about 0845 on May 8, 1942 as she prepared to launch the strike force that would damage the Shokaku.  Were I to build this kit over again, I would probably purchase some additional aftermarket aircraft for the flight deck: while the launch order of TBDs, F4Fs, and SBDs is correct, there should be many more aircraft in spotting positions for this to be an entirely accurate vignette.  Still, disbelief must sometimes be suspended when no other options are immediately apparent.

Would I recommend this kit to others?  Absolutely!  With a bit of work and a lot of patience, a solid scale miniature of Lexington is possible with Trumpeter’s kit, much more so than with the Tamiya or Fujimi versions.

Finished Build 1 DSCN1719  DSCN1744 Elevator

Final Scores:

Quality of Stock Assembly: A

Ease of Stock Assembly: A

Quality of Aftermarket Parts: A+

Ease of Aftermarket Parts Assembly: B+

Overall Experience: A

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