This inbox review is of Dragon Models Limited, "USS Juneau (CL-52) 1942", in
1/700 scale plastic. Although this kit is a reboxing of DML's USS San Diego Premium Edition kit,
there are some added differences, including additional weaponry, upgraded tooling,
and dedicated instructions. The kit includes all parts to build any of the first four ships of this class,
including the Atlanta, San Juan, and San Diego.
Displacement: 6,000 tons
Speed: 32-33 knots
Armament: 16 5"/38, numerous 40mm & 20mm AA, 8 21" torpedo tubes
USS Juneau, a 6000-ton Atlanta class light cruiser built at Kearny, New Jersey,
was commissioned in February 1942. She operated in the Atlantic and Caribbean until
transferring to the South Pacific in August 1942. Playing an active role in the
Guadalcanal campaign, Juneau was present when USS Wasp (CV-7) was sunk on 15 September.
She also participated in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands on 26-27 October and the
Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on 13 November 1942. In the latter action, she was torpedoed
and badly damaged. Late that morning, while south of San Cristobal Island withdrawing
with other survivors of the 13 November action, Juneau was torpedoed by the
Japanese submarine I-26, exploded and sank very rapidly. Only ten crewmembers
survived to be rescued several days later.
inside the box. . .
Inside the open lidded style, sturdy typically dragon style kitbox, we find six seperate clear plastic bags, five containing the kits plastic sprues, and the sixth, the special premium goody bag, which holds the brass photo-etch and the cartograf decal.
The "A" sprue
consists of the upper hull and super-structure parts. The hull itself is molded in three seperate sections (why, I can't really figure out...) with an open bow with a separate bow deck/forecastle insert. details are good on the bow insert, with bits, chocks, and finely molded anchor chains up top. There is also a lower insert along the waterline edge that follows along the torpedo bulge, where the first problem arises, as the bulge swells a bit too far from the hull sides when dry fit. No big deal, as a light sand job will correct this...I really don't see the benefit of having the hull molded in this fashion though!
Super-structure bulkheads and decks are well molded, with lots of minute details, free from flash and no apparent warping at this stage in the build. There are also small masts, stack, and asssorted gun tubs on the sprue, which all look good as well, crisp details and molding.
On the "C" sprue
we find the full lower hull, with fine bilge keels molded in as well as a small centerline keel. You will also find the hips screws, shafts, shaft supports, and rudder here, as well as some new tooling added, some small radar suupports, and one of the most smallest of the small, part #C 16, the base for the SG Radar set, a first in 1/700 scale molding.( it's unbelievable...I couldn't get a clear close-up shot of the little bugger...). The kits base is also here, with twin upright supports, if the modeler chooses to use it.
Moving on to the twin "B" sprues",
which are Dragon's trusty "E6" weapons sprues, most of which will be heading for the spare parts box, in this case...aside from the small ships boats, rafts, davits, and torpedo tubes, we're practically finished with these two sprues...a few smaller deck fittings (searchlights, cable reels) are also utilized, all look good, nicely molded, as well.
The next two sprues, the "L" sprues
, again, hold most parts that are headed for the spares box, but the parts that are used here, the four dual 5" 38 cal gun mounts, are of supreme detail, thanks to slide molding technology...nicely done!
The four "K" sprues"
are the main weapons sprues, lots of little parts here, and again, heading towards the bits box...There are 5" 38 cal guns included on this sprue, but, the previous slide molded ones on the "L" sprue (see above) put these to shame. The 40 mm and the 20 mm guns are present, nicely molded, but the barrels seem a bit thick. There are also a couple of small radar units utilized here, with the choice of going full plastic, or using some plastic parts with the finer PE parts together for a more detailed radar.
"premium" upgrades. . .
Next, we carry on to the additional parts added to this model kit, to make it a "Premium Edition", firstly, the brass pfoto-etch fret. Nicely etched, with clear "relief etched" details...take a look at the 1.1" gun mounts, and you will see what I mean! These are very cool, with seperate barrels, and are designed to be folded into shape, thus less parts (and fingers) to glue together. There are also some fine looking depth charge racks, as well as a full set of "droop style" railing.
The Cartograf decal is another nice addition, with clear printing, and vibrant color. The decal includes a full set of markings for the first four ships of this class, as well as two US flags, and four ensigns.
Lastly, the kits instructions, in typical DML style, a one page, two sided, eight panel fold-out, with good clear drawings, and text. the full PE replacement part instruction is also provided, leaving no gray areas for the build. Color scheme is in Gunze Aqueous Color, Gunze Mr. Color, and Testors Model Master colors, for options and color conversions. There are two drawing options of camo paint schemes shown, both of which were used in the ships lifetime.
Kurzman, Dan (1994). Left to Die: The Tragedy of the USS Juneau. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-74874-2.
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, United States Naval Historical Center