1/350th Trumpeter USS Massachusetts: A Childhood Memory
The battleship USS Massachusetts is currently moored as a museum ship in Fall River, MA. It has been there since the 1960s. I grew up about 20mins away so as a young child this was my first look at a real WW2 battle-wagon and fed my growing interest in WW2 naval history. The best thing was my dad was a WW2 Naval veteran and during the summer he would often take me to the museum ship for tours while sharing his own naval experiences and everything he knew about Navy life, and ships in general. By the age of 12 I could of supervised guided tours b/c I knew so much about her history, and her operations. Now as a middle aged adult I still visit her except these days I bring my own school aged children and pass on what my dad had shared with me throughout the years.
If you are ever in the New England area and are a fan of Naval history, and it's vessels, you must visit the museum at "Battleship Cove" in Fall River, MA. It does not just include the battleship these days but it displays many other Naval vessels including a Russian Naval Vessel. There is also a US Fleet Sub, a Cold-War Destroyer, and a well preserved US PT-Boat, The PT-596. The PT-596 is also available as a 1/35 model, which I have also built.
Because of the importance of this ship to my personal history I needed to build her pulling out all the stops. I spent 9 months trying to turn this model into the most detailed, and accurate model ship I could make. I started with the basic 1/350 Trumpeter model. I then added every after-market accessory I could find including a real wooden deck. All the gun barrels are metal, the 5" secondary batteries are all resin with drilled out hatches, the radar superstructures are all PE, or metal wire. The 40mm AAA gun mounts are a combination of PE and resin. Anything I could not buy I fabricated. One area that needs significant improvement is the main radar array. This was the most complicated bit of PE I ever came across. After destroying several PE kits depicting this array I gave up on the PE b/c just ran out out of money. I therefore needed to fabricate the main array dish out of steel wire. It is not that great and not perfectly to scale but was a good fill in until I give the better PE a another chance. I used a great high-res B&W photo of the ship at sea in a wartime fitting during late 1945 as the main reference for how she is configured. I would like to build her again but this time do it quicker, better, and for much less money due to eliminating lots of trial and error attempts resulting in expensive mistakes.
I hope you enjoy the photos. All comments are welcome. Happy Sailing!
19 additional images. Click to enlarge.
That’s awesome! Meticulous attention to detail. So well done. What paints did you use? I’ve never been aboard Massachusetts, but have been aboard Alabama dozens of times. I’m always amazed that these were “small” battleships. Great job!
Turned out spectacularly, sir...nice job!
Very nice Paul. Battlewagons are always worth the visit... as are all full size museum ships. I've been on the Missouri and above the Arizona, both at Pearl Harbor. Great job on your build.
Paul, I'm so impressed with the range of your builds; ships, piston aircraft, cars, tanks, jets...and a torpedo. Certainly eclectic.
The Massachusetts is lovely and I hope you don't mind but I've added a photo here of the 'Big Mamie' so we can see how good your model actually is. Great skills.
Super cool. Really enjoyed the backstory.
Wonderful. Thanks for sharing!
Great model, Paul, it obviously means a lot to you.
You know what really impacts us as children growing up, being able to experience moments such as yours. It grows on you leaving and everlasting mark. It shows in the passion of your build of the USS Massachusetts, you make it your own. My dad was an engineer for North American (which became Rockwell International) and saw the roll out of the XB-70 Valkyrie, imagine a 4 yr old seeing that huge white plane with the silver wheels and how that left an everlasting moment to this very day. I have the kit, and someday will try to re-enact that moment back in 1964. So Its more than just a hobby for a lot of us. Some of it is a bit of history in our life time. This is our way to recapture the moment. Well done.
Nicely done Paul and a great background story. I've been aboard the Alabama and the Missouri and they are something to behold. Was able to tour inside one of the main gun turrets on the Alabama. It was quite an experience and one that I highly recommend to anyone.
A great job!
Great detail for that scale. That's a great-looking battleship.
What a job. Regards, Dirk.