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Straight Out-of-the-Box: Monogram USS Chicago

I have always really liked the naval vessels of the Cold War. I usually build aircraft models, but I got first started building ships with a 1/500-ish Renwal re-release, and I just stayed with the scale. This model hasn’t been available for some time, but I picked it up at a really good price at a local hobby show. The kit parts are stamped with the date 1976, but this release of the kit was probably in the 1990s. The box states the scale is 1:500, but I think it is closer to 1:506.

The actual USS Chicago is an interesting subject. It began life in WW2 as a Baltimore class heavy cruiser (CA-136), but was converted after the war into an Albany class guided missile cruiser (CG-11). I really like ships from the Cold War, since many of them were conversions of earlier ship classes. This ship conversion added a really tall bridge section that is rare in American ships.

I built this ship straight-out-of-the-box, with nothing added that wasn’t in the kit. The basic kit is simple to build and produces a nice looking model. I never add rigging to my ships, preferring to keep the build simple and streamlined. There are a lot of things you could do to really make this old kit a standout, including adding railings, replacing the stairs with photoetch, and so on. Photoetch in this scale is fairly scarce, but it can be found. The Chicago hasn’t seen a lot of coverage in the world of model manufacturers, as the only other kit I have ever seen of the Chicago is a really expensive resin version.

The Chicago only took a week or so to build, was very relaxing, and soon joined the rest of my 1/500-ish fleet. If you ever want to step away from super-detailing your latest kit and do something relaxing, then this is just the kit for you.

8 additional images. Click to enlarge.


11 responses to Straight Out-of-the-Box: Monogram USS Chicago

  1. Straight from the box, quickbuild. I like that.
    That’s a very high bridge. I wonder how it affected the stability of the ship.

  2. Nicly done George, can’t ever remember seeing this kit done. I like it.

  3. Looks great! I did this when it first was issued, It’s a Monogram mold.

  4. Looks good – interesting subject. Always nice to do a “relaxing” build!

  5. I remember when she showed up in San Diego after the conversion. Second night she was in harbor, some i d i o t decided to turn on the (very high powered) radar for a test and screwed up television in the entire San Diego County, as well as broadcasting from every set of fillings in every mouth for 20 miles in every direction. Needless to say, they never did that again!

    Nice model here.

    • Wow! You would think there was more common sense involved in the incident. When I was flying C-141s we were always very careful with our weather radar in the nose, and it was only a small fraction of the ship’s radar power. Was there a big incidence of male infertility after the incident?

  6. Outstanding, I have wanted to build this kit since I was a kid. And folks here know how I feel about Monogram kits. Lovely job!

  7. I served on the USS Knox DE-1052, and when we had a JP-5 fuel fire we lost power. The Chicago threw us a line over her stern and towed us back to Pearl Harbor. She was a welcome sight at that time and it was good to see pics of the model now. Looks great

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