Why is LTC James H. Doolittle pointing and to what is he pointing? Is he pointing the way westward to the home waters of the Imperial Japanese Navy? Is he pointing at some item of concern on one of his sixteen B-25 Mitchell bombers tied to the flight deck of USS Hornet? Or is he just pointing out some of the finely detailed features of the new Gold Medal Models 1:350 scale brass photo-etched fittings set for the Trumpeter USS Hornet?
For whatever reason, there he is, a 1:350 scale LTC Doolittle, as a part of the newest of the brass photo-etched frets from Gold Medal Models. GMM Fret #350-21 is a one fret set of super detailed brass parts designed by Loren Perry to add extra detail and excitement to the newly released large 1:350 scale kit of CV-8 by Trumpeter. Whether the inclusion of Jimmy Doolittle is just a bit of whimsy on Loren’s part, it is indicative of the detail that has been crammed into this fret. What does the GMM Hornet fret add to your CV-8?
The answer is… a lot! The plastic 20mm Oerlikon guns in the Trumpeter kit are just bare bone guns without the characteristic shielding or much of anything else. They will look rather bare, situated on the gun galleries, without further ornamentation. Not only does GMM provide the missing gun shields but also you get gun sights, shoulder rests and elevation wheels. It has all the hardware you need to allow these essential anti-aircraft guns to keep marauding Vals and Kates at bay.
The Trumpeter Hornet comes with two plastic cranes. One is mounted on the aft starboard side for boat handling and the other is mounted on the flight deck, just aft of the island for aircraft handling. GMM gives you replacement cranes for both positions. The replacement of the aircraft crane has special impact. The GMM aircraft crane parts not only allow you to replace the overly thick plastic parts but also provides hooks, handrails and crane rig to super-detail this prominent fitting. Also included by GMM is another boat crane that was fitted to Hornet at completion at flight deck level on the starboard side of the island but was removed in February 1942. If you wish, with the parts for this crane, you can model the Hornet as completed.
The fine lattice work of CXAM radar, SC radar or fire control radars on the directors are represented by solid plastic pieces in the Trumpeter kit. With this GMM set you replace the solid clunky pieces with delicate brass parts that truly portray the spidery network of sensors. The plastic propellers of the kit can also be replaced with the included brass propellers. At the aft end of the island there is open stair assembly, like a stair well without the well. GMM gives you the inclined ladders, landing platforms, railing and support structure to replace the much simpler plastic assembly provided in the kit.
Not only does the GMM set provide detailed replacement parts for certain plastic parts in the kit, it also provides a multitude of additional fine detail to take the Trumpeter Hornet to a new level of detail and realism. The additional parts to the Oerlikons are just one area covered in this set. The Trumpeter kit does not come with photo-etch or any type of railing. GMM provides eight types of railing. Three of these types are custom fitted railings for the bow and stern. The bulk of the railing is of two styles, open stanchion and close stanchion railing. The type to be used depends upon the location on the ship. There is special flight deck elevator safety railing. However, the most impressive bit of railing is the safety railing found at the bow and stern edge of the flight deck. Not only does it droop like prototype railing but also seems to have individual links!
All of the side AA galleries have inclined ladders with platforms leading to the flight deck. They are not present in the Trumpeter kit but with the GMM set, Bingo!, you have them. GMM provides detailed parts to enliven ship’s boats with boat railing, rudder & tiller assemblies, and rear keel assemblies. Life buoy racks with individual life buoys are provided. Five cable reels, life raft paddles, brass propellers for B-25s and individual faces for loud speakers are all part of the detail of this set.
The island gets special attention. In addition to the aft end stairway assembly, multiple yards, various radar fittings and stack caps are just a fraction of the extra detailed that can be packed into the model. GMM provides the additional parts to model the island in late 1941 or April 1942. There are new wheelhouse bulkhead with individual porthole covers that can be assembled open or closed, along with a new wheelhouse overhead. GMM provides a new forward pri-fly station for the forward port side of the island. With these parts you can build these critical structures with an open window, see-through look. Flag bags, platforms with bracing and life rings are included for further detail.
Important Note on the First 60 Frets of GMM Set #350-21: . Set #350-21 is an early production version with a flaw that appears in the first sixty (60) pieces only. This flaw has since been rectified and eliminated. The flaw is this: On inclined ladders styles C and D, which are found in the lower right corner of the brass sheet, the etched fold lines didn't go all the way through, which makes the ladders harder to fold into shape than usual. GMM has included a printed insert in each of these first 60 sets showing the modeler how to make a "field repair", which makes the ladders usable. GMM has also included a free set of GMM 1/350 inclined ladders, as back-up in case the modeler prefers to take the easy way out and use them instead of the inclined ladders on the fret. All sets after number 60 will not have this problem and they'll be shipped without the insert or the free extra ladder set. The photographs below show the extra fret of inclined ladders that are sent as part of these first 60 sets.