"The Nevada and Oklahoma, 27,500 tons, which belong to the 1911-12 programme, were laid down by the Fore River Company and the New York Shipbuilding Company last May, and are to be complete in January 1915…The chief features of the ships are that their ten 14-in. guns are mounted on the keel line in two triple turrets forward and abaft and two double turrets, which fire over the others, that they are very heavily protected as a result of the lessons of the San Marcos firing (see Naval Annual 1911 and 1912), and that they burn oil exclusively. The length of the ships is 575 ft., and 13 ˝-in. armour will extend for a length of more than 400 ft." The Naval Annual 1913 at page 62.
The first class of battleships for the United States Navy that had fourteen-inch guns was the New York Class. The New York and Texas had the new armament but in other regards had carried through with armament placement and a mixed armor arrangement. A little armor here, a little armor there, a little armor everywhere. There were different belts of different thickness and basically was an effort to have armor protection almost everywhere. Further the fourteen-inch guns were mounted in five twin turrets, the standard conservative gun mountings that were used by the largest naval powers. Only three of the smaller naval powers, Italy, Austria and Russia had gone to triple gunned turrets.
"In the last months of 1912 a new class of battleship was laid down in the United States at Quincey, Massachusetts, and Camden, New Jersey, which was to have a most profound and lasting influence on capital-ship design all over the world. The ships were the Oklahoma and Nevada, America’s first Second Generation Dreadnoughts. They can be considered as the genesis of a family of ten more American battleships, and the family tree of every "Third Generation" capital ship can be traced back to them." Dreadnought by Richard Hough at page 105.
The USN gambled on their 14-inch gun triple turret. To maintain a ten gun broadside with heavier armor on a hull only 10 feet longer than New York, triple turrets were selected for the 1 and 4 (A & Y) turrets, thereby allowing the middle twin turret to be eliminated. However, the triple turret had not been tried before. On January 31, 1911 an experimental triple turret was ordered but the earliest that it could be delivered was April 1912. To stay on schedule the contracts for the new battleships would have to be signed three months before the triple turret would be available. However, the gamble was made.
The USN discovered that with the 14-inch gun the battle range had increased and now the new designs were much more vulnerable to plunging fire. Previous designs had not paid much attention to deck armor but now it was clear that incorporation of deck armor would be a major factor in the new battleship design. The incorporation of significant horizontal armor in the new design created a challenge. It could not be incorporated unless something else was sacrificed, unless something new was tried. So it was back to the future.
In the later half of the 19th century, Nathaniel Barnaby was Director of Naval Construction (DNC) of the Royal Navy. A number of his designs incorporated huge belts of armor over the machinery and main armament areas of the ship with minimal or no armor elsewhere. This "all or nothing" method of armoring disappeared before the end of the century, as designers came up with schemes to protect more areas of the ships that they designed. If the USN adopted the "all or nothing" approach for the new design improved deck armor coupled with an armor belt thicker than used in the previous class. The new design of the Nevada Class had a 3-inch armored deck, instead of the 2-inch deck in New York and Texas and a 13 ˝-inch belt instead of the 12-inch belt in the New York Class.
The design of the Nevada Class also departed from previous design practice in the propulsion system. Through the New York Class, the battleships of the United States Navy had used triple expansion (VTE) engines powered by coal fired boilers. With the Nevada Class, both ships shifted to oil fired boilers, which allowed for reduced machinery space length. Nevada also utilized Curtis direct drive turbines, while Oklahoma retained the less efficient triple expansion engines that had been used in earlier classes. The reason for this divergence was that the USN was sending a message to the US turbine industry. It was felt that the navy was being gouged in what was charged for turbines. The incorporation of triple expansion engines in Oklahoma sent the message that the navy would continue to use the older propulsion technology unless the turbine makers lowered their prices. The Oklahoma had greater horsepower than Nevada, but their speeds were the same due to the more efficient engines in Nevada.
Oklahoma BB37was laid down on October 26, 1912, followed by Nevada BB36, which was laid down on November 4, 1912. Oklahoma was off to a faster start and was launched on March 23, 1914 with Nevada going down the ways on July 11, 1914. However, Nevada finished faster on March 11, 1916, almost two months before Oklahoma, which finished on May 2, 1916. As finished, they had the then standard cage masts, minimal superstructure and rudimentary fire control.
As the United States entered World War One, the pair received their first modifications. Additions were made to the originally very sparse and Spartan bridge structure. Size and height increased in order to accommodate every action that needed to occur in commanding and controlling the battleship. New range finders for the main guns were fitted to the top of the newly heightened superstructure and atop the roof of turret No. 3 (X turret). The forward pair and all of the aft 5-inch guns, including the stinger in the stern, were landed because they had not proved practical. The front pair were prone to being flooded in any type of seaway and the aft guns had very poor fields of fire, since they were mounted close to the waterline. However, the pair still carried twelve 5-inch/51 as secondary. The now empty casemates were all plated over. With airpower just immerging as a threat, two 3-inch high angle AA guns were added to keep away the annoying dirigibles and seaplanes.
In 1919 the pair received their own complement of airpower. Flying-off platforms, popularized by the Royal Navy, were added to the tops of number 2 & 3 turrets (B & X) and the next year Nevada and Oklahoma received Nieuport 28 fighters and Sopwith 1 ˝ Strutters, reconnaissance aircraft for their platforms. This of course was a very awkward arrangement as once flown off, the wheeled aircraft could not be recovered. The solution was in the use of seaplanes. In 1922 a catapult was fitted to the quarterdeck and the Vought VE-7H seaplane was issued. Now their air complement, designed for reconnaissance and shot spotting, could be recovered. Oklahoma fired off her first catapult shot on December 1, 1922. The 1920’s saw constant replacement of aircraft with newer and improved models. In 1924 it was the Vought UO-1. Fighters came back in 1925-1926 with the Curtis TS-1. AA defense quadrupled to eight total 3-inch HA guns, with British Vickers HA directors.
Oklahomaserved in the Atlantic fleet until she was ordered to join Battleship Division Three in the Pacific. For the next six years California and the Pacific were her homes, until it came to be her turn to receive a major refit at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in 1927.
The 1920s were in the midst of the "Battleship Holiday", enforced under the terms of the Washington Treaty. After the completion of the three Maryland Class battleships, there was no further battleship construction allowed for the USN. However, under the Treaty modernization of existing hulls was allowed, within certain parameters. The USN undertook a modernization program for its battleships, starting with the oldest ships first. By 1927 it was the turn of the Oklahoma and Nevada for their big refits.
As part of the FY28 budget both ships were sent to the yard for a substantial modernization and refit. This modernization greatly changed their appearance. Most noticeably, the cage masts were landed and tripod fore and main masts were erected in their place. A great deal of attention was paid to increasing the armor and anti-torpedo features of the ships. Torpedo bulges were added which increased the depth of torpedo protection to 22 feet. An additional anti-torpedo bulkhead was installed protecting the fire rooms. Extra deck armor was incorporated which increased the upper armor deck to five inches and the lower armored deck to three inches. All of this extra protection added another 1,906 tons to the displacement.
However, both ships did not receive exactly the same treatment. Nevada had her boilers removed with six brand new ones fitted in their place. Nevada also received new steam turbine machinery that had been ordered for a battleship cancelled under the terms of the Washington Treaty. Oklahoma retained her old boilers and engines. As a result of the extra weight, the top speed of Oklahoma dropped to 19.7 knots, while Nevada with her new machinery and boilers was a knot faster.
Other changes included increasing the main armament elevation to 30 degrees, the removal of all hull casemate guns to superstructure positions, the addition of eight 5-inch/25 HA guns, the addition of eight .50 machine guns to gun tubs atop the mast tops, the deletion of all torpedo tubes and the addition of two catapults, one on the fantail and one on X turret. Three Vought O2U-1 seaplanes were then carried on each ship.
Oklahomareceived her refit from September 16, 1927 to July 15, 1929. Upon leaving the yard she was assigned to Battleship Division 2 but soon was transferred to her old formation, Battleship Division Three. In June 1932 she joined Battleship Division One. She stayed with Division One until she received a minor refit at Puget Sound Navy Yard from October 18, 1935 to January 20, 1936, when she was assigned to Battleship Division Two. In 1941 Oklahoma was assigned to Battleship Division One.
The pair remained in this configuration all of the way until December 7, 1941 with only a few small additions. There was some change to fire control systems, four 3-inch HA guns were added, and splinter shields were added around the individual 5-inch/25 HA guns.
On December 6, 1941 World War Two still seemed far removed from the tropical paradise of the Hawaiian Islands. A few months earlier Pearl had received a guest, HMS Warspite. She had just received a battering from aircraft off of Crete. The loss of that island to German airborne forces had cost the British Navy and Army dearly, although it had also destroyed the German airborne capability. She arrived at Pearl on August 2, 1941. Warspite had been laid down on October 31, 1912, just five days after Oklahoma was laid down across the Atlantic. She and HMS Queen Elizabeth laid down five days before Oklahoma were the nearest contemporaries that the Okie had.
Many sailors of the Oklahoma had visited the Warspite to see how a combat battleship looked. "It was the first time for most of us that the war had been brought home to our sailor’s world. Some of us visited our counterparts in the Warspite, where the British sailors showed us the damaged casemates and took us down through the turrets. They were young like us, but no longer innocent." Trapped at Pearl Harbor, Escape from Battleship Oklahoma, 1991 by Stephen Bower Young, at page 14. Warspite sailed on to Puget Sound for a refit. Although she had already sunk German destroyers at Narvik and had engaged Italian battleships, Warspite had plenty of service and combat ahead of her. Unlike Warspite, Oklahoma had slightly over four months of life left and would be finished after five minutes of battle.
During the attack on Pearl Harbor in a space of time of scarcely a few minutes she was hit by an estimated five torpedoes between frames 25 to 120. She had no hull integrity because of preparations made for an Admiral’s inspections scheduled for Monday December 8. "In the Oklahoma, this meant opening up all watertight compartments on the third deck and below – below the waterline – to the inspection teams. The usual practice – navy regs – on all ships whether at anchor or in port, was to set condition Zed at the end of each working day. This meant that all watertight compartments were closed on the third deck and below. For the admiral’s on the 8th, even the void spaces in the protective blisters that extended along the length of the ship at the waterline had been opened." Trapped at Pearl Harbor, Escape from Battleship Oklahoma, 1991 by Stephen Bower Young, at page 3.
Saturday 6 December 1941, 9:00AM – "The battleship Oklahoma hummed with activity as crewmen prepared for an inspection scheduled Monday. ‘Okie’ was ‘a clean, happy ship, with a lot of spirit and rated high in athletics and gunnery….The ship had a high quota of advancements among enlisted personnel,’ so she was a popular billet." At Dawn We Slept by Gordon W. Prange, at page 469.
Sunday 7 December 1941, 7:55 AM – "Just at that moment, when we were rushing out of the compartment to our turret battle stations, Jack Miller saw the first plane drop its torpedo. He stared at the huge red circles on the wings as the plane pulled out of its run on the ship, skimming over the main top forward. Japs! They were Japs! The gunners strafed the Oklahoma as the plane flew past. Jack swore that he could see them grinning at him – just like in the movies. He moved fast to seek the protection of a large blower sticking up from the deck near the 4th division hatch." Trapped at Pearl Harbor, Escape from Battleship Oklahoma, 1991 by Stephen Bower Young, at page 32.
Sunday 7 December 1941, 7:55 AM – "Oklahoma was moored port side at Berth F-5, outboard of Maryland in an exposed position. Goto closed in on his target. Suddenly the big ship loomed directly before him. "" was about twenty meters above the water,' Goto said later, ‘when I released my torpedo. As my plane climbed up after the torpedo was off, I saw that I was even lower than the crow’s nest of the great battleship. My observer reported a huge waterspout springing up from the ship’s location. ‘Atarimashita!’ he cried. The other two planes in my group…also attacked Oklahoma." At Dawn We Slept by Gordon W. Prange, at page 509.
Sunday 7 December 1941, 7:56 AM – "The torpedo slammed into the ship up forward. The Okie seemed to jump and a great shudder shook her, fore and aft. A tower of water rose high in the air to fall back over the polished decks." Trapped at Pearl Harbor, Escape from Battleship Oklahoma, 1991 by Stephen Bower Young, at page 33.
Sunday 7 December 1941, 7:57 AM – "Two hits in rapid succession had already torn into Oklahoma’s vitals. Boatswain Adolph M. Bothne found both the aircraft ammunition ready boxes and the fire and rescue chest locked. He picked up a hammer and a cold chisel from a gear locker. At that moment ‘a third torpedo hit in the middle of the ship, and the ship started to list noticeably….’Bothne ‘had to walk uphill to go to the starboard side, and after they had the ready boxes open there and the ammunition out they had no air to load the guns, and one of the men said there was no fire locks on the guns." At Dawn We Slept by Gordon W. Prange, at page 509.
Sunday 7 December 1941, 7:57 AM – "The second torpedo rammed into the port side, amidship, below the armored belt. The Oklahoma, already hurt, staggered with the force of the blow. Lurching drunkenly, she took on a more pronounced list as water poured into the gapping holes in her side, flooding through the blisters and into the open spaces in the very heart of the ship. The flooding was rapid because the blisters and most other watertight compartments were wide open for Monday’s inspection. Water shot high into the air to fall back over her. Oil poured from the ruptured fuel tanks to spread over the harbor surface in an ever increasing semicircular wave. The Oklahoma was mortally wounded. A great wrenching and groaning ran down her length as beams and stanchions, decks and bulkheads twisted and broke with the stresses put upon them." Trapped at Pearl Harbor, Escape from Battleship Oklahoma, 1991 by Stephen Bower Young, at page 36. "Jack Miller watched the second plane skim over the ‘fighting top’ or mainmast. Like the first, the plane was strafing everything in sight. Miller picked himself up and ran forward for the break of the deck where a ladder led up to the 01 level, to do something – even if it was wrong. Someone on the Maryland alongside was firing at the planes. Our 5-inch 51s were in the casemates; they were broadside guns but they could fire straight out at the torpedo planes, at least. He wanted desperately to fire back." Trapped at Pearl Harbor, Escape from Battleship Oklahoma, 1991 by Stephen Bower Young, at page 37.
Sunday 7, December 1941, 7:58 AM – "Ensign Rommel hurried up the ladder through the gun chamber and into the control booth where he had his battle station. He did not stay long. He started out the hatch in the overhang of the turret to get out on deck. A blast of air from the third torpedo hit drove him back inside. It hadn’t been more than ten seconds or so since the last hit, it seemed. A great gaping hole was torn in the port side, below the armored belt. More water flooded through the void spaces in the open blisters and into the broken compartments nearby." Trapped at Pearl Harbor, Escape from Battleship Oklahoma, 1991 by Stephen Bower Young, at page 45.
Sunday 7 December 1941, 7:59 AM – "Hastening towards his battle station in turret No. 4 amidships, Gunner’s Mate Second Class Edgar B. Beck decided that there was no point in continuing on his way because ‘it was clear that we were going over." At Dawn We Slept by Gordon W. Prange, at page 509.
Because of the rapidity of the five torpedo hits and the effectiveness of the Japanese torpedoes, Oklahoma had no chance. With zero hull integrity the flooding of the stricken port side was overwhelming in quantity and speed. Because of her extremely vulnerable condition, it is doubtful if even prompt counter-flooding could have prevented Oklahoma from turning turtle. She capsized rapidly, turning until her mast tops slammed into the silt of the harbor bed. Hundreds of seamen were trapped to the overturned ship.
Sunday 7 December 1941, 7:59 AM – "Another hit! Closer this time. The fourth torpedo hit the ship hard, above the armored belt this time because of the Oklahoma’s heavy list to port. The ship rocked from side to side in her terrible agony. An almost inaudible moan sounded through the lower decks as the mighty Okie's vast insides absorbed the impact. Men screamed and died. Water poured into the stricken ship, from the great holes along her side and from up above, down through the openings in the deck and spaces overhead – ventilator shafts, access trunks, portholes, hatches – as the ship heeled well over on her port side. The water rose over the port side of the main deck as she listed. Masts and turret guns were leaning faster and faster to meet the harbor water…twenty degrees, thirty, forty, forty-five…The roar of the water invading the ship drowned out the cries of the sailors as it reached out and engulfed them. There was no place to hide. None at all." Trapped at Pearl Harbor, Escape from Battleship Oklahoma, 1991 by Stephen Bower Young, at page 49. "Then, thirty seconds later, administering its coup de grace, the fifth torpedo jarred ship and sailors again with a final explosion. We hung on. It hadn’t been necessary. The ship was going fast. The lights flickered." Trapped at Pearl Harbor, Escape from Battleship Oklahoma, 1991 by Stephen Bower Young, at page 50.
Sunday 7 December 1941, 8:00 AM – "Oklahoma’s executive officer, Commander J. L. Kenworthy, was the senior officer aboard. He and the ship’s first lieutenant, Lieutenant Commander W. H. Hobby, concluded ‘that the ship was fast becoming untenable and that an effort should be made to save as many men as possible.’ So Kenworthy ordered Abandon Ship and directed the men ‘to leave over the starboard side and to work and climb over the ship’s side out onto the bottom as it rolled over." At Dawn We Slept by Gordon W. Prange, at page 509. "Up on the main deck, aft, Marion Athas was finally successful in climbing up on the side of the turret. It had been a close call. Thank heaven Sandall and Oleson had got him free of the winch. The Oklahoma was practically on her side. Athas stood on the side of the turret, he looked forward to turret no. 3 and saw Hutch Wortham trying to cut a life raft loose." Trapped at Pearl Harbor, Escape from Battleship Oklahoma, 1991 by Stephen Bower Young, at page 67. "Suddenly, the Oklahoma rolled over, port side ripped open by five torpedoes and flooded with tons of water. Her great tripod masts dug into the mud bottom forty feet down. Supported by her masts and superstructure, her lower starboard side and bottom remained a few feet above the water. She looked like a stranded whale. There was a great bubbling and frothing around the capsized ship as the air belched and burped from her torn insides." Trapped at Pearl Harbor, Escape from Battleship Oklahoma, 1991 by Stephen Bower Young, at page 69-70.
Sunday 7 December 1941, 8:05 AM – "Aboard the stricken Oklahoma about a 150 men ‘perched along the blister ledge’ at Bosun Bothne’s direction. "Then the ship seemed to hesitate….’At that moment the forth torpedo struck. Oklahoma ‘bounced up, and when she settled down she turned over.’ Some of the men slid down the side into the water. Mrs. Earle still watched the grisly scene from in front of her home. ‘The slowly, sickeningly , the Oklahoma began to roll over on her side, until finally, only her bottom could be seen." At Dawn We Slept by Gordon W. Prange, at page 513.
Sunday 7 December 1941, 8:50 AM – "The capsized Oklahoma was ‘another terrifying and shocking sight.’ To some witnesses the fate of the Oklahoma was the crowning horror of the day, worse even than the volcanic eruption aboard Arizona. The explosion of a battleship, although an awesome thing, was comprehensible. It even had a certain tragic grandeur. But for a battleship to overturn was unthinkable, it affronted human dignity. Something of this horrified incredulity held Ruff in its grip as Nevada moved abreast of the overturned vessel." At Dawn We Slept by Gordon W. Prange, at page 535-536.
18 July 1942 – "The vessel rotated through an angle of about 150 degrees and came to rest on a fairly solid bottom. The starboard half of the ship’s bottom is above water as is also the lower part of the starboard side, including the starboard propeller. The topmost point of the OKLAHOMA hull is now about twenty-six feet above mean low water. Soundings have been taken all around the OKLAHOMA and these show that the turrets, superstructure, and masts are entirely submerged in mud. In view of the fairly solid bottom it is likely that the masts and lighter superstructure have been torn clear of the ship or badly bent." Report of Progress from Salvage Officer (CAPT H.N.Wallin) to Commandant Navy Yard, Pearl Harbor – Pearl Harbor – Why, How, Fleet Salvage and Final Appraisal, by Vice Admiral Homer N. Wallin, at page 356-357.
In March 1943 salvage operations for the Oklahoma began. Originally it was thought that she might be salvaged, repaired and returned to service. But by the summer of 1943 it became clear that the amount of work necessary to repair the old lady just would not be worth the effort in light of the flood of new construction just reaching the Navy.
28 December 1943 – "The ship was placed in Drydock Number Two on 28 December 1943 with a mean draft of thirty-six and a half feet and a list to starboard of nearly three degrees." Pearl Harbor – Why, How, Fleet Salvage and Final Appraisal, by Vice Admiral Homer N. Wallin, at page 260.
Different Nevada Parts
1 September 1944 – "During her time at the Navy Yard she was stripped of guns and some of the auxiliary machinery. The ship was unloaded of ammunition and stores. She was decommissioned on 1 September 1944 and sold for scrap for $46,000 on 5 December 1946 to the Moore Drydock Company." Pearl Harbor – Why, How, Fleet Salvage and Final Appraisal, by Vice Admiral Homer N. Wallin, at page 261.
Moore Drydock Company was based in Oakland, California. The company made plans to tow the Okie to Oakland and once there, take her apart. Oklahoma, in spite of resting for a year and a half, upside down in Pearl Harbor, still had too much dignity to leave the world stage in that manner.
10 May 1947 – "On 10 May 1947 she left Pearl Harbor under tow of two tugs but was lost in a storm at sea about 500 miles northeast of Hawaii on 17 May 1947." Pearl Harbor – Why, How, Fleet Salvage and Final Appraisal, by Vice Admiral Homer N. Wallin, at page 261. (Bulk of history from At Dawn We Slept by Gordon W. Prange;Battleships of World War Two, An International Encyclopedia, 1998 by M.J. Whitley; Dreadnought by Richard Hough; The Naval Annual 1913; Pearl Harbor – Why, How, Fleet Salvage and Final Appraisal, by Vice Admiral Homer N. Wallin ;Trapped at Pearl Harbor, Escape from Battleship Oklahoma, 1991 by Stephen Bower Young)
The Commanders/Iron Shipwright Oklahoma
For the Okie, I’ll start at the stern in looking at the hull casting. Oklahoma and Nevada started out with a stern chaser gun position, which is extremely prominent in the hull. Even without looking at the turrets, these two ships were instantly recognizable by the stern notch of this plated over position. By 1941 the gun was long gone but notch with the two porthole plated position was there and its there on the ISW Oklahoma.
The quarterdeck of the Oklahoma seems longer than most. This is probably an optical illusion but with a two story deck house separating the third X turret from the forecastle/quarterdeck break, it just looks spacious. The deckhouse is an interesting bit of architecture. It is actually a larger rectangular housing with two smaller housings atop that. By its looks it was for machinery, blowers and ventilation. Both of the smaller top structures have readily identifiable air louvers on their rear faces. The casting also has an asymmetrical layout of doors and tubes that appear to be segments joined together for cleaning the main guns. A couple of the portholes are not quite in line. The quarterdeck also has an assortment of mushroom ventilators, deck hatches and a nice face for the deck break.
The forecastle has some very nice detail with well defined capstans, chain portals leading to the chain locker, chain plates and chain hawse. There is another assortment of deck hatches plus a couple of skylights. Along each side of the ship are seven pairs of bollards. My copy of the ISW Oklahoma has some breakage on some of these posts. Cutting the appropriate evergreen rod will be an easy fix. One characteristic of the casting of Commanders/Iron Shipwright is that sometimes air bubbles will be trapped in the smaller deck fittings in the mold. With the Oklahoma the instances of this were hard to find. A couple of the smaller fittings had indentations, rather than holes, from the presence of air bubbles. Both spots are easily fixed with a tiny dab of CA and smoothing after dry. There was also some minor resin over-splash on the extreme rear of the quarterdeck that will require minor sanding. All in all the ISW Oklahoma presented a very clean and well cast deck.
The hull sides also feature some nicely cast attractions. First of all, you can not miss the significant anti-torpedo bulges. The top ledge has a series of bulge access panels and triangular supports, which are very well done. Each side features five clearly defined, plated over, secondary gun positions. These have cleanly executed overhangs and angular hull cuts. One minor problem was the presence of a few resin "berries", little spheres of resin stuck in a few corners. These were easily removed with the point of a hobby knife.
With every 1:350 one-piece full-hull kit produced by Commanders/Iron Shipwright, certain casting characteristics or types of defects are common. These include small air bubbles in some deck fittings mentioned above, problems or breakage with the bilge keels, and air bubbles along the bottom of the casting. All three are caused by casting the resin under pressure. The pressure is added to the casting tank to force air bubbles out of the casting. The hulls are cast upside down by ISW. A few bubbles can sometimes by forced down into deck fittings but the vast majority are forced upwards to the surface of the bottom of the hull. Air forced to the top can also be caught in bilge keels found at the top of the mold during castings.
From time to time you’ll read words from someone getting up on their soapbox to decry ISW hulls as being as full of holes as Swiss cheese. I get frosted when I read one of these individuals advance this bunk, this pile of steaming bovine fecal material. That person is a person with an agenda. Do ISW kits have pits on the bottom of the hulls? Yes, every time out. Are they Swiss cheese? Hardly. First of all they are found along the bottom of the casting. In the case of the Oklahoma there is some small pitting over portions of the bottom and a couple of medium voids to fill, if desired. I say if desired, because none of this will show in the finished model. One exception to that statement would be if the modeler wished to portray Okie on December 8, 1941. Well you may say, I’ll know they’re there and it bothers me, even if no one can see them. OK, try a light coat of Bondo. John Sheridan recommended this treatment to me and it does work very well. Dry and sand. The pitting and minor holes don’t bother me. However, the bilge keel problem is a different story. I really hate to repair broken bilge keels. If it is just filling a hole or replacing a small section, no sweat. However, I don’t like replacing whole bilge keels, frankly because I can’t seem to get it just right with Evergreen strips. The greatest single complaint and the only one of any degree of significance about the ISW Oklahoma was the condition of the bilge keels. The port bilge keel is broken but easily repairable with the addition of a short gap to be filled with Evergreen. Fixing the damage is easy on this side but the starboard side is another story. Basically the whole bilge keel will have to be replaced with an Evergreen strip. It is too far gone for repair. So, the hull is not perfect and some clean up is necessary. Big deal. However, if you are the zero defects type, who believes that every kit should be perfect to justify your hobby dollar, you may want to pass on the ISW Oklahoma. Sixty-two years and three months have passed between the loss of the original Oklahoma and the appearance of the first 1:350 scale kit of Oklahoma by ISW in February 2004. So if you want to wait for that perfect Okie, have a seat. At this rate of release you may see the next 1:350 Oklahoma around May 2066. Maybe it will be perfect.
Smaller Resin Parts
The single stack is very well defined. As you can see, there is some small cleanup to do but the numerous steam pipes with attachment bands make this a very interesting casting. The base of the forward superstructure is also very interesting. As you can see, the rear portion has a series of oval openings. These openings are on the ISW piece and are also easily freed from resin film. The superstructure deck levels fit easily together and were good castings, although the conning tower level had a few air bubbles to fill.
The 14-inch turrets are of two different designs, aside from the original turret differences. I personally prefer the triple turrets with their arched gun openings, rather than the twin turrets with simple holes for the guns. However, the twin turrets have apron tie-downs, which the triple turrets unfortunately lack. The 5"-inch/25 HA guns are the same castings found in other ISW kits using this type of ordnance. Other nice pieces are the crane kingpins, numerous Carley rafts and tops. Some clean up is necessary on many of the smaller parts, as there is some flash and some parts have small voids in the castings. ISW also provides a bag of brass anchor chain and brass rods for the propeller shafts and tripod legs for those modelers that wish to use the metal rod rather than the included resin tripod legs.
The turret top catapult and two boat crane arms dominate the second fret. Again you’ll find block and tackle, hook, pulleys and other crane gee-gaws on this fret. The turret top catapult is of a different design than the stern version. Kingfisher fittings, stack grate, safety rail for the five-ich/25s are also present but the rest of the fret is dominated by inclined ladders. The third fret is comprised of all railing. Twelve long runs of railing are included in a total of three sizes, ten open stanchion three bar, one close stanchion three bar and one two bar. Lastly two runs of vertical ladder complete the fret.
With the 1:350 scale USS Oklahoma from Commanders/Iron Shipwright, the Mighty Okie can again appear as she did on December 6, 1941. . ‘Okie’ was ‘a clean, happy ship, with a lot of spirit. The ISW is a good solid kit, slightly more detailed than their 1:350 Arizona. There is not a lot of AA, there is no fancy camouflage with the Ms 1 of Okie, but there is a lot of character. That Sooner character can be seen in the USS Oklahoma from Commanders/Iron Shipwright.