This is the fifth major photo-etch package designed for the Trumpeter 1:350 scale USS North Carolina to be reviewed. Gold Medal Models, Toms Modelworks, White Ensign Models and Yankee Modelworks have all produced excellent sets of super detailed photo-etch parts for this kit. Lion Roar has taken a slightly different approach with this, their first premium detail package. Not only does Lion Roar include the photo-etch parts included in 17 small to medium sized frets but has provided metal three-dimensional items with main gun barrels, secondary gun barrels, propellers, ship’s bells and anchor chain, as well as including a plastic rod that can be used for the cable/hose reels and as a form for the floater net baskets.
Lion Roar includes all nine 16-inch gun barrels made from machine turned aluminum to replace the plastic pieces. They are well done with slightly indented muzzles. Since there is no seam as in the plastic pieces in the kit, they are infinitely superior to the kit parts. The 20 5-inch secondary gun barrels are included as brass parts. As with the main guns the muzzles are slightly indented to show the bore and nicely tapered. Four brass 3D propellers are included, which may be a first in detail kits (GMM frequently includes replacement propellers on their frets). There are two styles, one with four blades for outboard shafts and one with five blades for inboard shafts. If this was not unusual enough, Lion Roar includes two brass ship’s bells of outstanding detail. To further gild the lily, the guys from Shanghai throw in anchor chain.
Radars – A Fret
This fret contains all of the main radar arrays. First of all, there is the late war SK-2 parabolic air search radar. This large array is mounted on the foremast. It could rotate 360 degrees and had a range against aircraft of 80,000 yards. As with other 1:350 brass frets, the SK-2 is one of the more complex assemblies in the set. It has various concentric parts that fit in a series of cross-braces. Two Mk 8 main gun radars are included. These are fitted atop the Mk 38 directors. For radar control of the secondary guns, four sets of Mk 12 and 22 radars are included for placement atop the Mk 37 director. Originally the large rectangle Mk 12 was mounted atop the director and measured range and track. Later in the war the small Mk 22, which measured elevation, was added to the right side of the Mk 12. There are two different mount designs for the four arrays. The fore and aft arrays have a different mount design than the two arrays found in broadside positions.
Bofors – B Frets
There are two of these frets included in the Lion Roar set. Each fret contains parts for the 40mm Bofors AA mounts, as well as inclined ladders. Each fret contains eight Bofors’ splinter shields, with Bofors’ mount platforms and eighteen attachment mounts for the plastic (2-gun) gun blocks. Two of these are used in each quad Bofors’ mount. There are pre-scribed fold lines at each crease to ease the folding process. Each platform also includes two sets of foot-peddles and two seats with perforations. Safety railing is part of the platform and is folded upwards. Instead of just a crease, the railing is only intermittently attached to the platform, which makes folding even easier. Relief-etching is used for the groves of the curved slides in which the gun blocks slide. Each fret also has nine inclined ladders with folding, positional, treads and perforated base runners.
Oerlikons – C Frets
As with the Bofors’ frets, Lion Roar includes two frets for the 20mm Oerlikon guns. Unlike the Bofors’ guns none of the Trumpeter plastic pieces are used. Each fret contains 25 single Oerlikon mounts and eight twin 20mm mounts. The single guns are more complicated in assembly than the twin mounts. Each single 20mm gun has a double thick gun, in which the two halves join together to provide extra thickness in order to avoid a flat appearance. Interior braces are relief-etched on the separate gun shields. The third part to each single 20mm mount is the gun base, relief-etched of course, and three support legs, which fold upwards to the gun. The twin 20mm mounts are single piece. The twin guns are just of a single thickness and fold upward providing two legs of the mount with the gun shield folding upward forming the third leg to the mount.
Doors – D Fret
Almost composed exclusively of doors, the D fret provides for 108 doors and four parts for the Kingfisher spotting aircraft. All doors are relief-etched. There are two types of waffle style doors and one set has the door swung open within the frame with sill over the frame. Twelve of the doors come with opening/closing wheels, however, the most common type of door (48 pieces) has the dogs along the edge but no opening wheel. Four of the types are smaller doors for different access openings. Also included are two propellers are two wing/pontoon braces for the Kingfishers. Of course two propellers are sufficient for both aircraft but the two wing/pontoon braces are only sufficient for one aircraft, however the braces for the second aircraft are included on a separate un-lettered (Mulligans) fret.
Miscellaneous Equipment – E Fret
Fret E includes various types of fittings and equipment. The first thing that you will notice are the letters for the ship’s name for the stern. No need to mess with decals, since these brass letters will give you a higher relief name on the stern. You will have to apply the letters one at a time and it would be best to mark in advance the location of each letter to attain even spacing. The largest pieces on the fret are four accommodation ladders. Side doors with relief-etched rivet heads are included for the five-inch gun mounts, as are frames for the gun openings in the turrets. Other parts include support gussets for the breakwater, ship’s boats detail, conning tower vision opening frames, stack walkways, stack platforms, stack railings, ship’s bells frames, crane detail, tower window openings and other railings.
Catapults – F Fret
Composed exclusively of parts for the two stern catapults, F Fret has 24 parts. The two largest parts are side/top part for each catapult. Each part includes the top, sides, end panels, platforms and railing for each catapult. At each bend Lion Roar has designed the part to fold crisply and easily. The second largest parts are the bottom panels. Other parts include end wheels, aircraft cradles, triangle side supports, aircraft cradle chocks and additional railing parts. One note- there are only four triangle support frames, which is only sufficient for one catapult, however, Lion Roar has also included an un-lettered fret which includes the other four supports for the second catapult.
Rafts & Railing – G Fret
This fret is half-and-half. Half provides the bottoms and oars for carley floats. The raft bottoms come with ten oval bottoms and twelve square bottoms. Both styles have the open grid of the rafts. Also included are 36 paddles, so you can’t equip all 22 rafts with two paddles but that is a minor point. If you look at the photographs, you’ll notice that even this detail has relief-etching with overlapping bottom strips. The fret also contains some detail for the main gun turrets. Included are vertical ladders for the front faces of each turret and very low railings for the crown edge of every turret. Also two supplementary radar are included.
Floater Net Baskets – H Frets
You receive two of these frets, which are devoted exclusively to floater net baskets. Each fret contains 30 baskets for a total of sixty with the package. Simply bend the baskets around a small diameter round linear object, such as a plastic rod, to get the rounded bottom of each basket to match the end frames. As with almost every part from Lion Roar with this product, the baskets are relief-etched.
Bofer Bases – I Fret
Cranes – J Fret
Deck Railing – K & L Frets
Fifteen runs of generic three-rail deck railing is included on the L fret. Even this humble fitting has been relief etched by Lion Roar. The vertical stanchions have greater thickness tan the rail. K fret includes specifically fitted rails. The runs of railing on this fret are designed specifically for placement at exact locations. Also included on L fret are 14 relief-etched cable/hose reels.
Safety Nets & Mulligans – M &
This fret includes supplementary detail for the bow and stern deck railing. Ten runs of safety netting are included. These can be added to the interior of the bow and stern deck railing. Also included are 40 gun sights for the Bofor mounts. Lion Roar apparently did a check on the parts included in this set and discovered that in two cases not enough parts were included in the numerous lettered frets. This "Mulligans" fret includes the pontoon support brace for the second kingfisher not found on fret D and the other four triangle braces for the second catapult missing from fret F.
Lion Roar presents their instructions in a modular format. The first page has a photographic layout of all of the frets and other parts included in this package. Following this page there are drawings showing attachment of the parts presented in a combination of drawings with the parts identified by their alphanumeric designation from their specific frets. The specific plastic parts from the Trumpeter kit to which the brass parts are attached are also indicated in the drawings and specifically identified with their part numbers. Page two has modules on bulkhead door placement; breakwater gussets; inclined ladders; main gun replacement; Oerlikons; Bofor detail; main gun turret detail; secondary turret detail; secondary gun replacement; carley rafts; boat detail and cable/hose reels. Page three has modules on catapults; aircraft crane; conning tower detail; superstructure level details, tower detail and floater net baskets. Page four has modules on main gun radar; secondary gun radar; search radar; boat cranes; and usage of open door parts. Page five concludes with the second part of the search radar; stack detail; hull detail; deck detail; and kingfisher detail. The instructions are clearly presented and easily followed.
Lion Roar has produced a product of exceptional value. The Chinese company has not only included excellent photo-etch coverage for the late war USS North Carolina but has included three dimensional parts, which goes beyond the traditional photo-etch presentation for a kit. The inclusion by Lion Roar of metal gun barrels for main and secondary guns, propellers, ship’s bells and anchor chain with great value added to this detail package. They alone are worth the price of admission. Get it for your Showboat!
The Lion Roar 1:350 scale USS North Carolina photo-etch super-detail set is available from Aftermarket Armor (formerly Georgetown Hobby). They carry a full line of Lion Roar ship's detail sets as well as armor and aircraft photo-etch.