Samek’s highly anticipated 1:700th USS Texas is finally here, and it was worth the wait. Rather than state my conclusion at the end of the review, I’ll cut right to the chase: Samek’s USS Texas is both highly detailed and expertly cast. If you’re a ship modeler partial to 1:700th scale capital ships, buy this kit. It will bring a smile to your face. It’s that good.

Background
L
aid down 17 April 1911 at Newport News, Va., the USS Texas (Battleship No. 35) was launched 18 May 1912, and commissioned 12 March 1914. Her first action was as part of the force at Veracruz that seized the customs house in retaliation for the celebrated "Tampico Incident" in April 1914.

The 6 April 1917 US declaration of war found Texas riding at anchor in the mouth of the York River with the other Atlantic Fleet battleships. She remained in the Virginia Capes-Hampton Roads vicinity until mid-August both conducting exercises and training naval armed-guard gun crews for service on board merchant ships. She conducted these activities, as well as yard visits until Mid-January 1918, when she began preparations for service with the British Grand Fleet. She departed New York on 30 January, arriving at Scapa Flow 11 February. She became part of the 6th Battle Squadron of Britain's Grand Fleet, with which she served until the armistice on 11 Nov 1918. Thereafter she escorted the German High Seas Fleet into Scapa Flow for internment on 21 Nov 1918, after which the USS Texas returned to the USA.

USS TEXAS
BB-35

Vital Statistics
Authorized:
June 24, 1910;                 Laid down: April 17, 1911;                  Launched May 18, 1912;
Commissioned: March 12, 1914       Recommissioned in Texas Navy: April 21, 1948
Length: 573 feet (175 m);     Beam: 95.5 feet (29 m)(1914), 106 feet (1945)
Draught:
28.5 feet (8.7 m);  Displacement: 27,000 tons (1914); 30,350 tons (1945) standard


Guns:
Ten 14 inch/45 cal;    twenty-one 5"/51 cal;    four 21 inch submerged torpedo tubes (1914)
              ten 14 inch/45 cal; six 5"/51 cal; ten 3"/50 cal; forty 40mm; fortyfour 20mm (1945)

Armor:
Belt 10-12 inches; CT 12 inch; turrets 14" face
Machinery:
2 shaft 4 cylinder vertical triple expansion engines.

The United States Navy had used turbines for the preceding Arkansas and Utah class battleships.
Builders of turbines in the US refused to adopt Navy Department standards and the USN ordered
the older triple expansion
engines for TEXAS, NEW YORK and OKLAHOMA of the following class
to show that the Navy would have turbines built to their specifications or else they wouldn't use turbines.

NEVADA
sister of OKLAHOMA did use turbines as turbine manufacturers finally saw things the Navy way.
(From Steelnavy.com Photo Tour of USS Texas at San Jacinto, Texas)


Quarterdeck detail: Samek 1:700th USS Texas


Subsequent to WWI, Texas was reconstructed in accordance with the Washington Treaty of 1922. Blisters were added, tripods replaced cage masts, and she converted from coal to oil fired boilers. Texas served with both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets through the 1920's and 1930's. In 1937, she was sent to the Atlantic and became the flagship of the Training Detachment, and later flagship of the Atlantic Squadron. The outbreak of WW2 led to her assignment as part of the "Neutrality Patrol", and upon the US declaration of war she became part of the Atlantic escort force.

The Texas served as a bombardment ship during Operation "Torch" in November 1942, after which she resumed Atlantic escort duty. She was then assigned to Operation "Neptune" and the Normandy invasion. She served off Omaha Beach, bombarding Pointe du Hoc on D-Day, and later assisted in the capture of Cherbourg. It was off Cherbourg that she was first damaged. A 280mm shell ricocheted off her conning tower, and a 240mm shell lodged in her bow without exploding. After quick repairs at Plymouth, she sailed to Southern France as a part of Operation "Anvil-Dragoon", then returned to the US in September 1944 for refit and reassignment to the Pacific.

USS Texas participated in the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa in her now familiar role of shore bombardment and fire support. Late in May, Texas withdrew to the Philippines, where she remained until the Japanese surrender. She returned to the United States 15 Oct 1945, and made two more trips bringing American troops home. In June 1946, she was moved to Baltimore, Md., and placed in reserve. The state of Texas acquired her as a memorial in 1948, and she now resides at the San Jacinto battlefield, the only remaining dreadnought-era battleship.

The Model
The kit arrived in a stiff cardboard box, securely packed and intact. There have been reports of breakage in early examples, but castings in my sample were intact. The resin hull was affixed to the box bottom and its bow embedded in a stryrofoam insert. This effectively immobilized this exquisite casting as well as protecting it from being crushed while in transit. There are six bags of small parts cast in a light tan resin, a waterline hull in gray resin, one photoetch fret, a small set of decals with draft marks and hull numbers, and five pages of instructions. The instructions consist of a cover page with statistical info, a plan view of the ship broken down by superstructure levels, a camouflage sheet with a drawing of Texas in Ms. 31a-8b, and two pages of illustrated assembly instructions. The first page deals with major assemblies, and the second contains more detailed drawings for cranes, AA guns, catapults, aircraft, et al. The plans are easy to follow, and with one exception, complete. Most of the resin parts are cast in one piece, flat-sided molds, embedded in a paper-thin carrier. You’ll need to gently flat-sand these parts to separate them from the film. If you want to detail the underside of the superstructure levels (not necessary in this scale), use .020"x.020" square plastic stock (not included). It’s worth noting that the resin cast tripod legs are attached on their side to a resin block. These legs are nevertheless perfectly round, and will clean up easily. All of the mast locations are indicated on the bridge parts. You’ll know you’ve done enough flat-sanding when daylight shines through these locator holes.

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Port Profile
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Forecastle
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Small Resin Parts
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Samll Resin Parts
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Looking aft
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Etched Brass
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Guns
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All Resin Parts
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Instructions
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Accuracy
The hull casting is 9.640" long (244.87 mm) and 1.786" wide (45.38 mm). Published dimensions of 565 ft at the waterline and 106.25 ft wide equate to 9.685" long by 1.821" wide in 1/700th scale. This is less than a 1% error, which is extremely accurate. The kit depicts Texas after her September 1944 refit. I compared the kit to the excellent Warship Pictorial #4 - USS Texas, by Classic Warship Publishing, and every detail was right. All of the parts scale correctly to the plans, and nearly all details are included. Indeed, the kit is dense with detail and should make for a very busy…and visually appealing…finished model. Accuracy fanatics may wish to make the following minor corrections: remove the shields from the 40mm quad; and increase the height of the rear portion of the 20mm splinter shield located just forward of the No. 4 barbette (one of the unnumbered parts). The shield should be higher in the rear and lower in front of the gun. Finally, the crane assembly drawing has one unnumbered part, which I believe is the crane base. You'll need to place the smaller tub-capped part in the larger tub-capped part.

Conclusion
Samek’s USS Texas is an expertly cast, thoroughly accurate kit. There are few if any corrections needed and construction should be trouble free. It’s definitely worth the purchase price, and will make an excellent addition to any collection. It should be noted that the kit does not include photo-etched railing, so factor this into your budget. Regardless, this is an outstanding 1/700th kit that I highly recommended.

Suggested References:
Steelnavy.com Photo Tour of USS Texas at San Jacinto, Texas
Warship Pictorial #4 - USS Texas, by Classic Warship Publishing
Ship's Data #6 USS Texas, Leeward Publications
Battleship Texas website: http://users3.ev1.net/~cfmoore/

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