Samek 1/700 Resin USS Alaska

By Bob Pearson


During the 1930s the large cruiser with heavy guns was in vogue among the navies of the world, and the United States was no exception. To counter a reported Japanese super-cruiser they came up with the six ships of the Alaska class. These were to be as large as a battleship, have slightly lighter armament than contemporary battleships, and a cruiser's speed. The rationale was they could sink anything smaller, and run away from anything bigger. The the time they were built, the threat of the Japanese ships was shown to be non-existant, and the only two ships completed (Alaska and Guam), were to be used as escorts for the fast aircraft carriers and fors shore bombardment. Both were very expensive to run, and shortly after the end of WWII both were laid up in reserve and eventually scrapped without returning to active service.

USS Alaska was laid down on 16 December 1941, launched 15 August 1943 and commissioned 17 June 1944. She joined the Pacific fleet in January 1945 and spent the next seven months supporting the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, attacking enemy shipping in the East China Sea and participating in operations against the Japanese home islands. She returned to the US in December 1945, paid off on 17 February 1947 and sold for scrap in July 1961.

The Kit

The kit comes in a stout cardboard box with the hull taped to the bottom. All parts are sealed in plastic baggies and were undamaged upon arrival. I'm not even going to attempt to count all the pieces beyond saying that there are a lot of them. All are well cast and very crisp in their detailing.

The hull is warp free, and has nice surface detail with many of the 20mm tubs molded in place. Superstructure levels are nicely done with very thin shields to the various gunmounts and bridge levels, and have various doors and ladders cast in situ. A nice addition are the two OS2U Kingfisher aircraft. Other assorted pieces include: Searchlights, boats, 40mm Bofors mounts and guns, rangefinders, carley floats and 12" gun barrels. There are no barrels supplied for the 5" mounts, so these will need to be fashioned from HSP or wire.

A fret of photo-etch is supplied, although no rails are included, the fret does provide: 20mm Oerlikons and shields, radar antennae, catapult, anchors and cranes. WEM or Tom's Modelworks both have excellent rails that are highly recommended for those wishing to add them.

The instructions comprise one page showing an exploded view of all the parts, another of details, and a third showing the camouflage pattern worn.


The Alaska looks to be a straightforward build with no surprises, and anyone with any experience building resin ships will have no problem building this kit. For those interested in larger warships, the Samek Alaska is a unique model of an equally unique ship and will build into a handsome model that will find a prized place in any collection. In addition to Alaska, Samek also make a kit of her sister ship Guam.

I acquired my kit from Lubos Vinar of VAMP Mail Order. Although it isn't listed in his online catalog, he can get Samek kits on special order - however be advised they do take some time to arrive.

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