The USS Midway (CV 41) was the first of class for three aircraft carriers that were designed to provide greater capabilities than the Essex-class carriers that preceeded them. Originally fitted with the same style of straight deck as the Essex class, the Midway would serve as one of the transition carriers that would later receive the new angle deck and the capabilities to operate the growing fleet of jet fighters.
While the Midway was not commissioned until a month after the Japanese surrender in the Pacific, the Midway was the only carrier that operated an air wing that was originally comprised of F6F Hellcats, F4U Corsairs and SB2C Helldivers and would end her career with an air wing comprising F-4N Phantom II, A-7 Corsair II and A-6 Intruders. The Midway class was not capable of supporting the F-14 Tomcat, which signalled the end of their career.
MRC has recently started distributing the Kangnam (South Korea) line of kits in the US market, including this 1/800 version of CV 41, the USS Midway as she appeared near the end of her service life.
On opening the box, you are quickly impressed with the quantity of the parts that make up a kit of this scale. While no formal parts count is provided in this kit, I counted over 100 parts that are strictly for the hull, island and superstructure. The hull is a one-piece affair for ease of assembly.
Molded in light gray styrene, this is the first time to my recollection that the Midway (or her two sisters) has been rendered in 1/800 scale. Even in 1/800 scale, the hull is 15 inches long! The flight deck is typical of most aircraft carrier kits, this being the molded on deck stripes and hull number. Parts are included for all of the radars and antennas that were typical fit for the Midway class near the end of her service.
A nice array of aircraft are provided to represent the Midway's later air wing, including six F-4 Phantom II (these need a little work), 12 A-7 Corsair II (much better), six A-6 Intruders (also nice), two EA-6B Prowlers (nice touch!), two RA-5C Vigilantes (yes!), two E-2 Hawkeyes (ditto) and two Sea King helicopters. Those of you with sharp eyes will also note the two F-14 Tomcats on the trees (nice try) but these need to be put into the spares box.
Chances are that she would have served many more years had she had the capacity to accomodate the Tomcat, nevertheless she saw a wider variety of combat aircraft on her decks that any other class of aircraft carrier anytime in history. I hope that Kangnam will be offering the Midway in 1/400 scale as you'll also be modeling carrier aviation before it acquired its subdued appearance in the last 20 or so years.
Straight out of the box, this kit will build into a nice replica of the late version of the USS Midway. Modelers of all ages and skill levels will have no problems with this one.
My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!