VeryFire 1/700 USS Montana
The Montana-class battleships of the United States Navy were planned as successors to the Iowa class, being slower but larger, better armoured, and having superior firepower. Five were approved for construction during World War II, but changes in wartime building priorities resulted in their cancellation in favour of the Essex-class aircraft carrier and Iowa class before any Montana-class keels were laid.
Intended armament would have been twelve 16-inch (406 mm) Mark 7 guns in four 3-gun turrets, up from the Iowas’ three 3-gun 16s. With an increased anti-aircraft capability and thicker armour belt, the Montana class would have been the largest, best-protected, and most heavily armed U.S. battleships ever, the only class to come close to rivalling the Empire of Japan’s immense Yamato-class battleships.
Preliminary design work for the Montana class began before the US entry into World War II. The first two vessels were approved by Congress in 1939 following the passage of the Second Vinson Act. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor delayed construction of the Montana class. The success of carrier combat at the Battle of the Coral Sea and, to a greater extent, the Battle of Midway, diminished the value of the battleship. Consequently, the US Navy chose to cancel the Montana class in favour of more urgently needed aircraft carriers, amphibious and anti-submarine vessels.
Because the Iowas were fast enough to escort the new Essex-class aircraft carriers, their orders were retained, making them the last US Navy battleships to be commissioned.
The USS Montana has been done a couple of times in this scale. Imperial Hobbies released a resin kit in 2010 and Blue Ridge Models released one in resin too. Both are probably very hard to find now. That means that this first kit from VeryFire is also the first kit in plastic of the USS Montana and as such is bound to attract attention for both reasons. VeryFire’s second kit is the USS Louisiana, the sister ship to the USS Montana. USS Louisiana was to be the fifth and final Montana-class battleship
The box is a standard top opening box but it’s sturdier than most boxes and seems to be made of thin corrugated cardboard. Things inside the box are bagged in polythene, not the usual plastic. Everything is well protected and nothing can move around inside the box and overall the packaging is excellent.
The box contains:
- 6 sprues of varying sizes holding 325 parts approx
- 3 larger parts
- 1 PE sheet holding 160 parts approx
- 1 small decal sheet
The instructions are in a booklet of 8 pages of full-size black and white text and images. The build is in 8 steps over 7 of the pages and the first page is a sprue layout and explanations of the symbols used in the build to indicate options, PE bends etc. The steps of the builds are:
- Step 1. Putting the main and 5″ turrets together and assembling the 40mm and 20mm AA guns. There’s an option of 2 different types of 5″ turrets.
- Step 2. Putting the aircraft and launch rails together.
- Step 3. Putting the PE cranes and PE radars together and building the masts
- Step 4. Putting the funnel cap, AA platforms and other midships parts together.
- Step 5. Adding more midships details such as railings
- Step 6. Adding the main superstructure parts made in previous steps onto the main superstructure deck and adding the forward turret and details at the bow of the ship
- Step 7.Adding smaller details to the main superstructure deck and adding the aft turret and details at the aft of the ship
- Step 8. Putting the completes superstructure onto the main deck and then putting that on the 2 part main hull and adding propellors and shafts.
Key parts of the kit are made in PE and there isn’t a plastic alternative, so if you get this kit you are going to have to get involved with some small PE parts. The level of detail is very good in this kit and the PE makes sure you’re going to get a good kit right out of the box. VeryFire does have an optional detail up set for this kit which adds 8PE frets, Brass Barrels, Resin Parts and a Wooden Deck to take it to the next level.
The paints are called out in Mr. Hobby, Victoriam and AK INteractive. The colour chart is on the bottom of the box and gives you a couple of options as to how she might have been painted, and both are reasonable choices for a ship that was never built.
The decals sheet contains decals for both the ship and the aircraft and looks to be good quality with a minimal backing sheet.
This kit is currently available at HLI for $40.00 plus shipping and that’s as good a price as you will find. There’s a coupon code at the end of the video to get 10% off at HLI for one month after the publish date of this article.
Overall it’s a kit that should do well as firstly it’s a kit not done in plastic before. The alternatives in resin are expensive and hard to find. The kit has almost 500 parts which gives it a good level of detail for a 1/700 kit of this size. The detail on the plastic parts is good and it’s a good first release from VeryFire.
Many thanks to VeryFire for sending the kit along for us to have a look at.