by: Bruce Miller [ ]
When the USS San Francisco was commissioned on February 10, 1934, this New Orleans class heavy cruiser was the second to bear the name of the California city. Her shakedown cruise was nearly flawless as she sailed the eastern Pacific from Mexico to British Columbia and including voyages to Hawaii and the Panama Canal Zone.
Following her return to the Mare Island Navy Yard, she was refitted with upgraded arms and converted to a flagship, joining Cruiser Division 6 in February 1935. From that time until January 1939 she continued to cruise the eastern Pacific, participating in fleet problems and patrolling waters from Washington State as far south as Peru and as far west as Hawaii.
Then in March 1939, she became the flagship of Cruiser Division 7, where her first assignment was completion of a goodwill tour of South American ports on both sides of the continent.
San Francisco steamed south from Norfolk, Virginia to join the Neutrality Patrol when World War II began in Europe. In March 1940, having been relieved of her flag duties with Cruiser Division 7, she sailed to her new home port at Pearl Harbor, where she rejoined CruDiv6. She was in the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard for an overhaul on December 7, 1941 when the Japanese attack began. Many of the San Francisco’s officers and crew were not aboard when the attack began, and the ship’s guns were either not available or were not in working condition. Some of the crew joined the New Orleans (CA-32), helping to man guns or provide damage control support. Others fired at the raiding planes with whatever small arms they could find.
Miraculously, the San Francisco survived the attack undamaged, and on December 14, 1941, the refitted cruiser left the yard, joining the task force charged with relieving Wake Island. After the fall of Wake Island, San Francisco returned to Pearl Harbor, which served as her base of operations throughout the war.
During the early years of the war in the Pacific, San Francisco repeatedly took part in major operations throughout the South Pacific, ranging from carrier escort to convoy escort duties. She was present at Guadalcanal as Rear Admiral Norman Scott’s flagship, and took part in the Battle of Cane Esperance. Throughout all of her encounters with enemy ships and plans, San Francisco somehow emerged unscathed, despite the fact that many of her sister ships were not so lucky.
Her luck finally ran out at Guadalcanal on the 31st of October, 1942 when a torpedo plane crashed into San Francisco’s control structure, killing 15 men and wounding 29 more. The ship was damaged, but still managed to leave the area under her own power and held her own during the first engagement in the Naval Battle at Guadalcanal, although she lost 77 sailors, including Rear Admiral Callaghan and Capt. Cassin Young. San Francisco was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation on her return to Espiritu Santo or her actions at Guadalcanal.
Following repairs at Mare Island, San Francisco returned to the South Pacific and continued to distinguish herself throughout the course of the war in the Pacific. She was on her way to the Philippines to prepare for the invasion of Japan when the war ended.
On November 27, 1945, San Francisco finally headed home, arriving at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for inactivation on January 19th, 1946. She was officially decommissioned on February 10, 1945, and in March 1959 her name was struck from the Navy list. She was sold for scrap in September of that year and was finally destroyed at Panama City, Florida in 1961.
In addition to the Presidential Unit Citation, San Francisco earned seventeen battle stars. Three crew members earned the Medal of Honor for their actions during the Battle of Guadalcanal, including one posthumous award. She had participated in numerous battles and confrontations with enemy ships and planes, and her distinguished record of service has long outlived her.
The box is 21 ˝ inches long, 9 ˝ inches wide and 2 3/4 inches tall. The box art is very well done and on the side there are 3 photos of the built model along with the history of the ship. Upon opening the box, you will find the sprues in individual plastic bags. The hull pieces are separate from the sprues with their own cardboard sleeve. This helps to avoid damage.
The built model is 512.1mm in length, 54.5mm across the beam with a total of 263 plastic pieces.
Sprue A has the parts for the top of the funnels, propeller shafts, some superstructure parts, rudder and other miscellaneous parts.
Sprue B (x 2) has the parts for 20mm guns, ladders, small ship boats, radar, searchlights, and miscellaneous deck and superstructure items, propellers, the bottom of the funnels, five inch AA gun mount and plane launcher.
Sprue C (x 2) has the parts for the turrets of the main guns, turret mounts, and the 8 inch guns. Also included are the 5 inch AA guns, 40mm AA guns in quad and twin mountings anchor, funnel cap, crane and miscellaneous deck and superstructure parts.
Sprue D has the parts for the superstructure decks, bridge deck and plane hanger.
Sprue E has the parts for the searchlight superstructure, searchlight hubs, large ship boats, masts, ladders, ship name plate, and superstructure parts.
The main deck comes in two pieces.
Two clear sprues have the parts for two OS2 search planes.
Also included is a 4-piece plastic stand.
The hull is 1 piece and comes with the option for either waterline or lower hull. Both the waterline and lower hull comes in a dark red color, so you might not want to paint them with the anti-fouling color.
Instructions and Decals…
The instruction book is 25 pages long with very detailed drawings. Two pages are parts layout sheets. The instruction book is put together very well with good step by step levels. You also get a full color fold out showing the paint and decal guide.
The decals included a 48 star US National Flag, a 48 star Jack, battle stars, and ship numbers.
The kits parts are very well molded, highly detailed and no extra flash that could be found. There is no PE or white metal included in the kit. If you want to super detail this model there are aftermarket suppliers that will supply what you need.
This kit is would be great for the beginners, mid level modelers. And with all the extra PE and AM out there, the advanced super detailers will love this kit.