The USS Albany was the Navy ship that my older brother served on during his active duty in the Navy Reserve. Many years ago I built the odd scale Monogram model of this ship and gave it to my brother. More recently I obtained the 1/700 scale resin kit from the Jag collective and it sits to this date about 90% complete. The model was state of the art for resin multimedia kits but in my opinion suffered from having a very poor set of instructions. My inexperience with this medium didn't help matters any.
Recently I noticed in the Squadron monthly flyer that Dragon had released a new plastic model of the Albany so I ordered it. The model came in the mail Thursday and I immediately opened the box to see what I had bought. On first impression the model looks like an answer to my prayers. It is very crisply molded and from initial test fitting looks like it will go together well. All of the small detail parts, there are a bunch, are well molded. The kit comes with a PE brass fret that has the lattice mast and radars, as well as ladders, railings and the ships boats mounts. There is not however enough railing to do the entire ship as is the case with the PE from the Jag kit. My plan is to complete the Dragon kit using the additional PE from the Jag kit and then using the Dragon kit as a reference finish the Jag kit without the railings.
This model costs $38 and change from Squadron which to me is steep for the scale but about half the price of the Jag resin kit so in that light it can be seen as a bargain.
The model, while difficult to manipulate some of the smaller parts, is so far a pleasure to work on. The only issue so far was the numbering of the propeller shafts. They are four different parts but only assigned two numbers. The outer shafts are part 20 while the inner shafts are part 19. Actually they are handed and it takes a couple minutes to figure out which is right and which is left.
There are some differences between the layout of components on the Dragon kit compared to the Jag kit but photos reveal there were changes made during the Albany's service career. I will probably finish the Jag kit as the Chicago although I think there were some differences between the two ships hulls. They started life as part of two different WWII heavy cruiser classes, but after their conversion to guided missile cruisers they were virtually identical from the main deck up.
The Dragon kit has a fair amount of PE brass but nowhere near as much as the Jag kit. Some of the PE parts on the Jag kit were so fragile and petit it was hard for me to keep them straight and true. The PE on the Dragon kit is maybe a little heavy as far as scale is concerned but the brass is easier to work with. Even though I have a spare set of the Jag kit PE I have elected to use, in most cases the plastic parts that came with the Dragon kit.
I think if any of you want to build a model of this cruiser the Dragon kit is the way to go.
Edited by modlerbob, 30 June 2013 - 04:18 AM.