The USS Indianapolis is probably one of the more well-known United States Navy ships after the Arizona, Constitution and Monitor. Unfortunately her fame is more because of her tragic fate than anything
else. Yet the “Indy” is even part of popular culture thanks to the famous scene in the film “Jaws” where Quint vividly recounts his survivor story to Brody and Hooper onboard the leaky Orca.


Indianapolis as a Portland-class heavy cruiser, one of the “Treaty cruisers” classes built to conform to the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922. Her keel was laid down March 31, 1930 at the New York
Shipbuilding yards in Camden, NJ. She was launched November 7, 1931 and commissioned on November 15, 1932. Before the war,
Indianapolis  had the honor of carrying President Franklin D. Roosevelt on
three different occasions – first was a visit to the US Naval Academy, second was for the 1934 Presidential Naval Review in New York and lastly for F.D.R.’s Good Neighbor tour of South America in 1936.
During World War II she served in the Pacific and was involved in supporting Allied landings at the Aleutian Islands, Tarawa, Marshall Islands, Tinian, Saipan and Guam. She participated in the Battle of Philippine
Sea where she is credited with downing a Japanese torpedo bomber. She joined Task Force 58 and participated in the Allied carrier strikes against the Japanese homeland. She provided fire support for the
landings on Iwo Jima and later Okinawa. It was at Okinawa that
Indianapolis suffered serious damage due to a kamikaze hit. The damage forced her to return to Mare Island for repairs and upgrades.


After her repairs, she took on secret cargo and personnel and steamed to Tinian to deliver it. She left Tinian for Guam and then departed unescorted for Leyte. While heading for Leyte she was spotted by the
Japanese submarine I-58, which sank her with two torpedo hits at 12:14 AM on July 30, 1945.
Indianapolis sank in 12 minutes and about 800 of the 1,200 crew members went adrift into the water. It wasn’t
until August 2 that the survivors where happened to be spotted by a Navy PV-1 Ventura during a routine patrol flight. Eventually when ships arrived for rescue operations only 321 were recovered from the water.
The rest died from exposure, starvation, dehydration and shark attacks. The secret cargo delivered by
Indianapolis was the parts and enriched uranium used for the atomic bomb “Little Boy” which was dropped
by the Enola Gay on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945
The USS Indianapolis kit is the latest release from the South Korean firm of Academy Models and their fourth kit in this scale. The kit represents the Indianapolis in her final 1945 fit, with one of her catapults
removed and twin 20mm guns replacing the single versions. There aren’t tons of parts with this kit, which has become the trend for better or worse with some plastic kits. However, the low part count does not
equate to a bland model and in fact the Academy kit has a good amount of detail. The kit also does not come with any photo-etch parts. I don’t necessarily feel  that this a minus as I find the photo-etch that is
provided in some plastic kits to be on the thick side and in the end I would substitute it with more refined aftermarket offerings.


The hull comes in two sections which provides a waterline option. The upper hull is nicely done and it matches well with the drawings and photos in Warship Pictorial 1 which covers the
Indianapolis. The armor
belt is done well and the numerous portholes are effectively represented and they even have the “eyebrows” which is a nice touch. The starboard side even has the piping which was used to transfer aviation
gasoline from forward storage tanks to the hangar area. The waterline plate is already molded into the bottom of the upper hull, which eliminates gluing on a separate part which is common with some other plastic
kits. A trio of posts is integrated into the plate which will provide firm support for the deck sections. The chocks are solid bumps along the edge and while they are in the correct locations it would have been nice
if they resembled chocks. I will replace them with aftermarket versions. The bottom of the upper hull has a series to tabs that will help aligning it with the lower hull section if you opt to build full-hull.
The lower hull is molded in red and contains the bottom section of the armor belt, bilge keels and slots for the propeller shafts and rudder. There are injection pin marks in three places along the keel that need to
be filled in. A quick dry fit of the hull sections show that they line up well, particularly along armor belt. The gap in the photos is exaggerated because the two sections are not glued together and the fit is actually
tighter when pressed together.


Sprue “C” contains the main and foc’sle decks as well as parts for the bridge housings and tripod foremast. The foc’sle deck is planked where it should be but the various deck fittings like the ventilators are a bit
simplified. The base for the 8in gun turrets look a bit odd but they match photos. The foc’sle deck main housing is considered part of sprue “C” but it comes loose in the bag. This one-piece housing appears to be
slide-molded and has lot of details. The watertight doors have the inverted “V” shaped gutters which is a very nice touch (this is true for all the parts that have molded-on watertight doors). One could argue that
the molded on doors are not as refined as photo-etch versions but they do the trick in my opinion and will save time and effort. The portside 20mm gun splinter shield in my kit was slightly damaged probably in
shipping but it can be easily repaired. The very front of this housing is marred with what looks like a sprue detachment point or perhaps this is an injection molding mark. Whatever it is, it needs to be clean up but
doing so will damage the detail underneath it.


Sprue “D” has the 5”/25 gun platforms, parts for the aft housings, the funnels, lattice mainmast, prop guards and the aircraft handling crane. The decks of the gun platforms have the anti-skid molded in and it
appears a bit heavy; I think Academy would have been better off providing decals for the anti-skid instead. The crane is one solid piece and that is unfortunate since the catapults on sprue “E” are molded with
open girders. I think it would have been better to mold the crane in separate lattice parts and have the modeler put it together. The parts for the mainmast are done well but care will be needed removing them from
the sprue and cleaning up the attachment points.
Sprue “E” is provided as a pair and they contain parts for the 8” gun turrets, the 5”/25 gun mounts, the bases for the 40mm quads, parts for the aircraft, aircraft catapult, parts for the Mk. 33 gun directors, Mk. 51
directors and tubs, life rafts and floater net baskets, inclined ladders and other smaller parts. The 8” and 5” barrels are modeled with open muzzles which is a good thing. The 8” barrels are molded separately
which will facilitate using turned brass barrels if you care to. The 5” guns are molded to the breech and will require some cutting if you wish to opt for brass replacements. The bases for the 5”/25 guns and the
40mm Bofors are somewhat simplified and could have been done with a little more detail. As I mentioned before, the catapults were molded with open girders which makes them more realistic. The inclined
ladders are solid and need to be replaced with photo-etch versions.


At this point I would like to thank Academy Models for not molding the aircraft in brittle clear plastic. Parts for both a SC-1 Seahawk, which is correct for the
Indianapolis in 1945, and for the older SOC
Seagull are provided which makes you wonder if Academy is planning to release a kit of an earlier fit
Indianapolis or maybe even a Portland. Sprue “G” (there is no sprue “F”) is molded in black plastic and
contains the funnel caps and screens, the 40mm Bofors barrels, single and double 20mm Oerlikons with shields, propellers, propeller shafts, rudder, anchor chain and SK radar. I don’t know why most of these
parts were molded in black as it will be a bit of a pain to paint them the light 5-H Haze Gray or any color other than black. The SK radar is completely solid and will need to be replaced with photo-etch. The
anchor chains are pre-formed but will still look better with modeling chain. The single 20mm guns are not used with this kit, which further adds to the speculation of what Academy may be planning.
The last sprue, which is also molded in black, contains parts for display pedestals and the nameplate. A small decal sheet is provided with hull numbers, insignia for the aircraft and flags. The problem with the
flags are not only are they not 48-star flags, which would be correct for World War II, but if you look closely there appears to be a lot more than 50 stars!   Needless to say you will need to find another
source for your U.S. flag.


The instructions come on a large sheet with multiple folds making up a cover sheet and 7 pages of illustrated assembly steps. The instructions are well done, clear and actually simple to follow. There is a
separate sheet with images of the sprues and kit parts and a painting guide on the reserve side.
Is this the greatest kit in the world?… well no. But it is affordable and appears to be a relatively easy to build kit that when completed will give you a good model of the USS Indianapolis. There are a few
spots where the kit falls short but there is certainly a lot more good than bad here. This kit will give you a very good foundation to add as much detail and aftermarket parts as your heart desires. My thanks to
Free Time Hobbies for providing this review sample.
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