The evolution and gestation of American battleship designs occurred in noticeable stages. After a 25year absence in designing modern warships from the coastal monitors of the American Civil War, the navy didn’t trust American designers to design a
battleship equal to those of other navies, so
USS Maine (originally rated as an armored cruiser) and USS Texas were built to purchased British designs. Neither was equal to contemporary Royal Navy designs but after the long hiatus in warship
construction, US shipbuilding yards and facilities had to be further developed to build totally modern designs. When it came to producing modern US designed battleships, another obstacle was Congress and the great distrust the legislative body had in large
battleships. Congress considered a large navy and especially large battleships the tools of colonialism. Accordingly the first classes of US designed battleships were intentionally designed for coastal operations and coastal defense missions.

This led to the second stage of American battleship construction, the low freeboard coastal battleships. The
Indiana Class was heavily armed and armored but the low freeboard limited their use in the open ocean, in spite of USS Oregon’s world cruise.
The following single ship
Iowa Class raised the freeboard somewhat but not enough for true Blue Water operations. The two ship Keasarge Class kept a low freeboard but introduced its own innovation. To save weight and still keep a four gun broadside
for the secondary guns, the two gun 8-inch positions were sited on top of the two main gun turrets that had to be trained with the main guns, as they were incapable of independently training in a different direction from the main guns. The following
Illinois Class was still limited by the Congressional mandate “seagoing coastline battleships” the USN design committee contemplated that not design feature of this class would seriously impair good seagoing and sea-enduring qualities. Still the three ships
of the
Illinois Class had the same length and beam as the Keasarges. The eight-inch gun secondary, a feature of all USN designed battleships up to the Illinois Class was deleted in favor of a battery of a casemate mounted uniform battery of 6-inch guns.
All of these classes were designed to have a maximum 12 to 24 hour full speed of 14 to 15-knots. All of these classes were designed and laid down before an event, which would forever change the capital ship design emphasis for the USN.
The Spanish-American War forever changed the world role of the USA and the USN warship designs. The short war with spectacular naval victories at Manila Bay and Santiago, left the USA with colonies acquired in the peace treaty with Spain. It didn’
t matter that in both battles USN forces were far superior than their Spanish opponents, from hence forth designs were no longer legislatively limited to coastal battleships. It didn’t matter that prior to the war Congress opposed blue water battleship
designs in that they were tools of colonial empires, once the United States became the Imperial Republic with colonies in the Pacific Ocean, she needed warships capable of working in any ocean. This led to the third evolution of the American battleship.
All classes of predreadnought battleships after the
Illinois Class would have sufficient freeboard for worldwide operations.

The three ship
Maine Class of 1898 was the first beneficiary of this change in outlook and policy. Originally this class was to be a repeat of the Illinois Class but requirements were rewritten to provide a better deep water capability. The first thing
changed was the maximum speed, as the
Maine Class were required to be capable of 18-knots, the same as the best battleships as other navies. Krupp armor was adopted, which provided the same resistance but with lesser weight than the previous
designs and the ships went back to a 12-inch main gun battery instead of the 13-inch guns carried from
Kearsarge through the Illinois Classes. Hull length was increased by 30-feet from the preceding Illinois Class. All of this allowed for a far roomier
and ocean capable design with higher freeboard, a more powerful power plant and greater range thanks to increased coal bunkerage. The secondary battery increased to sixteen 6-inch/50 guns mounted in casemate positions, as in the
Illinois Class.
The next design incorporated combat lessons from the Spanish-American War. In 1899 Congress happily passed an appropriations bill for three new battleships (BB-13 through BB-15) fiscal 1900 plan. In 1900 Congress passed another appropriation
for two more battleships (
BB-16 & BB-17) fiscal 1901 plan. All five were to be at a trial displacement of 13,500-tons and of “the highest practical speed and great radius of action”, in very marked contrast to prewar appropriation bills. At the Battle of
Santiago only one shell from the main guns of the engaged American battleships had struck a Spanish ship. In marked contrast the 8-inch gun secondary batteries had been very effective. As a consequence of this lesson, the next design would see the
return of the 8-inch secondary gun battery. This was the central design characteristic upon which the design revolved. The design board met to consider the requirement but opinion was divided into two camps.

When the three ships of the 1900 fiscal year were approved, the board considered various combinations of secondary arrangement. Some designs incorporated the newly produced 7-inch gun casemates, four 8-inch guns in a second story of the two
main gun turrets, as in
Keasarge, four twin 8-inch gun turrets arranged as in Indiana and Iowa, and four 8-inch gun turrets, two atop the main gun turrets and two in waist positions with a 6-inch casemate battery. Vote after vote was taken and no
consensus could be reached. By May 1900 Congress had approved the fiscal 1901 battleships and it was proposed that the 1900 year ships be built with eight separate turrets and 1901 year ships be built with superimposed turrets with no waist turrets.
The chief constructor, Rear Admiral Phillip Hichborn, insisted that all five be built to a common design. At the time, in spite that the
Kearsarge and Kentucky had been completed most were in favor of the two-story turrets, oblivious to the facts that
they were very restricted to being trained on the same targets as the main guns and difficulty in correcting fire because the shell splashes of the 12-inch shells and 8-inch shells were difficult to distinguish from one another at combat range. On January
24, 1901 the chief of the Bureau of Ordnance advocated the two superimposed turrets but two, rather than four twin gun waist turrets. Ten of the twelve members agreed and only Chief Constructor, Rear Admiral Hichborn, objected to the
superimposed turrets. The matter was settled when the Secretary of the Navy approved the majority opinion. Interestingly, within a few years all of the members who wanted superimposed turrets were violently opposed to them when their restrictions
became manifest.
Originally the three ships of the fiscal 1900 were to be New Jersey (BB-13) to be built by Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, VA, Nebraska (BB-14) to be built by Moran Brothers, Seattle, WA and Georgia (BB-15) to be built by Bath Iron
Works, Bath, ME, while the two ships of the fiscal 1901 plan were to be
Virginia (BB-16) to be built by Fore River Ship and Engine, Quincy, MA and Rhode Island (BB-17) to be built by Fore River Ship and Engine, Quincy, MA. Instead, Virginia and
New Jersey swapped names on March 7, 1901 so that
USS Virginia would be built in the State of Virginia. All dimensions and displacement leaped above those of the Maine Class. Waterline length was 441-feet 3-inches overall compared to 388-feet
Maine, beam 76-feet 2.5-inches compared to 72-feet 2.5-inches and draught of 23-feet 9-inches. Normal displacement of 14,948-tons compared to 12,508-tons. Designed displacement at full load was 16,094-tons but New Jersey came in heavy at
16,697-tons. Her power plant was 12 Babcock & Wilcox boilers supplying steam to two 4 cylinder vertical triple expansion VTE engines. On Trials
New Jersey achieved 19.18-knots. Indicated Horsepower (IHP) of the Virginias was 22,841ihp vs
15,841ihp in the
Maines with a maximum speed of 17-knots for 12 to 24 hours vs the 16-knots of the Maine Class. The Virginia Class had an armament fit of four 12-inch/40 Mk III (2x2), eight 4x2 eight-inch/45 Mk VI, twelve 6-inch/50 12x1 Mk
VII guns and four 21-inch submerged torpedo tubes (added as an initial alteration). The armor arrangement was turret face 12-inches for main guns and superimposed turrets and 6.5-inches for waist secondary turrets. Barbette armor was 10 to 7.5
inches for main gun turrets and 6-inches for the waist turrets. Belt armor was 11 to 8-inches and casemate armor 6-inches. The armor design of belt and casemate armor caused a problem with replenishing coal. There were no openings in the
casemate armor allowing coal replenishment on the main deck. Instead coal sacks had to be raised to the 01 deck and poured through scuttles at that higher level, through temporary canvas chutes to the bunkers. Accordingly coal replenishment was
more arduous and time consuming than in previous designs. The conning tower had 9-inch armor and the armor deck was 3 to 1.5-inches with 3-inches on the slope to the hull sides. Another war lesson incorporated into the design was the reduction
of combustible wood to the highest degree possible.  Complement was 40 officers and 772 crewmen.

USS New Jersey BB-16 was authorized on June 7, 1900 and contracted on February 15, 1901 with the Fall River Ship and Engine Building Co., in Quincey, Massachusetts. On April 2, 1902 she was laid down and launched on November 10, 1904. She
was commissioned on May 12, 1906. One of her first missions was to be reviewed by President Theodore Roosevelt in Oyster Bay in September 1906. Teddy always loved looking at USN battleships.
New Jersey had a brief training period along the
New England coast before setting off for Havana, Cuba, where she arrived on September 21, 1906. She was there until October 13 to safeguard American interests during an Cuban Insurrection. She returned to the east coast and for the next year
trained out of Norfolk, Newport and Boston. On December 16, 1907
USS New Jersey was at Hampton Roads, Virginia and passed in review by President Roosevelt. She was one of the sixteen battleships selected for Teddy’s round the world cruise,
as the
Great White Fleet. The Great White Fleet returned to the US in February 1909 and New Jersey again passed in review for Teddy at Hampton Roads on February 22, 1909. In 1909 New Jersey had both of her military masts replaced by cage
masts, the 3-inch guns were removed, and stockless anchors replaced the older type. Later the 12-inch guns were removed and replaced with a newer model Mark 3 Mod 3 12-inch/40 gun. By 1914 the displacement of
New Jersey had risen to 17,063-
tons full load. On May 2, 1910
New Jersey was placed in reserve at Boston. She spent a year there before she was recommissioned on July 15, 1911. In the fall of 1913 she was sent to Mexican waters because of the unrest there. A landing force from
New Jersey went ashore at Vera Cruz on April 21, 1914. She remained there until August 13, 1914 when she sailed to Santo Domingo and the northern coast of Haiti because of unrest in Hispaniola. On October 9 New Jersey reached Hampton Roads.
Training on the east coast occupied her time until the US entered World War One. When the US entered World War One the
New Jersey was assigned to train seamen recruits and train in gunnery in Chesapeake Bay.  During this service she was
painted in two different camouflage schemes. One was the very colorful Mackay camouflage using red, green, blue and mauve. Later she received pattern N5A using black, white, blue and blue-gray.  The book
The Easter Egg Fleet by Aryeh
Wetherhorn, 2020 has a photograph of the starboard bow quarter of
New Jersey in the Mackay Camouflage and a plate of the port side pattern for New Jersey in the N5A pattern. The author notes that there are no photographs or patterns found for the
starboard side. This is unfortunate because the patterns normally were different on each side. However, on the good side, if you paint the
New Jersey on both sides with the N5A pattern, no one can say you are wrong.
With the end of the war, she made four round trips returning the dough boys back from Europe. By the end of the war all of the 6-inch guns had been removed. This ended on June 9, 1919 after New Jersey had transported 5,000 troops back to the US.
She went to the Boston Naval Shipyard to await deactivation and was decommissioned there on August 6, 1920. She was old and tired and even without the Washington Treaty would have been broken up. On July 12, 1922 she was placed on the sales
list for scrap. However, another use was seen for her and the sales order was rescinded and the ship was transferred to the War Department on August 6, 1923 to be Brigadier General Billy Mitchell’s play thing. Her demise came very quickly. On
September 5, 1923 the
USS New Jersey was anchored off Diamond Shoals, North Carolina when the bombers of the newly minted Army Air Service sent her to the bottom. It took more than one attack to do this. In the first attack on New Jersey the
bombers carried 600 lb bombs, which did little damage. On the second attack the bombers had switched to 2,000 lb big boys. One near miss caused a slight list. On the 3rd attack 1,100 lb bombs were carried, This time the attack was from 3,000-feet
New Jersey was hit once and had two near misses. After this mauling, she sank in five minutes.         

(Bulk of history from:
Americaan Battleships 1886-1923 by John C. Reilly, Jr. And Robert L.  Scheina, Naval Institute Press 1980; The Easter Egg Fleet by Aryeh Wetherhorn, 2020; United States Battleships by Alan Pater, Monitor Book Company
Commanders/Iron Shipwright USS New Jersey BB-16 in 1:350 Scale - I’ve always liked the Virginia Class with an attractive three funnel profile and the double storey turrets. Iron Shipwright has an 1:350 scale model of the USS New Jersey BB-16
in her post Great White Fleet appearance when cage masts replaced the military masts.
ISW gives you optional parts so that you can build the model in various fits in the latter part of the career. This is not a new kit but impressive nonetheless. It is
multimedia with resin, brass photo-etch, brass rods, and 3D printed cage masts. The use of 3D printed cage masts is a new addition to
ISW, as Jon Warneke plans to use more 3D printed parts with ISW models. You also have the option to use brass
cage masts, as they are found on the photo-etch fret. The casting quality is the same as found on other
Iron Shipwright kits. The hull has a good casting but as usual, has some voids along the bottom and a damaged bilge keel. The smaller parts have a
lot of flash and are prone to breakage.
The New Jersey is cast as full hull and since it is cast with the keel up, voids can be found along the bottom and in bottom extensions such as bilge keels that can easily trap air bubbles in the resin casting procedure. With my copy of New Jersey, there
were a few medium size voids on the bottom and many pin hole voids. All of these are easily filled and sanded. There were also a couple of remnants of resin pour stalks will need sanding to bring them flush with the bottom. There are four bilge keels on
the bottom with short bilge keels at the bow and stern on each side. Only one had voids that will need to be repaired with resin or plastic. The small propeller skegs had resin overpour in some areas that will need to be removed. Lastly the extended keel
line to the rudder position also requires some light sanding.  The hull sides have a lot of nice detail. The armored belt at the waterline going up to the main deck just forward on the forward main gun barbette and at the rear main gun barbette are a trifle
thick but after painting will present a nice appearance. There is a nice and clean recess and casemate at each of the six 6-inch gun casemates on each side. There are no locater holes for the gun barrels. However, by the end of the war these 6-inch guns
had been landed. If you are building the 1910 fit, you’ll have to drill out these holes. Two rows of portholes are found at the bow and the stern.  At the bow you get oval anchor hawse fittings and a rectangular panel reinforcing the ram. At the stern you
get panels for hull mounted tertiary guns. These guns were removed earlier than the 6-inch guns. To complete the hull side detail are three small square doors amidships and a series of thin line horizontal fittings extending the length of the hull whose
purpose I don’t know. Last but certainly not least the side 8-inch gun turrets have hull side sponsons giving a nice crescent beyond the hull sides.
Deck detail is profuse as was common with battleships of this era. This detail starts with the anchor fittings at the bow. Four raised U shaped deck anchor hawse are present followed by raised plates running aft to a raised deck house over the chain
locker. Four circular fittings on the forward face of this deck house appear to be the chain locker entrance guides.  On either side are the original anchor washboards used when the ship cated home the anchors to the washboards. Four deck access
coamings are also on the forecastle. Two are on the centerline and two halfway to the deck edge. All have hinge and dog detail and the two closer to the hull edge also have hand wheel detail. There is one centerline twin bollard plate and two each on
each side. The actual bollards will have to be cut from plastic rod. Both main gun barbettes are high and the barbettes for the side 8-inch gun barbettes are even higher. On either side of the forward barbette are deck winches and large deck access
coamings with two deck access hatches with hand wheels to the rear. All of these fittings have good detail. The 01 level has a tall conning tower cast integral to the hull and a large deck house amidship. The deck house has detailed doors with hinge, dog
and port hole detail. The 01 level has two detailed doors forward and one aft on each side. Along the juncture of the 01 bulkheads and main deck are five ventilation hatches on each side. The 01 sides have a linear extension at the top. On the 01 top deck
are circular fittings for the bottom edges of the cage masts. Inside the forward circle is a skylight and deck access hatch. The aft circle has a large ventilation hatch fitting. Each funnel base has numerous ventilation hatches and plates for the funnels and
ventilator cowls.  There are two more skylights on centerline and four more deck access hatches with hand wheels offset towards the deck edge. Two boat skids are on each side. They may have been more detailed if they were brass but are more than
adequate since boats will sit on top. On centerline are two more skylights. The quarter deck has detail similar to the forecastle with detailed deck hatches, deck winches, skylight, raised main gun barbette, ventilation hatches and a stern windlass.
My copy came with six turrets, three main gun and three secondary turrets. Since the model only need two of each, you can pick the best two of each. There are prominent bottom aprons on each type turret and some had voids to be filled and sanded.
Although they were operational flops, you have to love those double storey main gun turrets. With two 12-inch guns below and and an extension of the turret upwards to accommodate two 8-inch guns, these babies will soar into the stratosphere. To
enhance the pure joy of their towering height,
ISW provides plenty of crown detail with a whopping five cupolas, ventilation doors and access hatch. The side 8-inch gun turrets have three cupolas, two ventilation hatches and an aft access hatch on their
crowns. By far the finest of the smaller parts are the three 3D printed cage masts that were in the kit. A brass photo-etch fret that also comes with the kit has three brass cage masts but it is a no brainer to use the 3D cage masts for two very important
reasons, First look at the design of the cage masts. They are of a modified hourglass shape with a slight flare at the top. The 3D masts have the flare while the brass versions do not.  Secondly the 3D masts are far easier to attach, since they start with
the correct shape and there is no need to curve the brass version with a dowel.
The kit came with four identical funnels, even though only three are needed. They have top and bottom aprons and horizontal bands half way up the funnels. Their best feature are the steam pipes that have attachment brackets to the funnels, so the stand
off a little bit from the funnels. The top opening is somewhat shallow. Three boat cranes were included when only two are needed. These cranes have very good detail with cable pulleys, raised exterior edges, very detailed ends with block and tackle and
detailed base with machinery. The bridge has wooden planking although there are no bitt ends, and the upper portion of the conning tower. Two other parts are associated with the bridge but are attached to the forward cage mast. The chart house with
detailed doors actually fit inside the mainmast, aft of the bridge.  A crescent deck behind the bridge wraps around the front face of the cage mast. Eight more pieces are parts of the cage masts’ assembly.  Two are the observation tops of different sizes  
with angled sides and another two are pyramid shaped overheads for the spotting tops. The larger observation top goes on the fore mast. Notes also indicated that in the 1910 fit the aft top may have been round, which would have to be scratch-built.
However, my period postcard (used for the title shot) clearly shows that
New Jersey had a rectangular aft observation top, not a square one. Four more parts are cage mast exterior platforms. Two are searchlight platforms installed in 1914 and two are
torpedo defense platforms in two sizes. The larger one goes on to the main mast, as it rests lower on the mainmast than does the smaller one for the forward cage mast. The notes in the instructions mention small searchlight platforms on the cage masts
for the 1910 fit. These platforms are not included in the kit. However, they are easy to scratch-built from plastic card. They are U shaped. The postcard used for the title of this review clearly shows their positions on both the fore mast and main mast. I
received 31 ventilation cowls of various sizes. The cowls come with horizontal turning junctions cast onto them. Quite a few had casting voids and all will need clean up. Not all of the ventilator cowls have locater holes on the hull/deck casting, so you’ll
need photographic references or a good plan drawing to certify the attachment locations. For the underwater running gear the kit has three propellers, three shaft struts, a rudder and three stockless anchors. The
New Jersey only had two propeller shafts,
so you get spares. Since one propeller had a broken blade and one strut had a broken leg, I’m glad that I got the spares. The kit came with four small QF deck guns but only two searchlights. This is at least six searchlights short, as both searchlight
platforms had four searchlights. Fortunately, a quick e-mail to
ISW will get you the needed searchlights very quickly. Nineteen ship’s boats were included, ranging from a larger whaler and steam launch to a small dinghy. Some of the boats were poorly
cast with translucent hull sides. However, as with other small resin parts, you have spares. You’ll need photographs of the New Jersey to ascertain all of their locations, as some were stacked on the large whaleboats that rest on the integrally cast boat
skids on the 01 deck. The title photograph clearly shows the steam launch resting on top of the forward port whale boat.
There are three brass photo-etch frets that come with the ISW New Jersey. No relief-etching is used. One fret has three cage masts. Use the 3D printed cage masts, instead of these brass ones. The second fret has ship specific items. Included are the
funnel grates, boat davits, mast antennas, three runs of four bar railing and one run of vertical ladder. The last and largest fret has generic items. Included are accommodation ladder platforms, crane block & tackle, inclined ladders with safety railing and
trainable treads, five short runs of vertical ladder, and multiple runs of deck railing of various patterns. Some of the railing has awning stanchions and top bars. Also included in the kit is a sheet of decals that are 45 and 46 star flags in waving and
straight styles. Use the 46 star flag.

The instruction set consists of eight single sided sheets. These instructions are very old but are different from other instructions from
ISW. Typical ISW instructions are drawings only that are missing certain things or confusing. Sure, you get drawings
here that miss many things and are confusing, but you also get text instructions, not normally found in
ISW instructions Page one is just general instructions with a small photograph of New Jersey around 1910 with small individual searchlight platforms
on the cage masts. Page two is the start of five pages of text instructions written by
Quintin Trammell. These text instructions enhance the overall usefulness but still don’t cover everything. Page two has text on paint schemes and New Jersey in the
1910 to 1913 fit with the small searchlight platforms. Page three covers the ship from 1914 to 1918 and construction of the deck parts. Page four starts the assembly of the cage masts, although it describes forming the brass cage masts. When these
instructions were written the kit did not have 3D printed cage masts. Page five finishes the cage mast assembly with text on assembly of the ship’s boats and cranes. Page six has finishing assembly and rigging. Page seven has a resin parts laydown with
most of the parts numbered or lettered, a drawing of the forecastle assembly and a drawing of the amidship assembly. Page eight has drawings of assembly of the fore mast, main mast, stern and accommodation ladders. Even with the augmentation of
text coverage, some items such as boat arrangement, QF gun locations and many ventilation cowl locations will have to be researched.
The Iron Shipwright USS New Jersey BB-16 in 1:350 scale presents a very interesting model. It comes with resin parts, 3D printed cage masts, three brass photo-etch frets and a decal sheet. A few areas of the assembly will require additional
research. However, the makings are there to build a very attractive and unusual model of the
New Jersey with her delicious double storey main gun turrets.

Steve Backer
Huntsville, Alabama