The New Orleans Class USN heavy cruisers have always been a favorite among modelers. Most are familiar with the Trumpeter USS San Francisco 1942 and 1944 fits in 1:350 scale. However, the San Francisco turrets are not correct for all
members of the class. Starting with
USS Tuscaloosa CA-37 the ships of the class had a lighter weight turret with a flat face, the 8-Inch/55 Mk 12. These are the turrets carried by San Francisco The first three ships in the class, New Orleans CA-32,
Astoria CA-34, and Minneapolis CA-36 had heavier rounded face turrets and the Trumpeter San Francisco turrets would be incorrect for them. Kraken Hobbies has a set of three 8-Inch/55 Mk 9 rounded face turrets, which replicate the lines of the
turrets carried by the first three cruisers of the class.
Kraken provides two options, turrets with blast bags or turrets without blast bags. This review covers the turrets with blast bags. The blast bags are cast integral to the turrets. The barrels are cast
separately but when you attach the barrels to the turrets, they will be at a fixed angle. The guns with the turrets without blast bags can be trained at an elevation selected by the modeler. My preference is the turrets with blast bags, as it eliminates the
need to fabricate the bags. As you can see from the photographs, the turrets have range finder ends (ears) outside the turret rear. Other fittings on the sides and crown of the turret are also present. However, the key to these turrets is the front face.
Notice how they curve downward from the crown to the base. It certainly is different from the flat face turrets found in the
San Francisco kit. The turrets and guns will have to be cut from the rafts upon which they rest and then there will be minor
sanding to remove any residue from the stalks but this is a simple matter. The barrels do have hollow muzzles. These turrets give the opportunity to model the Solomons Campaign veterans
New Orleans and Minneapolis or the ill fated Astoria. Having
been born in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota all I can say is don't let
Minnie down.
The Kraken Hobbies 1:350 scale 8-Inch/55 Mk 9 turrets are a necessity for any modeler who wishes to build the first three cruisers of the New Orleans Class heavy cruisers. USS New Orleans CA-32, USS Astoria CA-34, and USS Minneapolis
CA-36 all carried this turret, which featured a rounded front face. Starting with
USS Tuscaloosa CA-37 the other ships in the class, including San Francisco, carried lighter, flat front face 8-Inch/55 Mk 12 turrets, which are included in the Trumpeter
1:350 scale kits of
San Francisco.

Steve Backer
Huntsville, Alabama