The New Orleans Class cruisers have always been popular with modelers. Trumpeter has produced 1:350 scale models of the USS San Francisco in her 1942 fit at the Battle of Guadalcanal and in her refitted 1944 appearance. Other members of the
New Orleans Class fought off the shores of Guadalcanal and they differed in appearance from San Francisco, what about the? USS Astoria, USS Vincennes and USS Quincey all differed from San Francisco and each other and all fell victim to the
cruisers and destroyers of the Imperial Japanese Navy at the Battle of Savo Island on August 9, 1942 at the start of the Guadalcanal campaign. Until now the modeler the modeler was out of luck if he wanted to build one of these ill-fated cruisers. The
differences from
San Francisco would have to be scratch-built. Now times have changed and the horizon of the modeler has greatly expanded. Kraken Hobbies produces three 3D printed conversion sets, one to model Astoria, one for Vincennes and
a third for
Quincey. Each set comes with the necessary 3D printed parts to use on the Trumpeter 1942 San Francisco to portray one of the three Savo Island sisters. The sets vary in price depending upon the number of parts in the set. At $48 the
Astoria conversion set is the most economical.
The Astoria conversion set comes with ten parts. These are; 01 Deck with accurate 20mm layout, aft con, platform for rear face of the hangar, MK28 Gun Directors x2, MK31 MBD x2, and 8/55 MK9 "Round Face" Turrets x3. The turrets are
available with or without blast bags. The turrets are not shown in this review. Since they are also available separately, I decided to have a separate review on just the three turret set with blast bags. The parts come on rafts with stalks connecting the
parts to the raft. The smaller parts come in plastic containers with a double sided substance affixing the parts to the container to prevent shipping damage. I can attest to the effectiveness of the adhesive. It need a little work to free the parts from their
adhesive base. While trying to remove the aft platform raft from the container, the platform popped off the connecting stalks with no damage to the platform. Just be careful to not exert too much pressure in the removal process.
To help distinguish the differences between the Trumpeter kit parts with the Kraken conversion parts, I have included photographs of both parts together, if appropriate. The parts of the 01  deck serves to show the significant differences between
Astoria and San Francisco. Look at the completely different shape of the splinter shields on this part. The Kraken parts has open portholes and open doors of the 01 bulkhead, so with brass photo-etch parts, you can portray these doors open or
closed. The 3D part does have very fine deck planking but unlike the Trumpeter part, it doesn't have butt end detail. The after control position is the second largest part and also has significant differences with the Trumpeter part. The splinter
shielding is very different. Also the
Kraken part has open portholes, open doors and vision slits on the control position, all of which are missing on the Trumpeter part. The upper platform that is integral to this part is very fine and since it is integral,
eliminates the fiddling normally encountered in attaching a platform to a photo-etch lattice. Look at the comparison, or more accurately contrast photographs of the 3D
Kraken directors and the Trumpeter plastic directors. The Trumpeter parts
appear almost crude in comparison. My only complaint is that there are no instructions. The conversion set comes with a sheet on the set but it merely describes the contents. Although almost all of the parts are direct substitutions for Trumpeter
parts and the attachment locations are obvious, it would be nice to have a little text and some drawings on instructions to serve as an emotional control and warm, soft, security blanket for the anxious modeler.
The Kraken Hobbies USS Astoria CA-34 3D printed conversion set is an excellent product. These very high quality parts allow the modeler to convert the Trumpeter 1:350 scale USS San Francisco in her 1942 fit into the ill-fated USS Astoria
with minimal fuss and breath new life into the Trumpeter kit.

Steve Backer
Huntsville, Alabama