There was a significant design change with the last two cruisers of the New Orleans Class. These were the USS Quincy (CA-39)  and USS Vincennes (CA-44). This change made them noticeably different from all of the other ships in the class.
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
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 Quincy. They all differed in appearance 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 Quincy. 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 because she was most like San Francisco and has the least number of parts to replace, primarily the main gun turrets, as Astoria had the heavy round face
turrets carried by
New Orleans, Minneapolis and Astoria.
USS Vincennes CA-44 was the last of the class to be built and along with Quincy had the most modifications from the other New Orleans Class cruisers. Both ships were built to a modified design with their A main gun turret moved eight feet aft
and B turret raised six inches to clear the closer A turret and thinner funnels.
Vincennes was laid down January 2, 1934, launched on May 21, 1936 and commissioned on February 24, 1937. In April had shake down cruises to Scandinavia,
France and England. In January 1938 she joined CRUDIV 7 of the Scouting Force and went to the Pacific, where she operated from Sn Pedro, California. She was at Mare Island, near Sn Francisco in April 1939 when she received orders
transferring her back to the Atlantic.
Vincennes was on Neutrality Patrol from September 1, 1939 into 1940 in the Caribbean and the east coast. In May she was sent to the Azores and French Morocco. With the fall of France, Vincennes was
tasked with transporting French gold reserves from Casablanca to the United States. She left Casablanca on June 10, 1940 and after landing the gold went back on Neutrality Patrol until January 1941 when she went in Norfolk for a short refit.
After a short period of patrolling off the east coast, the
Vincennes changed her area of operations to the south Atlantic. In March 1941 she steamed to Brazil and South Africa and her missions also included carrying British troops to Capetown,
South Africa. On January 4, 1942
Vincennes was back in Norfolk and was assigned another refit at New York Navy Yard, She then worked with USS Hornet CV-8 off the east coast, helping with the Hornet’s shake down. On March 4, 1942
Vincennes left for the west coast.
On April 2 Vincennes was part of TF 18 and left San Francisco escorting USS Hornet, which was loaded with B-25s. After joining USS Enterprise and TF 16, Vincennes was still with Hornet when she launched the Doolittle raid on Japan. On
April 25 she returned to Pearl Harbor. On May 29 she left Pearl Harbor for Midway and then returned to Pearl Harbor where she remained into July. On July 26, 1942
USS Vincennes joined TF 62 as flagship of TG 62.3 for the amphibious
operation against Guadalcanal and Tulagi.
Vincennes then provided antiaircraft support for the landings. On the night of August 8-9, 1942 Vincennes was with sisterships Astoria and Quincy as the eastern patrolling force when they were
surprised by Japanese cruisers and destroyers at the Battle of Savo Island. All three were sunk by Japanese torpedoes and gunfire.
The Kraken Hobbies set depicts the appearance of Vincennes at the Battle of Savo Island. Her bridge work is very different from the San Francisco as she had a shorter superstructure, lacking an AA bridge.  The barbette for B 8-inch turret
was higher than most of the others in the class and also was not enclosed completely by the 01 level of the superstructure. Both
Vincennes and Quincy had higher search light towers. She also carried SC radar on the forward mast. With the
Kraken Vincennes conversion set you get 22 parts including: Turret 1 Barbette; 8/55 MK12 Turrets x3; 01 Deck; Signal Bridge; Navigating Bridge Brace; Navigating Bridge; Battle Lookout level; Fire Control Platform; MK34 MBD x2; MK33 Gun
Director x2; Forward Funnel; Searchlight Tower; Aft Funnel; Projection Room insert; 5/25 Practice Loader; Catapult Towers; Hangar with accurate Boat Deck above; and Aft Con. To really see how magnificent the conversion will be, look at the
comparison of the
Kraken parts with the Trumpeter parts. I especially love the bridge with open windows and open doors. It just calls for MicroKlear glazing of the windows and relief-etched brass doors in the open position with a crewman
going through. The 3D printed parts are of excellent quality. The open Mk. 33 directors will knock your socks off. Take your time when you remove each part from the casting stalks. These photographs show only the forward superstructure
and directors. Not shown are the hangar, funnels and replacement turrets that also come with the full conversion set.
If you want to travel a different road for a New Orleans Class cruiser, the Kraken Hobbies controls the interstate traffic with the 3D printed USS Vincennes CA-44 conversion set. You start with the Trumpeter 1:350 scale kit of the USS San
in her 1942 fit and then you put the peddle to the metal with the Kraken Vincennes conversion set. The forward superstructure and 01 level with exposed barbette for B turret are so different from those areas on San Francisco,
coupled with high searchlight tower, magnificent Mk. 34 directors and wondrous Mk. 33 directors will win any drag race.

Steve Backer
Huntsville, Alabama