There is currently only one 1:350 scale injection-molded plastic kit of USS Arizona, though one may think that there are three. In actuality, it is the same kit boxed
under three different labels, Banner, Trumpeter and more recently, Hobby Boss. I have the Banner labeled kit but I haven’t built it yet as I wanted to wait for all of
the glorious after-market sets that I was sure would come out to improve what is otherwise an underwhelming kit. There have been some products like photo-etch
sets and brass barrels, but these still didn’t quite cover some of the issues with the kit. Now with 3-D printed parts from
Model Monkey, there is a veritable
plethora of replacement and conversion parts to help make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Just one example of
Model Monkey 3-D printed upgrade product is the
14"/45 cal. triple turrets. There are two versions of the triple turrets offered by
Model Monkey, one with printed barrels and one without; the latter version is the
subject of this review. The turrets are offered in pairs, so you will need to purchase two sets to fully equip your
USS Arizona model. The turrets are printed in
“frosted ultra detail”, which is a matte translucent plastic. Each turret is hollow, with a pair of notched pillars inside and with the barbette apron on the bottom. A
separate trunnion, to which the barrels are attached to, fits into the notched pillars inside the turret and can be glued in either a straight or elevated position. The
separate trunnion was attractive to me as I can use the turned brass barrels I already have.

According to
Model Monkey, the design of the turrets is based two source drawings: Bureau of Ordnance drawing O.P. 1112 (2nd Revision) dated January 15,
1945 and Alan B. Chesley plans. While I do not have the source drawings to make a comparison to, I did place one turret next to a kit turret and as you can see
from the different photos, the
Model Monkey turrets simply look better and more to scale in my opinion. No assembly instructions are provided but you really don’
t need any. The way
Model Monkey works is that the proprietor, Steve Larsen, designs the parts and the CAD file is used by Shapeways to print the part. So
when you order a part from
Model Monkey, it is printed on demand by Shapeways, which then ships them directly to you. Due to the printing process, it is
strongly recommended that before painting the parts that they be washed with Dawn or other mild dishwashing fluid and then sun dried for a few hours for final
curing. Shapeways uses a waxy substance in the production process, which will undermine painting efforts unless cleaned as instructed. Also acrylic paints are
recommended over enamels and I prefer the latter. I haven’t painted the turrets yet, so I cannot opine on whether enamels will work or not, but I hope they will as I
have several
Colourcoat tinlets set aside for this project.
The turrets are just one of many parts designed by Model Monkey to improve the Arizona kit and there are even parts to convert the kit to a Pennsylvania in
different fits. The triple 14” turrets can also be used on the
Iron Shipwrights kits of the USS Nevada and Oklahoma if you so wish. The turrets from Model
will certainly improve the plastic kit, whatever label you may have, and are recommended. My thanks to Steve Larsen at Model Monkey for providing
the review samples.
Felix Bustelo