In the mid 1950s Revell made a significant shift in their design of plastic warship kits. When Revell started producing plastic warships, all of the kits shared a common feature, a flat bottom that was not based upon reality. Just look at the kits of the
New Jersey, Los Angeles, Midway, Radford and others and you’ll see what I mean. For a kid the flat bottom was good because they wouldn’t roll on the carpet. It was always bad when your flagship rolled belly up in the face of the other kid's enemy
fleet. This was especially important in the case of the
Midway in order to prevent the air wing from sliding off the deck into the carpet if the ship rolled. However, in the mid-1950s Revell introduced their second generation model kits with a far more
accurate rounded bottom. One of the first second generation kits was the Revell model of the angled deck
USS Essex in a box scale of 1:540. I still remember how impressed I was with the detail in that kit when I built it as a kid. I think that the Essex
was only produced originally and that subsequent releases were of sister ships of the class but I could be wrong. The air wing included in the box was the big difference among the various releases, two-thirds a century has elapsed but the Revell 1:540
scale angled deck
Essex Class carrier is still produced from time to time and still is a favorite among modelers for construction of a moderately large angled deck Essex.
Mark Tutton runs Starfighter Decals, which produces not only decal sheets for the various Revell 1:540 scale Essex Class carriers and air wings, but also produces resin accessories that significantly enhances this vintage kit. One such product is
Essex 27C Class Hangar, Starfighter stock number 540-02. There are eighteen resin parts in the kit that corrects the fit problem in the Revell plastic parts and provides more detail. It also includes the hangar deck for the interior, which is not
part of the Revell kit. This is significant because with all of the side bulkhead openings, a large part of the hangar deck can be seen. Most of the parts are replacements for the side hangar bulkheads. The detail gets finer and sharper than the Revell
parts but also opens segmented sliding curtains that were closed in the Revell kit for which the hangar deck can be seen.
The parts count is eleven bulkheads, two platforms and a bar correcting and attaching the starboard aft platform to the hull. Four parts are the resin hangar deck. Most of the bulkhead parts will have to be removed from runners and the bottoms sanded
smooth to get a flush fit with the hull. Resin casting quality is very good with minimal flash and no casting voids. The
Starfighter bulkheads have bulkhead platforms cast integral with the bulkhead, rather than presented as a separate part in the Revell
kit. Some bulkheads had a slight warp that can be corrected by heating in a microwave. I recommend a starting time of one minute. All of the sliding segmented door positions are entirely open. If you want to have some closed or half open, you can
use the Revell part or cut of the segmented doors from the Revell part and use it on the
Starfighter bulkhead.
The four hangar deck parts have the same metal panels with tie downs pattern. To use the hangar parts to correct the width of the Revell kit, Starfighter states that the hull will have to be waterlined. Some adjustments will also have to be made to
insure a flush fit. Two pages of instructions are included. These have step by step assembly instructions with photographs and text. Starfighter Wing Commander Tutton not only “Talks the talk” but also he “Walks the walk”. For Texans he is all hat
and all cattle. He will enter his build of the ancient mariner Revell 1:540 scale
Essex Class carrier in the highest competition. When I attended the IPMS 2019 National Convention in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Mark was there and had entered his build of
the Revell kit as
USS Wasp CVS-18 in the competition. Do you want to bet that he used the Starfighter Essex 27C Hangar Deck set in his build of the Wasp? Of course he did. Just take a look at the aft starboard side elevator with deck tractor and
crew on the hangar deck inside the elevator opening. Without this set, there would be just an empty void.
The Starfighter Essex 27C Class Hangar Deck set, as well as other Starfighter products, are highly recommended to breath new life into that Revell Lazarus, the 1:540 scale USS Essex Class plastic kit. The kit has been around since the 1950s but
it looks as fresh as today with these
Starfighter products.

Steve Backer
Huntsville, Alabama