"That whereas the battleship sea monster we are imitating has been named the Dreadnought – an archaic name – this man o’war is hereby named the Skeered o’Nothin’ as an expression of our true American spirit: provided further, that it is
hereby made the duty of the first captain who shall command her to challenge in the nation’s name the so-called Dreadnought to a duel a l’outrance, to take place upon the sea somewhere in sight of Long Island, and upon that occasion of the
combat the President and his Cabinet … shall be entertained on the quarter deck as guests of the ship and the nation.
" Congressional Motion of John S. Williams, Representative from Mississippi, on the naming of the first all big gun American
battleship,
Dreadnought by Richard Hough, Page 37. When the USS Michigan was laid down Representative Williams and many others deplored this step in the evolution of the battleship. As it was, Congress had a tremendous impact on the
revolutionary design of the ship by mandating that the displacement be no greater than 16,000 tons.

The
Michigan and her sistership, the South Carolina, have the distinction of being the first all big gun battleships to be authorized for construction, as approval came from Congress early in 1905. After that event however, they were put on hold. The
problem was an impassioned division of opinion as to the value of fewer and larger all big gun battleships versus a greater quantity of mixed gun battleships. This same debate occurred in Great Britain, where Jackie Fisher was First Lord of the
Admiralty. There, Admiral Fisher steam rolled his opposition led by long time opponent Admiral Charles Beresford, who opposed the all big gun
Dreadnought. Because of the determination of Fisher, the Dreadnought was built with incredible speed to
become the first all big gun battleship in existence and to allow the Royal Navy to steal a march on the rest of the world.
In the United States the proponent for smaller mixed battery battleships was no less than Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan. Captain Mahan saw the Battle of Tsushima as validating the "Rain of Fire" of smothering exposed gun crews with large numbers of
medium caliber shells. On the other side, expressing the feelings of the radicals, who saw the all big gun ship as the battleship of the future was Lt. Commander William Sims. However, Sims and the other radicals had the support of the man who
mattered most, President Theodore Roosevelt, who almost always thought bigger was better. Roosevelt appointed Sims to prepare a report on the pros and cons in the battleship debate. As a result Sims totally demolished Mahan’s arguments in favor of
the mixed gun battleship. As Teddy Roosevelt stated, "
But the strength of the Navy rests primarily upon its battleships, and in building these battleships it is imperatively necessary, from the standpoint alike of efficiency and economy, that they
should be the very best of their kind.
" However, this took time and more than 18 months were to pass from the time Michigan was approved by Congress to when she was laid down.

The tightly clenched fist of Congress on the Federal money bag led to the most radical element of the design of the
Michigan, the superfiring main gun turrets. For the last time, Congress put a cap on the final displacement of a battleship by mandating
that it was not to exceed 16,000 tons. This was only a slight increase over the
Connecticut Class predreadnoughts and 2,000 tons less than Dreadnought. It was not until 1922 that the cap again appeared on battleship displacement but then it was
because of international treaty. The designers of
Michigan had to incorporate the most offensive punch into a minimum size.
The first designs contemplated fore and aft twin 12-inch turrets and two single 10-inch turrets on each side. Then it was decided to use the same arrangement but all to be 12-inch guns. However, the weight and hull stress imposed by the wing turret
design made it a poor design for the 16,000 ton limit. By combing the four single 12-inch wing turrets into two twin 12-inch superfiring turrets, the goal was attainable within the Congressional displacement limit. The monitor
Florida was modified to
test the concussion and blast effects of superfiring turrets. As a result of these tests a new turret design emerged that allowed for the lower turrets to be worked without undue effects from the firing of the upper turrets.

The final result was a very unusual design for the time. The
Michigan was the first battleship to have superfiring main guns as well as the cage mast, which came to characterize American battleships for the next 30 years. The cage mast was designed
to provide a light weight structure that would insulate range finders from vibration and yet would be strong enough to survive major caliber shell strikes. Tests of a cage mast on the
San Marcos, ex-Texas, seemed to validate the design theory.  It was
not until January 1918 that one weakness in this design was discovered. In that month the forward cage mast of
Michigan collapsed in a storm. As laid down Michigan was to receive two offset military masts, placed diagonally amidships, which
would double as boat cranes. When the design was given cagemasts on the centerline, these military masts were cut down to become kingposts for the boat cranes.   
Coupled with these advanced features, were some regressive features, required compromises as a result of the displacement limit. At 452 feet in length, Michigan was only 12 feet longer than then Connecticut Class predreadnought. The maximum
speed of the predreadnoughts was 18 knots, so that was the designed speed for the
Michigans that were constructed with Vertical Triple Expansion steam engines instead of the turbines, which gave the Dreadnought a speed of 21 knots. The
displacement limit also gave the midships superstructure of the
Michigan a piled-up look very similar to the USN predreadnoughts. "The two ships when completed will, in appearance, be distinctly different from any of our other battleships. The
most noticeable feature, of course, will be the four 12-inch gun turrets and their guns, mounted in pairs on the axial line of the ship, two forward and two aft of the superstructure. The doubling up in the number of 12-inch gun turrets and the
placing of them one ahead of the other, has necessarily shortened the length of the superstructure, and crowded the masts, smokestacks, etc., into a shorter space amidships, a fact which is readily noticeable on looking at the engraving of the
new ships. In order to save weight the freeboard of the ship has been reduced by the depth of one deck, or about 8 ft., from aft of the superstructure to the stern.
" The Scientific American, reprinted in the Naval Annual 1907 at page 32.

The Scientific American had criticized the superfiring design earlier because of anticipated serious effects of blast of the upper pair but by 1907 had changed its tune. "
We are informed, however, that particular attention has been given by the Navy
Department to this difficulty, and that by virtue of the improved sighting ports and the closely-fitting port shields employed, and other arrangements, it will be possible, in an emergency, to fire any of these 12-in. guns in any position of
training without serious interference with the work of the other gun crews. If this should prove to be the case, our Navy Department will be the subject for congratulation on having produced, in proportion to their displacement, by far the most
powerful fighting ships built or building in the world today; for it must be remembered that these vessels are of but 16,000 tons displacement, while the latest battleship designs of other Governments are of from 18,000 to 19,000 tons
displacement.
" The Naval Annual 1907, J. Griffin & Co. 1907, at pages 33 and 34.
USS Michigan BB-27 was laid down December 17, 1906 by the New York Ship Building Company of Camden, New Jersey. She was launched on May 26, 1908. In spite of the delay for resolution of the naval infighting, when the Michigan completed
in August 1909, she was the first non-British dreadnought to enter service on January 4, 1910. The
Michigan had a length of 452-feet 9-inches (oa)(138m) and 450-feet (137.2m) at the waterline. The beam was 80-feet 5-inches (24.5m) with a draught
of 24-feet7-inches (7.5m). Her displacement met the Congressional restrictions of 16,000-tons normal, 17,617-tons full load. In addition to the eight 12-inch/45 (305mm) main guns in the four turrets, secondary armament was twenty-two 3-inch/50
(76mm) and two 21-inch (533mm) submerged torpedo tubes with one on each beam. The main armor belt ranged from 1- to 8-inches (254mm-203mm) with armor over magazines 12 to 10-inches (305mm-254mm). Machinery protection was 11 to 9-
inches (279mm-229mm). Casemate protection for the secondary guns was 10 to 8-inches (254mm-203mm). Turrets had 12-inches (305mm) of armor on their faces while barbette armor was 10 to 8-inches (254mm-203mm). The conning tower has 12-
inches (305mm) of armor and the armored decks were 2.5-inches (63mm) and 2 to 1.5-inches (51mm-38mm). Vertical Triple Expansion engines powered by twelve Babcock and Wilcox boilers turned the two shafts for a maximum speed of 18.5-knots.
The
Michigan had a range of 5,000nm at 10-knots.

The Navy didn’t sit on its butt, waiting to see how the
Michigan turned out. Even before the battleship was laid down, they were finishing the follow up design. This design would be longer, wider, more seaworthy and most importantly, carry a 5th 12-
inch gun turret aft. This X turret was between the superfiring Q turret and the last Y turret, so it didn’t have axial fire, only broadside fire. The
USS Delaware BB-28 and North Dakota BB-29 were 518-feet 9-inches long with a beam of 85-feet 3-inches
and draft of 27-feet 4-inches.  Displacement was 20,380-tons normal, a jump of over 4,000-tons over the
Michigan Class. The same model 12-inch/45 gun was carried in the main gun turrets but the secondary battery was dramatically improved.
Instead of the puny 3-inch/50 guns of
Michigan, the Delaware Class carried fourteen 5-inch/50 guns., as well as two submerged 21-inch torpedo tubes. The armor scheme was also improved. The machinery plant received a big boost, allowing a
maximum speed of 21-knots.
Delaware was laid down on November 11, 1907, less than a year after Michigan, launched on February 6, 1909 and commissioned on April 4, 1910, only months after Michigan.
The next class of battleships followed quickly. The USS Florida BB-30 and USS Utah BB-31 were not quite repeats of the Delaware Class, but they were close.  Slightly longer at 521-feet 6-inches, significantly greater beam at 88-feet 2.5-inches and a
draft of 28-feet 6-inches. Displacement was almost 2,000-tons greater with 21,828-tons normal. The main guns and secondary battery remained  the same, except that
Florida carried two fewer 5-inch guns and included two 3-inch guns. It was easy to
distinguished the
Florida Class from the Delaware Class because the Delaware Class had the main cage mast between the two funnels, while the Florida Class had the main cage mast aft of the 2nd funnel. Florida was laid down on March 9, 1909,
launched May 12, 1910 and commissioned on September 15, 1911. For the design after the
Florida, the Navy decided to make another big leap. Just as the Delaware was a big leap over the Michigan, the two ships of the Wyoming Class, USS
Arkansas
BB-33 and USS Wyoming BB-32, would be a big jump from the Florida Class, by adding a 6th centerline main gun turret. Only the HMS Agincourt carried more main gun turrets on the centerline. In a conference on July 2, 1908 the
characteristics of this class were discussed. The participants knew that the Royal Navy was looking at the 13.5-inch gun for new construction, so a 14-inch gun was favored. Since the US had not yet developed a 14-inch gun, it was decided not to wait
for it’s development but instead throw in more 12-inch guns in the new design.

USS Arkansas BB-33 was authorized in 1909 and the construction contract awarded to New York Shipbuilding Company with their yard in Camden, New Jersey. She was laid down on January 25, 1910. The ship was launched on January 14, 1911, at
which time the
Arkansas was proclaimed the most powerful battleship yet. At the Philadelphia Navy Yard on September 17, 1912 USS Arkansas was commissioned, ahead of her sistership, the Wyoming. There was a huge increase in size and
displacement over the
Florida Class. The ships were 562-feet (171.3m) (oa) in length with 554-feet (168.9m) at the waterline. The beam was 93-feet 2-inches (28.4m), a five foot increase over Florida and a draft of 28-feet 7-inches (8.7m) mean. In
addition to the twelve 12-inch guns, the class went to twenty-one 5-inch guns , eight 3-inch guns and two 21-inch torpedo tubes. The ships had an 11-inch (28cm) belt; 11-inch on lower casemates; 6.5-inch on upper casemates; 12-inches on turrets;
11-inch on barbettes; 11.5-inch on conning tower; and a 3-inch armored deck. The machinery plant had twelve Babcock & Wilcox boilers and four Parsons turbine engines, which developed 28,000 horsepower for a maximum speed of 20.5-knots.
Both ships were anchored in the Hudson River, next to Manhattan on October 14, 1912 for the Naval Review for President William Howard Taft. The President boarded the
Arkansas, which steamed south to the Panama Canal, which Taft inspected.
President Taft reboarded the
Arkansas on December 26 and the battleship took the President to Key West, Florida. The Arkansas started 1913 in maneuvers with the Atlantic Fleet but late in October she was dispatched on a good will mission to the
Mediterranean. She was anchored at Naples, Italy on November 9, 1913. While there,
Arkansas broke a Navy record by loaded 687 tons of coal from the collier, USS Cyclops in one hour. At the end of the visit the ship participated in the celebration of
the birthday of the King of Italy. In 1914 there was a revolution in Mexico and President Woodrow Wilson sent the
Arkansas, along with other ships of the Atlantic Fleet, to Vera Cruz. On April 22, 1914 she supported the landing of marines and sailors
at Vera Cruz. In the city fighting that ensued, one seaman from
Arkansas was killed and seven wounded. While at Vera Cruz the Arkansas was visited by Captain Franz von Papen, the Imperial German Military Attaché to the United States and Mexico.
As World War One erupted across the world, the United States remained neutral and Arkansas took on a regimen of training and maneuvers with the Atlantic Fleet. On January 20, 1917 the Arkansas sent a Guard of Honor Battalion to Washington DC
for the funeral of Admiral George Dewey.
Arkansas was part of Battleship Division Seven in the York River, Virginia when the United States declared war against Germany. For a while she patrolled the east coast but in July 1918 Arkansas received
orders to proceed to Rosyth, Scotland to replace the
USS Delaware for duty with the Grand Fleet. For the trip across the Atlantic that started on July 14, Arkansas carried a collection of rubber-neckers from the House Naval Affairs Committee. On
July 27
Arkansas was in the North Sea heading towards Scotland when a periscope was sighted. Arkansas went to her maximum speed of 20-knots and turned to present her stern to the U-Boat. One of her high angle guns fired 35 rounds at the
periscope. She made a turn to port to avoid a torpedo, as escorting destroyers charged towards the U-Boat. At 2121
Arkansas slowed to her cruising speed and resumed her original course. The next day she reached Rosyth. For the rest of the war
Arkansas was part of Grand Fleet’s Sixth Battle Squadron, along with Texas, New York, Nevada, Wyoming and Florida. Arkansas had one more run in with a U-Boat. On August 3, 1918 a periscope was sighted at 400 yards. Arkansas fired at the
periscope, but contact was soon lost.
Arkansas, along with the rest of the Sixth Battle Squadron rendezvoused with the German High Seas Fleet off May Island off Scotland as escorts for the German ship’s internment. On December 1, 1918 Admiral
David Beatty, the Grand Fleet commander, visited the flagship of the Sixth Battle Squadron, the
USS New York to bid farewell to the USN component of the Grand Fleet. The American ships steamed south to Portsmouth. From there they steamed into
the Atlantic to meet the liner
SS George Washington, carrying President Woodrow Wilson to Brest, France. Brest was reached on December 13 and as President Wilson continued to Paris, the Arkansas steamed west to New York City, which was
reached on December 26, 1918. The
Arkansas provided three battalions of sailors, as well as her marine company for the New York City victory parade.

Her next significant action in May 1919 the
Arkansas served as a reference ship in assisting USN Flying Boats in their attempt to cross the Atlantic. In September she crossed to the Pacific, where at Seattle, President Wilson inspected the battleship.
Other highlights were a South American cruise in 1921 and a cruise to Europe with midshipmen in 1923. By 1925 the
Arkansas had been active for 13 years and a World War. It was time for modernization. At the Philadelphia Navy Yard the Babcock &
Wilcox coal fired boilers were replaced by four White-Forster oil fired ones with the installation of fuel pumps and a fuel line system. The original two funnels were removed and a single one fitted. Aircraft handling systems were improved and extra
deck armor installed. Finally the aft cage mast was landed and replaced by a short tripod between Q and X turrets. After this refit the displacement of
Arkansas rose to 27,900-tons standard and 29,000-tons full load. With torpedo bulges the beam
zoomed to 106-feet (32.29m).  The torpedo tubes and 3-inch guns were landed and the 5-inch secondary guns dropped in number to sixteen. The early thirties were spent in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, until in 1932
Arkansas was transferred to the
Pacific where she became flagship of the Pacific Training Squadron in 1934. Although World War Two had erupted in Europe, the
Arkansas was long in tooth and it was planned to dispose of her. In July 1941 Arkansas, New York and the light cruiser  
Brooklyn transported US Army troops to Reykjavik, Iceland to set up a base. After this she was sent to Casco Bay, Maine to await retirement. The plans for Arkansas dramatically changed on December 7, 1941.
On December 14, 1941 Arkansas steamed out of Portland, Maine on patrol to Iceland and then returned to the US via Newfoundland. On March 6, 1942 she arrived at Norfolk, Virginia for a short refit before beginning her role as escort for convoys to
the United Kingdom. During this refit her cage foremast was replaced with a tripod, the battery deck 5-inch guns were landed, two open 5-inch guns, two 3-inch HA guns and four 1.1-inch Chicago Pianos were fitted and twenty 20mm Oerlikons were
added. On July 26 she left Norfolk for New York City to escort her first convoy, which left on August 6. It reached Greenock, Scotland on August 17. The return trip to New York was from August 27 to September 4. At this time she added another
two Chicago Pianos. The next round trip from New York to Scotland and back was from September 26 to October 20. Her next convoy round trip was not to Scotland but to Casablanca, protecting cargo ships supplying Operation Torch. This trip ran
from November 3 to December 11, 1942. In the spring of 1943 the
Arkansas had two more round tips between New York and Casablanca. In April and May the Chicago Pianos were replaced with quadruple 40mm Bofor mounts. In May through
September
Arkansas trained midshipmen in Chesapeake Bay. At the end of 1943 it was back to convoy escort duties in late fall 1943 and early winter 1944 from New York to Bangor, Ireland. On April 18, 1944 the Arkansas started out with another trip
to Bangor, Ireland but instead of returning to New York, she was finally going to see some action. She joined Force O assigned to provide fire support for the Normandy invasion. She joined the
USS Texas, USS Nevada, HMS Warspite, HMS Nelson
and
HMS Rodney. On pre-dawn of June 6, 1944 the Arkansas was 4,000-yards off the beaches of Baie de la Seine, Normandy. At 0530 shell splashes landed near Arkansas as she was spotted and targeted by shore batteries. At 0552 Arkansas replied.
For almost two hours she fired at pre-arranged targets at Les Moulins, Saint Honorine des Pertes and Trevieres with a side trip to shell mobile Flak units near Formigny. At midnight four Ju-88 bombers made an attack with two coming after
Arkansas.
On bomb landed 35 yards from the battleship but the AA gunners of
Arkansas knocked down one of the bombers. More fire support missions followed over the next few days, including blowing up a train. In one German radio broadcast, the Arkansas
was called the
Devil Ship and was promised that the Luftwaffe would sink her. The Luftwaffe tried with dusk attacks but no hits were made. Inside the ship electronic specialists jammed German guided bombs, which were being used in quantity.  In
the navigator’s cabin powerful jammers undertook round-the-clock jamming of the guided bombs. On June 13
Arkansas shelled German tanks at Montmartin. The following night the Arkansas narrowly escaped a guided bomb. At the last second the
jammers picked up its signal, jammed it and the missile landed only 50 yards off the starboard quarter. On June 25
Arkansas moved in to support the capture of Cherbourg. She may have scored some hits on 11-inch coastal guns north of the city’s
airport.  On the 27th
Arkansas was sent back to Weymouth for replenishment.

Her next mission was in the Mediterranean supporting Operation Anvil, the invasion of southern France.  On July 10, 1944
Arkansas, along with Nevada, Texas and five cruisers entered the port of Oran, Algeria. On August 14 Operation Anvil started.
The landings started on the 15th and
Arkansas bombarded a shore battery at Drammont. On the 17th she was ordered to steam back to Oran, which she entered on August 21st. That was it for her service in European waters. She was ordered back to
Boston for a refit.
Arkansas left Oran September 4 and arrived at Boston on September 14, 1944. The refit lasted until November 10, when Arkansas set course for the Panama Canal. During this refit the bridge was reworked, the main mast was
reduced, new radar was installed and two more 3-inch HA guns and another quadruple 40mm Bofor mount were added. Further additions were made later, so that by the end of 1944
Arkansas was carrying six 5-inch, twelve 3-inch HA, nine quadruple
40mm Bofor mounts, and 36 Oerlikons with two quadruple mounts and 28 single mounts.  In European waters she had faced radio controlled bombs but in the Pacific, she would face human controlled bombs in the form of the kamikaze. After stops at
San Pedro, California and Pearl Harbor, she made her way to the forward base of Ulithi Atoll. On February 10, 1945
Arkansas, along with five other 5th Fleet battleships left to support the landings at Iwo Jima. She opened fire for the first time in the
Pacific on the 16th with the special target of the western face of Mount Surabachi, as her Kingfishers sent in spotting reports for the guns. On March 7 she left for Ulithi Atoll having fired 1,262 12-inch rounds. Next up was Okinawa. The rounds fired
at Iwo Jima would be peanuts compared to the 8,721 12-inch rounds she would fire at Okinawa. The first of those rounds left the barrel on March 25, 1945. Landings started on April 1. On April 6 a kamikaze made a dive on the forecastle of
Arkansas
but was downed before striking. During the period volunteers went aboard a LST that had an unexploded bomb. That mission was accomplished without loss. After 46 days of fighting she was sent back to a floating drydock at Apra Harbor, Guam.  
She arrived on May 14, 1945. After a month in the drydock
Arkansas left for Leyte, The Philippines, where she was present when the war ended. Arkansas became part of Operation Magic Carpet, the transportation of troops back to the US. She
reached Seattle, Washington on October 15, 1945. The battleship made three trips in bring troops back home. After this concluded
USS Arkansas had one more mission. At the start of May, Arkansas departed San Francisco, leaving the US for the last
time. After a stop at Pearl Harbor, her next destination, to a remote ocean feature known as Bikini Atoll.
Arkansas was a test target for test Baker, an underwater atomic explosion.  On July 25, 1946 the USS Arkansas was quietly at anchor when
Atomic Bomb Number 5 was detonated.
Arkansas vanished beneath the sea in 20 minutes.

(History from
Battleships of World War Two by M. J. Whitley, Arms and Armour Press 1998; Conway’s All the World’s Fighting Ships, 1906-1921; Dreadnought by Richard Hough; The Naval Annual 1907 edited by T.A. Brassey, J. Griffin &
Co. 1907;
United States Battleships by Alan F. Pater, Monitor Book Company, 1968)
The USS Arkansas 1944 from Tom’s Modelworks in 1:700 Scale - You have to like the USS Arkansas in her late World War Two appearance. With her bulges, she had a short length to width ratio. With a short and squatty look and crammed with
six main gun turrets and loads of AA mounts, the
Arkansas bristles with guns. The Tom’s Modelworks USS Arkansas appears to be as of the Boston refit.  Although it has enough 40mm Bofors parts, the instructions show only 26 Oerlikons, instead
of the 36 carried at the end of the year. Also, I did not see any quadruple Oerlikons, although my source for them could be wrong. Although this kit is not a new release, I was pleased with the casting quality. The only pinhole voids were on the bottom
of the hull with none on the sides or decks. The gun shields around the AA guns are very thin, which makes for a very pleasing appearance. I did see one problem. The forefoot of the cutwater doesn’t have a sharp point where it would meet the water.
The waterline measured 9.42-inches. Since the waterline length of the ship was 554-feet, which is 9.497-inches in 1:700 scale, the hull is slightly underscale, closer to 1:705 scale. The beam is almost spot on. It measure 1.81-inch at the widest point,
which equals 105.6-feet, almost a match for the actual 106-feet beam of the ship. Although there is no flash on the hull, the resin runners for the smaller parts is a different matter. They have plenty of flash. However, flash is easy to remove.

The hull side detail is very nice. It is dominated by the large anti-torpedo tubes. Midships the hull flares upward and outward into almost a long sponson underneath the casemates. The anchor hawse position have shield shaped fittings and the two
forward anchors are cast integral to the hull. There are two nicely done open chain guards at the tip of the forecastle that adds to the busy look at the bow. The bow casemate positions are nicely incised into the hull side, although the guns were
removed long before 1944. The midship casemate positions seem to have gun shutters. The main deck casemates are excellent with clean undercuts of the decks above and hull below. The casemate detail finishes with the two former casemate
positions on either side of the quarterdeck. Along the hull sides are a series of sharp waste exhaust chutes and vertical strakes. Another very nice detail. Are the sponsons with splinter shields that extend outboard from the quarterdeck and overhang the
stern.  
With all of the AA mounts and their attendant splinter-shield tubs, the decks are loaded with details. First of all, the wooden planking is a little bit under average. The planking appears slightly too broad and there are no bitt ends. The forecastle detail has
fair deck anchor hawse with oval fittings. The windlasses are nice with a metal anchor chain run plate and cast on anchor chain. Twin bollard fittings and open chocks line the deck edge. Other detail forward of A barbette are mushroom ventilators,
nicely detailed deck access coamings, single and twin bollards, and what appears to be a gun director. It can’t be a director because it is flat on the deck. On each side of B barbette are splinter shields with support ribs for Oerlikons. Between A
barbette and B barbette are more deck access coamings, a couple of small mushroom ventilators, and base plates for Oerlikons. The 01 level deck is dominated by AA tubs with enclosed tubs at the fore and open backed tubs further aft.  Ready
ammunition lockers are attached to gun tubs or are integral to the 02 level bulkheads. Deck windlass detail is on deck houses aft of the bridge. The 01 level ends just forward of P barbette. Very nice ventilator grills are found here. Also on the deck are
boat cradles and more deck access coamings. To the sides at this position are two more half AA tubs with support ribbing and four three sided Oerlikon positions. The area between P barbette and X barbette have two large mushroom ventilators, a
small skylight, more deck access coamings, smaller mushroom ventilators, twin bollards and open chocks at deck edge, and AA deck plates. More open back AA tubs with support ribbing cluster around X barbette. Other details here are base plates
for the guns, ammunition lockers, deck access coamings and more mushroom ventilators. The quarterdeck between Y barbette and the stern have much the same detail with three two gun Oerlikon positions, One oval position centerline and one three
sided two gun position, overhanging the sides on each quarter, all of which have support ribs.

The smaller resin parts are found in different formats. The funnel is cast separately. Only very minor clean-up is needed at the bottom. The funnel has very nice steam pipes, sirens and top apron. The grate/clinker screen is part of the casting, so the
funnel has limited internal depth. I would have preferred a hollow funnel top with a brass photo-etch grate but that is merely my taste. Three parts are on a very thin resin wafer. These parts are for the forward superstructure. The largest of these has
the 04 and partial 05 levels of the superstructure. The bulkheads have detailed doors, ammunition lockers and electrical pipes. The splinter shield that runs the circumference of this part is admirably thin and has flag bags on the rear internal face. The
partial level 05 is the top of the conning tower and has vision slits. The deck has gun bases and what appears to be binocular stands. A second part is the bulk of level 5, which fits behind the top of the conning tower.  The bulkheads have doors and
portholes, while the splinter shielding has opens for inclined ladders that rise from the level 04 deck. The last part on the wafer is the deck above level 5. It has four search light tubs, thin splinter shielding, a few fittings and deck holes for the legs of
the tripod foremast. There are twelve resin runners with the rest of the resin parts. Most of the runners do have flash that will need to be removed with a hobby knife.
Toms gives you seven 12-inch gun turrets, so you can pick the best six. The
turrets have very thin bottom aprons and sufficiently deep gun openings for the brass barrels that come in the kit. Another runner has level 3 of the superstructure, although the instructions call it level 2. Levels 1 and 2 are actually integral to the hull
casting. This part has binocular tubs, incised square bridge windows, detailed bulkhead doors and flag lockers. Both the forward and aft control positions are on this runner. One runner has eight pieces but five of them are not used on this kit. The
other three are the lower foremast control position with incised square windows and top deck access hatches, crane top platform and mainmast middle platform. Another runner with platforms has five pieces.  According to the instructions, they are all
for the mainmast tripod. A runner of mixed parts has nice 3-inch/50 HA guns, main gun directors, kingposts, kinpost top platform and two cabin launches with cabin windows and deck detail. Ten quadruple 40mm Bofor base mounts are on a runner.
These have moderate detail with spent case chutes at the rear. One runner has 28 Carley rafts with cross-hatch bottoms and edge bands. Three runners have the conical Oerlikon pedestals. The Bofor guns and Mk. 51 directors are on a long runner.
The Bofors are fair with flared muzzles, recoil covers and loading brackets. The last runner has 24-inch searchlights, 36-inch searchlights and Mk. 51 tubs. The kit has two plastic rods of different widths. The thicker one is for the tripod legs and the
thinner one is for yardarms and booms.
Toms includes a clear plastic sprue for two Kingfishers. Each Kingfisher is made from for parts, the aircraft itself with separate center float and wing floats.
Four brass photo-etch frets are included. One is Tom’s set 704 3-bar rail. This includes eleven long runs of three bar railing with bottom scupper in three different patterns, one run of two bar railing and three runs of vertical ladder. The second largest
fret is
Tom’s set 777, Modernized Battleship Details. This fret has the aircraft cranes in two patterns, catapults in two patterns, radars, windlass heads, aircraft cradles, crane hooks and tackle, DF loops and other parts. Not all of these parts are used
because this fret was designed to detail the modernized refits of
Arkansas, Nevada, Texas, New York and Pennsylvania. The other two frets are Tom’s sets 711, 20mm Guns and Shields. Each fret has 40 Oerlikons and separate shields. Turned brass
12-inch gun barrels are included with hollow muzzles. The kit also comes with a
Freetime Decal Sheet, 1:700th Scale USN Warship Decals. On the sheet are white numbers in various sizes, black numbers, white with black shadow numbers in
various sizes, flags in two sizes, jack in two sizes and signal flags. A small decal sheet has the stars for the Kingfishers.
             
The instructions are 16 pages in length on eight back-printed sheets. The last six pages are for the Modernized Battleship photo-etch fret, which in addition to
Arkansas, also has assembly of parts for other battleship classes. Page one has a history of
Arkansas, some helpful tips on the Arkansas fit and general instruction. Page two is a resin parts laydown and parts’ description. Each part is numbered next to it’s picture and the description tells you what the part is. Page three has the Kingfisher
assembly and two pictures of
Arkansas. Page four is a dockyard picture of the ship. Page five has eleven text steps for assembly with insets for Bofor, main mast and forward superstructure assembly. Page six has the main assembly drawing
showing attachment of the major parts to the hull. Page seven has another two photographs of
Arkansas. Page eight has a profile and plan drawn by Alan Raven of Arkansas in 1944 with arrows showing Oerlikon placement. Page nine has another
photograph as well as logos for Blue Ridge Models, Corsair Armada, Starfighter Decals and Art by Wayne, thanking those companies for assisting production of the
Tom’s Arkansas. Page ten has starboard and port profiles of Arkansas’ paint scheme
in Measure 31a Design 7B. As mentioned, the last six pages are those found with
Tom’s fret 777 Modernized Battleship Details. Accordingly, only some of the assemblies shown in these pages are applicable for Arkansas.
The Toms Modelworks USS Arkansas 1944 in 1:700 scale is an interesting kit. It is a true multimedia kit with plenty resin parts, plastic parts, plastic rods, four brass photo-etch frets, turned brass 12-inch gun barrels and two decal sheets. It is a
good kit, although not perfect. If you want a 1:700 scale model of the last operational 12-inch gun fighting battleship, the
Tom’s Arkansas is for you.

Steve Backer
Huntsville, Alabama
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