November 04, 1999
Model ships make comeback as vessel returns to her home
By CLARK PERKS
Shawn Sullivan, Courier-Post There have been many different models of the New Jersey and her Iowa class sister ships. The models have changed to reflect the many changes the ship itself has undergone.
So you want your very own battleship USS New Jersey?
You're in luck.
Models can be found at local hobby shops. And with the ship heading back to its birthplace on the Delaware River, the models are as popular as ever.
"We've sold five Iowa-class battleship models in the past week," said Ian Bowman, assistant manager of Allied Hobbies in the Cherry Hill Mall. "We sold two models of the USS New Jersey the same day.
"Within the past two months we've had 10 to 15 people constantly asking for these models," Bowman said. "So we ordered some and now, as soon as they come in, they're gone."
Alice Polocz, owner of Bob's Hobbies and Crafts in Pitman, also has seen an increase in interest in the New Jersey.
"We've had people in asking about it," Polocz said. "I think there will be more interest when it's here and docked somewhere permanently hopefully in Camden!"
If you want a USS New Jersey model, you have two basic decisions to make: size and money.
Monogram Models of Morton Grove, Ill., made a 16-inch long, 1:720 scale plastic model of the ship in the 1970s. The model's main guns moved up and down and, when turned, the main gun turrets moved in unison.
The company, now called Revell-Monogram, no longer makes a USS New Jersey model. It does make a plastic model of another Iowa class battleship, the USS Missouri. That model is 20 inches long, or 1:535 scale. The model depicts that battleship as it was during World War II. Its main guns move up and down and turn side to side.
According to Bill Lastovich, product planning manager at Revell-Monogram, at one time Revell made models of all four Iowa class ships: the New Jersey, Missouri, Wisconsin and Iowa.
"They did them all out of the same mold," he said. "The Iowa class is one of Revell's oldest molds dating back to the 1960s. It has been a consistently good seller."
Lastovich said the company stopped making the New Jersey in the early 1990s.
However, because all four battleships are essentially the same, the only noticeable difference between a USS New Jersey model and a USS Missouri model is the decals of the ship's name and number. If you leave the decals off, or paint your own name and number on, you'll have your very own USS New Jersey model. And the best part is, it'll only cost you $11.
For a little more money, you can get a model of the USS New Jersey itself. Tamiya Plastic Model Company of Japan makes a battleship New Jersey that's 30 inches long, or 1:350 scale. That model costs $59.99.
"Since they're bringing the ship back," Bowman said, "we're putting together a Tamiya model of the New Jersey to use as a display model."
The model is being painted prior to assembly. The ship is painted dark red below the waterline and a wide stripe along the waterline is black. The top of the ship is painted with a wood grain effect to simulate the ship's teak decking.
Even bigger than the Tamiya model is a 55 1/2-inch-long wooden model of the USS Missouri made by Sterling. Bowman described it as a "balsa wood-type model." That version can also be converted to a floating radio-controlled model with two electric engines. Allied Hobbies sells it for $189.
USS New Jersey models are also made by Fujimi. That plastic model is 12 inches long, 1:700 scale and costs about $30.