Comparison of Tamiya and HMH 1/350 scale USS Enterprise

Hi all,
I've just received my Mini Hobby Models (MHM) Original USS Enterprise,
CVN-65 (although the original designation was CVA(N)-65). Tamiya only offers
the re-fit version of the Big E. MHM, on the other hand, offer the kit in
two versions; a. the original Bee Hive Island (Kit #80502) and b. the re-fit
version (Kit #80501). The other major difference in the kits is the MHM
versions offer a split (up and down ) hull, so you can complete the kit in
either the full hull or waterline versions. Also, in the Tamiya kit, the bow
section of the hull comes as a separate section to be glued and bolted on to
the rest of the hull, whereas the HMH version comes with the upper hull
already screwed and glued together. The MHM kit is also set up for electric
power with built in battery boxes in the lower hull part, but no motors or
gearing is included in the kit.
The Bee Hive looks strangely elongated on the MHM box picture, and it is
also strangely elongated on the kit itself. The kit does not include all the
little radars that stick out on the Bee Hive on the real thing. The hull of
the MHM kit is really for the re-fit version of Enterprise. As in the Tamiya
kit, there are weapons sponsons forward that were put on during the refit,
the outlines of which will have to be removed from the kit to do the older
version. There are also other weapons sponsons, mostly for Phalanx guns,
that will have to be modified and/or scratch built to back date them to the
earlier version. Also, the life rafts on the re-fit version are rounded
while the original life rafts were in square boxes.
There is no question the MHM kit is a derivative of the Tamiya kit, judging
from the hull and the flight decks. However, the Tamiya molding is sharper
and cleaner. The number 65 is molded into the fore of the flight deck of
both. However, they are different and both are incorrect. Why the numbers
were molded in at all is a mystery to me. The ship's parts sprues are
similar, but not exactly the same. The odd thing is the elevators in the MHM
kit seem to be more detailed than those of the Tamiya kit. The air wing
sprues are the same in both kits, so you're going to have to buy Skyhawks,
Phantoms, and Vigilantes from another source if you want to do a 1960's
version of the Big E. This month's Squadron Mail Order is offering Trumpeter
jet plane sets for $3.99 each. I bought sets of A-7s, A-6Es, A-3s, and E-2Cs
from them.
The Tamiya version has three of the four elevator doors open on the kit, so
putting in a hanger deck will be fairly easy. The MHM version has three of
the four elevators closed on the kit, so you're going to have to do some
surgery to open them up for a hanger deck.
I am building the Bee Hive version. I'm going to use the BeeHive dome and
radars from an old Otaki 1/400 scale Big E. The difference in scale between
the 1/400th and 1/350 kits is about 12 ½ %, so I'm going to use a little
modification and a little license on these parts. For the island itself, I
will use the MHM parts, as it will be much easier than trying to up-size the
entire Otaki island. I'm also going to use the square life raft boxes from
the Otaki kit.. I'm going to use the MHM hull that's already waterline, but
I'm using the flight deck parts from the Tamiya kit. The detail of the
Tamiya kit is better, and there is a slot in the MHM deck, which I think
would be used for a on-off switch if it were electrified. I think it will be
easier/faster to cut out the three hanger doors than it would be to
reinforce and saw off the bottom hull for the waterline presentation. I'm
also going to order the 1/350th scale photo etch for this project. This
project will be expensive, but I'm only going to do two projects this year,
and I've been doing my buying for several months now to stretch out the
expense.
If you are interested in building the full hull re-fit version, you'd be
better off paying the extra money for the Tamiya kit. If you want to build
waterline or the Bee Hive version, you'd be better off getting the MHM kit.
I bought the Tamiya kit last month for $127.50 after a local store matched
the price in a Fine Scale Modeler ad. This month Squadron has the Tamiya kit
on sale for $109.99. They are also offering the re-fit version of the MHM
kit for $89.97. I bought the MHM original version Enterprise from Phoenix
Models over the web this week for $79.99 plus $8.99 for shipping. They had
both versions in stock when I ordered. They shipped the kit by UPS in four
days.
If you have any specific comments or questions, you can reply to the group
or to me personally.
Jerry 47
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jerry 47
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