Renwal 1/500 USS Shangri-La

KIT #: 7819
PRICE: $28.95 SRP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Reissue


Commissioned in 1944, Shangri-La participated in several campaigns in the Pacific Theater of Operations in World War II, earning two battle stars. Like many of her sister ships, she was decommissioned shortly after the end of the war, but was modernized and recommissioned in the early 1950s, and redesignated as an attack carrier (CVA). She was the first American carrier with an angled deck, the modification completed in 1955. She operated in both the Pacific and Atlantic/Mediterranean for several years, and late in her career was redesignated as an anti-submarine carrier (CVS). She earned three battle stars for service in the Vietnam War.

Shangri-La was decommissioned in 1971 and sold for scrap in 1988.


For those wanting a new tool kit, this one is far from it. I'm not sure of the original molding date, but I'd bet late '50s or perhaps the early 60's for this one. Surprisingly, the kit molds survived relatively well. I did find flash on many of the parts, particularly the aircraft as well ejector pin marks everywhere and some huge depressions on the side of the hull opposite the alignment sections, but this sort of thing was pretty well standard stuff back when I started building plastic. Didn't seem to dampen my enthusiasm.

The hull measures over 21 inches in length and while partially flat bottomed, still includes the prop shafts and the rudders. Into the separate flat bottom piece fit a pair of stands. A lot of tiny bits this does not have, but it still has quite a few guns on it, as was typical for the mid/late 1950s. All of the sponson decks are separate and have no deck detail aside from the odd bollard here and there. Guns are equally soft on detail, and are, for the most part, one piece. I found several of what look like barrels loose in the bag so I have to assume some came off these guns. The only other detail bits for the hull are life rafts and spotlights.

Both side elevators are able to be moved if one wishes. There are openings into the hangar bay, but no bay; again, quite typical of the time. I did find that the flight deck was nicely done with acceptable detail. All of the wires are molded on the deck, with the posts sticking up so you can add the cross deck pennants with line if you so wish. The island in in two halves and aside from a few weather decks, is pretty easy to build. The railings are molded onto the parts making adding p.e. ones a bit of work as the molded ones will need replaced. Radar antennas are added to the top of the island forward of the stack. Again, these are typical of the era.

The kit does come with aircraft and here is where you'll find most of the flash. They are really not much more than shapes but they are recognizable for what they are. You get two Skywarriors and about a dozen Cougars, half with folded wings. A rescue helo is provide as are three Regulus I cruise missiles and launchers. A suite of deck edge antenna masts in the raised position are also included.

Decals are for the ship itself and include all of the various stripes. A set of shaded island numbers is provided if you want to do the later (1957) version instead of the ship after it was recommissioned in 1955. Insignia and markings for the planes are also provided. The decals are nicely printed, but the whites and yellows seem a bit transparent. Fortunately, Starfighter Decals does a sheet that will allow you to build this ship or the Lexington or the Bonn Homme Richard. Instructions are nicely done and have tons of space with each construction step. Color information is generic so you can choose whatever brand seems to fit. A set of paper flags is also provided.


This is not a kit that everyone will want and is mostly going to be bought by 'boomers as they undergo the usual nostalgia kick when things like this are released. However, it will not be a difficult kit to build and while clean-up may be the biggest challenge, the end result will be a very nicely done, if not old school, model.


October 2013 

Thanks to your 'steeped in nostalgia' editor for this preview.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note toContributors.

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