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Book Review
Building The USS Franklin
Building And Detailing Trumpeter’s 1/350 Scale USS Franklin, CV-13
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by: Todd Michalak [ TRM5150 ]

Originally published on:
Model Shipwrights

Building And Detailing Trumpeter’s 1/350 Scale USS Franklin, CV-13

Comprehensive Series Scale Model Manual Number 2
Copyright © 2017, Mike Ashey Publishing
MSRP - $13.75 US

Renowned modeler and accomplished author, Mike Ashey, has been a fixture of the modeling community for many years. Recently, Mike opened a new website, Mike Ashey Publishing in an effort to showcase his works both past and present. Along with sharing his works and techniques, Mike has written a number of new publications called Comprehensive Series Scale Model Ship Manual. These ship manuals are designed to help model builders from all skill levels by sharing the many tips and techniques through select model constructions that Mike has learned and created throughout his career as a model shipwright. While the focus of each of these manuals is to show what to expect when building that model, they also provide essential techniques each builder can take with them to use on future builds.

Not too long ago, I had the pleasure of reviewing the first manual in Mike Ashey’s Comprehensive Series, Building & Detailing The Trumpeter 1/350 Scale USS North Carolina, BB-55, which is an outstanding guide to building the battleship model. With the recent opening of brand new website, Mike offers a second manual in the series, Number 2, Building And Detailing Tumpeter’ 1/350 Scale USS Franklin, CV-13. I am grateful for having the opportunity to give this manual a review a well.

Building And Detailing Tumpeter’ 1/350 Scale USS Franklin, CV-13

Building And Detailing Tumpeter’ 1/350 Scale USS Franklin, CV-13 is a 72 page step by step guide presented in full-color A4 format. These manuals come unbound with three-hole punch-out so they can be safely placed into a binder of your choosing. The pages are printed double sided and in heavy weight card stock. While this manual is for the construction of Trumpeter version of the USS Franklin, pictures and detailed are expanded within to include all of the Essex-class carries, short and long hull.

Mike Ashey has a rather unique and systematic approach to ship building and conveys these steps from page one of this manual to the very end. The Trumpeter 1/350 scale kit is riddled with little flaws and defects which have a tendency to either get overlooked of actually prevent someone from wanting to build it. However, after reading through Mike’s guidebook, we can see how to address all of these hurdles and be able to use this kit to create an impressively built static display.

There is not too much difference between short and long hull versions to Essex-class carriers outside the fact that one ship is longer than the other; however, what is the same with the scaled versions is the how the hull pieces fit together. Among many of the defects with these kits, the bottom piece to the hull on the short Essex is too short to correctly meet the stern rise near the propellers. Similarly, the long hull version is too short but it is the upper hull near the bow. Mike explains how to prepare, cut, lengthen and sand these areas allowing anyone to build an accurate representation of these ships.

Throughout this manual, Mike shows every aspect to building of this ship including modifications to inaccuracies, what to do with problem areas that are just too difficult to work on without destroying parts and cleaning up and fixing seam lines and joints. We are shown simple, yet effective scratch building techniques to improve the overall appearance of this model as well as some complex applications that can truly enhance the beauty of this kit.

There is an extensive photo etch set from Gold Metal Models for this kit, and Mike fully explains his approach to constructing these parts as well as a few tricks to getting the parts to not only sit correctly but securely. Along with photo etch add-ons, there are a number of other aftermarket parts that help bring the level of detail up, such as deck bits and armament. Mike shows what parts he chose to improve upon, how to make them fit and their application.

Since these manuals cover the entire building experience with a particular modelling subject, the author has made sure to include a full step by step guide to priming, painting and even the application of the dazzle camouflage. Mike shows how he takes the time to painstakingly apply masking as he works his way through painting the hull, hanger bay, flight deck and island. Other than the use of the decals for the ships numbers and the curved edge marking strips to the flight deck elevators, all of the deck markings are carefully masked off and painted. Mike even explains how he created individual jigs to counter the repetitious construction of the entire air wing of planes for the Franklin finally, there is a guide on how to install the rigging for this ship included.


The number of incredible model ship displays Mike Ashey has created over the years is almost too many to even count. He has also contributed so much to the modeling community by providing many publications on the subject of modelling across almost all of the genres as well as creating some online step by step guides for his website. With the addition of the new Comprehensive Series Scale Model Ships Manuals, Mike takes things to another level. As what was seen with the first in the series, Number 2, Building And Detailing Trumpeter’s 1/350 Scale USS Franklin, CV-13 continues the same high quality and extremely informative step by step tutorial guide to constructing model ships.

While this is a manual to building the USS Franklin and it is an essential guide to understanding what is wrong with the kit and how to approach fixing the issues, the tips and techniques Mike Ashey employees throughout the guide are indispensable in all modeling no matter the subject. His step by step processes are clear and concise, beautifully illustrated through hundreds of color photographs and his tutorial is simple to understand and follow along with. I highly recommend this and/or any of Mike Ashey’s publications to anyone,from novice to seasoned builder, who is looking to further their model building experiences, learn some new tricks and to effectively take things to the next level of detail.

Model Shipwrights would like to thank Mike Ashey Publishing for providing me with a copy of the Comprehensive Series Model Ship Manual Number 2, Building And Detailing Trumpeter’s 1/350 Scale USS Franklin, CV-13.


Mike Ashey Publishing is now set up for the PAYPAL purchases for the 50 states and Puerto Rico. International purchases are still being worked out and we will have a simple process online soon.
Highs: Outstanding step by step guide, hundreds of detailed photographs, a great source to learning new techniques.
Lows: None
Verdict: This manual is an amazing guide to show how to simply, quickly and easily correct the many issues with the Trumpeter USS Franklin kit. It is also a great source to learning new tips and techniques to further you modeling experiences.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:350
  Mfg. ID: No.2
  Suggested Retail: $13.75 US
  Related Link: Mike Ashey Publishing
  PUBLISHED: Sep 18, 2017

Our Thanks to Mike Ashey Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Todd Michalak (TRM5150)

I am building what I like, when I like and how I like it; having fun doing it. I have been building and finishing models on and off my whole life but the past ten years things really exploded. Just about anything goes when it comes to hitting the bench, but wrecked armor, rusted hulks, ships or ...

Copyright ©2020 text by Todd Michalak [ TRM5150 ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


Wow, 100%? What will you do if he tops this next time, haha?
SEP 25, 2017 - 03:18 AM
LOL...probably write another glowing review! I am sure we will see more equally impressive and helpful work really soon from Mike!
SEP 25, 2017 - 05:03 AM

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