At the start of World War Two the United States Navy had not yet recognized the importance of a robust anti-aircraft defense for its warships. Most of the cruisers and battleships were equipped with open mount 5-inch/25 guns. However, in this
regard help was just arriving in the form of the 5-inch/38 dual purpose guns fitted on the last two cruisers of the
Brooklyn Class, the USS St. Louis and USS Helena, and planned for the new fast battleship designs. For light anti-aircraft defense the
ordnance fitted were .50 machine guns. In June 1940 the King Board recommended that new large ships should mount at least four quadruple 1.1-inch gun mounts to boost the AA capabilities of the ships. This gun system soon proved to be unreliable
and very heavy. It would consistently overheat and jam. Something better was needed to replace both the Chicago Pianos and machine guns. The answer was forthcoming in two foreign designs in the Swedish Bofors 40mm guns replacing the
1.1-inch mounts and the Swiss Oerlikon 20mm guns replacing machine guns. It was an ongoing process lasting from 1942 to 1944. By the end of the war the Oerlikon had become obsolescent, as it was too light to provide stopping power over longer
distances. Even though the Bofors was still effective, something heavier was required for future air defense. In 1944 Project Bumblebee was created at the Applied Physics Laboratory to develop anti-aircraft guided missiles. The post war replacement
for the Bofors was in the form of an automatic 3-inch gun that started to be mounted on the limited new construction and those ships selected to remain in service.

The post war threat had shifted to the Soviet Union, which was developing new generations of bombers, which were faster and heavier than anything encountered in World War Two. Something heavier with greater range and more destructive power
was needed to combat this new threat. The USN had encountered guided missile technology with the German use of the Fritz X wire guided air to surface missile (FX-1400). The German guided bombs is what spurred the Bumblebee Program. The
optimum solution was a crash surface to air (SAM) missile program to counter the Soviet aerial threat. By 1946 both the Applied Physics Laboratory and the National Research Laboratory had decided to use beam riding guidance systems as the control
sensors for Operation Bumblebee missiles. One early decision concerned on the best platform to carry the AA missiles to be developed. Aircraft carriers were one solution, as they certainly had the size to carry a large number of missiles but that would
cut into their offensive capabilities. Battleships also had the internal volume to carry the missiles but they had high operating expenses and were being placed in reserve. Destroyers were too small to carry the first generation medium to long range
missile systems. The incomplete large cruiser
USS Hawaii was given a lot of consideration in development as a missile cruiser carrying a mixed bag of missiles that included anti-aircraft missiles and V2 surface to surface missiles, later changed to the
Polaris and designated the conversion as SCB 26A for FY48. The USN concluded that the cruiser was best suited to carry the new missiles and no new construction would be needed as the USN had a wealth of heavy and light cruisers that were no
longer needed in active service.        
The development of the SAM guided missile program evolved into the 3-T family of missiles, the Talos, Terrier and Tartar. The Tartar missile was short range and was designed to be fitted on destroyers, as the missiles and mounts were smaller
than the other two. The Terrier was designed of medium range protection and the gigantic Talos was for long range protection. The USN encountered all sorts of problems in developing and fielding these new missiles. The new missiles had to have
dedicated missile control sensors for each missile from launch to strike. If four missiles were fired the cruiser would have to have four guidance sensors/radars, one for each missile in flight. Just providing the missile mounts and dedicated sensors
would require a large amount of deck space. Most of the 3-T SAM equipped cruiser conversion designs had only two guidance systems planned, limiting the cruiser to only two engagements at the same time. The Soviet aerial doctrine called for
mass saturation attacks on naval targets, which posed a huge problem for the USN. As the USN was about to field the 3-T missile system, they started work on a new design for guidance systems that could handle more than one missile in an
engagement. This system was called the Typhon. This second generation system was stillborn as Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara would not fund its development and instead spent the money to further develop the unreliable 3-T systems.
To McNamara one missile system was about the same as the other and why did the USN need Typhon when they already were funded for the Talos, Terrier and Tartar? To be fair, later McNamara did fund research into what would become the
Aegis system. If McNamara had not stopped work on Typhon, it would have been in service about a decade earlier than the Aegis system.
As it was, the Navy had to decide which missile in the 3-T family to use on its first conversion of a World War cruiser into a sparkling new missile cruiser. Both the ram-jet powered long range Talos program and the much simper medium range
Terrier program were well advanced. Because of its simper nature, the Terrier was selected as the system to be carried by the first missile cruiser conversion. In July 1948 the conversion of a heavy cruiser into a missile cruiser was included for
the budget for FY50. During this period the USN was in a vicious intercine fight with the US Air Force over priority in funding. The USAF claimed that there was no longer any need for expensive aircraft carriers when the USA could be protected
by a fleet of giant B-36 Peacemaker bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons. The Air Force won in the estimation of the sage members of Congress. The USN had to cancel the planed
USS United States, which would have been the first
modern USN aircraft carrier and upon which the
Forrestal Class was based. Another casualty was the heavy cruiser conversion. The USN tried again for the conversion in FY51 but again it was no cigars. By this time the Admirals had decided on
converting a
Baltimore Class heavy cruiser. The Wichita was ruled out because she was a prewar design and the incomplete Alaska Class large cruiser Hawaii was ruled out because the Navy was considering her for conversion into command
ship, after her 12-inch gun turrets had been removed as part of the SCB 26A program. The net result of the SCB 26A program was to make cruisers the candidates for guided missile conversion, rather than the
Hawaii. The fairly new Baltimore
heavy cruisers, USS Boston and USS Canberra were selected for the conversion process and their funding was placed into the FY52 budget. Bingo! This time the Navy beat out the air rascals in funding and the conversions were authorized
by Congress. It is rumored that General LeMay broke into tears in the cabin of a B-36 when he heard the news that he wouldn’t be getting all of the funds in the Defense Authorization Bill.
Before the Baltimore Class heavy cruiser, the previous heavy cruiser design was the USS Wichita, which used the same hull form as the Brooklyn Class light cruisers but carried three 8-inch gun turrets, arranged with two forward and one sft, the
same as previous pre-war heavy cruiser designs. However, the
Baltimore Class did not use the Wichita design. It borrowed more from the Cleveland Class. In appearance the Baltimores resembled enlarged Clevelands but with flat sided funnels
spaced closely together. However, the
Baltimore Class design was far more than a rehashed Cleveland. The Cleveland Class light cruisers had the priority in construction over the Baltimores and they received more than a year more of design
development over the
Clevelands. The time was spent to good use. With no treaty restricting their design, the design team was free to provided as much tonnage as needed to meet their requirements. The Baltimore was much longer than the Cleveland
in order to provide more deck space for light anti-aircraft guns. They had no portholes and were much more resistant to battle damage than the
Cleveland design. Fourteen ships of the Baltimore Class were ordered and another two suspended in

Boston lay in reserve until she was selected for conversion to a missile cruiser. On January 4, 1952 USS Boston was reclassified as CAG-1 and the following month was towed from Bremerton, Washington to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the
conversion. The two funnels were trunked into one massive funnel and the
Boston picked up a large lattice foremast. The forward part of the ship had few changes from the standard Baltimore Class cruiser, however the aft portion was entirely
reworked to provide two missile launchers and two guidance sensors. After the conversion her displacement changed to 13,300-tons standard and 17,500-tons full load. Although the length stayed the same, the beam expanded to 70-feet 11.5-inches
and the draught increased to 25.85-feet. She kept her two forward main gun turrets and five of her 5-inch/38 turrets, five twin 3-inch/50 mounts and four Terrier I missiles on the rails. Complement jumped up to 80 officers and 1,650 crewmen. The aft
superstructure was completely replaced by the two Mk 10 twin rail mounts for Terrier I missiles. Extended missile magazines were built under the launchers with each magazine holding 72 missiles. The first Mk I Terriers had a range of only twelve
miles. In April 1952 consideration was given for platforms for the Talos system. Initially the
Alaska and Guam were considered with each ship to carry four launchers, however the extreme costs of the conversion eventually ruled them out. In 1953 a
series of preliminary designs were developed for a Talos equipped conversion of cruisers ranging from an
Atlanta Class to an Alaska Class. The Talos missiles would have to be stored vertically because of their length, rather than vertically as the
Terriers were stored in
Boston and Canberra.
The Navy wanted to convert more gun cruisers into missile cruisers but did not want to touch any more of the Baltimore Class, other than Boston and Canberra. The admirals still highly regarded the gun fire ability of the 8-inch guns of the Baltimore
. However, they did have a pot load of Clevelands in reserve with 26 built during the war. Since their inception the Cleveland Class light cruiser had been subject to top heaviness, which only increased the later anti-aircraft fits in World War Two.
However, the removal of all the WWII AA guns would remove top weight and perhaps something could be done to use them to convert to missile cruisers. Since
Boston and Canberra carried the short range Terrier missile, it would be nice to field some
of the big, heavy, long range 32-foot long Talos missiles for fleet support. The CLG conversion was slated to be an austere conversion. The conversion of the
Boston had been expensive because the missile magazines were located deep in the hull for
protection. To save money the CLG missile magazines would be located above the main deck.  In June 1954 a tentative list for FY 56 had been prepared. High in the priorities was the conversion of a Talos equipped CLG. Six
Cleveland Class cruisers
were selected for conversion into missile cruisers but the conversions of the ships varied dramatically. For FY-56 two of the ships, the
USS Galveston and USS Topeka, were selected for conversion. They would retain their two forward 6-inch gun
turrets and forward three 5-inch gun turrets and would become the
Galveston Class CLGs. In essence they would get the light cruiser version of the Boston conversion. Unlike the Boston and Canberra, which carried twin 3-inch HA guns, the
Galvestons did not carry them so not to increase top weight. The other four Clevelands authorized for conversion in FY-57, Little Rock, Oklahoma City, Springfield and Providence would receive even greater modifications to create flagships with
retention of only the forward 6-inch gun turret and only the forward centerline 5-inch gun turret. These four were named the
Little Rock Class CLGs.
The two ships of the Galveston Class still had significant differences from each other.  The Galveston CLG-3 was selected to receive Project SBC 140 conversion to carry the Talos missile while Topeka CLG-8 would receive Project SCB 146
conversion to carry the Terrier system like
Boston and Canberra. Galveston was given a very tall quadruped lattice mast placed amidships to the rear of the aft funnel and a shorter one forward of the funnels. The Topeka was the only one of the six
Cleveland Class missile cruiser conversions to receive a tripod mast for the fore mast. Topeka also received two lattice masts, one aft of the rear funnel and a second one just forward of the missile guidance radars at the stern. Instead of a third mast
Galveston had a raised platform just forward of the guidance radars. The fact that Galveston carried two masts and the Topeka carried three made them instantly recognizable, one from the other. Unlike the Boston and Canberra, the Galveston and
Topeka only carried one twin arm missile mount. However, they basically had the same capabilities because the Bostons only had two guidance radars, which could only guide one missile each. The Galvestons had the same two guidance radars so
they too could guide two missiles at one time even though they had only one missile mount. The
Galveston’s Talos missile magazine was two levels high.
When World War Two ended the USS Galveston CL-93 was still under construction. On April 24, 1946 work on the almost completed Galveston was suspended with the light cruiser never entering service. For a decade the incomplete cruiser rode in
reserve. After initial selection for conversion as a missile cruiser, she was reclassified as CLG-93 on February 4, 1956 and on May 23, 1957 as CLG-3. The conversion was carried out in the Philadelphia Navy Yard. On May 28, 1958
USS Galveston  
received her first commission as CLG-3, 15 years after she was laid down. On June 30 started shake down cruises off Norfolk. She was the first ship to fire the Talos missile on February 24, 1959. Her main gun fire control was Mk 34/Mk 13 and for
the 5-inch guns Mk 37/Mk 25. For the Talos missile guidance radar it was a duplicate of the SPG-49/SPW-2 combination. Other radar was the SPS-10 and SPS-17 on the forward lattice mast, SPS-42 (3D radar) and URN-3 TACAN on the tall lattice
mast amidship and the SPS-B on the aft platform. The
Galveston carried the Mk 7 launcher and had 16 ready to use Talos missiles with another 30 unassembled missiles in the magazine. The next two years were spent in evaluating the Talos system
and tweaking the cruisers electronics suite.
Galveston underwent a refit in the Philadelphia Navy Yard from August 30 to September 23, 1961 in which the Talos system was modified.  Galveston was part of the quarantine force during the Cuban
missile crisis. By the summer of 1962 the electronics suite had almost entirely changed. The forward lattice mast still carried the SPS-10 but the SPS-37A was new. The tall lattice mast had a very large SPS-39A in place of the previous of the SPS-42
(3D radar) and also SRN-6 TACAN. A SPS-30 was mounted on the aft platform. On July 23, 1962 she was transferred to the Pacific Fleet and join CRUDESFLOT 9 in August. The Talos conversion heavily overloaded the
Galveston and she
experienced hull cracking problems. She became flagship of this flotilla in October.
Galveston received another refit lasting from October 1964 to February 1965. In April she left for the Western Pacific where she was tasked as an aircraft carrier
escort, operating off Vietnam and in the South China Sea. Unlike the
Boston and Canberra with their 8-inch guns, the Galveston with her 6-inch guns did not serve in the gun line of Vietnam, although Topeka did serve on the gun line. On December
18 she returned to the west coast and operated there and off Hawaii until July 1966. On July 31
Galveston went into the Long Beach Yard for another refit which lasted until November 4. In 1967 she was transferred to the Atlantic and served there
and in the Mediterranean as flagship of COMCRUDESFLOT 10, returning to Norfolk on August 30. Within two weeks it was back to the Pacific, leaving for San Diego on September 10, 1967.
USS Galveston CLG-3 operated off the west coast for
the remainder of her career and on May 25, 1970 was decommissioned. She went to the breakers in 1973. The Talos missile system stayed around until 1979.

(History from:
Cruisers of the US Navy 1922-1962 by Stefan Teribaschitsch, Naval Institute Press 1984; U.S. Cruisers by Norman Friedman, Naval Institute Press 1984; US Navy Cold War Guided Missile Cruisers by Mark Stille, Osprey
Publishing 2020)
The Niko Model 1:700 Scale USS Galveston CLG-3 1968 Fit - Many of you older modelers will remember the various kits released by Renwal in the late 1950s that Renwal claimed to be various CLGs in 1:500 scale, all of which had some
appearance of the
Galveston conversion but were grossly incorrect. There will be a “Blast from the Past” review of a repop of this early Renwal kit in the near future. If you want the true Galveston, the answer is this beautiful kit from Niko Model.
You can not build the nominal sistership of the
Galveston, the USS Topeka, as the Terrier equipped Topeka had significant differences in appearance from the Galveston. The Niko Galveston is primarily resin but also comes with a good size photo-
etch fret, a brass rod and metal wire. Casting is very good, although my copy had one platform broken from a superstructure part that I will have to replace with plastic card or scrap resin film. There is some minor flash to be removed on some of
the resin runners. The hull sides have the bow flare and anchor hawse fittings on each side. Along the waterline the hull casting had one nick at the bow and a couple at the stern. These are easily filled and sanded smooth.
The forward barbettes and the first three levels of the superstructure are integrally cast with the hull. The superstructure bulkheads have a great amount of detail. These details include three funnel ventilation louvers on each side, numerous bulkhead
junction boxes, doors with dog detail, cable and pipe lines and portholes. The forward superstructure platforms are cast integral to the bridge level and are admirably thin with support gussets underneath. These overhanging platforms are also found
for the wing 5-inch turret positions, the platforms on each side of the first funnel and on each side of the aft superstructure/missile magazine. The aft face of the rear superstructure has two detailed missile magazine loading doors. Coupled with the
numerous deck house structures, all of this detail gives the superstructure a busy look.
Deck detail portrays a steel deck at the forecastle and quarter deck. The wooden plank deck runs from just forward of A barbette to just at the start of the missile magazine. Plank lines are very well done and do have butt end detail. On the forecastle
detail includes anchor chain plates running from the deck hawse to a cluster of windlasses and chain locker entrance fittings. Open chock fittings are at deck edge and there are three fine twin bollard plates, one centerline and one on each side. The
bollard bitts are vulnerable to damage as both bits on one bollard plate at the port bow and one bitt from a starboard quarterdeck plate were broken off. Also at the bow were deck access hatches and other smaller fittings. Starting just to the rear of A
barbette are five twin bollard plates on each side near deck edge running to the aft of the flight deck. One thing that I question are the finely scribed lines showing the flight deck markings. There are no groves in a flight deck and
Niko apparently had
lines here to show positioning the flight deck markings. Other quarterdeck details include deck access hatches, lockers, and other small fittings.

Major smaller parts are found on two resin wafers and the a three level aft superstructure cast separately. This part is very intriguing as the bulkheads are jam packed with junction boxes, cables, louvers and platforms. Unfortunately one of the top
platforms had broken off and I’ll have to replace it with scrap resin film or plastic card. This part also has overhanging platforms with splinter shielding and bottom support gussets. The part for the upper bridge levels is on one resin sheet. This part is
also of three levels but smaller than the aft superstructure part. However, it too has splinter shield bulkheads and platforms with support gussets. The other resin sheet has the two 6-inch gun turrets. Detail for these turrets include nice blast bags with
fold detail, side director ends and rear face detail. Clean up will be needed for the bottom of all these parts to remove resin residue.
The smaller parts are found on nineteen resin runners. Both funnels and a king post mast are on one runner. Detail on the funnels is very well done, with well defined caps with interior clinker screens and steam pipes with bracket detail. The pipes
themselves appear to be a trifle oversize. The king post is also very well detailed and is completed with lattice photo-etch. I’m not sure but it may be the loading structure for the missile magazine. The three 5-inch gun turrets are highly detailed and
share a runner with two communication domes. Detail on these turrets include aft access doors with dog detail, front face framing, side director ends, crown cupola, and side access hatches. Another runner has superstructure found just aft of the rear
funnel, shacks for the forward lattice masts, cable reels, and forward radar pedestal. Both the guidance radars and their bases are on a runner, along with two commo domes. Both the sensors and their base mounts are very well detailed. Another
runner continues with different radars. There are the big dish array with separate parts for its pedestal and mount, a deck house attach to the rear of the forward superstructure, and two deck winches. Another runner covers gun directors for the top of
the forward superstructure. Included her are two directors, the radar on top of the forward director, the radar array on the aft lattice mast, and an electronics connection bar for the array on the aft platform. The helicopter fuselage is on a runner along
with two radar pedestals for the aft superstructure, the mount pedestal for the array on the aft platform, and a short tower aft of the rear funnel. Three Talos missiles along with two side platforms for the aft superstructure are on a platform. The Talos
launcher, along with two missile rail arms, two deck winches, and a piece of equipment for a small bridge platform. The flagbags and top of the upper bridge level are on a runner. The 6-inchgun barrels share a runner with two kingposts. There is
some warp in some of the barrels and a casting plug at the muzzle of some barrels, so the muzzles are not hollow. Another runner has five signal lamps and four deck winches. One runner is mostly booms. There are booms for the kingposts, mast
booms, boat booms and a couple of pole fittings. The 5-inch gun barrels and lower steam pipe for the aft funnel are on a runner. Two very detailed open 3-inch deck guns are on a runner. Ship’s boats are on three runners with two cabin launches, two
large open launches and two medium sized open launches. The medium launches share their runner with a boat skid. All of the boats have nice bottom planking and machinery detail.

A medium size stainless steel photo-etch set is included in the kit. Some relief-etching is used. The first thing you notice are the two prominent four sided lattice masts, both of which are relief-etched. A large part of this fret are devoted to the masts as
there are various platforms, bracing, supports, yardarms, and commo dome posts. The major radar array atop the foremast is a multiple part photo-etch assembly. Then there is the photo-etch platform attached at the top of the aft superstructure. That
too has another platform, yards and arrays. The forecastle gets a small lattice tower for a communication antenna as well as spreader arrays, jack staff with supports, and the two piece relief-etched anchors. The two accommodation ladders are relief-
etched on the platforms and have trainable treads. Their safety railing and ladder davits are separate pieces. The missile loading kingpost has a railed walkway and lattice support structure. Ship’s boats get various skids, launch wind screens, and davit
assemblies. The two guidance radars have photo-etch platforms and railing. Smaller sensors get the same treatment with platforms, railing and sensors. The bridge gets significant steel treatment with two levels of bridge windows, multiple small
platforms, and director supports. Rotor blades and wheels for the helicopter are photo-etch and there is specialized safety netting for the flight deck. Also at the stern are propeller guards and multiple parts for communication whip antennas at the end of
the quarterdeck. About 30% of the fret has railing and inclined ladders. The bow rails are angled to fit with the upward flare. Some of the runs of railing are two bar but most are three bar. Inclined ladders have safety rails but their treads are not
The instructions are six pages in length with three back printed sheets. Each resin part has their part number in a circle and each photo-etch part number is in a square. Some parts will have to be cut from 3rd party plastic rods or wire, such as the
forecastle whip antenna, which shows a wire of 20mm in length and of 0.03mm in thickness. Page one is a laydown of all of the resin pieces and photo-etch. Each resin runner has each part numbered with the same number used in the assembly
instructions. The photo-etch parts are numbered on the fret and the assembly instructions show the same number as found on the fret. The instructions are good but not spectacular. However, I have no complaints about them. Page two has two
assembly modules about the forecastle and two smaller inserts, one on the 6-inch gun turrets and one on the 5-inch gun turrets. Likewise page three has two major assembly modules on the forward superstructure. One is on the initial assembly of
levels, wing 5-inch guns and fittings and the other is a detailed presentation of assembling the forward lattice mast with five step drawings, as well as other equipment attachment. Smaller insets show assembly of the gun directors, small forward
radar array, photo-etch platforms assembly, accommodation ladders, and small lattice tower attached on the port side of the forward lattice tower. Page four has two major assembly modules about the midship section. The first has initial assembly of
the aft superstructure deck equipment and missile loading kingpost, as well as ship’s boats attachment. The second shows attachment of the aft two missile guidance radars, aft funnel, various smaller superstructure parts, kingposts and booms.
Smaller assembly insets are provided for the missile loading kingpost, guidance radars, boat skids and side boat assemblies. Page five finalizes the midship assembly with the aft lattice mast, aft platform and some smaller parts. Insets are provided on
four steps of the aft lattice mast assembly, aft platform assembly and platform radar array assembly. Page six has two modules on the quarterdeck assembly with the first one on the missile mount and smaller parts attachment and the second on
helicopter attachment. An insets is provided for the helicopter assembly. The page concludes with the port profile of
Galveston with painting instructions. There are no decals  so flight deck markings will have to be fabricated with white line decals or
hand painted. Shadowed number three will have to be added to the bow and stern of both sides of the hull.
Time for the Talos! You can’t rely on those puny short range Terriers on the Boston Class missile cruisers. Only the big, burley, long range Talos missiles of the USS Galveston CLG-3 will keep those prowling Bears and Badgers at bay. The Niko
1:700 scale USS Galveston CLG-3, don’t let your fleet leave port without it!

Steve Backer
Huntsville, Alabama