I have been an avid FULL HULL ship modeler for decades and I have always thought very highly of Trumpeter's 1/700 ship offerings and their 1/700 aircraft. I appreciated the fact that in the past they offered a choice for those who wanted to build their ships either as a waterline or as a full hull. They even offered blue water bases in some models. That was value! Now without notices all their new kits are waterline only without any clear indication on the box.
I think Trumpeter has gotten a bit too big for their britches and are taking on airs. Not only are they over-pricing their new 1/700 releases but they are being coy and using subterfuge to hide the fact that all their new 1/700 ship kits are waterline only kits.
As an example take a look at the current Trumpeter web site for the 1/700 HMS Nelson description indicating Lower Hull.
Released Date 2017-11
- Lower hull made from multi-directional slide moulds. ***THERE IS NO LOWER HULL ***
- Deck wood pattern finely rendered
- Contains engraved name plate
- Photo-etched frets included
I got burned on this one as I eagerly went out to buy it only to find that there is no lower hull as advertised.
All the other manufacturers like Academy, Aoshima, Dragon, Fujimi and Meng are going the other way and producing beautiful 1/700 FULL HULL model kits. La creme de la creme is the new Flyhawk 1/700 offerings. Flyhawk gives you a CHOICE (hear that Trumpeter?) between waterline and full hull. Not only that but their deluxe version include wood decking, photo etch and sometimes even brass barrels. Even the non-deluxe kits have plastic-molded details that put photo etch to shame. Now that is value!!
My advice is if you want a wide range of 1/700 Waterline subjects buy Tamiya and go to town on aftermarket stuff. You will still spend 50% less than the new Trumpeter releases.
If you want the best of the best go with Flyhawk they are the "Bandai" of ship model manufacturers. Their selection is not as wide as others but it is expanding. There also some gems in the full hull kit offerings from Academy, Fujimi, Aoshima, Dragon/Cyberhobby, Flyhawk, and Hasegawa.