USS IWO Jima, LHD-7, Landing Helicopter Dock
(click on any picture in this review to see a higher resolution one)
Last updated: Placing equipment and aircraft on flight deck, completing the model - March 10, 2015
Introduction and What's in the Box - January 8, 2015
About the ship:
The Wasp Class LHDs at 40,500 tons were the largest amphibious assault vessels ever built until the launch of the USS America LHA in 2012, the first of the America class which displace 45,000 tons. Just the same, these vessels are larger than most other nations aircraft carriers, which they closely resemble. These amphibious warships are uniquely designed to support assault from the sea against defended positions ashore. The 844-foot long ship carries a crew of approximately 1,000 Sailors and 1,900 Marines. Aircraft carried by this class of ship include a mix of Marine Corps helicopters and attack aircraft. The United States maintains the largest and most capable amphibious force in the world, and the Wasp-class ships are built to be multi-functional, and take advantage of the experience gained from its predecessor Tarawa class. The Wasps can serve in either the amphibious assault, or sea control mode, adding significantly to America's ability to project power and defend freedom across the globe.
Capable of embarking 1,900 US Marines and all of the equipment to support them, the Wasp class also carries all of the equipment necessary to provide either air (via helicopter and V-22 Osprey aircraft) or sea assault (via well-docked air cushion or landing craft) on the targeted objectives of those marines, while giving them the logistical, command and control, close-air support (through its embarked wing of VSTOL fighter bombers), and the hospital support they require while doing so.
In the Sea control role, the Wasp class can embark an air wing made up of Harriers, or the new, even more capable F-35B STOVL Joint Strike fighter, 5th generation stealth aircraft. These aircraft are capable of fleet defense or war-at-sea offensive operations. The vessels would also carry ASW helicopters for defending against and prosecuting sub-surface threats in the sea-control role..
Originally intended to be a class of six, with the decommissioning of the Iwo Jima class which were the first dedicated amphibious assault ships ever built, the Wasp class has been expanded to eight vessels, the eighth of which, the USS Malkin Island, LHD-8, was christened in 2006.
That vessel replaced one of the last Tarawa class LHA vessels and provided a transformational bridge into the future development of the LHA(R) vessels, the USS America class, which will replace the other Tarawa class. The Makin Island was also the first Wasp vessel to have Gas turbine engines and an all electric drive like the LHA(R) vessels will have. She also was the first to use a fiber optic network for machinery control. The Navy integrated into her damage control system, the more capable SPQ-9B radar and the US Navy's Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC).
Specifications for the USS Iwo Jima, LHD-7, and all of the earlier Wasp Class Landing Helicopter Docks include:
Length: 844 ft
The eight vessels of the Wasp Class, of which Iwo Jima is a part include:
LHD-1 USS Wasp
About The Kit:
Some of the other kits that have produced for their 1/350 scale line-up include:
USS Wasp, LHD-1, Over 1,000 parts
This model of the USS Iwo Jima lives up to this reputation in every respect, and in fact is recognized as probably their most impressive effort.
The Gallery Model's USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7) is their follow-on to their release of the USS Wasp (LHD-1) in 1/350 scale in 2010. This one has more parts with additional add-ons that were included by the time the seventh vessel, the Iwo Jima was built, and with a more complete phto etch set and more equipment.
It is a big model with an overall length of 28 3/4 inches and a width just in excess of 3 1/2 inches.
The hull is a large single piece. No provision for waterline option here...you will have to cut it yourself if that is what you want. I do not intend that any way so it is fine for me. Also, the main flight deck is a single piece with all of the tie down indentations in place. There are three large decks for the well deck and vehicle deck as well that are individual part. See the picture below showing the hull and flight deck dry fitted together.
There are a LOT of part sprues for this vessel...let me just list them all with what they comprise and you will see what I mean:
For the ship itself we have:
Sprue A x 1 : with aircraft elevators, props, shaft, rudders, ship's launches and many smaller detail parts
That's a total of fourteen sprues for the ship itself. Most of them large sprues with a LOT of parts.
Then for the deck equipment:
Sprue WA x 2 : Two tractors, Two forklifts, Two fire trucks, two NAN-2 Nitrogen servicing units (for airing up aircraft tires) on each sprue.
For the military ground vehicles and equipment we have:
Sprue WE x 2 : with an M60A3 tank on each.
That a total of 16 vehicle sprues.
For the aircraft we have:
Spruw MV22 x 4 : with an MV-22 Osprey aircraft on each.
That's a total of 17 sprues with 18 aircraft. I purchased some additional Gallery, US Marine aircraft packs in 1/350 scale to go along with the vessel to round out a full airwing. more on that later.
For landing craft we have:
Sprue WA1 x 1 : with a Landing Craft utility (LCU) on it.
Thats a total of eight sprues for four landing craft in total.
Then we have the Photo etch sprues, of which there are three which contain the railing, many of the sensors, and a lot of details for the various equipment, aircraft, vehicles, etc. for the ship.
So, altogether we have a total of 55 plastic sprues and 3 photo etch sprues...58 sprues with well over 1500 parts (when you include the PE) for this kit!
Now, I did not leave it there. I bought White ensign Models very ample and detailed Wasp Class, 1/350 scale photo etch set as well. This set includes a LOT more photo etch parts, and has some that are more detailed and better parts for the sensors than what Gallery provides. IMHO, Gallery should just bite the bullet and team with White ensign on these kits and include one of the white ensign PE kits in each of their USS Wasp and USS Iwo Jima kits.
As mentioned, I also purchased two of Gallery's US Marine Aircraft kits (kit #64003) for this vessel. Each kit contains the following:
2 x MV-22 Osprey VTOL aircraft.
Adding those two packs adds another 24 aircraft, which means I will have a total of 42 aircraft for the airwing of my Iwo Jima, which will make for an airwing of:
8 x MV-22 Osprey VTOL aircraft.
The Six SH-60 Sea Hawks are not really realistic for a typical assault air wing. They would be on a Sea Control air wing...but that would also include about 20 Harriers or JSF jet fighters. So for my air wing I may include two of the Sea Hawks along with the rest of those aircraft.
I will also be adding a decent lighting system for the well deck, the hanger deck, and for lights in the island. Those will be after-market purchases as well and I will say more on that when I come to it in the build.
The decals come in three sheets. The largest is for the vessel itself, particularly all of the many landing deck markings. There is also a sheet for the aircraft and another for the various vehicles and equipment. Well over a hundred decals altogether.
The instructions are in a 36 page booklet. They are, as always, very extensive and detailed...as well as intuitive (at least as much as they can be for so many hundreds of parts).
Finally, there is a full color, glossy, two sided sheet showing the paint scheme and the location of the decals. One side is various views of the entire ship. The other side has the aircraft and vehicles and their paint scheme. Both include callouts for the various colors and their stock numbers.
I intend to show the vessel with an LCAC and an LCU in the well deck, another LCAC exiting the well deck, and an LCU outside of the vessel...all loaded with various equipment. I will also have some truck and equipment on the vehicle deck with lighting in there...but those parts will be difficult to see.
I will show numerous aircraft in the hanger deck, probably with one elevator lowered and one raised to the deck. with the lighting in the well deck, a lot of that detail will be visible.
I then plan to show a relatively crowded flight deck with numerous helicopters and Osprey forward with their rotors folded, with the Harriers and Cobras crowded at the aft end of the ship, and then with two MV-22s, one CH-53E, one CH-46E, and one AV-8B in take off positions on the deck.
It should be a very, very nice depiction.
Here's how all if this looked out of the box:
A HUGE project as you can see!
In my first build session I will paint the main hull and add the props, shafts and rudders.
The Build - Bulbous bow, props, shafts, rudder, painting the hull - January 13, 2015
I began the actual build by adding the bulbous bow and the props, shafts and rudders to the hull. This hull is a large, and well molded piece.
At this point I drilled a hole in the lower hull and in the stand to provide for the lighting wire I will run out of the ship to the batteries and switch that will be in the stand. This is for the lighting for the well deck, the vehicle deck, the hanger deck, and the island I intend to put in. I will use a four switch dip switch to control each individually...at least that is the plan.
Then it was time to paint the overall hull in the neutral grey I use for all US Navy vessels. The hull is large and so I spray painted it. I then let that dry and then masked off the lower hull for the hull red I use. This is a mixture of flat red, ensignia red, and brown. I brush painted this.
At this point I was ready to paint the waterline mark, which is in flat black. I had to mask both sides of this and then paint it on each side of the vessel. I then masked off the stern, the area directly below the opening to the well deck and painted that too. Some clean up was required because of the rivet patterns and the various vertical portrusions which allowed some paint to pool...but there was not too much and it was a relatively easy job with an xacto knife to clean it up.
The hull is looking pretty good at this point. In my next session I will build and install the well deck and the vehicle deck. They are fairly detailed and I will be adding an LCU and LCAC in there with the vehicles and equipment so it will be a fairly involved stage. I will probably do the lighting for those fterwards when I start the hanger deck in the session after that.
The Build - Well deck and vehicle deck contruction and photo etch - January 16, 2015
I began this session by getting out the major frets/sprues containing the pieces for the Well deck and vehicle deck and painting them, and then dry fitting all of the major structual parts of those deck together. I then painted the various windows and bumper section on those pieces.
Then I got out the Photo Etch sheets/frets for the vessel and painted them in the neutral gray overall (I will paint various details in the respective colors later). As you can see, there is a lot of photo etch material. The first picture is of the two large sheets from the White Ensign Models Photo Etch set. I highly recommend this set because it includes all of the railing and other PE details for the well deck, vehicle deck, and hanger deck that do not come with the GAllery models included photo etch parts (those three smaller sheets/frets are in the second picture). The WEM set also includes a lot more photo etch parts that serve as replacements for the less detailed plastic sensor parts that come with the model, a lot more railing, and a lot of other parts and details that are not included in the GAllery mpodel...as detailed and fine as the kit is.
Once the PE parts were painted and dried, I began assemlbling the metal parts for the vehicle deck and the well deck. For example, as shown, there are two vehicle deck extensions along either side of the ramp leading to the well deck that are not included in the GAllery model, as well as railing and other PE parts for the vehicle deck and well deck and their various sections.
Then it was time to assemble the vehicle deck and the well deck, with the photo etch details I had added. Tese are two separate assemblies.
Once they were assembled individually, I then added them into the hull of the Iwo Jima. They fit very well into the lower portion of the hull and together, end to end, making for a very long section (over half the length of the ship) where the vehicle deck feeds the well deck of the vessel.
That is looking very nice now, with a lot of detail that the lighting system will diplay on the enterior of the ship.
I was going to add the vehicles and armor in this secssion, but there was plenty to do (as you can see) getting this far. In the next session I will add the armor and vehicles to the vehicle deck, and the landing craft and their embarked vehicles and armor to the well deck. I will also start the lighting systems for these two decks which will attach to the ceilings of these two decks.
The session after that will involve the hanger deck.
The Build - Armor/vehicles, LCU and LCAC, start hanger deck - January 20, 2015
In this session I built and painted all of the armor and vehicles I will use with this vessel. This included:
1 x M1A1 Abrams tank
So, I started building these vehicles and armor by first painting them in their various colors on their frets. I used a desert tan for the Abrams and the Humvees and trucks, and then a forest green for the M60 tanks, the howitzers, the LAVs and the AAVs.
Once they had been painted on the frets, I then cut out their various pieces and began assembling them. Each one is a miniature model itself with anywhere from three to six pieces. I painted the wheels for the HUMVEEs, the Trucks, the LAVs and the Howitzers, and the windshields for the appropriate vehicles in flat black. Once these were all painted and built, I then began building one LCAC and one LCU to place some of them in, while the rest will be located on the vehicle deck in the vessel itself.
I then built one LCAC (Landing Craft Air Cushion), and one LCU-1600, Landing Craft Utility. These are used for transporting troops, vehicles, armor, supplies, etc. from the well deck of the Iwo Jima to shore. I intend to place the two 2 1/2 ton trucks in the LCU, each towing one of the 105mm howitzers. I will place the Abrams tank and two LAVs in the LCAC.
Each of these vessels, like the armor, is a small model itself. In this case, each has quite a few more pieces (22 for the LCAC, and 25 for the LCU). Once painted and assembled, the decals for these vessels also needed to be added.
After this was all complete, I then added the particular vehicles and armor I intend to show in each vessel and then placed them where I wanted them in each.
Once the LCAC and the LCU were completed and the various equipment added to them, I was then able to place them in the well deck where I intend them to be. The LCU will be depicted as having just completed loading near at the forward end of the well deck, and the LCAC will be positioned just exiting the well deck at the rear of the vessel.
I then placed the vehicles and armor on the equipment deck, showing the two HUMNVEE trucks, the two M60 tanks, and the two AAVs preparing for loading, with one of the M60 tanks making its way down the ramp.
That is all looking very nice. I decided to tackle the lighting system in my next session, when I can devote the entire session to it if needed. In the mean time I went ahead and started the initial construction of the hanger deck. Painting the major walls and the floor, the exits to the elevators, and then assembling the major interior walls for the hanger.
The hanger is a major assembly and will end up with quite a bit of detail in terms of viewing decks, railing, equipment, etc, and then the various auxiliary decks that surround the hanger deck and are exposed to the outside along the starboard and port side of the vessel. But that will be worked on after the lighting system for the well deck and the vehicle deck...hopefully in the next session with the lighting system.
The Build - Vehicle, Hanger & Well deck lighting, Install vehicle deck, well deck and hanger - January 22, 2015
In this session I put together the lighting systems for the Well deck, the vehicle deck and the hanger. I have come to typically rely on Modeler's Brand Hobby Supplies for the parts I use to build these systems. You can purchase complete system that are all together for specific hangers for specific ships, but this way I can custom build the system to my desire...and I find with Modeler's Brand, it is typically quite a bit cheaper to do.
Modelr's Brand has Tabout the best offering of LED lights and tape, controllers, switches, power accessories, switches and clips that you can find, and, as mentioned, at a reasonable price, so as to put together your own lighting system and customize it like you want.
I run mine on 9v DC power and the modeler needs to understand a little about power and how to put together a system in order to make it work. I use LED tape for the lighting inside the hangers and well decks have found that the normal density, cool white LED tape is best. The tape already has the circuitry (and resistance) all taken care of, and you can get the solderless wire clips to attach to them (or you can solder them if you wish).
I hope to have the lighting from all of these three areas, plus potentially some in the island, powered by this system. I am building it so each can be individually controlled by a 4 switch DIP switch I have purchased for that purpose.
Here's what I got, including the LED lighting tape, the solderless connector wires, the lead wires, the 9V battery wire connectors and the DIP switches. I took the LED tape, cut it to fit (and there are places marked for cutting it so that you have small copper locations for the positive and negative wires at the end of each section of tape), and then placed each piece I had cut on the ceilings of the respective locations.
The tape has an adhesive backing which is decent, but I always add a little extra to it (carefully using model glue at various places along each side of the tape) to ensure it will stay in place for years to come. The ceiling lighting for the vehicle deck, the well deck, and the hanger were now in place. Note: I had to build my own ceiling for the vehicle deck. The kit does not include one and so lighting would otherwise be left to the same ceiling for the flight deck. However, lighting it from that far above would have been too diffuse...so I scratch built a ceiling for the vehicle deck as shown.
Once this was completed, I then added the solderless leads to each section and tested them.
With those ceiling lighting fixtures in place, I then went about completing all of the structural walls and compartments in the hanger. This is so I can go ahead and place it in the model over the well deck. I will go about adding the photo etch details and other equipment to the hanger deck later, after it is installed. I then also glued the LCAC and the LCU into the well deck and then placed the ceiling for the vehicle deck and the hanger (which includes the ceiling for the well deck) into the model. I also tested the lighting as shown below:
I will go back later and add the longer wiring to each of these three systems, and then route them out of the hole I cut in the hull at the start of the build. If I am able to add lighting for the ISland, it will also be routed through the hull and out of that hole. Then, later, I will build the terminal blocks, switch and holder for the battery into the stand. This will occur towards the end of the build.
As it is, this is looking very good.
In the next sesssion I will add the final details in the hanger, add the aft decks and details to the hull, and perhaps build the aircraft I intend to have in the hanger.
The Build - Fantail assembly, Aft weaponw and PE detail, Hanger details - January 29, 2015
I was going to start building aircraft for the hanger in this session, but I noticed that the fantail area was still very open and incomplete and got started on that and it ended up pretty much talking up the whole session. Lots of detail on the fantail.
I added the main deck and then worked on the secondary deck there which would hold the Sea Sparrow missile launcher.
I then added a lot of the details and built up the weapons systems.
At this point I noticed that there needed to be some decals added under the Sea Sparrow launcher and under the Rolling Air Frame Missle (RAM) launcher, so I added those before continuing. I then completed adding the weapons systems to the fantail which included one each of the Phalanx 20mm CIWS, the Sea Sparrow launcher and the RAM launcher.
At this point I was ready to add some Photo Etch metal parts to the fantaiol and decided, while I was at it, to go ahead and add those PE details to the hanger too. Railings and ladders in the hanger deck and railings to the fantail. All of these parts were used from my1/350 scale White Ensign Models photo etch detail set for the Wasp Class.
That's looking fairly well. Lots of detail like that all around the vessels. Will be a lot of handrailing for the decks that surround the flight deck, and then again on the island.
Now, in the next session I will definitely build and add the aircraft and equipment I intend to show in the hanger. Various helos, MV-22 Ospreys and HArriers...as well as tow trucks, etc.
The Build - Aircraft for hanger - February 3, 2015
In this session I built all of the aircraft for the hanger bay. The aircraft I am including are:
2 x CH-53E Super Stallions
I started by painting the aircraft on their sprues...having first glued together the two halves of aircraft wherever I could on the sprues, and then painting those halves together, along with the wings, nacelles, rotors, horizontal stabilizers, landing gear, etc. Once painted in their various colors, and I used Light Ghost Gray for the Marine aircraft, black for the landing gear and cockpits, and various shades of gray for weathering effect, I then glued the main portions of the aircraft together.
Once this was complete and dried, I then glued the landing gear to the aircraft and let that dry too. At this point I did a dry fit of the aircraft in the hanger in various positions until I came up with one I liked. Once that was done, I added the decals, and then added the rotors and other details (Refueling props on the CH-53Es and the MV-22, etc.) to all of the aircraft. As you can see, the MV-22 has its wing rotated for the stowed position, and the props folded in for storage as well. I then took pictures of the individual aircraft.
Now I was ready to add the aircraft to the hanger bay. The CH-53Es are large aircraft and take up a lot of room. I added them together, forward in the bay, and then added the two Harriers behind them...being serviced. Across from the Harriers I added the CH-47s and then added the Osprey in the after section of the bay. Here they are, together, and individually.
Now, with the aircraft located in the hanger bay and all of the details done, I will be able to complete the wiring of the lighting system, routing it through the hole I drilled in the forward bottom of the vessel, and then start adding the details for all of the decks around the flight deck. At that point, when those auxiliary and service decks are completed, I can add the full flight deck to the vessel. We will see how far we get on all of that in the next session.
I am looking forward, after that, to building the island...which will be a full session in itself.
The Build - Well deck doors, Elevators, Flight deck catwalks and details, lighting connections, adding flight deck - February 10, 2015
There was a lot to do in this session. I started out by painting and then building the two well deck doors (upper and lower) and placing them, and then building the two aircraft elevators that transport aircraft from the hanger to the flight deck. These were each small assemblies in their own right.
Then, I added the various catwalks that surround the flight deck. They extend along both sides (starboard and port) the entire length of the vessel, just below the level of the flight deck. There were four or five separate pieces on each side and I painted them, and then carefully applied them to the vessel.
At this stage there were numerous details to add to the catwalks. Supports for the varous extensions of the catwalks where various sensors, weapons, life buoys, or other equipment were located, a myriad of cabinets that store various equipment, radars, chaff and decoy ejectors, the main launch for the Iwo Jima, and the rails for the elevators. This took quite a bit of time to paint them appropriately and then carefully add them all along the catwalks. There were also severala small auxillary catwalks at various levels to add.
I also added the connections for the lighting system within the hull because once these details are completed it will be time to add the flight deck itself and close off the hull and the lighting systems for the hanger deck, the well deck, and the vehicle deck. I decided to series the well deck and the vehicle deck together so they both light up together. The hanger deck will be separate. I added a terminal block for the well deck and the vehicle deck to facilitate this.
I checked the wiring and the continuity while doing all of this to make sure the lighting continued to work after each step. It's never a good thing to get it all together...especially gluing the flight deck down...only to discover that something happened to make the system not work. Better to spend the extra time to check the wiring and continuity after each step.
With this complete, it was time to add the flight deck to the vessel. It is a single piece and the lighting system for the hanger deck had already been added. I carefully glued the edges of the hull, and then positioned the flight deck in place and used clamps and rubber bands to hold it in place. I then added the elevators to the vessel once the flight deck had dried in place overnight.
Once this was done, it was time to check the lighting system for each area. Never hurts to be sure, though after my earlier testing I was 99.99% sure they would.
...and they did! As you can see.
The next session will be putting the island together. It is a model all in itself with a few hundred pieces altogether. I still have more details and the PE railing to put on the catwalks, but decided to go ahead and build the island before doing so.
The Build - The Island and Decals - February 10, 2015
The island for the Wasp class vessels, and for the Iwo Jima in particular, are very involved. Lots and lots of parts.
I had hoped to be able to fully complete the island in this session, but ended up setting for everything but the photo etch railing. I then also added all of the main decals to the vessel and the island.
For the island it involved putting together all of the structure first and then adding the masts. The Iwo Jima island is somewhat different than that of the earlier Wasp class vessels, and this model reflects that. Forward, behind the weapons systems, the structure varies, as well as around the masts and the after portion of the island. However, it went together nicely, although care needs to be taken for the indented area along the starboard side where the two walls for the indentation have a tendency to not fit properly. You just need to watch it to make sure they remain vertical and properly aligned.
I then built the masts. They are rather involved themselves with all of their supports. Not the combined/enclosed masts of the newer San Antonio Class LHDs where the enclosures help mask a lot of the radar return. Lots of support structure showing, with various platforms within the masts for all of the various sensors.
Once this was done, I used the White Ensign Models Photo Etch set to build the radars to place on the masts, and then added all of the radar domes...and there are numerous domes on these vessels. Also all of the various details...search lights, sensors, equipment, etc. As stated, these are vey involved structures and there is just a lot of equipment housed on them.
I took me several days spending the afternoons and evenings, and my lunch hours when I could get home from work to do this. Once completed, I saw that I was not going to be able to get all of the photo etch railing done this session, so I dry fitted the island to the flight deck.
With this completed, I decided to do the decals for the vessel itself along with the island. Putting them on before the photo etch railing made sense to me, as well as needing them in place before I build the air wing and place it.
There are a LOT of decals for this vessel. The main landing deck has the most and the most distinctive, so I started there.
One word of caution. As I state when putting together all large landing decks...even though the decals come with complete long markings for the landing and positioning stripes, it is absolutely best to cut these up into smaller segments and add them as you go. It is just far too easy with those long, thin, delicate decals to twist them or tear them and thus mar the look, or even damage the decals beyond repair. So I put them on in sections...and even do the same to the intricate landing markings.
Again, with good decals like Gallery and others offer, where the various details are individual extensions, they are simply too easy to tear. So, I also cut the intricate landing markers...each one, into pieces that I then position appropriately on deck. In this case, I cut the landing areas into three parts. The leading dash separate, the main potion a single piece, and then the trailing two makers a separate piece as well. Even then, I found the angled line of the landing area had a propensity to tear off...and of the nine, only three or four did not do so.
Here's how that progressed across the deck from fore to aft.
Once the main deck decals were all land down, I began applying the island's detail decals and all of the various markings, from the pennant number on the island, to the achievement awards, the fueling/replenishment markings, and the various warnings and other markings. The Iwo Jima island has a distinctive marking on the port side of the island for the landing warnings and even denotes the flight deck as "Jack Lucas Airfield."
This also included the detail warning stripes on the elevators, the pennant number, fore and aft on the vessel itself, and the distinctive bow marking.
I had to stop there. There are more decals to put down along the hull for the various depth markings, and more detailed markings along the various catwalks and decks.
In my next session I will either place the photo etch railing on the entire ship...and that will take at least a week, or build the aiwing...which also is going to take over a week itself.
Either way, with those two sessions and then a session to complete the lighting wiring and switch, and then a final touch up/detail session, I have another month to go before finishing the Iwo Jima.go before finishing the Iwo Jima.
The Build - 25mm & .50 cal guns, Electronic directors, Life Rafts - February 18, 2015
Well, I decided to spend yesterday afternoon and this morning adding some more of the detail to the catwalks surrounding the flight deck (the various guns and the life rafts), and to complete the two electronic directors on the island.
This involed a lot of small parts and so I started with the Mk 38 25mm guns and the .50 cal machine guns used for self protection. I also built the electronic directors that are on either side of the island. The armament for the vessel, in addition to the two RAM launchers, the two Sea Sparrow launchers and the two 20mm Phalanx CIWS includes:
4 x MK 38 25mm cannons
Once these were built and dried I placed them:
Once this was completed, I built the numerous life raft assemblies which consisted of the holders and the life rafts themselves. They come in various lengths ranging from seven life rafts per holder, down to two life rafts per holder. For the Port and Starboard sides, there are a total of about 100 of the life rafts arranged along the full length of both sides.
Now that is looking very good...and puts me in a position to continue with my original plan of either adding the air wing, or the Photo Etch metal railing next.
The Build - Air Wing for the Flight Deck - February 28, 2015
This entire session was devoted to building all of the aircraft for the air wing that would be seen on the flight deck and the elevators...and there are a lot of them! There are up to thirteen parts for each of these aircraft and the total part count for the 29 aircraft was just under 250 parts. I took me ten days of working in the early mornings before work, and in the evenings after work to accomplish all that was necessary for this.
For the flight deck and elevators I built the following aircraft:
6 x AV-8B Harrier II Fighter/Bomber Aircraft
That's twenty-nine aircraft for the flight deck. Altogether, when added to the seven I placed in the hanger, it will make for 36 aircraft and helicopters for the air wing for my USS Iwo Jima, LPD-7 in 1/350 scale.
I started by arranging all of the parts...all of which come (either with the kit, or with the additional Gallery and Bronco aircraft packs I bought) molded in clear plastic. I then glued the major fuselage parts together for each. Once they were together and dried, I then painted the aircraft fuselages (Model Master Light Ghost Gray) and then added the hand painted cockpits and windows (Model Master Flat Black).
Once these were all dried, I then added the decals to the fuselages. There were up to eight decals on each aircraft and a total of 164 decals to be added.
I decided to do this before adding the landing gear and the rotors because these very small decals are much easier to apply before those other details are added. The landing gear and the rotors get in the way...and are also rather delicate and tend to break off when trying to handle them as much as you have to do when applying the decals...so best to add the decals first. Like this:
Once these decals were added and dried well, it was time to add the landing gear and the rotors for each aircraft. I had already painted these and they dried while completing other activities...but they are very small parts for the landing gear and require some precision work with tweezers, and just drops of glue for their application. The rotors are delicate and have to be handled with care, including removing them from the sprues.
In the end, they all went on to their respective aircraft.
Now, the aircraft were complete and it was just a matter of placing them in the appropriate configuration on the deck.
I decided to have them placed in the middle of an operation, with two Osprey, two Super Stallions, and two Harriers in the process of taking off. I have the rest arranged around the deck, with the Harriers and the attack helos to the aft. The Sea Knights aft next to the island, and the Super Stallions and Osprey forward of the island.. Two Cobras on the starboard elevator, and a Sea Knight and a Super Stallion on the port elevator.
Here's how all of that looks:
Now that is looking very nice indeed!
I dry fitted these in place initially...as I have done with the island. This is so I can more easily place the photo etch railing, and then wire the lighting system into the stand. That will be in the next session when I will complete the vessel and these aircraft and the island will be glued down.
The Build - Complete Lighting Electrical, Deck Equipment, Deck PE Railing/ladders, Island Railing - March 8, 2015
This was a very involved session and it took me every bit of ten days.
I started by completing the lighting system electrical wiring into the stand, adding the switch and power source (a 9VDC battery), and then testing the lighting system...at this point I also added to props and anchors since the model was upside down while doing this.
I then painted and built the deck equipment. These are miniature assemblies ranging in part count from five to ten pieces each. There are the following:
2 x large mobile cranes
The forklifts are painted yellow. The tires are flat black, and the rest are light gray, with some dark grey accents.
At this point it was time to add the photo etch metal railing to the flight deck, along with the ladders and safety netting. There was a LOT of PE Railing...and I mean a lot. Between the PE Railing supplied with the kit, and particularly the PE railing that came with the White Ensign Models PE kit, there was plenty. But it is very time consuming to cut and add all of these sections of railing and carefully bend them where necessary.
This took five or six days to accomplish itself.
Then it was time to do the same for the PE Railing and ladders for the island. Another painstaking operation with a LOT of railing. This took another 3-4 days.
She is looking very, very good!
All that is left now is to glue the island down, and glue the aircraft and deck equipment down. Then simply take pictures of the completed USS Iwo Jima, LHD, 7, in 1/350 scale!
The Build - Placing equipment and aircraft on the flight deck and elevators, completing the model - March 10, 2015
Well, all that was left at this point was to glue down the island, and then place the equipment (cranes, fork lifts, tugs, etc.) and the aircraft on the flight deck and elevators.
I ended up placing the aircraft in a little different configuration than what I used earlier in my dry fit. Mainly, I decided to place the Sea Knights forward of the island, with most of the Super Stallions aft of the island.
Once that was done and dried well, it was time to simply take the finishing pictures.
Here are the main pics:
...and some close ups:
...and the lighting system seen through both elevators and from aft, showing the well deck and vehicle deck:
...and some more detail shots:
...and finally, full shots from the port and starboard sides:
She is one nice looking vessel.
I have to say, this has been one of the top two most enjoyable 1/350 scale model ships I have built. This Gallery, USS Iwo Jima, LHD-7, and the 1/350 scale Tamiya USS Enterprise, CVN-65, that I built earlier added so much scratch build and lighting system to.
I would recommend both...an particularly this one...to anyone who enjoys building modern naval vessels. The detail for the three interior sections (vehicle deck, well deck, and hanger) and the ability to add details (photo etch kits, scratch builds, etc.) are simply phenomenal and make for a lot of enjoyment.
Now adding an escorting Ticonderoga and an escorting Burke will round out my ARG...though I do not have a 1/350 scale LSD and am not aware of a kit for one. Just the same, my completed ARG will include:
1 x Wasp Class Landing Helicopter Dock (USS Iwo Jima)
Having that group in conjunction with my entire US Navy Carrier Strike Group centered on the USS Enterprise is the culmination of a goal set many years ago.
One day I hope to add a 1/350 scale Zumwalt class destroyer to replace the New Jersey, and a Landing Ship Dock (LSD). Still, its a powerful group as it is.
The completion of the PLAN Carrier group was centered on the already completed Trumpeter's 1/350 scale PLA Navy's Aircraft Carrier CV-16, Liaoning, (in addition to the other escorts already completed) included Mini Hobby's PLAN Guangzhou, DDG-168. I recently pre-ordered a 1/350 scale model of the PLAN Type 071 LPD, Yuzhao Class, announced by Trumpeter and due out in October, 2013. I will end up adding two of those, probably LPD-998 Yuzhao and LPD-999, Jinggangshan, add the PLAN- DDG-139, Ningbo, and the PLAN DDG-115, Shenyang, along with the PLAN Weifang, FFG-550 and thus build a PLAN ARG.
The completion of the US Carrier Strike group was centered on the completed Tamyia's 1/350 scale USS Enterprise, CVN-65, (in addition to the other escorts already completed) included Trumpeter's, USS Freedom, LCS-1, Dragon's USS Preble, DDG-88 and Hobby Boss's USS Texas, SSN-775. When a 1/350 scale USS Enterprise, CVN-80 (or any Gerald R. Ford Class) is released from Trumpeter, Tamiya, Dragon, or whomever else, I will add it to this group along with another AEGIS Cruiser. Whichever Ford Class coms out in 1/350 scale, I will build it as the USS Enterprise, CVN-80.
The US ARG will include Tamiya's 1/350 scale, USS Iowa, BB-62 (which I have already completed), Gallery's 1/350 scale USS Iwo Jima LHD-7, Gallery's 1/350 scale USS New York, LPD-21, Cyber Hobby's USS Independence, LCS-2, Bronco Model's 1/350 scale USS Coronado, LCS-4, a Flight IIA US AEGIS class destroyer based on Trumpeter's 1/350 scale USS Lassen, DDG-82, and a Ticonderoga AEGIS cruiser...all of these models which I already own.
The completion of the UK Group featured the Airfix 1/350 scale HMS Illustrious, R06 as its center piece until a 1/350 scale Queen Elizabeth carrier is released. When that happens, I will add that carrier to the group as its centerpiece. The Royal Navy CSG will also include two Airfix 1/350 scale Daring Class DDGs (one of which is already completed), two Trumpeter 1/350 scale Type 23 HMS Duke class Frigates (one of which is already completed), and the Hobby Boss 1/350 scale HMS Astute SSN (which is also already completed) and Airfix 1/350 scale HMS Trafalgar SSN. One day, when a 1/350 scale HMS Ocean LPD comes out, I will use it to start building a Royal Navy ARG.
The French CSG is centered on Heller's 1/400 scale Charles De Gaulle, R91. I have purchased the 1/400 scale Heller French De Grasse, D612 DDG, which is an ASW DDG, the French Duquesne, D603 DDG which is an anti-air multi-purpose DDG, and the French Aconit D612 FFG and Gueprattet F714 FFGs, both of which are Lafayette class frigates. These five vessels will round out my French CSG. As soon as a French Robin class nuclear sub, like the French Pearle S606 SSN is released in 1/350 or 1/400 scale, I will add that to the group. Also as soon as the Forbin D620, Horizon class anti-air DDG is released in 1/350 or 1/400 scale, I will purchase two of them and replace the De Grasse and Duquesne with them, and then save those two for when a Mistral Class LPD is released in 1/350 or 1/400 scale so I can create a French ARG with those vessels.
The completion of the Japanese JMSDF group was centered on Fujimi's very finely detailed, 1/350 scale Hyuga, DDH-181. It will be escorted by Trumpeter's 1/350 scale DDG-177, Atago, an AEGIS class DDG and the JMSDF, DDG-174, Kongo class (which I own), Trumpeterís 1/350 scale DDG-114 Susunami and DDG-111 (both of which are Takinami Class DDGs which I own), and by the 1/350 scale SS-503 Hakuryu (which I own), one of Japans new, very modern and capable AIP Diesel Electric submarines. As soon as a DDG-115 Akizuki in 1/350 scale is released, I will add it to this group. Should a 1/350 scale Osumi Class LPD be released, I will buy two of those vessels and create a JMSDF ARG.
Then, finally it will be a complete Russian CSG (centered on Trumpeter's Kuznetsov which I own) the Russian Kirov Class nuclear battle cruiser (CGN), the Peter the Great, by Trumpeter (which I own), the Russian Slava Class cruiser, Varyag by Trumpeter (which I own), two Trumpeter 1/350 scale Udaloy DDGs (which I own), Hobby Boss's Akula II class SSN (which I own), and the new Yasen class Russian SSN (which I own), all in 1/350 scale. Sometime in the more distant future when a 1/350 scale Russian version of the French Mistral class comes out (which is building in real life right now), I will add two of those and build a Russian ARG.
Recently I purchased Heller's 1/400 scale Foch, the Clemenceau Class carrier that was sold to the Brazilians in 2000 and in 2002 was refitted and became the Brazilian CV, Sao Paulo, using steam catapults. I will build the model as the Sao Paulo and thus start a Brazilian group, though the Type 22 DDGs and the FFGs the Brazilians use are not available at present. I have however purchased a set of 1/400 scale A-4 Skyhawks and S-3 Trackers to build a suitable air wing for the Sao Paulo.
Then, again, once the models are available, I'd like to build an Italian Carrier Strike Group centered on the Cavour and their Horizon DDGs, a Spanish Carrier Strike Group centered on the Juan Carlos and their F-100 AEGIS FFGs, and ultimately an Australian Strike Group centered on the new Canberra Class LPD and the Hobart class AEGIS DDGs. If they ever build the models, an Indian Carrier Strike Group centered on either the Vikramaditya or their new ADS Carrier, the Vikrant, and their Kolkata class DDGs and Shivlak class FFGs would also be nice.
Years more worth of work!
You can see all of these actual carriers, read their histories and specifications at my site:
FINE ALL-AMERICAN, LIBERTY ORIENTED BOOKS AUTHORED BY JEFF HEAD
Dragon's Fury - World War Against America and the West: Following great success in the War on Terror, politicians and analysts alike thought that future global conflict was impossible...but they were wrong. Journey into a possible future where Islamic terrorists sharpen their horrific skills & ally with Red China. In such a future, can the U.S. & western civilization survive?
The Stand at Klamatjh Falls: How rural western farmers and their supporters stood up to entrenched environmentalism, activist judges, and agencies of the Federal gGovernment in southwestern Oregon...and prevailed.
BACK TO JEFFHEAD.COM
Copyright © 2012 by Jeff Head, All Rights Reserved