My Review and Build of Orange Hobby's 1/350 scale KIT #N03-130-1400,
USS Harpers Ferry LSD-49 Landing Ship Dock (LSD)

Harper's Ferry Class Landing Ship Dock (LSD)

The Harper's Ferry Class Landing Ship Dock are a class of LSD's that followed the Whidbey Island Class of eight vessels. They used the same hull, but some significant differences were made in the Harper's Ferry to better suite the US Navy needs and to give the US Navy more flexibility in the formation and use of its Amphibious Ready Groups, which are the essential Amphibious assault portion of a Marine Expiditionary Unit (MEU).

Normally, an ARG consists of:

1 x LHD or LHA Large flatdeck Amphibious Assault vessel capable of carrying up to 2,000 Marines and all of their equipment, as well as the aircraft to jelp land and support them
1 x LPD, a large Amphibious vessel with a smaller ddeck, but still capable of carryoing up tpo 800-900 marines and their equipment and the aircraft to help land them. 1 x LSD, a large ladning ship dock capable of carryoing 500 or more Marines and all of their equipment and landing spots for the aircraft to help land them.

Note, outside of ceertain LHA vehciles, all of these vessels also contain large well d3ecks to accomodate LAnding Craft Air Cushions (LCAC), MAnding Craft utility (LCU), and Amphibious YTank and personnel carriers to get the troops to shore in addition to having them flown there in air assault aboard various types of helicopters and/or MV-22 Osprey vertical landing aircraft.

The LHD/LHA and LPDs aslo have spacious hangers for their aircraft.

The LSDs do not have hangars for the aircraft used to transport their troops.

The eight Whidbey Island LSDs which preceded the Harper's Ferry class could each carry up to four LCAC, which meant their well decks were extrremely long. This is good for moving a lot of troops at once, but also decreased the amouint of storage room within the ship itself for verhicles, equipment, and armor.

it was felt that a class of LSDs should be built tht could carry more of the equiment for the MArines, and so the HArper's Ferry Class was built to give this fllexibility to the overall ARG.

Haprers Ferry Class LSDs can only accomodate twp LCACs, but have a lot more storage decks and space for equipment. This increased the displacement of the Harper's Ferry class. Where as the Whidbey ISland class looks very much like the Harper's Ferry class, each of those vessels displace 16,100 tons, while the Harper's Ferry displaces 19,600 tons full load. 3,500 tons of structure and additional equipment for the Marines.

The four vessels that were built that comprise the Haprer's Ferry Class include:

USS Harpers Ferry, LSD-49, built by Avondale Shipyard, Commissioned on January 7, 1995, and based at Naval Base San Diego (CA)
USS Carter Hall, LSD-50, built by Avondale Shipyard, commissioned September 30, 1995, and based at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek (VA)
USS Oak Hill, LSD-51, built by Avondale Shipyard , commissioned June 8, 1996, Nnd based at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek (VA)
USS Pearl, Harbor LSD-52, built by Avondale Shipyard, commissioned May 30, 1998, and based at Naval Base San Diego (CA)

These vessels are expected to serve for 40 years, and will begin decommissioning in the mid-2030s.

The replacement class for the twelve LSDs (Both the Whidbey Island Class and the Harper's Ferry class) is already in final design since the vessels in the Whidbey ISland Classs will begin decommissioning in the mid-2020s. The new LSD will be built on the same hull as the San Antonio Class LPD, but with the features of the LSD.

The official specification for the ships of the Harper's Ferry Class include: official specifaltions include:

Displacement: 19,600 tons
Length: 609 ft 7 in (185.80 m)
Beam: 84 ft (26 m)
Draft: 19 ft 6 in (5.94 m)
Propulsion: Four Colt Pielstick, 16-cylinder diesels twin turbo, two shafts, 33,000 shp (25,000 kW)
Speed: 24.5 kn (45.4 km/h; 28.2 mph)
Boats & landing:
- Craft carried: 2 LCACs, LCUs. Amphibious vehicles
- Naval: 22 officers, 391 enlisted
- Marines 402 _ 102 Surge
Armament: 2 × 25 mm Mk 38 cannons
- 2 × 20 mm Phalanx CIWS mounts
- 2 × RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launchers
- 2 x 25 mm Mk 38 rapid-fire cannon
- 6 × .50 caliber M2HB machine guns

The Haper's Ferry LSD vessels are an essential part of the US Navy and US Marine policy and methodology for being able to project US military power when necessary and to assault shoelines according to the direction of the US Command Authority, meaning the pPresident of the United States.

Introduction and What's in the Box - September 2, 2016

I was very excited when Orange Hobby announced the release of the 1/350 scale version of this ship. I already had the Gallery MOdels 1/350 scale injected molded plastic model of the Wasp Class USS Iow Jima, LHD-7, and the Bronco Model 1/350 scale injected molded plastic model of the USS New York, LPD-21, San Antonio class LPD. I was unaware of any 1/350 scale LSDs and felt I might not be able to round out my ARG appropriately.

But then thois model was announced and I began saving for it. It is a resin kit, with a lot of resin and metal parts...and very detailed. But resin kist are also very expensive. Free Time Hobbies out of Georgia and online, had the best price at $239.95, and their standard $8.95 shipping rate ( So when I saved the money I got it from them. Otherwise, it is in GREAT shape.

It comes with the entire hull and major weather decks and bridge and other structure all modled. You can either build it water line, or full huiull becuase it also has a single modeled piece for the lower hull.

Also, there is a nicely modledd part for the well deck and the entire equipment deck that fits very nicely into the upper part of the ship.

There are numererous sprues of many resin parts for detail, and there are nine sheets of metal etched parts for all of the railing, sensors, and many of the structural mounts for radars, and the cranes, etc.

The decalslook great and the instructions come in about 20 full pages that are very detailed.. As with amy resin kit, you have to deal wth the tooling attachments and modlings and get them removed nicely so that the poarts all fit you have to use the apprpriate glue for the resin.

But that's pkay because this ship looks like it is going to be very well worth it.

Orange Hobbies puts out excellent kits, both injected modled and resin kits. They are Well known for their finr workmanship and attentiaon to detail. This kit certainly looks to maintain that level of confidance.

Here is how the vessel looks out of the box.

...and here are some pictures of the resin formed vessel as it came in the box:

This looks to be a very good build, and will take some time because of all of the detail and working with etal and resin.

Building the Model: Lower hull, rudders, struts, shafts - September 2, 2016

I started by removing the tooling attachments to the lower hull from the molding process. These usually snap off pretty good if you use a sharp pair of cutters, but you have to be careful or you can easily break part of the part itself.

These came apart nicely, after which time with an xacto knife, my cutters, and sand paper, I was able to sand the edges at those point down very smooth so that they will fit nicely into the upper hull.

I then began gatherig the parts for the rudders, the stabilization veins, the struts, and the shafts.

I also had to put the bulbous nose on the fon of the lower hull and then started painting in hull red which is a mixture of two parts red and one part brown from model masters.

I got the bulbous nose on and then the stabilizors and began painting.

At this point I added the rudders, the struts and the shafts, and then painted the rest of the lower hull:

This is looking very good. I will next paint the vertical surfaces on the main hull in the neutral grayI use for the US Navy, add the water mark line, and then do a test fit for the upper and lower hull before adding the well dck which will be the step after next.

But I have a long Labor day weekend coming up and will have plenty of time to make some progress here.

Building the Model: Painting the vertical surfaces, adding the waterline mark, painting the weather decks, buling the main armament - September 5, 2016

I painted the vertical surfaces in Model Master Neutral Gray, which I do for all of my US Naval vessels. I then used tape to mark off, on the upper hull for the waterline mark, which I then painted in flat black. Once it had dried and the tape taken off, it looked very nice, particularly when dry fitted to the lower hull.

I then painted the weather decks. I painted the landing deck in Tester's Flat Gray, and then used a Model Master Royal Navy Medium Gray for the weather decks. Once this was completed, I then painted the bridge windows and other winnows on flat black, including those for the Flight Operations and other pieces I have yet to place.

After this, I painted the Phalanx 20mm CIWS parts and the RAM launcher parts. These are the two principle self defense weapons systems these ships carry against air attack. The RAM stands for Rolling Air-frame Missile, and each launcher carrier 21 missiles that have a range out to ten or so miles to shoot down aircraft or missiles. The 20mm Gatling guns, which shoot about 3,000 rounds per minute, are good out to 1.5 to 2 miles and are also good for aircraft or missiles. Each ship has two of each.

Once these were painted and dried, I then assembled them and dry placed them on the main bridge area in their appropriate positions.

That's looking very nice.

In my next session I will add the photo etch railings for these assemblies, and also add the railing in the well deck and paint the well deck apporpritely, including the lower portin with its ramp up onto the main deck.

Building the Model: Detailing and attaching the well deck and vehicle deck. Attaching the lower hull - September 6, 2016

I started off this session by ppainting the metal photo etch handrails for the well deck and then attaching them to the inner part of the hull housing the well deck.

I then painted and detailed the well deck and vehicle deck floor that came with the model. This inclded railing, one HMVV and a small boat that I had on hand. Once that was completed, I glued the well deck to the upper hull. Once it dried, I dry fir the lower hull to the upper hull to check the fit, and to take a picture of how it looked looking into the well deck, and how it looks on top, expecially the ramp leading down to the well deck from the main deck..

Once dried, I glued the lower hull to the upper hull and set the vessel up on its wooden stand.

Now that is looking very nice...looking a lot like the USS Harper's Ferry, LSD-49...but a LOT of detail remaining. In the next session I hope to detail the main weapon decks, as well as the smoke/exhaust stacks and place them on the vessel.

Building the Model: Detailing the major weapons systems and placing them on the ship. - September 9, 2016

There is just a ton of photo etch and metal detail for this model. Part of that includes the railings, stariways, and platforms surrouding the weapons systems.

I had already built the major structure for the two 20mm Phalanx CIWS and the two RAM launchers and dry fitted them to the ship. But now it was time to add all of this detail to those systems, including some surrouding structure and glue them down. Here's how the upper/aft 20mm Phalanx looked after the detialing, and how the forward, upper RAM launcher looked.

Once these were completed it was time to add them to the vessel. Also time to add the detail around the after, lowewr RAM launcher, and the forward, lower Phalanx 20mm CIWS. At the same time it was time to build and place the two Mk-38 Mod 2 25mm chain guns. One of these is on the main deck house on the port side, and the other on the starboard side.

Here's how they all looked once they were built, detailed, and placed:

And here's a couple of larger over view pictures of the main deck house/bridge, with these weapons systems all attached:

There is a LOT of detailing yet to do. In the next session, over this coming weekend, I hope to add the two funnels/exhausts and their detail, and to add the main mast on the main deck house. Perhaps get the forward deck detailed too...but we shall see if we have the time.

Building the Model: Aft funnel & Fly-Ops, Bow deck details, and Main Mast. - September 12, 2016

I began this session by detailing the aft funnel located on the port side just fore of the flight deck. This included adding the Flight Operations area on its aft side, as well as numerous details.

I then added the nunmerous details to the bow deck of the vessel. Lots of Photo Etch Railing, life raft stations, and other parts detailing the bow.

Here's how all of that turned out:

Once this was completed it was time to tackle the main mast. This is made up of a mixture of photo etch structure, photo etch railaing, and resin parts. There are two loves, and a number of small decks containing various electronic jamming and instrumentation as well as radars.

This took quite some time as you have to let each of these assemblies dry well before continuing.

Here's how the two main levels went together without all of the instrumentation, starting with a picture of the vessel without the mast:

I then added the mast as it was to the vessel, and then it was time to add a lot of the detail...the radars, domes, various antennaeetc. I also added one of the main comm antennas directly aft of the main mast. This was a nice metal part.

Here's how all of that went together:

That is looking pretty nice. Here's a picture of the overall vessel now with the mast, bow detail, and the aft funnel.

In my next session, I hope to add the funnel on the starboard side, the crane, and the detail for the ships launches and a lot of the other life raft stations around the amidships area.

Building the Model: Ship's Crane, Forward funnel, Boat Davits, Deck details. - September 16, 2016

I started this session by building the large crane used by this class vessel, and the forward funnel. Lots of small details, including photo etch details and railing. Here's how they both turned out:

I then built the fairly involved boat davit area for the two ships launches, a small rigid inflatable, and a larger launch. It's a nice looking assembly on the port side, amidships. I then went around the upper decks and added the myriad of railing and other details to those decks. This was very involved. There are just a lot of details and railing. But, in the end it turned out nicely. Here's how all of that looks:

Then, I decided to go ahead and add the many door/hatchways along both the port and starboard sides deck along and underneath the flight deck. These doors lead into the well deck and areas surrounding it.

There were a lof ot these doorways. They are each photo etch parts with the door support, and then the door hatch that swings into the frame. Here's how each side now looks, along with an overview of the entire ship:

This is looking very nice.

Next I will be doing the other detail work along these decks below the flight deck. There are a LOT of details to be added there. Various equipment, and a lot of detailed railing work to add.

But that will be for my next session.

Building the Model: Access decks, more details, well deck door, LCAC & M1A2 Tank, Landing deck rails and helicopters. - September 19, 2016

Over this weekend I had quite bit of time to spend, so I tackled several things.

1st was the deck on both the port and starboard side below the flight deck that provides access to the welld deck and various equipment, some of it used for replenishment. There was quite a bit of stairways, equipment, and then the detailed railing. On the aft the deck is separate. Here's how it went there:

You can see the access ladders to the flight deck as well as the aftermost .50 cal gun mount.

Here's how that same type of work went on the longer port and starboard side, as well as the other aft end:

Once this was completed, I added a few more detailes to the main portion of the ship. This included the .50 cal gun mounts on each side on the upper deck, as well as an auxillary deck and some life rafts on the port side.

it also included the well deck door on the aft end of the ship, which is raised while in transit, and lowered when LCAC or other landing craft or ampphibious vessels are entering or leaving the ship.

At this point I decided to go ahead an build the LCAC (Landing Craft Air Cushion) that was included with the model, and the M1A2 Abrams tank. The tank will be placed into the LCAC, and the LCAC will be shown exiting the ship from the well deck. Lots of small details on both of these.

Here's how they turned out:

Finally, I had a couple of CH-47 helicopters and a Seahawk helicopter left over from other builds to show on the flight deck of the Harper's Ferry, and then went aheady and added the railing/netting along wither side and the aft pportion of the flight deck. Whith all of this added the vessel is look very complete:

So, I have a few more details to add, will aslo build and add a MV-22 Osprey landing on the aft end of the flight deck, then the decals, and finally the touch up paint work. I hope to finish all of that this week.

As it is, she is looking fairly good right now.

Building the Model: Adding helicopter deck markings/decals. - September 21, 2016

I devoted this short session to adding the helicopter deck markings/decals.

These were a dry set decal which I had not used before.

The process is pretty straight forward. You take off the cover sheet, press the decal down onto the deck, and then roll (like with a penny or other round surface) along the decal to press it onto the surface.

Well, I did not know how sensitive the decals would be and so when I pulled off the clear sheet, not all of the decal remained. some of it tore and pulled off wih the paper.

So, I had to make do with what did press down (the landing spot on the aft end) and then build the rest with other decals I had and various white strip material.

I think it turned out okay, but the decal that came with it, had it all stuck, was better and more authentic. Anyhow, here is how it looks:

Not too bad. Still have those other details and the rest of the decals to add. Will be working on that in my next sessions.

Building the Model: Decals for LCAC, MV-22 Osprey, Antennae, details, decals for ship. - September 23, 2016

I started this session by adding the decals for the LCAC and then gluing the LCAC in place just coming out of the well deck. I then built, painted, added decals to, and placed an MV-22 Osprey on the aft landing spot on the landing deck.

Here's how that looks:

Once this was completed, I had a few more details and antennae to add to the main decks, and then more decals, particularly the warning stripes around the weaponry.

She's looking really good now! Here's some overall pics:

JUst a few more decals and details, and then the finish coats and she will be completed. I will do that in my next session.

Building the Model: Added .50 cal machine guns, added a few more details, finish coats and completed model. - September 25, 2016

Well, now it was time to place the tiny, photo etch .50 cal machine guns at their eight locations around the vessel. There are four on each side, port and starboard. Two near the bow, two right back at the stren below the flight deck, two on the main bridge housing and two on the deck below the flight deck, near the forward portion of that deck.

They are tiny and had to be handled carefully when cutting them off their sprue and then when attaching them to the gun mounts.

While doing this I also added a few more details...and here's how that looked:

With this, the vessel was complete except for gluing it to its wooden stand and adding the two dull coat finishes. Once that was done it was time for the final pictures:

...and some close up shots:

And there you have it. Orange Hobby's 1/350 scale USS Harper's Ferry, LSD-49. She does look good though:

I will come back and add some pictures of my entire Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) together, which will include the USS Iwo Jima, LHD-7, USS New York, LPD-21, and USS HArper's Ferry, LSD-49...and their excorts. Perhaps this weekend I can arrange them all together like that!

SCHEDULE for Future Activities - September 25, 2016

  1. By October 12, 2016 Buy and complete the Orange Hobby USS Harper's Ferry, LSD-49

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 Orange Hobby 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 Orange Hobby's, USS Freedom, LCS-1, Orange Hobby'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 Orange Hobby, Tamiya, Orange Hobby, 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 Orange Hobby's 1/350 scale USS The Sullivans, DDG-68, 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 Orange Hobby 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 Orange Hobby's 1/350 scale DDG-177, Atago, an AEGIS class DDG and the JMSDF, DDG-174, Kongo class (which I own), Orange Hobby’s 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 the Russian CSG (centered on Trumpeter's Kuznetsov which I own) the Russian Kirov Class nuclear battle cruiser (CGN), the Peter the Great, by Trumpeter, the Russian Slava Class cruiser, Varyag by Orange Hobby (which I own), two Orange Hobby 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:


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