LCS-3 Video Review
Commissioned in September of 2012 the USS Fort Worth is the 2nd completed ship of the Freedom class of LCS ships. LCS stands for Littoral Combat Ship. These ship are designed for close to shore operations or “littoral zone” for deployment and extraction of assault teams having the capability to launch crash boats and other small amphibious craft from a stern located hanger bay at the water line. The Fort Worth’s list of on board armament includes the BAE Systems Mk 110 57mm gun, a RAM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile launcher Honeywell Mk 50 torpedoes, NLOS-LS (on-Line of Sight Launch System) with PAM (Precision Attack Munitions) missile in the ASuW module and 2 .50-cal guns. Along with the armament, she supports two MH-60R/S Seahawks and can carry a compliment of Mq-8 Fire Scout UAV’s. Top speed is reported at 45 knots and the ship has a shallow draft which allows her to get in close to shore where the larger Frigates and Destroyers cannot go. There are four more Freedom Class ships under construction at this time and will soon will join their sister ship, the USS Fort Worth, on operations around the world.
At first glance this kit is packaged in a standard slide off top box like all Bronco Models kits. The box art is an artist’s rendition of the USS Forth Worth underway. Opening the box I noticed the parts are well organized and all sprue trees and loose parts are packaged in sealed plastic bags. I noticed the superstructure section was also wrapped in a sheet of foam to protect the delicate areas.
The box includes the following parts.
1 – Lower hull section
1 – Upper hull section
1 – Main superstructure section
10 – Light grey styrene sprue trees
3 – Clear styrene sprue trees
1 – Decal Sheet
1 – Sheet of photo etch parts
After looking over all the parts I noticed there is little too no flash present and the parts are finely molded with crisp details. There are a few thin sections of the upper hull and superstructure sections. Special care will be needed in handling these part to ensure that no part is broken. On the upper hull section thin parts include the top section of the side hanger bay door and the two interior walls. On the superstructure the delicate parts would be the two foreward points where this section would match up with the deck and hull. I contribute this “thinning” to an attempt to bring the plastic into a more reasonable scale as the hanger door can be depicted open or closed showing the header section of the door and the interior walls.
There is not a tremendous part count to this kit, however the majority of the parts are tiny and delicate. Care will be needed in removing these pieces from the sprues. There are 5 parts highlighted in the instruction parts legend as not being used. This kit can be made into the USS Freedom LCS-1 with these extra parts, but the manufacturer has not supplied the alternative decals to support this.
Sprue A - This sprue tree contains the bow’s deck section, some watertight doors and various small pars for the super structure such as the RAM or Rolling Airframe Missile system. On this tree, there are two large deck sections that are omitted from use when building the LCS-3. These are sections for the deck used to make the LCS-1.
Sprue B – This sprue tree contain the majority of the parts to construct the superstructure. The mast, antenna, and the topmost section of the superstructure are all on this sprue.
Sprue C – There are two sprue trees for C, each contain most of the fine molded cleats and deck furnishings as well as the propulsion jets that drive the ship.
Sprue D - There are three of these sprues in the kit containing the UAVs.
Sprue E – This is one of the clear sprue trees in the kit containing the windows for the bridge and aft observation windows that overlook the flight deck.
Sprue F – There are two of these sprues containing the two Seahawk helicopters for this ship. These are molded in clear styrene with plenty of detail.
Sprue G – There are two of these sprue containing the parts for the helicopters as well as the plastic rotor blades for the helicopters and propellers for the UAVs.
Sprue H – Contains the stern amphibious hanger door section that gets added to the hull section. The sprue also contains the flight deck section of the ship.
Part I – This is the lower watertight hull section.
Part M – This is the large superstructure section.
Part N – This is the larger upper hull section.
Sheet P – This is the photo etch parts sheet containing the ships railings, helicopter blades, various radar parts and the name plate for the base.
Part Q – This is the black styrene base plinth.
Decals – This kit includes one set of decals for depicting the kit as the USS Fort Worth LCS-3
The instructions are laid out in Bronco Models standard booklet form. The booklet is printed clearly and detailed in exploded drawing format. There are several options throughout the instructions and are clearly marked and easy to follow. All of the photo etch items are shown in gold color anywhere they are used. I like this option as I have passed by some PE items as they have blended in with the other instructions.
10 pages long, the instructions work their way through hull construction, deck installation and then onto the superstructure, this is a standard format for ship building. The pages containing the superstructure construction are highly detailed with many tiny as well as delicate parts to be installed. Most of the building time on this ship will undoubtedly be on this section. Patience will be needed not only for the tiny plastic part but on the many photo etch parts including the windshield washer blades to be installed on the bridge windows.
There are a total of five aircraft, 3 UAVs and 2 Seahawk helicopters that can be constructed for this ship. There is photo etch enhancement provided. The blades for the helicopters come with two options, deployed and folded. The option of placing the choppers inside the hanger bay on the weather deck can be chosen giving a nice touch to the static model.
The final pages of the instructions cover the superstructure assembly to the deck and hull sections of the ship and placing the entire model on the base section along with the painting guides for the Seahawk helicopter and the ship itself.
I feel this is a well molded and highly detailed kit. There are certain challenges that have to be met while building this kit, but I feel that with time and effort and a little patience that this kit can be built into a beautiful static display model. Special care is needed for some of the more delicate parts, again, this can be overcome with a little patience. There are a few sections that could be enhanced to match the original ship but are not a make or break point in building this ship. The added photo etch covers the most important sections for this build; the helicopter blades and the railing stand out most for me. The adding of photo etch railings to a ship build is a must for me as this is a detail that will be noticed in the finished model. Bronco models have made an excellent rendition of the USS Fort Worth LCS-3 and the pricing is spot on for a kit with this level of details. I would highly recommend this kit to any fans of the modern ships and anyone who enjoys detailed ship building.
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