JAG's 1/700 Belknap Class Cruiser

Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The Belknap was the first of a new class of guided missile frigate originally designated DLG-26. Other ships in the class were; Belknap, Josephus Daniels, Wainwright, Jouett, Horne, Sterett, William H. Standley, Fox, and Biddle. Built by Bath Iron Works, she was commissioned on November 7th 1964. She joined the U. S. Second Fleet and operated with NATO forces in the North Atlantic. Next up for Belknap was a stint with the Sixth Fleet and later with the Seventh Fleet. Here she had the task of PIRAZ (Positive Identification Radar Advisory Zone) which consisted of tracking all the aircraft over the Tonkin Gulf. She also performed SAR (Search And Rescue) for downed aircrew operating in the area. 

Belknap was embarked the first SH-2D LAMPS helo in 1971 and was reclassified as CG-26 in 1975. Later that same year she collided with the USS John F. Kennedy in heavy seas and suffered major damage to her topside. Her superstructure caught fire and the mostly aluminum construction nearly melted to the main deck. The lessons learned from this accident changed the Navy's thinking on building ships out of Aluminum instead of steel. Belknap was Decommissioned  December 20, 1975 but this was not the end for the still very capable ship. In May 1980 she was re-commissioned and later was modified as a Fleet Flagship with the Sixth Fleet. 

In December 1989 she had the distinction of hosting serving as US Flagship at the Malta Summit when President George Bush met with Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev.   Belknap lasted until 1995 when she was decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Registry. Three years later she was sunk as a target. 

After a long silence, JAG is back in a big way with this new Belknap class cruiser. 

The hull is cast waterline style with a level of crisp detail that we have come to expect from JAG. The shapes are sharp and well defined and even the overhangs are well cast without mold tears. The forward superstructure is cast in place with lots of surface detail including well defined window frames.  Click images
to enlarge
The missile load magazine really stands out with all kinds of hatches and fittings cast on. Anchor chain, bits and chock are all nicely done. The aft helo deck includes recessed tie down sockets 
The rest of the superstructure parts are cast with the same sharp edges and fine detailing. The funnels even have very fine intake grill detailing. Obviously someone put a lot of time into this master. click to enlarge
The main guns and CIWS base are cast on a thin resin wafer along with some platforms and mast parts. The CIWS is not the same as the ones included in older JAG kits. It is an all new design that features a very detailed base that allows for the gun pod to pivot realistically. Wow, this is the best one I have seen in 700 scale. click to enlarge
The ships boats, radar illuminators, harpoon launchers, and other fittings are cast on resin sprues. The dome part of those awesome CIWS are on these sprues as well.  click to enlarge
Another nice item is this Kaman SH-2D Seasprite LAMPS helo, nicely cast with separate landing gear and two torpedoes and a magnetic anomaly detector, or MAD unit. How cool!
Several length of plastic rod are included to fabricate the mast with.  click to enlarge
A nice stainless steel photo relief etched fret is provided with everything from radar's to platform braces and mast parts for the various ships in the class. Folded and deployed helo blades, safety netting, and more are included.
The decals are very sharply registered and include hull numbers, salad bars, warning circles and all kinds of markings for a variety of JAG ships. A separate small sheet is included with names of the ships in the class. 
There are plenty of extra marking on this sheet so save what you don't use on the Belknap for other modern era USN ships.
The instructions are four large B-size pages with history, bill of materials, and sub assembly views. Well drawn and very plenty of information to build the ship right.

JAG Photos of the original resin kit. See their website for more.


I think most of us would have been content with the same old good quality JAG kit. But instead we have a new and improved JAG kit with sharp detailing and newly remastered fittings and weapons. It is nice to see JAG back with another new Cold War veteran, especially one as nice as this kit. 

This is kit #JAG018  Belknap Class with a list price of $92.00 US. Steep for some, but well worth it when you consider that you can not get this kind of detail in plastic. I highly recommend this kit. 

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