1/350 Knox Class Frigate

Reviewed by Timothy Dike
May 2012
The Robert E. Peary was laid down December 20, 1970 by the Lockheed Ship Building and Drydock Company at Seattle, Washington. The Peary was a typical Knox class Destroyer Escort, later reclassified as a Frigate. She was designed to replace an aging fleet of Cold War escorts with an emphasis on the ASW role. 

The Peary was 438' long with a beam of 46'9" about the size of a W.W.II destroyer. She was armed with one 5" main gun, a Mk-16 eight cell missile launcher for ASROC and Harpoon missiles, and Phalanx close-in weapon system (CIWS). The ship could make over 27 knots and had accommodations for one SH-2 Sea sprite helicopter. 

The Peary and her sisters filled a valuable sea defense role in the closing days of the Cold War. She served in the Pacific fleet being based at Long Beach, and Pearl Harbor and was active all over the Western Pacific making many trips into the Persian Gulf. 

She was decommissioned on Aug. 7, 1992 and struck from the Naval Vessel Register on Jan. 11, 1995. However she was transferred to the Republic of China and continues to serve as the Chi Yang (932) in the Taiwanese Navy.

This new kit from Orange Hobby features the USS Robert E. Peary or  can be used to portray most of the Knox class with minor modifications. The kit was designed using CAD and the result is very impressive. 

 The hull is hollow cast waterline style with a separate lower hull. This type of casting reduces the amount of resin in the part and yields a much nicer part. There are some long gates along the waterline to remove, but they are cast inset from the outer edge so removing them won't damage the hull sides.  Click images
to enlarge
The shape appears to closely match the Knox class lines. Most of the superstructure is cast onto the hull with some nicely cast bridge windows and doorways hollowed out. There is lots of plumbing and conduit detail on the sides of the walls. 
The lower hull is also cast hollow with the addition of some bracing. It is nicely shaped with a spot for the sonar dome to attach to. One minor issue is the placement of the rudder location hole. It should be offset to one side to allow the propeller shaft to be removed without also having to remove the rudder. That should be an easy fix. 
The superstructure parts are well cast on resin runners. Detail is exceptional with fine casting and abundant surface detailing. Cleanup should be a breeze because of the smart placement of the resin runners. There is a little flash around the hanger opening to remove. The hanger is designed to telescope into this opening.
The sonar dome, rudder, and propeller are all cast on this sprue. The prop is well cast with what appears to me to be the correct shape.
A retracted helo hanger is include here as an alternate to the extended version shown above. Two nicely cast ships boats are included as well. 
The 5" main gun and the Mk-16 launcher are included here. These are nicely detailed and well cast.
A nice Close-in Weapons System is proved for anti air defense. The multi piece assembly is very detailed and can be posed at any angle just like the real one. 
This little helo is almost a kit in itself. It is very detailed for it's size. It features opened up doors, separate landing gear, and torpedoes. Very impressive casting here. 
Many of the equipment venting and ductwork is provided here as well as a bunch of fitting. Very little flash and again nicely detailed. 
The chocks are provided as separate details. The keep wings, are provided here as well. Chaff launchers, and life raft canisters are among the other items featured here.

The gun barrel and prop shaft are machined brass as are the bits along the hull sides. I think that might be a first for 350 scale ships. 
The photo etch provided in this kit is very extensive and includes everything you could possibly need. All are protected with a plastic shield to prevent damage in shipping. Many of the frets use relief etching to enhance the 3D effect. 
FRET A Railings, and safety nets.
FRET B More railings for the various platforms.
FRET C Roll-up hanger door, mast, platforms, and miscellaneous parts. 
FRET D Radar platforms, inclined ladders, and miscellaneous parts.
FRET D1 Doors and their frames. 
FRET E Anchor chain and miscellaneous. 
FRET R AN/SPS-10 radar assembly.
FRET SH-2 Sea sprite rotor blades, hubs and doors. 
A sharply rendered decal sheet with hull numbers and flags is provided. Warning circles and badges and shields are also included for the Peary. 
The instructions are well illustrated with a number of sub assembly views. These appear to be very thorough and show all the steps well. 
These photos are from Orange Hobby and show the unpainted kit built up.
This new kit is a state of the art. No doubt the best Knox class kit on the market. Very detailed and very complete. the kit has a list price of $125 US, but Freetime has it on sale for $99.95, a great price for a kit like this. Freetime carries the entire Orange Hobby line of kits.