Orange Hobby Blue Series
1/350 USS Harpers Ferry (LSD-49)

Reviewed June 2017
by Keith T Bender
The USS Harpers Ferry (LSD-49) is the lead ship of her class of dock landing ship (LSD).   She is named for the West Virginia river town made famous by John Brown's Raid prior to the civil war.   Built at the Avondale Shipyards in New Orleans, she was laid down in April, 1991, launched in January 1993 and commissioned in January 1995.

 The Harpers Ferry is 610 ft in length by 84 ft in beam. At full load she weighs 16,601 tons. She can carry two LCACs or numerous Amtracs, LCVP, LCM and other water craft. There are two landing spots on the flight deck aft. She has a crew of 350 sailors and room for 500 marine personal 

Currently home-ported in San Diego, California, Harpers Ferry has carried out many humanitarian relief efforts, including the Philippine cyclone of 2009, the Great Japanese Earthquake of 2011, and the abortive attempt to aid Burma after the Cyclone Nargis in 2008. 

For further information, check out her Wikipedia page here.

The Orange Hobby USS Harpers Ferry

This 1:350 multi media model of the USS Harpers Ferry LSD-49 is one of the latest in resin kits by Orange Hobby, in their "Blue Series".  Harpers Ferry is packaged in a sturdy cardboard box.    Inside is a multi-part hull, photo-etch, decals, instructions, a stand and numerous resin "sprues" in smaller box, which is where you'll find the majority of the kit parts. 
There are three large sections that make up the hull:  upper hull, lower hull and interior/well deck. The upper portion has many detail cast onto it and they are very cleanly done with the only exception of the anchor chain and molded on vertical ladders. The ladders are clean but I think most of us would rather use PE on a kit of this size. Upon turning the upper hull upside down you will see the well deck details such as the overhead beams and the rubber padding on the bulkheads which act as bumpers for all craft entering or departing the well deck. It is represented in good detail as well.

The hull measures to 20.75" or 20 3/4" which come up a tad shy in scale at 605 ft verse 610 on the full size. The width is dead on to size. I wouldn't hold that tiny shortage of length against them. I did find a small corner of the aft starboard side flight deck has a chipped piece that is missing, and was not in the box, or stuck in the bubble rap. It won't be hard to repair. This piece missing piece area is .625 long X .125 wide or 5/8" X 1/8".

After looking over the four ships in the class I noticed they all have a small section under the flight deck, all the way aft, on both sides of the hull that is open to the interior of the well deck. The kit does not have this opening but rather that area is closed off from the inside of the well deck. However it can be opened with a Dremel or another drill type tool and some small files. I believe this area was left enclosed on the kit to make the hull removal from the mold possible. 
The Well Deck hull section has all the deck detail molded in, such as all tie down areas, raised ridges on ramp and more tie downs up forward. There are four uptake blocks cast to the upper deck. The bow area has another small ramp that ends at the forward most bulkhead. This section is keyed like a puzzle and drops right into the upper hull once you remove the over pour risers.
The Lower Hull section is cast as one piece. The lower bow of this class of LSD has a large bulb. Orange Hobby cast the bulb as a seperate piece which makes it easier to remove the hull from the mold and also to preserves the life of the mold. It has the locating slots for the bilge keels and holes for the shafts, struts and rudders. Overall it is a nice casting but I did find mine to have a hog in it running the length of the hull with a slight twist at the stern. Nothing a few minutes in the oven won't fix. That's is a whole other story. 
There are five separate sprues for the letter A. Two of them have one bilge keel each and numbered so the correct bilge keel goes on the proper side of the hull.  One is the LCAC hull and three others have the two "RAM" launchers and their bases. The others have miscellaneous lockers and cabinets.
These two hold the tailgate for the ship which has all correct details molded in both inside and out. There is a slight warp in that part.  This sprue has one of the stack caps, main mast platform, RHI boat and the two side davits for said boat. Also the top mast of the main mast assembly.
This sprue has the RHI cradles, one anchor, sps 40 radar base and some small mast platforms.
There is three sprues lettered "D". The two propeller shafts on one, Another has the two rudders, propellers and bulbous bow for the lower hull. The third sprue has the tailgate rest / bumper and O2 cylinders.
Here we have the crane boom and part of the boom rest. The other stack upper section and the top of the crane post.
This one sprue has an assortment of radar domes, two flag bags and the OE-82 sattlelight dishes. Some of the domes have a long pole base that is cast very clean along with the small gusset supports under the dome, nice details.
Sprue G consist of very few parts. Mostly small mast platforms and one radar.
One sprue has the bridge wings and CIWS launcher with it's base, also the other ships anchor is on this one. The other "H" sprue has the second CIWS, capstans and chaff launchers.
This is a very small sprue with only seven parts. Four being the shaft struts. One boat platform and a CIWS base with radar.
Here we have parts for the LCAC, both sides and fan units. Another sprue has the M1A1 MBT parts. Note, The turret for the M1A1 has a brass barrel cast into the resin turret. Nice touch there. Usually parts like barrels very easily break off or already come broken before one gets to look things over. The two main stack bodies are in J as is the boat davit center spreader bar. Pri-fly part and the crane's main body. There are 48 inflatable life raft canisters on sprue J.   The side parts and duct fans are included here as well.
Six laser cut parts are provided, to build a stand for your model. Simple to assemble but it is what it is, nothing of beauty.
The ships decals will cover everything for one ship. Unfortunately they only provide for the Hapers Ferry and not either of her three sister ships. It wouldn't be hard to change to a sister. you would need small letters for the name on either side aft and hull numbers from 50-52. The decal for the flight deck is a dry transfer that will need care when applying. 
There is eight separate photo-etch sheets in this kit. four of them being very comprehensive and covering just about everything one could ask for in a good quality kit. Enough watertight doors are included for either open or closed position. Railing for all decks, all levels and platforms are included. There is relief etching on all sheets. They even supply the well deck catwalk platform railings. All radar screens and mast platform supports along with inclined ladders of all sizes for every deck. Upon reviewing the photo-etch i can't find anything that has been left out. Each part is numbered so there is no question what goes where. All sheet are packed well and nothing is bent or broken.
There is a small bag containing four turned brass antenna and one piece of styrene rod.
There are seven pages, two sided sheets of directions. A resin parts page showing all parts laid out. All sprues are on this sheets with each part numbered. They could have laid them out in a better alphabetical order but I think their reason to do the way they did was to fit them all on one page. Most of the directions are drawn in 3D very clearly and the resin parts have their numbers next to a small box lightly shaded with RE printed in the box. 

The photo-etch parts have the same style label but with a black shaded box and white PE printed in that box.  The lead sheet has the legend on it showing weather to drill, bend, glue, no glue etc etc... The last sheet just as most kits provide is the layout for painting and decal location.. 

After reviewing everything in the box and going over all parts looking for detail , breakage, warp and under pour, I must say that Orange Hobby did a first class job with this one. Yes it has few hiccups but nothing drastic or unusable. The overall quality is very good for the price it is offered. If you had to purchase an aftermarket photo-etch set this complex, it would cost as much as the kit alone. 

There are no perfect kits anywhere offered by any maker. However, after building many resin kits, from very expensive to the least expensive, I would have to rate this in my opinion a 8+ on a scale 1-10 and 10 being best. Broken flight deck corner, molded on vertical ladders, a little warpage in the lower hull and poorly molded on anchor chain has given it a 8+ rating but don't let that stop you from purchasing this kit. If you like the modern U.S.Navy and are interested in amphib type, then this kit is for you. I highly recommend this kit.

This is Orange Hobby's 1/350 USS Harpers Ferry, kit number NO3-124. The model lists for $299.99 and is available from many of our sponsors. This is only an in-box review.  Thanks to Orange Hobby for the review sample.

This is an in-box review showing the kit contents. We welcome your input and comments in the review section of the forum especially if you can share details about fit, ease of assembly and accuracy. Click the logo on the right to join in the discussion.