JAG's 1/700
USS Raleigh LPD-1

Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The USS Raleigh was the lead ship of new class of Landing Ship. It combined the features of a tank landing ship with an attack landing ship. It was designed to land a detachment of Marines ashore by way of helicopters and/or landing craft. This ship was not intended to operate alone but rather in conjunction with other amphibious ships such as LHD's and LHA's. 
Displacement 8,040 t.(lt), 13,900 t.(fl).
Length 522 ' o.a.
Beam 84'
Draft, 21 ft.
Speed 20 kts.
Complement 413, 24 officers, 389 enlisted, Marine detachment 930
Aircraft, Up to 6 CH-46 Sea Knight.
Armament 8 3"/50 Gun Mounts, 8 .50 cal machine guns.

Propulsion, 2 Boilers, 2 Geared Turbines, 2 Shafts, 24,000 Shaft Horsepower. 

This kit is very similar to the Austin Class LPD that JAG also produces. The hull is basically the same but the bridge and superstructure are different. In addition there are no helicopter hanger as on later LPD's.

The casting is typical of JAG with no sign of any defects in the hull and sharp detailing. The well deck is hollowed out partially to allow the modeler to represent the LPD in loading/unloading operations. You will have to do a little scratch building as their is no interior detail. The flight deck is molded with a fine pattern of tie downs that are recessed and look very much in scale. The only real work to be done on this hull is to drill out the chocks on the bow if you are so inclined. Though some will argue that in this scale, it really isn't necessary.

Click images
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The superstructure is cleanly molded and has a fair amount of surface detail including hatches and hose reels. The ships boats, landing crafts, anchors, and other miscellaneous details are well molded. 
This kit has a pleasant bonus included with it in the form of vehicles. 10 6 x 6 Trucks, 8 AAVP-7's, and 3 deck tractors in addition to the usual mobile crane and forklift. Refer to the image on the right to see how detailed these tiny 700 scale vehicles are. 
The photo etch fret includes the radar assemblies, some railings, nets, and the mast parts. The PE is not as fine as some other sets but is fairly sturdy and will be easy to form. 
The decal set includes enough number to do any ship in the class. Flags and deck markings are also included. The sheet is white on white so it doesn't show up to well in the image on the right.
Instructions consist of the front and back of an 11" x 17" sheet. Parts breakdown and elevation views are included on one side with an exploded view on the other. There is plenty of information here to build this kit, without having to do a lot of extra research. 
This kit retails for about $67.00 and can be used to build the first three LPD's, get the Austin to build the others. With it's one piece hull and low part count JAG makes building this kit an easy task. I would not hesitate to recommend it to a first time resin builder who has worked with photo etch already. 
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