Ships & Co. 1/700
USS Whidbey Island LSD-41

Reviewed by Carl Mussleman

I was excited to hear that a 1/700 scale model of the USS Whidbey Island class of Dock Landing Ships was being released. Such a model will fill an important gap in my 1/700 USN ship model collection.

I am, however, disappointed with the quality of this resin model kit by Ships & Co.

Unfortunately, I notice that I am finding more derogatory features of the model than positive ones. I will let the photos of the model explain most of my remarks. I marked the photos that I took with red circles and squares. The instruction sheets have red circles on them indicating part and decal positions; I haven't marked the instructions sheets.

In scaling out the model, I found that it is off just a little in length and beam; I personally find this tolerable.

Ship's overall length is 609' 7"; the model scales out to 606'- a difference of about 1/16". Model's length is approximately 10 5/16". Model's beam is 1 1/2", while the ship has a beam is 84'. This scales out to between 85' and 87'; a difference of about 1/16".

I will start out with the derogatory features:

Poor attention has been paid to details such as right angles, parallel lines and symmetry to the centerline. There are sanding scratches visible over most of the hull. Many seams from the master's construction are visible as are glue blemishes and sanding marks.

Molded-in anchor chains lack detail and are mushy. Bow chock is off center and the bitts on the forecastle are not arranged proportionately.

The amidships well deck hatch is not square to centerline. The well deck is slightly twisted to port and doesn't line up with the forward superstructure when viewed from the stern at the water line and from the top view. Helicopter pad / well deck cover is bowed, but could be straighten by soaking in hot water. The rear ramp is not square.

There are molded-in inclined ladders that are nice, however photo-etched brass railings would be nice for these. Another photo-etched brass omission are safety railings and nets for the helicopter pad.

This kit provides only one sprue with one CIWS weapon and only one Part #11 life raft canister rack. Two domes (parts #12) are provided on this sprue, but the instructions show nowhere to place them. My kit, however, has two sprues with cranes, SATCOM arrays and LCAC fan cowlings. Two of each of the parts on these sprues is unnecessary.

The time period and anatomical accuracy is unclear, at times, with this model. The signal flag bags are located in the position for a time period early in the USS Whidbey Island's life; commissioned in 1985. They were moved to a more outboard position by 1991. In 1985, as well as in 1991, the ship would have had AN/SLQ-32 electronic countermeasure equipment, but none are provided in the kit. One RAM launcher is provided (two might be in your kit, my kit is missing a sprue) and the instructions' positioning of it atop the forward superstructure, outboard, starboard, is questionable. By 2006, the USS Whidbey Island had a RAM launcher and it was mounted on the platform below the bridge, but I can't locate any photos with the RAM launcher on the port side, as the kit's instructions suggest. The instructions don't indicate a RAM launcher for under the bridge windows.

The instructions show a CWIS attached to the model on the platform below the bridge windows, atop two lockers. This CIWS belongs atop the pilot house where a platform is provided, for it.

The kit comes with one LCAC with simple assembly; 3 parts total. The helicopters included in the kit have no propeller blades.



The kit comes with a splendid sheet of decals of great variety which can be used in many instances other than this kit. There is a small selection of hull numbers, helo pad markings, warning circles, solid and dashed stripes in white, red, and yellow, award insignias, some ships' names, and UNREP markings.

The signal flag decals on the sheet are way, too big for 1/700, however. They scale out to be 10 feet by 10 feet. They are probably too big for many 1/350 scale models, too, except for some of the larger ships like aircraft carriers and battleships. (The sizes of signal flags, in the USN, are based on the length of the ship.)


The instruction sheets are in color, and provide good folding instructions for the photo-etched brass mast assembly, the cranes, and boat davits. The bulk of the model's assembly is represented by photographs of the completed model showing the locations to attach the various parts. This is unusual for me, but I don't mind it. One and a half pages of the instructions are devoted to the ship's specifications.


The biggest, positive feature of this kit in my opinion, is that it is the only one available in 1/700 scale. Some additional work will be necessary along with additional aftermarket accessories, but it is a good foundation for the modeler to enhance and/or convert to any ship of the class, in any time period or configuration.

Ships & Co. is planning on releasing more amphibious and auxiliary US Navy ships and I am eager for their release- next up, 1/700 USNS Lewis & Clark T-AKE-1. thanks Ships & Co. for providing this review sample.