1/350 USS Freedom LCS-1

Reviewed by Timothy Dike
June 2012

 When the Navy announced the requirements for a new smaller warship designed to operate in coastal waters against surface and subsurface threats, two distinctly different proposals emerged. The first was Lockheed Martin's version of what would be called a Littoral Combat Ship the USS Freedom LCS-1. The competing concept was the USS Independence LCS-2 built on a catamaran style hull. The Lockheed Martin with the assistance of  Marinette Marine and Gibbs and Cox took a more conventional approach, at least on the surface. This new ship features a new stealthier appearance and the propellers are gone in favor of pumpjets. A flight deck on the stern with loading doors on the stern. The ship can operate two MH-60 Seahawks and a MQ-8 Fire Scout drone. The jury is still out on which version will be selected and the ship continues to evolve as testing reveals things that need to be changed. One change on this ship is the two tanks mounted on the stern. These are not present on the ship as commissioned. 

Cyber-Hobby has already produced the General Dynamics version of the Littoral Combat Ship USS Independence in their Smart Kit line. So it only seemed natural for them to do the Lockheed Martin USS Freedom too. This kit was designed to allow you to build an as-commisioned version or a later one with the external tanks mounted on the stern. The design and molding are typical of the new kits produced by Dragon and Cyber-Hobby in partnership with Bronco. 

 The first sprue contains the forward, and aft flight decks. The hanger bay deck insert and the doors and hatches are also included.  Click images
to enlarge
This sprue features the upper superstructure that encases the exhaust and the mast parts. The latter are nicely done for plastic and feature plenty of detail. Some modelers will probably replace some of the antenna details with PE, but the average ones will appreciate having it molded on. The superstructure parts are slide molded so there are fewer seams to fill and more detail on the surface. 
Two sprues with the small detail parts are featured here. Pumpjets, RHIB's, machine guns, and chocks are among the details all finely molded. 
The kit comes with three sprues of the MQ-8b UAV Helo with the major parts molded in plastic. Rotors, and skids are supplied on the photo etch fret shown below.
This clear sprue includes the clear window inserts that fit nicely into the back side of the superstructure. This is a nice touch for the ship.
SPRUE F & G x2
An SH-60s is also provided in gray and clear plastic. This has got to be one of the best in this scale. It comes with an open interior and a clear front part that will allow you to simulate a clear windscreen. There is even a separate torpedo 
The lower hull is a single part with nice molding. The shape features the same triangle shape found on the real ship. 
The main superstructure that includes the bridge is a single part thanks to slide molding. The windows are molded open and there is abundant surface detailing present. No difficult seams to fill here! The hanger bay is molded open so you can show the doors open or closed. The helo control center windows are also molded open another bonus!
The upper hull also features the correct lines found on the prototype. Notice how the stern is wider and narrows towards the bow in a triangle like shape. The side access door is molded open with a separate insert and door parts on the A sprue. 
A simple base is provided for full hull display molded in black. 
A nice relief etch brass photo etch fret is included with railings, safety netting, helo propeller blades and hubs and many other details. The railings are cut to length but don't have the gutter rail along the bottom. An etched nameplate is a nice addition. 
A nice decal sheet is included with deck markings, flags, hull numbers and aircraft markings. They are sharply registered. The numbers don't show up too well in the image as the decal sheet is white.
The instructions are six pages featuring a  bill of materials, subassembly and marking drawings. These are a little less cluttered and easier to follow. 
This kit is another example of the productive partnership between Cyber-Hobby  and Bronco. The result is a large scale detailed LCS-1 being brought to modelers. US retail is going to be around $49.95, a great price for a nicely detailed model of this new state of the art ship in a scale that will allow you to have maximum detail.

These new kits are now shipping to stores. You should be able to get one soon. Look for them on the shelves of your favorite hobby shop or get it direct from Dragon USA or CyberHobby

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