|This is the Cyber-Hobby (Bronco) 1/350 kit of the LCS-2 U.S.S. Independence. I normally build my ship models as a waterline display, but due to the catamaran design of the hull, I decided to build this full hull to show off the unique lines of the ship.|
|Construction starts with the angular walls of the main deck house. With careful alignment of the wall sections, cleanup of the seams was very minimal. The window sections include wipers that are molded on in plastic, these would have been much better included on the photo etch fret. I decided against using the kit supplied clear parts for the windows, and will instead use some Krystal Klear to make windows after the model is painted.|
|Which brings me to my next and only real gripe about this kitÖ While I appreciate fine detail, it seems that more and more manufactures are confusing parts count with kit quality. Some of the parts are tiny to the point of being ridiculous. For instance, there are 20 individual lights that go across the top of the hangar deck wall. These could have easily been molded in place, but instead these smaller than needle point parts must be cut from the sprue and glued in place. First, they are impossible to clean up after cutting them, and after losing a few of them I gave up and used small pieces of styrene rod as replacements.|
|The hull went together well and seam cleanup was no problem. Instructions are included on how to waterline the model if you desire. The four water-jet thrusters are nicely molded. The main mast was a bit tricky to build, time and patience will be required there.|
|I decided to leave the hangar bay opened, so added some detail to the walls and ceiling. Simply strip styrene was used for the most part, along with spare odd parts and decals. References show that almost everything in the hangar area is covered in a silver insulation, so I painted it all Model Master aluminum.|
|There is a basic photo etch fret included. The safety nets around
the flight deck gave me a little bit of trouble as far as the alignment.
If I did it again, Iíd start at the rear corners of the flight deck and
work my way forward. They should also have support braces that angle
up from the hull to the bottom of the net brackets.
The 57mm gun has nice detail and built up with no problem. The gun barrel is open on the end.
|The MK137 launchers were fiddly to build, but delicately produced and
look good built up. The Sea-Ram system has nicely molded detail as
The kit as molded is how the ship appeared for sea trials. I found a few pictures of how she is currently, so made a few minor changes with the railings, paint and warning stripes.
|There is some question as to the actual color of the paint, or whether the ship is even painted at all. Some say it is bare aluminum. I honestly donít know. I ended painting the hull with a base coat of ghost gray, and then feathered in the distinctive patchy appearance with different shades of gray, freehand with an airbrush. The flight deck and walkways were painted gunship gray. The lower hull was sprayed flat black, then I masked off a thin strip for the boot topping, and sprayed black again, but lightened a bit and sprayed in a more random pattern. References show some red oxide wearing through the black, so I splotched some on here and there at the waterline. I used the kit decal for the flightdeck marking, which didnít go too well. If I did another one, I would cut the decal up into small sections. A light wash and further weathering was done with Tamiya Smoke. There are three large, prominent portholes on each side of the ship, and most pictures I found show them opened. I drilled them out and made a new cover from punched styrene to add a little more visual interest to the model.|
|The real gems of the kit are the helicopters. You get two Seahawks, the box top identifies them as SH-60S models, but in reality they are SH-60Bís. But still they are very nicely detailed, perhaps the best Iíve seen in plastic. The MQ-8B UAV is a real beauty, with photo etched parts and even a plastic mold to help correctly fold the landing skids, a nice touch.|
|A stand is included with the kit, but I decided to make my own. I mounted it on a single pedestal to best show off the unique hull lines. You also get a photo etched name plate, which I filled in with black paint.|
Overall it was an enjoyable build, despite some of the minute parts trying my patience. It certainly is a unique looking ship, and a nice addition to my modern collection.
of Kelly Quirk's work.