Cyber-Hobby 1/700 USS Independence lcs1-2
Reviewed by Timothy Dike
 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 two version of the General Dynamics version of the Littoral Combat Ship in their Smart Kit line. So it only seemed natural for them to do the Lockheed Martin USS Freedom too. The 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. 

The reader might want to take into consideration that I consulted for Dragon on this kit. My opinions might be a bit biased. However I think the photos speak for themselves.  
The first sprue contains the lower hull and bow and stern deck inserts. Molding appears to closely follow the lines of the actual ship. The modeler has a choice of building the ship with the stern doors open or closed.  Click images
to enlarge
The main hull is molded waterline style with an open deck and stern. Test fitting the upper and lower hull shows that the fit is very good. The hull is sleek and smooth much like the real ship.
This small sprue contains the Rolling Airframe Missile launcher body and part of the upper superstructure. The former benefits from slide molding that allows for the tubes and side detail to be molded all in one part. When mounted on the separate yoke shown on sprue D, you will be able to pose the launcher at any angle. 
Chaff dispensers, antenna radomes, and mast parts are among the parts on this sprue. They are molded nicely and as thin as is practical in plastic. The Mk 110 57 mm gun main gun and 50 cal machine guns are nicely molded, however those latter are a bit over scale. That should not be a problem for detail nuts as PE versions are also provided. More about them below. 
The upper superstructure with the exhaust outlets and bridge wings are on this sprue. The Mk44 Bushmaster II 30 mm gun turrets are nicely molded as are the waterjet nozzles. Slides are used on the mold to maximize the detailing and minimize the seams that the modeler must fill. In this case even the ends of the tiny gun barrels have a slightly hollowed out look. A separate roll-up door for the helicopter hanger in case the modeler wants to open it up. Some of the small parts that are almost too tiny to make out in the pictures include a loudspeakers, life rings, and other small details. Beginners might wish to leave the tiny parts off, but detail nuts will really appreciate them. 
The main superstructure and bridge is molded on this sprue with three separate slides. As a result there is detail on virtually every side on a single part. The windows are deeply recessed which should make it easy to use a black fine tip marker to highlight them. The larger ones on the top are actually grills. 
This is the standard US Navy weapons sprue with parts found on typical warships. It has a variety of weapons, fittings, and even the SH-60 helo. Most of these parts are not needed, but are great to save for other projects. 
The base for this kit has been designed based on how most modelers like to display their ships in full hull mode. The stands which resemble lamp finales are even slide molded so they have no seams to fill and sand. Hole locations are provided so all you have to do is open them up with a knife or drill. 
A simple photo etch fret is included with safety netting for around the flight deck. 50 cal. gun shields are provided to give the modeler a finer gun assembly that is closer to scale. 
The decals are sharply registered and include marking for the flight deck, a warning circles for the gun, and hull numbers. Flags and all kinds of other markings are included on this sheet.
The instructions are four pages with lots of sub-assembly views that are less cluttered and easy to follow. The last page features a painting guide showing decal placement.
 If your looking for reference on this ship, I recommend studying Bill Liebold's excellent scratchbuild of the Freedom shown on the right. Below are some examples of the fully assembled kit right out of the box.

Cyber-Hobby has follow-up up on their other Littoral Combat Ship concept the USS Independence with her rival, the Freedom. This one also lives up to the Smart Kit line with plenty of detail and options. Now you can have your own LCS competition and build another 700 scale winner!

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 Cyber-Hobby for $24.95. 

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