Cyber-Hobby 1/700 USS Independence LCS3-2
Reviewed by David Waples
October 2012

I was very anxious to receive this kit.  A friend, Carl Musselman, had completed this kit and I had some ideas on how I would want to build mine.  My assumption was that this would be the same kit as the LCS-1 U.S.S. Freedom but with different markings.  In fact Dragon actually made a few changes with this kit.  Looking at the instructions though they are exactly the same except that the pictures and kit number was different.  Also the Painting and Marking instructions were a little smaller but had the same information, colors, etc.  Upon removing the sprue I noticed that there were some differences.  First, Sprue A was modified to include the pedestals instead of having them on a separate frame.  The next thing I noticed was that the base was much bigger.  It looks like the base was designed to have a clear top added but the hull is too big for that.  Then I noticed that sprue D which contained the helicopter was replaced with sprue a (as written in the instructions) but it is printed A on the frame also with a helicopter.  Okay, two sprue A's but no real confusion there as they are very distinctive.  Fortunately there is an added instruction page which explains the change from the main kit instruction sheet.  With that out of the way, no real issues, everything is looking as you would expect from a modern Dragon kit. 

The sprues are all very well done.  No flash at all and no attachments that look like they will cause problems with cleaning up during construction.  The detail molded into the main structure is exquisite.  It is of the quality that I would have expected in a larger scale model.  Trumpeter received criticism for the shape of the bow on their 1:350 kit and rightfully so.  This kit when compared to photographic references appears more correct. 

A nice feature of this kit is that it allows you to model the ship with the stern access doors in the open position, although there is no detail beyond the opening.  The helicopter bay door is molded in the closed position with an separately molded door so if you wish you can open it up and add detail.  Another nice feature if you wish to model this as a full hull kit are the propulsion nozzles on the stern.  They are nicely detailed and provide interest to the model.

Okay, let's look at what's in the box...

Sprue A contains the lower hull, and deck features as well as the pedestals.  Note that there are three options for the stern.  The correct stern piece should be 3 as the photo references I have do not show the buoyancy tanks as they appear on LCS-1. Click images
to enlarge
Sprue B is the ships upper hull section.
Sprue C Contains part of the upper structure and the RIM-116 missile system.
Sprue D contains the various deck features including the main mast, and antenna.
Sprue E contains the alternate .50 cal guns, bushmaster guns, counter measures, etc.
F is the main deck structure.  Beautifully detailed.
The other A fret contains our single Seahawk helicopter.  The ship is capable of carrying two but with the hanger door closed no real need.  There are other goodies you can use on future projects.
The base and in relation to the hull.

Included in the kit is a nice photoetch set which covers the flight deck nets, machine guns and gun shields.  The flight deck nets are okay.  However the guns and how the instructions have you place them on that ship are odd.  Looking at the prototype I do not see guns with shields mounted on either side of the bridge.  I do see guns but I can't tell you if they are .50 cal or mini guns.  There are two more guns with shields on the aft end of the main structure which are much more believable.  My advice if you want to keep the .50 cal photoetch, skip the shields on those mounted next to the bridge.  What is noticeably missing are deck rails, either for the bow or the structure.  If you wish to add railings I would recommend Flyhawk USN Modern Railings FH 700086 which includes the correct 5 wire railing needed for the bow.
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.
Five pages including the addendum showing the new parts. 
If your looking for reference on this ship, I recommend studying Bill Liebold's excellent scratchbuild of the Fort Worth shown on the right. 
Positive:  Very nicely molded and appears to represent the actual ship very well.  Very simple and full of very fine detail. 

Negative:  The instructions can be a little confusing.  Consult references since there are some minor differences between LCS-1 and LCS-3.  This kit could have used more railings but I understand why they were left out as they are very subtle when looking at photo references.  T

Recommendation:  Absolutely!  This is one of the newest ships in the U.S. Navy and a very interesting and controversial subject.  Dragon has done a wonderful job with this kit.  While there are no after market sets currently available for this kit, the railing set recommended earlier will really help finish off this little kit. 

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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