My Review and Build of Blue Water Navy's 1/350 scale Kit #35004,
The USS Samuel Roberts FFG-58 Oliver Hazard Perry Guided-missile Frigate
Starting to grind down the Resin Hull! - February 12, 2013
Introduction and What's in the Box - February 11, 2013
I found a very good deal on ebay for a Blue Water Navy Perry Class Frigate in 1/350 scale. Blue Water Navy was a model maker that made scratch built (using computer CAD/CAM technology) museum class models of many US Navy and other naval vessels. In the late 1990s they began producing some of their ships in kit form, where they provided the same detailed resin hulls and the accompanying resin, photo etch and metal parts that their craftsmen used to build their museum class vessels, to model enthusiasts. These are highly detailed, molded solid resin hulls, usually in at least two parts, one for waterline construction including the basic superstructure fully detailed, and one for the below water line portion. The problem was, back then they were very highly priced, like $120.00 for a Frigate sized vessel, and several hundred dollars for their larger kits. Later, Blue Navy Models became Yankee Modeworks, which was also well known for several years for producing among the best resin kits in 1/350 and other scales and the Photo Etch and metal parts that went with them. Finally, Yankee Modelworks was bought by Blue Ridge Models...the same people who own Free Time Hobbies from Blue Ridge, Georgia. Well, I found the Blue Water Navy USS Samuel Roberts, Oliver Hazard Perry FFG-58 on ebay being sold from a group of kits from a future retiree. This individual had apparaently stashed quite a few kits to build in retirement, but sadly, passed away before he could retire and start building them. I watched this auction and was able to put in an extremely reasonable offer (probably on the order of 1/3 the original cost) with Free Shipping to get the model.
I also have purchased Acadamy's Special Edition USS Rueben James, FFG-57, and will compare that kit to this one when I build it. As it is I am very excited to get this very detailed, very well done kit from such a respected source to add to my Carrier Strike group. I will add the other vessel to may Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) in 1/350 scale.
Class of Vessel:
The Oliver Hazard Perry (OHP), or just "Perry," class frigates were built in large numbers for the US Navy in the late 1970s and 1980s. They were a modernized vessel to replace the very many older, basically evolved World War II designs that were being used as escorts for the US Navy up into this time frame when the Navy began producing their new Spruance Class destroyers. The US NAvy also wanted a smaller, basically "DE" design that could be used from carrier escort duties (principally for ASW) to convoy escort duties, flag showing and surface action group, that was highly capable in the ASW role, and moderately capable in the AAW and AsuW roles. The Perry Class frigates filled that role with a landing deck and helo hangar to accomodate to ASW helos. Initially this was two smaller SeaSprite heloes, but when the SeaHawk, LAMPS II Helo came out, the class was prpdocued with a lengthened body and landing pad to accomodate the larger more capable helos, and so the first batch of Perry Frigates were called the "short hull," variety, while the later vessels were called the "long hull," vessels. The Samuel Roberts is a "long hull" Perry frigate. They also included a rpaid fire, DP main gun mounted amidships, two triple launch toprpedo tubes, oe to port and one to starboard, and a forward mk-13 single arm launcher for the SM_1 standard air to ari missile. The magazine would hold 40 missiles, and they were usually outfitted with 36 SM-1 missiles for anti-air warfare, and four Harpoon missiles for anti-surface warfare. The class was very popular and 61 were built for the US NAvy and ultimately quite a few more for Spain, Australia, and the Republic of China on Taiwan. 77 vessels in all.
As the US Navy began building large numbers of Arleigh Burke class destroyers, which themselves are very strong multi-role vessels, the Perry Class frigates began to be phased out, relatuively early in their lifes, in the 1990s. Today, only 23 of the class are left, and they have all had their SM-1 launchers removed by 2003 because the US Navy retired that missile and viewed it as too expensive to upgrade the vessels to fire the SM-2 and later, more capable missiles for today's threats. So the vessels still embark with their full ASW capabilities, and their 76mm gun and Phalaanx, but lack any medium to long range anti-air defense, and any medium to laing range anti-surface capability. Many of the older vessels have been transferred to other nations and three of these nations have performed credible modernization programs of their vessels. Turkey, who will have ten vessels, has added an 8 cell Mk-41 launcher in place of the older Mk-13 and will fire Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles from them. They will also utilize cannister launched anti-surface missiles and have upgraded the entire combat system and modernized it. The Republic of China on Taiwan, who will also have ten vessess (eight license built in Taiwan and two transfers in 2013, has retained the SM-1 capability, but also added newer Surface to surface long range missiles from cannister launchers, and added two new 40mm guns for heavier anti-surface capability in the littorals. Australia upgraded four of their six vessels at significant cost with the snesors and Mk-41 launchers to be able to launch the SM-2 missiles, ASROC anti-submarine missiles, and ESSM missiles, as well as quadruple cannisters for Harpoon missiles.
The USS Sameul Roberts, FFG-58:
The USS Samuel Roberts, FFG-58, has a heroic history. She was commissioned in April of 1986. The frigate deployed from Newport, Rhode Island in January 1988 for the Persian Gulf to participate in Operation Earnest Will, the escort of reflagged Kuwaiti tankers during the Iran–Iraq War. The Roberts arrived in the Persian Gulf and was making for a refueling rendezvous on 14 April when the ship struck an M-08 naval mine in the central Persian Gulf, an area it had safely transited a few days previously. The mine blew a 15-foot hole in the hull, flooded the engine room, and knocked the two gas turbines from their mounts. The blast also broke the keel of the ship; such structural damage is almost always fatal to a frigate sized surface combatant. But the crew fought fire and flooding for five hours and ultimately saved the ship. Damage control training and the combat specification building of the vessels made it possible. Among other steps, sailors cinched cables on the cracked superstructure in an effort to stabilize her. They used her auxiliary thrusters to get out of the mine field at a speed of 5kts, under her own power as damaged as she was. She never lost combat capability with her radars and the Mk13 missile launcher. Ten sailors were medevaced for injuries sustained in the blast, six returned to the Roberts in a day or so. Four burn victims were sent for treatment to a military hospital in Germany, and eventually to medical facilities in the United States.
The results were two fold. First US Navy divers found that the mines had been definietely placed by Iran and the US retaliated with Operation Praying Mantis, a one-day campaign that was the largest American surface engagement since World War II.to that date. U.S. ships, aircraft, and troops destroyed two Iranian oil platforms used to control Iranian naval forces in the Persian Gulf, sank one Iranian frigate, damaged another, and destroyed and sunk at least three armed, high-speed boats. The U.S. lost one Marine helicopter and its crew of two airmen in what appeared to be a night maneuver accident rather than a result of hostile operations. Second, the Samuel Roberts was completely repaired and brought back into service and serves ably with the US NAvy to this day.
Now, at this point in history (2013),he US will slowly reduce its inventories of Perry Class frigates over the next ten years as they are replaced by the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) class, which will have strong ASW and anti-mine capabilities, but weaker anti-surface capability and only a short range anti-air capability.
The kit comes in a beautfiully illustrated box with the resin parts, the photo etched parts, and the metal parts all individually packaged. The large, three sections of the hull, the above water line forward and amidships section is very detailed and all contiguous with all of the main housings and equipment on all weather decks, including the bridge smoke stack, and an inclosed hangar bay. The aft portion above the water line, is the helo landing deck, and then there is a full length below the water line section. All of these are very well packaged and wrapped individually in protective bubble wrap. Most of the main fittings that are larger (ie. the 76mm gun, the missile launcher, the launches, the SH-60 helos, etc.) come in a single pouch. The additional resin parts also come in their own pouch, and the PE parts, representing the superstructure, sensors, railings, and smaller deck fittings come in their own sealed package.
There is an eight page, detailed instruction book that comes with the model as well, and a set of decals.
I am excited to get at it with this model, though it is resin and requires a bit different building technique, it has all the markings of a very well detailed and clean vessel with loads of detail. Here's how all of those parts looked out of the box. 1st, the entire kit, out of the box and a closer look at the three major hull pieces and two pocuhes for metal and resin parts:.
Then, a closer look at the large Photo Etch Sprue, the fantail/helo landing deck, and the cover page of the instruction booklet, followed by all of the pages of the instructions.
Now, I intend to build the Samuel Roberts as she looks now, without the Mk-13 single arm missle launcher. I intend to add the two Mk-38 25mm cannons (using White Ensign Models Mk-38 resin parts in 1/350 scale) that have been added to almost all US major surface combatants for close in anti-surface work in the wake of the USS Cole bombing in Somalia. I also intend to vary slightly and add what I think would be a very credible and very cost effective update to the vessel to keep them moreviable throught the remainder of their life. That would be a SeaRAM Launcher (in 1/350 scale from Bam Bam Models) on a platform over the old Mk-16 launcher for much stronger close-in anti-air defense, and a single quadruple tube Harpoon launcher (left over from my
The completion of the US Carrier Strike group, centered on the completed
The UK Group will indlude the Airfix 1/350 scale HMS Illustrious (which I already own), two Airfix 1/350 scale Daring Class DDGs (which I own and should arrive in January 2013), two Trumpeter 1/350 scale Type 23 HMS Duke class Frigates (which I already own), and the Hobby Boss 1/350 scale HMS Astute SSN and Airfix 1/350 scale HMS Tragalgar SSN, both of which which I already own. One day, when a 1/350 scale HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier and a 1/350 HMS Ocean LPD come out, I will add both to this group.
The French CSG will be centered on Heller's 1/400 scale Charles De Gualle (which I already own). I have purchased 1/400 scale Heller French De Grasse, D612 DDG, which is an ASW DDG, the French Duquesne, D603 DDG which is an anti-air multi-purpose DDG, and the French Aconit F713 FFG and Gueprattet F714 FFGs, both of which are Lafayette class frigates. These five vessels will round out my French CSG. As soon as a French Robin class nuclear sub, like the French Perale S606 SSN comes out, I will add that to the group. Also as soon as the Forbin D620, Horizon class anti-air DDG is available, I will purchase it and add it to the group as well.
The Japanese JMSDF group will be centered on Fujimi's very finely detailed, 1/350 scale Hyuga, DDH-181, which I own. It will be escorted by Trumpeter's 1/350 scale DDG-177, Atago, an AEGIS class DDG (which I have purchased), Trumpeters's 1/350 scale DDG-114 Susunami (A Tachanami Class DDG which I own), and by the 1/350 scale SS-503 Hakuryu (which I own), one of Japans new, very modern and capable AIP Diesel Electric submarines. As soo as a DDG-115 Akizuki in 1/350 scale becomes available, I will add it to this group.
The completion of the US ARG will include
Then, finally it will be a complete Russian CSG (centered on Trumpeter's Kuznetsov which is available but I have not purchased yet) the Russian Slava Class cruiser, Varyag by Trumperter (which I own), two Trumpeter 1/350 scale Udalaoy DDGs (which I own), Hobby Boss's Akula II class SSN (which I own), and the
Recently I purchased Heller's 1/400 scale Foch, the Clemceau Class carrier that was sold to the Brazilians in 2000 and in 2002 was refitted and bacame the Brazilian CV, Sao Paulo, using steam catapaults. I will build the model as the Sao Paulo and thus start a Brazilian group, though the Type 22 DDGs and the FFGs the Brazilians use are not available at present.
Then, again, once the models are available, I'd like to build an Italian Group centered on the Cavour and their Horizon DDGs, a Spanish Group centered on the Juan Carlos and their F-100 AEGIS FFGs, and ultimatly an Australian Group centered on the new Canberra Class LPD and the Hobart class AEGIS DDGs. If they ever build the models, an Indian group centered on either the Vikramaditya or their new ADS Carrier the Vikrant and their Kolkata class DDGs and Shivlak class FFGs would also be nice.
You can see all of these actual carriers, read their histories and specifictions at my site:
...and most of their surface escorts at: