USS New York LPD-21
At the IPMS Nationals this summer I had the opportunity to see the latest and greatest of Gallery Models/MRC's products. I was given the opportunity and pleasure of being allowed to do the review of this kit provided by MRC/Gallery Models and IPMS/USA.
The USS New York, LPD 21, is the fifth ship in the San Antonio-class of amphibious transport dock vessels and the seventh ship to bear the name New York. The San Antonio-class brings together a number of modern technologies as well as the functionality performed by several different classes of amphibious assault vessels previously built. The key features of the San Antonio-class include a hull and superstructure design that reduces radar cross-section, a large flight deck on the stern, and the ability to have a wet well deck to allow for LCACs, LCUs, and other craft to enter, dock, and depart the interior of the ship. A rear ramp and door are built into the stern to enclose the well deck while underway, and be able to open to provide access to the well deck.
Construction of the USS New York began after the attacks on the World Trade Center, and over seven tons of steel from the remains of the twin towers was used to build this ship. The construction contract was awarded to Northrop Grumman shipyards near New Orleans, Louisiana, and the craft was under construction at the time of Hurricane Katrina. The ship was launched in December of 2007 and commissioned in early November, 2009.
- Length: 648 ft (208.5 meters).
- Draft: 23 ft (7 meters).
- Propulsion: 4 turbocharged Colt-Pielstick Marine Diesel Engines, 2 shafts each, with 41,400 SHP.
- Speed: in excess of 22 knots.
- Boats and Craft: 2 LCACs or 1 LCU, 14 AAVs (Amtrac’s)
- Capacity: 699 Embarked Landing Force.
- Crew: 28 Officers and 332 Enlisted.
- Armament: 2 Bushmaster II 30 mm Close-in Guns, 2 Rolling Airframe Missile Launchers (fore and aft).
- Aircraft Carried: 2 CH-53 Super Stallions, 2 MV-22B Ospreys, 4 CH-46 Sea Knights, 4 AH-1 Sea Cobras, and 4 UH-1 Iroquois.
The kit includes the following:
- 2 MV-22 Osprey Tilt-Rotors
- 2 CH-46E Sea Knight Helicopters
- 2 CH-53E Sea Stallion Helicopters
- 2 AH-1W Cobra Helicopter Gunships
- 2 UH-1N Iroquois Helicopters
USMC Assault Vehicles
- 2 AAV-7A1 Amphibious Assault Vehicles
- 1 LCU Landing Craft Utility
- 2 LCAC Landing Craft Air Cushion (Hovercraft)
The model comes packed in a large, sturdy box, with each part tree enclosed in a sealed plastic bag. It includes cardboard inserts for protecting the large parts and small boxes for the small stuff. Decals were well protected, wrapped with plastic and a cover sheet. Nothing was damaged or warped.
The hull is a one-piece affair (which I love), with the exception of the bulbous nose, so there are no major seams to fill. It measures out just under 23" long and 4" wide. It is a full hull ship model, so if you want to do a waterline version you will have to do some surgery. No engraving is done on the hull to indicate where the waterline is, so you will have to guesstimate on its location. The Painting and Marking guide provided with the model is adequate for this. Be prepared – it is a large model.
The well deck consists of multiple pieces. You get a wet deck, a ramp deck, and an upper storage deck, plus all bulkheads and overhead. All include appropriate surface detail, again oversized, but with a coat of paint, not too bad.
The hanger bay is a complete bay with deck, bulkheads, and overhead. It is rather small for the size of the ship. The bulkhead and overhead detail is accurate and very well done. The deck has the molded-in tie downs. Again, you will have to paint and decal before installing in the hull.
The flight deck and superstructure are a single-piece casting (got to love it, no seam to join and fill) with underside detail (we call that the overhead in the Navy). The molded tie downs are grossly oversize, but it's something you will have to deal with. I left them alone and with a coat of paint they are not so noticeable.
Assembling the Ship
The instruction sheet is a 24-page easy-to-follow booklet. The diagrams are adequate for the placement of parts and include color callouts for various detail parts. The assembly follows a logical order and I did not deviate too much from it. I left off small parts that I know I would break or damage until the final assembly.
A full-color, double-sided poster showing the painting steps for the New York and all the on-board craft is included. Mr. Hobby, Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya, and Humbrol colors are shown on a paint reference chart. Some of the choices for the USMC vehicles and aircraft are questionable, and the modeler should research appropriate schemes for the vehicles and time period being modeled.
Now would be a good time to plan how you will display your model. You can use the base provided in the kit or mount it on a nice display board. I chose the latter. I use imitation brass pedestals I get at my local trophy shop. They are called bells and cost $.25 each. They accept a ¼ x 20 x 3” bolt through them. I locate where to place the pedestals on the hull, then drill appropriate holes. Then I glue in a nut to match the bolt size, making sure it is never going anyplace. I use a temporary wooden base during construction, which aids in assembly immensely. It gives me something solid to hold onto while I work without damaging the ship. Once the model is far enough along, I'll exchange the temp base with a permanent base.
I would highly suggest that you prepaint the hull haze grey at this time. Model Master Light Ghost Grey was my choice. I added the bilge keel and bulbous nose before painting. I also painted the bottom and the waterline. I used Oxide Brown Primer out of a rattle can bought at my local get-anything-and-everything store. The waterline is black decal paper cut into strips the appropriate width.
You start with the well deck. You will have to prepaint everything because once it is in place you will not be able to get to anything. Proper planning is a must on this model. I followed the colors called out in the instructions. Deck is gunship grey, bulkheads haze grey, and overheads white. Detail colors as stated in the instruction sheet. I did add photo etch handrails to the walkways on both sides of the wet deck bulkheads.
The well deck and equipment deck are placed inside the hull, and if you want to add any additional details, do so now. If or when I do another one of these ships, I would definitely consider placing lights to illuminate the interior. There is plenty of room for the wires and such, and with the pedestals I use, it would make running the wires easy. It's a shame that all the detail inside the well deck, equipment deck, and hanger bay is very hard to see without light.
Next comes the hanger bay. Deck is gunship grey with the overhead and bulkheads white; detail colors as called out. I used reference photos to detail and paint extras. I also used extra photo etch for ladders and handrails as needed.
Let's talk about the photo etch provided in the kit. What is included is minimal and far from being complete. You get enough handrails to cover the exterior, and most of them are the correct length for their location. I still ended up using some extra rails from the parts box to fill in on the areas that required them.
The flight deck/superstructure and foredeck are added next. I prepainted the underside white, as this is the overhead for the hanger bay and the well deck. Model Master Gunship grey was used for all weather decks and the flight deck. The deck attached to the hull with no problems. For such a large piece, this was a blessing.
In step 6 and 7, you place the flight deck catwalks and safety nets in place. You have to be very careful from this point on in handling the model. I still banged them up and bent them constantly, so they are not the straightest rails around. You will also attach a lot of detail parts, which helps out, too.
I attached the hull to its base at this time. I used a 36 x 8 x 3/4" oak board, routering all its edges as needed. I drilled the appropriate holes for the mounting screws, then stained the wood an Antique Oak finished and used a Satin Poly Finish for the final base coat. A couple of felt tabs on the bottom for ease in movement completed the base.
Steps 8 through 18 are the addition of all the fiddly and detail parts to the ship. There are a lot of them, so take your time and keep track of what you are doing. I did like the inclusion of real chain for the anchors. The instructions are not too detailed in how to mount them, so a guesstimation is in order. I left the remaining chain on one of the anchors to let it dangle.
Assembling the Rest
I gloss coated the ship with Testors Gloss Coat to get it ready for decaling. The flight deck was a little tricky because of the length and fragility of the decals. They were slightly difficult to maneuver once they were placed on the model. Once I had them in the right spot, they did go down easily. Solveset was used for the decal setting solution.
About 50% of the build time went into the hull. The rest went into the aircraft, boats, and other gear.
The boats are next and they are beautiful models. The LCACs and the LCU are very nicely done. They go together easily and look great. I used some handrails here and there to finish them off. Again, you could enter these as individual models in any contest. It's a shame that sticking them in the well deck would hide them. I did use some leftover decals from other ship models to give them some color and a little life. I just wish we were given the option and parts to do an LCAC in the sitting position without the bladders inflated.
The aircraft came next. They are molded in clear plastic. This makes it really hard to find and fill seams…and they will require it. They did not go together smoothly and required considerable filler and sanding. So I lost the nice clear effect of the see-thru plastic. I ended up painting the canopies a dark blue. The detail is pretty good and you do get a different variety of aircraft then normally found on other ship models.
You are given the option of folded or extended rotor blades for the helicopters and props for the Ospreys. No instructions are given for folding the tails on the CH-53s or the wings and tail on the Osprey. If you are going to put these in the hanger bay, you will have to make the modifications yourself.
All the rotor and propeller blades are a little thick and will be replaced when a photo etch set becomes available. A couple of other details – for example, winches, fuel tanks, and pylons – will be added later to the aircraft.
I assembled, primed, and puttied the aircraft. Then sanded and reprimed as needed. After this was completed, I painted them their appropriate colors. I chose a couple of different schemes to give a variety of color on the flight deck. I left off the rotors and propellers until the final painting, decaling, and assembly was completed. I then dipped them in Future to get a glossy finish for the placement of the decals. With decaling completed, the aircraft were airbrushed with Testors Dull Coat to remove the gloss and flatten the finish. Then I painted the canopies, finishing the aircraft.
All weathering on the USS New York, its small boats, and aircraft was done with oil washes and drybrushing. It was given a final coat of Scale Coat II flat finish to protect everything. I like Scale Coat II flat finish because it gives one of the dullest finishes out there.
After all is done, this has got to be one of the NICEST and most enjoyable model ships I have ever built. I am very impressed with the detail and accessories that Gallery Models has provided in this kit. However, heed this hint – PROPER PLANNING is essential. Read and study the instructions. Plan your assembly and painting to work together.
There are a few shortcomings with the model, but nothing that other ship models don’t have or include. A photo etch detail set made for this model would be number one on my wish list. The photo etch that is provided in the kit is okay, but leaves a lot to be desired. Finally, I would have loved to see them include a choice for the air cushion bladder on the LCACs, both deflated and inflated.
I am happy that Gallery Models has included a model of the UH-1N Huey instead of the SH-60s. The Marines don't fly the Sea Hawk, they fly the Huey.
The decals are great. You get just about everything you will need. They lay down flat and gave me very little problem with their application. I used Solvaset as a final setting solution without any problems.
Beyond all that, this model of the USS New York will make a great addition to any Gator Navy Fleet or Carrier Fleet. It's up to date and still out there, floating around. I would Highly Recommend this superb kit to a modeler with some ship building skills, due to immense complexity of parts, sub assemblies, and working with photo etch and fast acting glues. It should be available in all shops by this time.
My sincere thank you’s are tendered to MRC/Gallery Models for providing IPMS a pre-release for a review sample, and also to IPMS/USA for giving me the opportunity to build it for this review.