Academy 1/350 USS Oliver Hazard Perry FFG 7 Kit First Look
|Date of Review||October 2008||Manufacturer||Academy|
|Subject||USS Oliver Hazard Perry FFG 7||Scale||1/350|
|Kit Number||14102||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nice detailing, full hull or waterline option||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$39.95|
Oliver Hazard Perry was a naval officer who distinguished himself for building and commanding the fleet on Lake Erie leading up to the war of 1812. In the battle against the British fleet, Perry lost his own flagship, the Lawrence, but transferred his command under heavy fire to the Niagara and won the day.
The Frigate class named in Perry's honor was designed as an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) vessel that was also equipped to defend against anti-ship missiles of the 1970s and 1980s. With 69 Perry-class frigates built, the type was built in the 'short hull' (Flight I) and 'long hull' (Flight III) configurations, with some of the Flight I Perrys refitted to Flight III.
One of the main differences between the two Flights is the flight deck. Flight I could only accommodate the SH-2 Seasprite helicopter while the Flight III could embark the SH-60 Seahawk. The aft capstan located on the flight deck of the Flight I Perry was relocated to accommodate the longer tail of the Seahawk and the deck itself was equipped with the Recovery Assist Securing and Taversing (RAST) system used to secure and move the Seahawk on deck.
Here is a nice new-tool release from Academy - the Perry-class frigate. Molded in light gray styrene, the kit is presented on seven parts trees. The detailing is quite nice and Academy has even provided the railings in styrene. That will eliminate the need for photo-etch railings for most modelers.
The hull is molded in halves, with a molded-in cut line inside the hull to make it easy to turn this model into a waterline display, complete with a solid bottom provided on the second tree. Should you opt for the full hull, the rudder and single shaft propulsion is provided along with a display base and name plate.
The main deck is comprised of two sections, the majority of the main deck, and two different flight decks. The Flight I and Flight III flight decks are included in the kit and you'll need to check your references to see which deck to use - more on this later.
The fully enclosed superstructure is nicely replicated with the deck house sitting atop the forward end. If you haven't seen the preview shots of this kit from our iHobbyExpo report, the main mast is nicely replicated and again, all styrene. The yardarms have the various HF, VHF, and UHF antennas as well as the Link 16 dome at the top of the main mast. Nicely done. The main radar dish is one of the few parts that Academy couldn't properly replicate in styrene and while most folks will still be happy with a solid radar dish, some modelers will want to replace this with photo-etch.
The kit includes a pair of SH-60B Seahawk helicopters, and judging from the way the lower chin is molded, we might see some later variants of the Seahawk in the future. The kit provides one Seahawk with its main rotors folded, the other ready for flight. While these are nicely detailed in this scale, this is where the story gets a little complicated.
The USS Oliver Hazard Perry was a Flight I ship and was retired in that configuration in 1997. That means that you can't use the Seahawks on this deck and the kit doesn't include the SH-2 Seasprite as an alternate. You should be able to scrounge a 1/350 Seasprite out of another of your modern warship kits. FFG 31 USS Stark was also a Flight I vessel and this was the ship hit by a pair of Iraqi anti-ship missiles in 1987.
You can easily check your references or go online to select any one of the many Flight III configured Perry-class frigates so you can use the later flight deck with RAST and the Seahawks as provided. You'll just need to change the hull number and name of the ship to the corresponding subject.
You'll also want to select a time period you're modeling as the Perry-class vessels that remain in service have been 'updated'. The most notable change is the removal of the Mk.13 single missile launcher from the foredeck since its SM-1MR Standard Missiles have exceeded their service lives and have been retired. Here is a nice photo of the USS Rodney M. Davis FFG 60, which is a Flight III Perry-class frigate with the launcher removed and some other subtle details that can be reflected in this Academy kit.
Markings are only provided for FFG 7 USS Oliver Hazard Perry, though experienced modelers can replicate the names and hull numbers for any of the Perry class.
This is the first Perry-class frigate to be released in styrene in 1/350 scale and kudos to Academy for providing the Flight I and Flight III decks. While it is a shame that a Seasprite wasn't included, this is a minor inconvenience given the fact that we now have a beautiful kit of this frigate available in 1/350th!
Thanks to MRC for the review sample.