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USS Abraham Lincoln

Revell 1/253 USS Abraham Lincoln Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2008 Manufacturer Revell/Germany
Subject USS Abraham Lincoln Scale 1/253
Kit Number 0008 Primary Media Styrene
Pros A nice classic kit has been reissued for a limited time Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $35.50

First Look

USS Abraham Lincoln
USS Abraham Lincoln
USS Abraham Lincoln
USS Abraham Lincoln
USS Abraham Lincoln
USS Abraham Lincoln
USS Abraham Lincoln

The USS Abraham Lincoln SSBN 602 was the first US Navy ship to carry the name of this famous president. Launched in mid-1960, the Abraham Lincoln was the fifth and final member of the George Washington-class of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines. Armed with 16 Polaris missiles, the Abraham Lincoln could strike targets up to 1500 miles away.

The concept of the guided-missile submarine evolved from the early feasibility testing of launching the Loon missile (US-produced copy of the V-1) from modified Balao-class submarines like USS Cusk in the late 1940s. The first purpose-built guided-missile submarine was USS Halibut SSBN 587 which carried up to five Regulus missiles each with a nuclear warhead and a range of approximately 500 miles.

The problem with these early guided missile submarines was that the cruise missile needed to be assembled on deck and fueled before it could be launched, and all of this must be done while surfaced, leaving the submarine vulnerable to detection and attack. Cruise missiles which could be launched while submerged were still decades away.

The development of the Polaris missile led to the capability of launching while submerged using compressed air to blow the missile out of its launch tube at sufficient velocity to broach the surface and ignite its rocket motor. The George Washington class of ballistic missile submarines were the first of their kind in the world and served for over 20 years before being replaced with the Trident missile-armed Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines still in service today.

Starting a few years ago, Revell/Germany has re-released a number of classic Revell and Monogram kits each year, many of which have not seen the light of day in decades. Take for example last year's reissue of the Boeing SST kit that sold out almost immediately.

About the scale of this kit -1/253 may seem like an odd scale (and it is) but if you were to scan the kit scales of these early Revell kits, you'd be amazed at the variety of non-matching scales. In these days of model-making, kits were designed to box scale. The size of the kit would be scaled to fit inside a standard kit box. Today we have standard scales and kit boxes vary significantly by kit subject.

This kit was one of the first cut-away kits to reveal interior details of its subject. In this case, the submarine's starboard side was molded with open sections to reveal many of the decks and compartments of the boat. How close these details were to reality is another matter, but in those early days of modeling, such advanced detailing out of the box was just awesome.

Each of the compartments features consoles, fixtures, machinery, and equipment representative of the function of each compartment. Assembling and detail painting these subassemblies will look great, but an AMS modeler's touch with a little more plumbing and conduits could really enhance the appearance of the final model.

A note on the instructions. This is one of the first kits from Revell where they actually shrank the instructions. Hey Revell, I may have built this kit a few times over the decades, but my eyes are older now and reducing the size of the instructions is just insane. That's okay though, a quick trip through the Cybermodeler IT department and I'll scan and enlarge these instructions about 1000% so I can see what I'm doing...

This kit has been a number of times over the years with one of the earliest as kit H-313 as the USS Abraham Lincoln and H-365 as the USS George Washington. This special edition release provides markings for all five class members:

  • SSBN 598 USS George Washington
  • SSBN 599 USS Patrick Henry
  • SSBN 600 USS Theodore Roosevelt
  • SSBN 601 USS Robert E. Lee
  • SSBN 602 USS Abraham Lincoln

The decal sheet also has console faces and various interior marking details to enhance the visual appearance of the submarine's interior.

While this kit has not been that long off of store shelves (it was one of the more common kits to be periodically released from Revell), it is still a nice model that will be a fun project to render a sub-standard (sorry) display model.

My sincere thanks to HobbyLink Japan for this review sample!