Dragon 1/350 USS Florida (SSGN-728)
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
USS Florida (SSBN-728/SSGN-728), an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, is the sixth ship of the United States Navy to be named for the 27th state. She was commissioned with the hull designation of SSBN-728; with her conversion to a cruise missile submarine, she was re-designated SSGN-728.
The USS Florida was commissioned on June 18 1983, and on her shakedown tour she successfully launched a Trident missile. In an important event in her life, USS Florida entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard in 2003 to undergo refueling and convert into a cruise missile submarine (SSBN to SSGN). This process was completed in 2006. USS Florida was heavily involved in Operation Odyssey Dawn, the intervention in Libya in March 2011. The 16,500-tonne submarine fired 93 Tomahawk cruise missiles to help overwhelm Libyan air defense targets. This was the first combat action for USS Florida, and indeed for any Ohio-class boat.
Many years back, Dragon released the USS Ohio in this scale. Now they have produced another Ohio class submarine kit, this time the USS Florida. Much is the same between the two kits, but this one has an additional sprue with some major changes to the look of the submarine. As you can note, quite a few parts are not used in this variant.
This boxing still has the option of having all the various scopes and antennas raised or lowered on the sail. You can still have the forward torpedo tubes open to show torpedoes ready to launch of have that section closed. You can also have some of the missile tubes open or closed as you choose.
What is different is the forward portion of the upper hull. Instead of having all missile tubes as is the norm with a boomer, this one has two housings to allow swimmers to exit the submarine. In order to make this happen, one has to cut the first 135.8mm of the earlier part away and replace it with the new one. Of course, if you wish to model the USS Florida in its earlier configuration, then you can skip this step, but since it is a major part of the kit, it would be a shame to not do this easy conversion.
Though the model will be very large, it is not all that parts intensive, typical of modern submarines. The hull is split horizontally, so there will be a seam that you'll need to take care of. Instructions are well drawn and provide Gunze paint references. While the markings are the same, one has two painting options. On this the instructions are a bit confusing. If you look at the box art, the sub is a brownish black over all but the upper surface which seems to be a dark grey. However, the instructions seem to say that one option seems to be this brownish black overall, with the second option being a two tone with the lower surface is a near black color. You make your choice on this one. There is a nicely done decal sheet with quite a few markings in white.
If you are a submarine fan or just want something that is different from the norm and not all that complex, then this is a kit you should consider picking up.
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