Hobby Boss 1/700 USS Essex LHD-2
KIT #: 83403
PRICE: $63.99 SRP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


USS Essex (LHD-2) is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship built at what is now Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and commissioned on 17 October 1992 while moored at North Island NAS beside the USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63). It is the fifth ship named for Essex County, Massachusetts. Dick Cheney, then the Secretary of Defense in the first Bush Administration, spoke at the commissioning ceremony. Essex served as the command ship for Expeditionary Strike Group Seven until replaced by the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) on 23 April 2012. The Essex collided with USNS Yukon (T-AO-202) in May 2012.

An investigation determined that the collision was avoidable and caused by improper supervision by Litchfield over his junior bridge crew. Although the Essex's bow had jammed, the investigation determined that better leadership by Litchfield could have prevented the collision. The investigation recommended administrative action against Essex’s executive officer, officer-of-the-deck, conning officer and helm safety officer.


Hobby Boss's USS Essex is very nicely molded and comes with not only three photo etch frets, but also a rather respectable complement of aircraft, LCACs and vehicles. The thing I like about some of the photo etch parts is that they are replacements for extant plastic bits. This is true of the various ship's radars, where those who are not fond of p.e. can use the less detailed plastic bits. The other pieces are for the catwalks and a few other smaller items. A name tag is also in brass. None of the p.e. parts are used for helo blades.

The ship itself is designed to be built with the rear ramp closed. There is no interior detail for an open ramp, though I am sure those with the skills will be able to do a respectable representation. The kit is also designed to be built as a full hull version as it comes complete with a display stand. However, by leaving off the lower hull section, one could do this as a waterline ship. The ship's elevators can be posed either up or down.

You get a rather long list of accessory bits. All of the aircraft provided are molded in clear plastic. Optional folded rotor blades are provided for the rotor craft. You get MV-22s, CH-53s, CH-46s, AH-1s, AV-8Bs and SH-60s. Aside from the  pair of AH-1 and SH-60 you get four of each. You also get a pair of LCACs and a pair of LCUs. For the deck you get cranes, fork lifts, tow tractors and other bits. To load the LCAC and LCU you get some tanks, trucks, and other vehicles. 

Instructions are well drawn with color information as needed. A full color painting guide is also included. There are two decal sheets in the box. One is for the ship itself and includes deck markings. The other is for the air wing and for the LCAC and LCU. The markings are nicely printed.


Hobby Boss has become a very popular company among ship builders, especially those who like modern ships. This kit of the USS Essex is quite detailed and while it will take a while to build, will result in a superb model of these current amphibious assault ships.



December 2012

Thanks to Squadron Products for the preview kit. You can find this kit at your favorite hobby shop or on-line retailer.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contactthe editor or see other details in the Note toContributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Previews Index Page