Hobby Boss 1/700 USS Boxer LHD-4
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||includes photo etch frets|
The sixth USS Boxer (LHD-4) is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship of the United States Navy. She is the sixth U.S. Navy ship to bear the name, and was named for the original HMS Boxer, which had been captured from the British during the War of 1812.
Boxer was constructed at Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Mississippi, launched 13 August 1993, and commissioned 11 February 1995. She immediately left for San Diego, California via the Panama Canal, and although she was designed to fit the Canal, her bridge wing and other smaller components were sheared off in the transit.
After minor repairs and system checkout,Boxer deployed to the Western Pacific 24 March 1997 to 24 September 1997, along withOgden and Fort Fisher, and visited many foreign ports of call. Boxer also participated in RIMPAC the following year, then on 5 December 1998 deployed again to the Western Pacific.
Boxer deployed again to the Western Pacific, Persian Gulf and Red Sea on 14 March 2001 in support of Operation Northern Watch. She visited Singapore, Thailand, Guam, Jebel Ali, Bahrain, and Jordan, returning to the United States on 14 September 2001, just three days after the attacks of 11 September 2001.
In 2003, as a result of the impending war and need for troops in Iraq, Boxer found herself deploying yet again, this time six months ahead of schedule. This was a six-month deployment in direct support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. She deployed with six other ships from San Diego, CA on 17 January 2003: USS Bonhomme Richard, USS Anchorage, USS Cleveland, USS Comstock, USS Dubuque and USS Pearl Harbor.
She returned to the United States on 26 July 2003.
Also in 2003 she won the Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Award for the Pacific Fleet.
In another early deployment to become known as a surge deployment, Boxer steamed alone from San Diego on 14 January 2004 to support on the ongoing rebuilding efforts in Iraq, dubbed Operation Iraqi Freedom II. She delivered equipment and supplies to Kuwaiti Naval Base in the northern Persian Gulf for the continuing support of the post-war rebuilding of Iraq. She returned home on 29 April 2004.
The USS Boxer was deployed with the 15th MEU from its San Diego port on 13 September 2006. It arrived to Iraq in November and returned to dock in San Diego on 31 May 2007.
From 20 April 2008 to 26 June 2008, Boxer conducted a humanitarian mission in Central and South America.
The Boxer is designated as the flagship of Combined Task Force 151, the international anti-piracy task force pursuing pirates off the coast of Somalia.
On 10 April 2009, the USS Boxer was en route to assist USS Bainbridge and the USS Halyburton in negotiating the release of Richard Phillips, captain of U.S. flagged container ship MV Maersk Alabama who was held hostage by Somali pirates 300 miles off the Horn of Africa. On 12 April 2009 Captain Phillips was freed during a US Navy assault. Three of the Somali pirates were killed, and one was captured. Captain Phillips was transported to the USS Boxer for medical examination and rest. Around 1 May 2009, the USS Boxer assisted around 200 members of the German special operations unit GSG-9 get close to the hijacked German container ship MV Hansa Stavanger. During the last phase of the operation President Barack Obama's security advisor James Jones withheld final approval for the operation out of concern for the safety of the 25 sailors aboard the vessel. This led to the decision by the German department of defense and the German department of the interior to abort the planned attack on the freighter for now and the GSG-9 unit, which is under the command of the German secretary of the interior, returned to their base of operations at the airport of Mombasa, Kenya. It is rumored that the German department of defense influence and contacts to James Jones led to the U.S. decision to withdraw from the scene.
The ship returned to San Diego on 1 August 2009. During its transit of the Pacific, 69 of the sailors and Marines aboard the ship contracted swine influenza, forcing the cancellation of a planned "Tiger Cruise" from Hawaii to meet the ships for several hundred relatives and friends.
The ship, with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, departed San Diego 22 February 2011 for a seven-month deployment in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Accompanying the ship on the deployment were the USS Green Bay (LPD-20) and USS Comstock (LSD-45).
This is at least the third LHD that Hobby Boss has produced, the previous ships being the USS Essex and the USS Wasp. Like those, this kit 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, which should please builders as these markings are notoriously difficult to hand paint. The other is for the air wing and for the LCAC and LCU. The markings are nicely printed.
It is great to see these ships being kitted. I would not doubt that Hobby Boss will eventually do the entire series of Wasp class LHDs. It is a nice size for the display shelf and comes with a nice complement of aircraft as well.
Thanks to Squadron Products for the review kit. You can find this one at your favorite hobby shop or on-line retailer.
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