Lindberg 1/390 "Q-Ship"

KIT #: HL400/12
PRICE: $15.99 SRP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2016 reissue


Lindberg first released this kit in about 1959 and it was subsequently reissued two more times, this being the fourth issue. It has been named Decoy Ship, Sea Raider, and Q-Shipn. At least one of those boxings was motorized. From what I've read, the ship is based on a set of plans published in a 1942 Popular Science magazine.

In appearance it most closely resembles an American merchant ship called the USS Atik (AK-101), ex-SS-Carolyn, built in 1912, which was a real US Q-ship during WWII. Wikipedia has a pretty long article on this ship but in brief, she was launched as the S.S. Carolyn on July 3, 1912 as a freight and passenger ship operating between the West Indies and the US eastern seaboard. During WWI she was armed with a 3 inch and 5 inch deck gun and carried a naval detachment to operate them. This lasted from mid July 1917 until the end of the war in November 1918. During this time she never fired and shot and was never officially taken into the Navy, but continued her normal trade. She was disarmed at the end of WWI.

It continued as a freighter between the wars, but was converted into a genuine US Navy equivalent of a Q Ship when the US entered WWII. She was rearmed and commissioned on 5 March of 1942, when she was re-named the AK-101 " USS Atik". Her hull was packed with balsa wood to make her "unsinkable". The plan was to let her get torpedoed, and then dispatch the U-Boat which would presumably surface to finish her off!

On her second war patrol during 27 March 1942 off the eastern seaboard, she was torpedoed by the U-123. The Atik pretended to abandon ship, and the U-boat stood alongside when the Atik opened fire with her concealed guns, killing one submariner. The U-123 sent another torpedo into her, but the ship refused to sink. Once again, the crew appeared to be abandoning ship when the Atik suddenly blew up with the resulting loss of all the crew.


Considering the age of the molds for this one, Round 2 has done a fine job of cleaning them up. There is flash and here are some sink areas in unwanted places, but basically the 41 parts are as clean as one gets from short run kits and other relics from the past.

The ship is full hull with left and right hull halves. There is a one piece main deck that fits into this once it is mostly built up. On the bottom of the hull are two inserts for the stand pieces. The upper deck has a lot of ventilators and life boats with single piece fore and aft cargo cranes. These have no detail on them at all, something that is pretty common with most of the parts. Enthusiasts will want to drill out the solid ventilators. There is a separate bridge piece for the center section of the deck assembly. This contains the stack, pilot house and most of the life boats.

Instructions are nicely drawn and there is a photo of all the parts on the inside of the main page. Colors are all generic and there are seven construction steps with the last one being rigging. This is an early 20th century ship so there is quite a bit of this. I did not find any notes as to the color of the decks or other major parts of the ship, but the build up shown on the side has wooden decks and grey hull and other major parts.  The decal sheet contains a bogus USN hull number, stack stripe and a variety of port holes. Instructions show just where these go. The decal sheet is nicely done so should work well.


I find kits like this interesting. Back when they were new, I was mostly into cars and airplanes so did not give ships a second look. Typical of the time, it was more important that the hull be 'over a foot long' than to bend to any specific scale. Still, it is an interesting subject and is simple enough that it would not be a bad choice for a new modeler.


June 2016


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