Trumpeter 1/350 USS Freedom LCS-1
KIT #: 04549
PRICE: $51.99 SRP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Includes three etched frets


USS Freedom (LCS 1) is the lead ship of the Freedom class of littoral combat ships (LCS). She is the third vessel of the United States Navy to be so named for the concept of freedom. She is the design competitor produced by the Lockheed Martin consortium, in competition with the General Dynamics-designed USS Independence. She was officially accepted by the Supervisor of Shipbuilding Gulf Coast on behalf of the US Navy from the Lockheed Martin/Marinette Marine/Gibbs and Cox team in Marinette, WI on 18 September 2008.

She is designed for a variety of missions in shallow waters, capable against submarines and ships, as well as minesweeping and humanitarian relief. The ship is a semi-planing monohull design capable of over 40 knots (74 km/h; 46 mph).

Commissioned in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 8 November 2008, USS Freedom is home-ported in San Diego, California.

On 15 February 2010, Freedom set sail from Naval Station Mayport on its first deployment to support SOUTHCOM operations. On 22 February, off the coast of Colombia, the ship pursued a possible drug-running boat. The boat fled back into Colombian coastal waters and Freedom's crew recovered 1/4 ton of cocaine that had been dumped overboard by the boat's crew.

On 4 April 2010 Freedom entered the 3rd Fleet area of responsibility. She is currently carrying Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22, Det. 2, a LCS Surface Warfare Mission Package, and a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment.

She is expected to be dry docked in San Diego’s Nassco shipyard so that her outer starboard waterjet can be replaced.

On 12 September 2010, the starboard Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbine broke down and the ship had to rely on her diesel engines to return to port. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead said that the media had overhyped the issue and that such breakdowns were not uncommon.

During a heavy-weather ocean trial in February 2011, the ship sprung a six-inch crack in its hull that leaked 5 gallons of water an hour. The Navy is investigating. The problem appears to be due to faulty welds rather than a design error. The repairs are scheduled to begin on 27 June 2011 and last until September 19.


It has been a while since I have seen a Trumpeter surface ship kit and I have to say that this is a very nice one. Needless to say, their molding is what one would expect of a world class model company and few will be disappointed. It seems that ship kits today must have photo etch and so this one does. Quite a bit of it, in fact. There are three frets of which two are identical and cover the usual bits to spruce up the weather decks. One item I am very pleased to see is that this set includes railings. Too often we buy a ship kit only to have to fork out more funds for a set of railings. In the eyes of many, a ship kit is not complete until railings have been added so it is great that Trumpeter included these for us.

It is obvious that this ship was built for speed, not to lollygag around in a fleet. It is built like a large PT boat, and in this kit it is a full hulled one. There is no waterline option and as such, a nicely done display stand is provided, complete with photo etch name plates. Though not shown in the sprue shots, a pair of SH-60 helicopters is included. A full armament load is part of the kit along with its Mk 110 57mm dual purpose main gun. In fact armament is the lone option on this ship with the 'stage II' version offering a pair of Bushmaster .50 cal turrets on the aft of the upper deck.

Instructions are quite well detailed and include diagrams on folding the photo etch rails as well as placement of all the little bits and pieces. Unlike the
other LCS design, this one has a lot of deck fittings so it is important that the instructions be clear and concise as to where these pieces fit. A full color painting and markings guide is provided and while it does show two ships, markings placement are identical.

Overall, it makes for an excellent kit of this new ship and will make into a superb model that, though over a foot long, will not be a shelf hog.

January 2012

Thanks to Squadron Products for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local shop.

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

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Previews Index Page