|KIT:||Trumpeter 1/700 USS Blue Ridge|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Can be built as full hull or waterline|
The second USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) is the lead ship of the Blue Ridge-class of command ships of the United States Navy, named after the Blue Ridge Mountains, a series of ranges in the Appalachian Mountains of the eastern US.
The ship was commissioned on November 14, 1970, at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard as a command and control platform for the Navy. With accommodations for more than 200 officers and 1200 enlisted, the ship provides all the services of a small town.
From 1971 until 1979, Blue Ridge operated from San Diego, California, where she deployed to the Western Pacific, earning the Meritorious Unit and Navy Unit Commendations for the evacuation of Saigon, Vietnam in 1975.
Since October 1979, Blue Ridge has been forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan as the flagship of Commander Seventh Fleet. Blue Ridge participates routinely in U.S. and allied training exercise each year with countries throughout the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean. She performed a nine-and-one-half month deployment as flagship for Commander United States Naval Forces Central Command during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm from August 1990 through May 1991, for which the ship earned another Navy Unit Commendation.
Blue Ridge frequently makes port calls throughout the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean including Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Australia. She made her historic port visit to Shanghai, People's Republic of China in 1989 and again in 2004. It also visited Vladivostok, Russia in 1996 and 2003. The ship has also been cited for rescues of refugees and merchant vessels.
It is always a delight to see what Trumpeter can produce in the way of ships. I have to confess that I don't keep track of what's coming in the nautical realm of our hobby, so am often surprised by what shows up at the door. Were I to list twenty five ships of which I'd like to see models, the Blue Ridge would probably not make that list.
Regardless, this kit is one of four similar molds (if I read the kit numbers on the decal sheet right), and it quite typical of what Trumpeter has recently released. In other words, the molding is superb. There are 182 parts on 10 different sprues. The kit can be built either full hull or waterline and a display stand is included. The upper hull section includes a number of stiffeners to prevent warping problems. The level of detail is quite good for this scale and I didn't see any problems with ejector pin marks, sink areas or flash. Some of the bits, such as the cranes are a bit clunky and are solid with detail molded on the outside. Typical for 1/700, but when a photo-etch set becomes available, I'd recommend it just to add that much more detail to an already nicely done kit.
Typical of the more recent Trumpeter ship kits, the outside bulkheads are separate pieces that fit onto a core section. This not only makes painting a bit easier, but also gives these superstructure parts additional strength. This is the 2004 version of the ship so it is complete with the Phalanx weapons system as well as a number of radar domes. These will need the seams filled once the halves are cemented together. Probably the only thing missing is the ship's helo. The Blue Ridge normally carries a UH-3H as is proper for a fleet flagship.
Instructions are very well done, providing clear and concise construction steps; 14 of them as a matter of fact. No 'underway' painting information is given, though there is an excellent color paint chart provided. Color references are Gunze and are your basic boat shades of Dark Grey and Navy Grey with some black and white scattered about. The decal sheet is quite well done and provides not only hull numbers but the warning and helo pad markings as well.
Another really nice ship kit from the folks at Trumpeter. Not only is it a bit on the unusual side, but it is most reasonably priced for a kit of this quality.
My appreciation to Stevens International, importer of Trumpeter kits, for the review copy.
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