USS Wasp Kit Initial Impressions

Phil Builds The Gallery Models 1:350th Amphibious Assault Ship:

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pstanfield
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USS Wasp Kit Initial Impressions

Post by pstanfield » Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:19 pm

Once again thanks to Pete for giving me my own space for this build. I hope everyone gets at least some enjoyment from my rather chaotic style of modelling.

Well, I picked up the kit during lunch yesterday. Hobby Lobby had it for $249, but I luckily had an coupon from their website that gave me 40% off. Not a bad savings if I do say so myself. It was cheaper on the web (in China), but whenever I can buy locally I always do.


First the real ship, and forgive me if I get some of this a little wrong. The USS Wasp is the first in its class of Marine Corp Assault ship. Over a thousand sailors operate the vessel, which is capable of carrying over 2000 Marines, along with all of their vehicles and equipment. This is after all an Assault ship. It carries a full compliment of Aircraft, from various helicopters, the U.S. version of the Harrier, and most recently the V22 Osprey, pictured below:

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What is so cool about this vessel is the well deck. Almost the entire length of the lower deck of the ship is hollow, accomodating countless vehicles, as well as several types of landing craft. And almost half of this deck can be flooded in order to launch the various landing vessels and amphibious assault vehicles.

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Amphibious vehicles launching from Wasp

The neatest landing craft carried by Wasp is the LCAC. It's a Hovercraft with the capability of carrying loads as heavy as 2 M1 Tanks.

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LCAC Launching

Now the kit. Wow! I don't think I've ever seen a kit packaged so well! Parts trees were wrapped in pairs, then neatly stacked in two seperate compartments. All the vehicle trees were in a seperate box of their own. The single piece hull was held down with seperate fitted cardboard pieces. Check these pics out.

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The flight deck was wrapped in multiple places with styrofoam sheets as well as individual plastic wrap

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Check this out! A one-piece hull and not a warp to be found. The precision and quality are nothing short of stunning

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One look at this and I start thinking "maybe Victory ain't so complicated after all"

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Aircraft are molded in clear, probably to leave the option open for clear canopies, which really don't scale well, so I'll be painting them instead

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Railings and cranes are photoetch. Now THAT'S quality.

The detail level is amazing. Every nook and cranny of the ship has been modelled crisply. And both the maintainance deck and well deck are fully modelled, leaving me wondering if there is a way to make them visible (though I'm probably asking too much since I want to waterline the model). Seems a shame that so much detail would not be seen. I did come upon some led lighting so I may at least light the maintainance deck.

I do have a couple of minor gripes, and one complication. First, the painting guide, in my opinion, comes up short. Don't get me wrong, there is a two page
full color paint guide for all vehicles and the ship itself, but that's it. There is not a whole lot of guidance in the instructions themselves. Not that this really matters to me since I will be referring to the multitude of photos of the vessel that are available on the web. The painting guid for the vehicles is excellent, and the instructions does show what colors are needed and gives the stock numbers for a variety of paint brands, one of which is the one I use. My second gripe is a problem I've seen before. The plastic rotors for the various helicopters are just way too thick for my taste and this out-of-scale look can spoil the overall presentation. There is an after-market photoetch kit available that fixes this issue, but you would think that since the kit came with some etch already the manufacturer would have just made the rotors in etch. Now I've got to figure out how to get my wife to "allow" me to plop down the 70 bucks or so for the aftermarket etch.

The last thing is a minor complication that I will have to figure out how to adress. I want to display this as a waterline ship. While this in itself isn't too difficult, I want to display her as she launches an LCAC, which means the rear gate and part of the well deck will be flooded. Unless I can come up with another way, I will have to model the ocean with the ship in the mount and I will have to get the "water" into the back of vessel. And if I want to get it completely right the rear gate will have to be at least partially visible under the surface of the "water". This will be no small feat and I see a lot of experimentation in the future. Once I actually start on the water with the kit in it, there will be no turning back and only one shot to get it right.

But, that is an issue I won't face for several months. For now it's time to stock up on paints, dust off the airbrush and start coming up with a gameplan. I consider this to be not one kit, but one big kit with a bunch of smaller kits. There's the ship hull itself, the superstructure, Tanks, V22's, Landing craft, LCAC's, and 3 different other helicopters. Each of these is like a mini kit and will demand detailed attention.

This build is going to be a blast....

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Pete Coleman
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Re: USS Wasp Kit Initial Impressions

Post by Pete Coleman » Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:11 pm

Thanks for posting Phil.
It sure looks a lovely kit, I bet you're well pleased with your purchase (especially at that price)!
The kit itself looks to be of the new breed of "supermodels" that we have seen of late, (Wingscale, Wingnuts, Trumpeter specials, and the Tamiya spit for example).
One gripe that I have read online is not being able to see much of that lovely internal detail when the ship is finished but I guess lighting it up would help out with that.

Why is it that one of the worlds' largest superpowers can still see the value of the Harrier/AV8 and hovercraft, long after the designing country has turned it's back on them?
Cheers,
Best regards, Pete. (A.O.T.F.) :character-spongebobdance:
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------------- Preserved Killick -------------

pstanfield
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Re: USS Wasp Kit Initial Impressions

Post by pstanfield » Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:55 pm

The flight deck fits pretty flush to the hull without any effort. I'm thinking that the designers of the kit may have intended to give the builder the option of displaying the flight deck off of the model so that the interior could be better displayed, since the hangar deck links directly to the well deck. Without the flight deck mounted, both interior decks can be clearly viewed. This kit would also be an excellent candidate for the "cutaway" view for those modellers with the skill to perform such precision cuts and modifications. I'm thinking that I can install a couple of small LED's, one on the hangar deck and one on the well deck. This would at least give a bit of a better view of these decks and attract the eye to it. Like I said, there is a significant amount of detail to both lower decks and not displaying them in at least some small fashion would be a shame.

Phil

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Force9
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Re: USS Wasp Kit Initial Impressions

Post by Force9 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:11 am

Phil...

Very nice overview!

It would be neat to display one of the AAV-7A1 Amphibious Assault Vehicles in motion as well...

Here is a good link I found awhile back when I was strongly considering this kit for my stash:
http://www.ipmsusa2.org/reviews2/ships/ ... 1-wasp.htm

There is an additional link at the bottom of that one that is useful as well.

I look forward to your build!
Cheers
Evan Gale

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Re: USS Wasp Kit Initial Impressions

Post by chrism » Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:17 am

Well phil you definitely seem to have a monster project here and an awful lot of parts!

Ahopefully simple question to bait my curiosity: What are the overall dimensions for the model when assembled?

Good luck and I will watch you progress with keen interest.

pstanfield
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Re: USS Wasp Kit Initial Impressions

Post by pstanfield » Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:24 am

Evan, I found that exact same site. It does indeed have some very good shots of the kit. As a matter of fact I now have about a dozen or so links on the kit itself, 3 different sites with hundreds of photos of the real ship from every interior and exterior angle you can think of, as well as links to photos of all the various vehicles and aircraft that are on the ship. All told, my research has piled up to around 25 sites, which is plenty for what I need.

As for the dimensions, the ship comes in at around 30" long with a width of 4". Both the hull and the flight deck are each a single piece, so no nasty seams to mess with. And out of curiousity I pulled both of the pieces out just to see the fit. It was absolutely perfect.

I'm in Nashville tomorrow for a VA appointment, afterwhich I'll be stopping by a local hobbyshop to pick up the paints I need as well as some other odds and ends I need. I'm going to venture away from the acrylics I've used for the last 7 years and go back to Model Master Thinner based for this build. When I get home I'll be faced with the most immediate question....where the heck do I start? Interior? Deck? Superstructure? Hull? Aircraft & Vehicles? I must admit, all those vehicles are going to be a blast to build. I remember back when I was in the Philippines back in the late 80's, early 90's and I built Tamiyas massive 1/350 Enterprize. I had so much fun building all of those F-14's (my favorite Naval Fighter). The overall build was "okay" and I took shortcuts...you name it I did it wrong, but a little volcano call Mt. Pinatubo destroyed the model as well as most everything else I owned at the time. Thus began my 12 year hiatus from modelling....but I digress. I'll probably do some prelim work on the kit.

Here's my latest batch of questions;

-Does anyone know some good links for creating fake water and water effects? I know there are several different ways and different materials to do it. I just want to see some different ways so I can decide the best approach for me.
-Best adhesives for Photo Etch? Any tips when putting them on the model? I have some good folding tools, so I think I'm good to go there.
-Rob, what would be the best approach to weathering? I can't see using a lot of pinwashes on a modern carrier, but I want all the details to stand out. That's what will make this vessel really stand out.
-Opinion. Which would be more scale. Flat or Satin overall finish?

Throughout this build I want tips, tips, tips. Be critical if you have to. This is a learning process after all. I've never considered myself anything more than a glorified amatuer, so getting tips from the superb craftsmen here will go a long way towards keeping me motivated and on track as well as take my build to a higher level (for me at least).

Oh, a couple of people have asked about my car I mentioned earlier....

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I count this as the "guilty pleasure" I give myself in this life....and ooooohhhhh the fun I'm having...

Phil

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Force9
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Re: USS Wasp Kit Initial Impressions

Post by Force9 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:09 am

That looks like a very nice ride - I hope you allow your hero son a chance to drive it as a reward for a job well done and thanks for his service from a grateful nation x4x
Cheers
Evan Gale

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Pete Coleman
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Re: USS Wasp Kit Initial Impressions

Post by Pete Coleman » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:20 pm

Phil, your Camaro is seriously cool, especially in that "stealthy" colour! x6x
The only product that I have used for water would be no good for your use as it was not transparent.
I do know that there are now several systems available for model railroad hobbyist, they would be worth checking out.
Best regards, Pete. (A.O.T.F.) :character-spongebobdance:
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"In which it will be ready when it's ready"
------------- Preserved Killick -------------

pstanfield
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Re: USS Wasp Kit Initial Impressions

Post by pstanfield » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:58 pm

I was thinking that I would use both. Use material you can't see through for the overall ocean, but blend in the see-through material for the stern area/well deck. Just thoughts right now mind you, but crazy ideas lead to real ideas.

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Re: USS Wasp Kit Initial Impressions

Post by Rob » Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:33 pm

Hi Phil,
Great looking kit you should be able to make a cracking good miniature from it.

As for weathering I would pre-shade. The problem is that the vessel is predominantly grey so if not careful she will look boring. Pre-shading will add some tonal variance to the surface breaking up the grey areas creating interest. You could pre-shade entire panels to get a harder edged effect, remember subtlety is the key. Pin washing is still viable, use a darker shade of grey rather than the black you see used on some builds, far to harsh and about as subtle as a panzer division.

For the final finish I would not use dead matt it is too grainy. Remember the finish is 350th scale so will appear to have a slight sheen to it, satin may be to glossy.

There are several ways to attach etch. I have been using acrylic varnish or Future for small parts under no strain. PVA is also very useful especially for longer hand railing runs which expand and contract and can break free or buckle if super glue is used.

I hope this helps Phil, and ask away if you have any more questions.

Rob.
P.S. Love the Camaro.

pstanfield
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Re: USS Wasp Kit Initial Impressions

Post by pstanfield » Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:08 am

You know, I had been looking at photos of the actual Ship and was trying thought that the exhaust stains on the deck would look good on the model and pre-shading might be a good way to model it on the deck. I've never done this technique before so I'll need to practice it a bit first...

Well I got off work late tonight so I couldn't pick up the paints I need, and I need a bunch. I think I'm going to start with some of the vehicles/aircraft first to get myself used to 1/350 scale again...maybe do some initial hull work. Hopefully I'll be able to get started by Sunday because I'm getting anxious to start the build...

Thanks for the tips Rob. I'll probably have some other questions for you since you're experienced at this scale.

Phil

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