by: Brian [ ]
The USS LALKE ERIE was built by Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. Her keel was laid on 6 March 1990 and she was launched on 13 July 1991. Upon completion of her sea-trials after construction, LAKE ERIE transferred to the Pacific Fleet and was commissioned on 24 July 1993 as the twenty-fourth TICONDEROGA-class Guided Missile Cruiser in her homeport of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. She is equipped with the AEGIS class radar system, and vital statistics include:
• Propulsion system: four General Electric LM 2500 gas turbine engines
• Propellers: two
• Blades on each Propeller: five
• Length: 567 feet (173 meters)
• Beam: 55 feet (16.8 meters)
• Draft: 34 feet (10.2 meters)
• Displacement: approx. 9,600 tons full load
• Speed: 30 knots
• Aircraft: two SH-60 Sea Hawk (LAMPS 3)
• Armament: two Mk 41 VLS for Standard missiles, Tomahawk, ASROC; Mk 46 torpedoes, Harpoon missile launchers, two Mk 45 5-inch/54 caliber lightweight guns, two Phalanx CIWS, two Mk 38 Mod 2 25mm machine gun systems.
• Crew: 33 Officers, 27 Chief Petty Officers and approx. 340 Enlisted
Dragon Models USS Lake Erie Ticonderoga Class Guided Missile Cruiser kit is provided in a sturdy slip top box. Dragon paid particular attention to the graphics on the box top, and provides a very stunning box top photo, information about the ship, the kit, and three links to check the model out on Dragons web site.
• 5 Grey plastic sprue
• 1 fret of finely cut photo etc.
• 1 decal sheet
The instructions are provided on a single sheet, folded into four pages. Each page has multiple steps, and it’s a good idea to take a look through them before cracking into the plastic parts. A word of caution, if you have not been to the eye doctors recently or require glasses for reading, you may find these instructions a bit challenging to read. I found reading the part callouts doable, but the painting combinations and just about everything else I had to break out the magnifying glass for. As is the case for many ship models, the instructions have you building several sub-assemblies and painting as you go. The instructions give you the option of having the ship sit as a waterline model or a full hull ship on a stand, a nice feature.
The moldings are finely cast and I found no flash in any of the kits parts. The sprue attachment points to each part will need to be carefully cut from the tree, as many of the parts are measured in single millimeter sizes! The attention to detail in this scale is a credit to Dragons casting process, and will be a welcome addition to my eye doctor’s bank account! (Seriously gang, if you don’t have a set of optivisors handy I recommend you getting something to magnify your vision with).
Another nice feature is that the parts are all laid out on the same sprues that you will be working on. For example, all of the ship below the waterline, including the propellers, shafts, and display stand, are on a single sprue. Similarly, the superstructures, weapons and sensors share another sprue. Lastly, on the deck department, contains several additional items that you may choose to add to your kit; an SH-60 Helicopter rounds out the nice additions.
Decals are provided for only the USS Lake Erie, but that should not present too much of a hindrance. Have I mentioned yet about having a good optics device at hand? There are decals that will require you to apply the word “NAVY” to the tail-boom of the helicopter, and “CG 70” to the ships small boat.
Dragon Models USS Lake Erie Ticonderoga Class Guided Missile Cruiser kit appears to be up to the standard we have come to expect from DML. The details are crisp and the added photo etch sheet is a really nice touch. It is not a surprise that Dragon’s instructions can be a bit of a wildcard to what you will find inside for direction in building the model. It is best to check and double check parts and placement as there seems to be some discrepancies. In addition there are no layout to bending the photo etch mast. The 1/700 scale range of kits are not for everyone as the parts are extremely small…for seeing and holding. However, I will recommend the kit as the attention to detail and the subject matter is sure to please many fans of US guided missile cruisers.