Kit by Ed Grune

Iron Shipwrights USS LCI(L)
Building notes and impression:

 On purchasing the kit I felt that it was a model of a class of ships that were under-represented in the available 1/350th scale ships.  I felt that it would be a unique addition to the fleet in the display case.  A quick search of the internet brought the inspirational photo from the US Naval Historical Center.  Maybe my next one will be done in greens.
The inspiriation:

 There were a few small bubbles in the hull casting which were filled with putty and sanded smooth.  The putty surface was sealed with CA to prevent a porous appearance.


 I replaced the skegs/prop/rudder pieces with some alternate parts made of sheet styrene and brass wire which gave them a finer appearance.  The props are from a White Ensign Models 1/700 Modern Royal Navy destroyer set.


 I replaced the landing ramps with some strips of Evergreen V-Groove sheet.  The ramps supplied with the kit had a definite bow to them.  I could have straightened the resin pieces with hot water,  but it was quicker and easier to replace them.

 (Webmaster's note:  To replicate the ramps, use Evergreen Sheet Styrene stock #2020, Car Siding, N-Scale 3-1/4" spacing, .020" thick)

 For the 20mm guns -- I cut off the barrel and replaced it with wire.  I also added wire training handlebars on the guns and a magazine, which is a piece of Evergreen stock.  When I trial-fit the guns in their tubs I felt that they sat too low.   I raised the gun mounts up in the tubs using some brass discs that I had photo-etched myself,  using Radio
 Shack rub-on electronic circuit board transfers as the resist material.  These were cemented to the bottoms of the gun pedestals.

 The life rafts were modified by sanding off the molded bottoms replacing the bottoms with some brass radiator screen from the railroad detail department at my hobby store, and adding a water/supply cask of styrene stock and some crossed tie-down lines made from fine wire.


 The ship was painted overall using Polly-Scale acrylic Navy Blue (5-N), lightened to show wear and the sun bleach affects.  The light gray squiggle camoflage pattern was done with a Prismacolor water color pencil.  A light brushing with a damp, almost dry brush, of water
 will help feather any sharp edges on the squiggles.  The deck was painted in Polly-Scale
 Weatherdeck Blue (20-B).  The hull colors were masked and the bottom was sprayed with a mixture of Tamiya Hull Red, lightened with orange to show some age and wear.  Once the paint was dry, I overcoated the ship with Polly-Scale acrylic clear gloss.  I applied some decal stripe material for the boot topping and sealed them with another light coat of
 clear gloss.

 Once all the paint was sealed I applied the railings and other brass details.  I pre-painted all the brass.  The brass went on easily as there are not many bends needed.  I measured the length of railing necessary with a pair of dividers, then cut the rail to length, tacked it in place with white glue, and ran a bead of CA along the inside rail base.  I then touched-up the paint on any cut ends.


 The kit instructions give the dimensions of the mast.  I soldered the brass wire supplied with the kit using these dimensions and glued a length of ladder stock in place.  I then painted and clear-coated the mast as well as all the guns and rafts.  I added the flag halyards and a the flag.  The flag is a 1/700th flag applied to a piece of brass stock - with a bit of a wrinkle.  I cemented all the remaining detail parts in place using CA.

 I applied turpentine and oil paint washes to deck corners and details to darken the shadows.  The acrylic clear gloss is not affected by the turpentine solvent.  I used some raw umber oils for the rust streaks on the hull.  Once everything was dry and I was satisfied with the dark shadows, I went back and dry brushed the ship with the base Navy Blue  color.  I tried to hit the edges, corners, and areas where I wanted the pop out of the background.  I applied the hull number decals and oversprayed everything with a clear flat.  As a final touch I tried to show this LCI was hard working and didn't get regular yard maintenance.  I added some splotches of white below the boot topping to replicate



 My overall impression of the kit is that is a very good resin & brass entry-level kit, and have recommended it as such.  For the most part the railing runs are straight with just a few bends.  The rails went down with no problems.  I would rate this as easier than the ISW PC-461 kit.  Where the PC has additional add-on resin pieces and more brass part folds, these are lacking or much reduced in the LCI.  This is a good kit to learn on, or as a warm-up for handling straight run railing application.

 The 20mms gun mounts seem to be too short and needed to be shimmed-up in their tubs.  The only problem I had with this kit was the stern anchor detail.  I found that this detail is missing on the instruction sheets and there are not very many photo available which show this detail.  Jon Warneke of ISW has said that this detail will be covered in future
 instruction sheet revisions.

 Tip:  Mounting a whole hull resin ship to a base.

 When I'm planning to mount a whole hull resin ship onto a base or pedestal, I use a brass machine screw threaded insert for wood.  These are available in the screw and fastener department at  your local hardware store.  They have an external coarse thread designed to be driven into a piece of wood, and an internal threaded hole which will receive a threaded bolt or machine screw.

 Before I begin painting the hull I'll mark the location of the inserts.  I use a drill press to ensure the correct vertical hole alignment, with a drill bit that is the same size as the outer
 dimension of the threaded insert.  Carefully determine the depth of the hole you will need, and set the drill press stop so that you will not drill all the way through the hull and out the other side.  Once the hole is drilled, apply some slow set CA and position the insert.  A screw threaded into the insert will help in getting the insert positioned correctly.  When the glue hardens you can remove the screw and fill the area around the insert with your favorite putty and sand it smooth.

 When you're ready to begin painting the hull, you can thread a screw into one of the brass inserts as a handle.  You could also devise a clamping fixture using a "third hand" to hold your ship in place while you attach details.

 When I'm ready to attach the ship to the base I drill some holes through the base at the same spacing as between the threaded inserts.  Counterbore the underside of the holes to receive the screw heads.  I will use either keel blocks or a pedestals to support the ship.  A
 source of brass pedestals which I've found is table lamp finials from the electrical department at the hardware store.  Cut off the closed end to the desired height.  Aluminum hex-nut standoffs from electronic circuit boards are another option, and give a utilitarian look.  You will also need to cut the screw to the desired length.  Measure the total depth of the threaded insert,  height of the pedestal, and base (less the counterbore depth), then file the cut end smooth so that it will thread into the insert easily.

 Once the ship is attached the model may be handled by the base without worrying that the ship will fall off.  An additional benefit is that the model may be removed from the base without having to break a glue bond.


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