Here is a nice new-tool release from Academy – the Perry-class frigate. Molded in light gray styrene, the kit is presented on seven parts trees. The detailing is quite nice and Academy has even provided the railings in styrene. That will eliminate the need for photo-etch railings for most modelers.
The hull is molded in halves, with a molded-in cut line inside the hull to make it easy to turn this model into a waterline display, complete with a solid bottom provided on the second tree. Should you opt for the full hull, the rudder and single shaft propulsion is provided along with a display base and name plate.
The main deck is comprised of two sections, the majority of the main deck, and two different flight decks. The Flight I and Flight III flight decks are included in the kit and you’ll need to check your references to see which deck to use – more on this later.
The fully enclosed superstructure is nicely replicated with the deck house sitting atop the forward end. If you haven’t seen the preview shots of this kit from our iHobbyExpo report, the main mast is nicely replicated and again, all styrene. The yardarms have the various HF, VHF, and UHF antennas as well as the Link 16 dome at the top of the main mast. Nicely done. The main radar dish is one of the few parts that Academy couldn’t properly replicate in styrene and while most folks will still be happy with a solid radar dish, some modelers will want to replace this with photo-etch.
The kit includes a pair of SH-60B Seahawk helicopters, and judging from the way the lower chin is molded, we might see some later variants of the Seahawk in the future. The kit provides one Seahawk with its main rotors folded, the other ready for flight. While these are nicely detailed in this scale, this is where the story gets a little complicated.
The USS Oliver Hazard Perry was a Flight I ship and was retired in that configuration in 1997. That means that you can’t use the Seahawks on this deck and the kit doesn’t include the SH-2 Seasprite as an alternate. You should be able to scrounge a 1/350 Seasprite out of another of your modern warship kits. FFG 31 USS Stark was also a Flight I vessel and this was the ship hit by a pair of Iraqi anti-ship missiles in 1987.
USS Oliver Hazard Perry (FFG-7), lead ship of the Oliver Hazard Perry class of guided-missile frigates, was named for Oliver Hazard Perry, American naval hero, who was victorious at the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie. Oliver Hazard Perry (FFG-7) was the first ship and, as of 2015, the only ship of that name in the U.S. Navy. Oliver Hazard Perry was in service from 1977 to 1997 and was scrapped in 2005.
The class was originally intended as austere ‘low’ category guided missile frigates (compared with the high capability Spruance class) for General Purpose and Anti-Air convoy escort. They were built under a cloud of controversy, with their very light gun armament and lack of redundancy and duplicated systems in event of ship being hit. They were regarded by the Reagan administration and Secretary John Lehman as not part of the 500 ship navy plan, but ultimately proved useful as anti-submarine ships if fitted to carry Seahawks and towed arrays and into the 21st Century as low grade patrol ships making up the numbers in a USN desperately short of escorts.
During her launch ceremony on 25 September 1976, the ship found herself briefly stuck on the slip-way. Film star John Wayne appeared from the crowd of watching dignitaries, climbed the launch ceremony platform, and gave the bow of the frigate – which was by this time starting to move slightly – a shove with one hand, and so John Wayne famously appeared to have ‘pushed’ a US warship down her slip-way.