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USS Fort Worth is the second Freedom-class LCS ship. There are lots of small changes from the first ship, including a longer helicopter deck. The instructions mix up drawings from the LCS 1 and LCS 3, so I'm wary of how the kit handles the differences.

The most important change (to me) is the new paint scheme. It is a very modern take on the old splinter schemes of the early 20th century.


Here are the parts in the box. The ship looks tiny. It comes with a first generation Skywave "SH-60" helicopter, which is useless. But the many slide-molded parts look great.


The doors to the hangar deck, the cargo deck, and launch area are molded shut. With no internal structure - even a floor - it will be a serious trick to create a hanger bay.

That won't stop me. Hanger bays are my fetish.

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The ship isn't as small as I thought. Temporarily putting the major parts together and placing it next to partially completed Independence-class and Perry-class kits shows that it is smaller than each, but not by much.


The first thing I noticed is that the ship has the USS Freedom style anchor port - the Forth Worth has a much bigger one styled like the San Antonio-class. That should be an easy fix.


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I added the new anchor chute. I drilled a hole, squared it off, added some plastic card to the sides to make it look sharper, and then added a card that sticks out on the bottom and in on the top to give it the right angle.


I also cut off 2 pairs of those things with the holes in them (sorry for being so technical) and drilled out the centers. The aft part is also glued on, and it's narrower than the ship hull. I added 0.005in plastic to each side and sanded.

That's the last of my weight things. I need to buy another pine racer weight pack. And I noticed that the "I'm the king of the world" platform isn't right. I have to fix that.

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I installed the foredeck. It fit well (which isn't common for this part) and just needed a little putty.


There are some issues with the helicopter deck. The deck has a plate that can be lifted out by crane so items can be craned directly into the cargo deck. It is supposed to have a white, yellow, and red warning stripe around it, but the kit doesn't have a decal for this. In studying the kit decals and what I might do to fix this, I found that the kit decals are for the builder's trial scheme and not the one I'm painting (the main difference is that the dashed line has a circle in the center for the earlier paint scheme and a "T" in the center for my paint scheme). I think I will make my own decal that covers the whole deck. The hanger deck also has a plate like this, so I guess I will make a decal for that too.

The helicopter deck is also supposed to have a curb around all the edges. The kit actually has this, but it is only done to the length of the USS Freedom deck, not the longer USS Forth Worth deck. I think I'll shave it off and replace it later with 0.10' square rod. This will also make filling the seam easier.

And I just checked - the photo etch helicopter deck netting is only Freedom length as well. It will not do. That Big Blue Boy set is looking better and better.

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I made the preliminary drawings for the helicopter deck decal. Originally I scanned the kit decals and the deck and based my drawings on those, but I couldn't get it to look right because the engraved lift-out panel is actually the wrong size. So I instead based the locations of everything off of pictures. I printed them out on paper to check against the kit parts. I need a little more work on the color and the size of the decal (for example, I need to shrink the dots and embiggen the "T"s a bit).


The helicopter deck has been flattened and filled. I noticed it has a hole for a big windlass (I looked the word up this time), but the kit doesn't have this. I'll make one. The white piece in the picture is a floor for the hanger.

The insides of the exhausts on the ship have a noticeable slant to them. I drilled out the kit ones, stuffed the area with Milliput, and used wet toothpicks to bore out the holes in the proper orientation.

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Here's what the hanger bay looks like now:


First I cut out the door and trimmed the aft location pins. I put 0.005in plastic card on the roof to even things out without lowering it much (it's already too low). I'm guessing at the depth of the bay - there's no public information on the bay dimensions and there's no hint in the outside details of the ship either. All I got is a sketchy ad drawing and a few photos. The roof beams are 0.02in squares because they are easier to manipulate into parallel lines and you can't tell from outside that they are thick. The side beams are 0.01 x 0.02in strips.

Lots more detail to add.

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I finished the main construction on the hanger. I did the initial construction based on the USS Freedom hanger, but I later found some pictures of the Fort Worth hanger and it's a little different in detail. I had to modify a few things I built before. I didn't include things that couldn't be seen from the hanger door.


The hanger has a gray-blue boot around the lower perimeter. It's going to be a pain to mask that.

And it looks like I need to buy some 1/700 shipping containers because they always have some inside the hangers.

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I painted the hanger bay. It was impossible to make a clean, even line between the boot and the rest of the hanger, and I repainted it many times. I hope it won't be too noticeable from the hanger door.

I printed the decals for the floor and the doors and will be installing them soon.


I also did work on the top of the superstructure. The set of antennas that come with the kit are for the Freedom, not the Fort Worth, and Fort Worth's set has changed over time. I filled in the incorrect holes. I needed another one of the satellite domes, so I constructed one out of sprue (the cutout shows the initial construction, the finished product is below the superstructure). I designed it to go in that big hole - this makes it easier to go in level as it isn't easy to cut a flat bottom on a cone.

I closed off one of the liferaft ports and added the rounded supports a little aft of that.


I built the helicopter pad. As I said I would, I cut off the original curb (sides only), filled the gaps, and then installed a new one with 0.010' square rod. I also make the parts for the windlass. I widened the hole and put a holder underneath so when I put the windlass core in the hole it will be straight. Then the doughnut goes at the base and the disk goes on top. The decal for the deck is done, but it goes on after painting.


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  • 2 weeks later...

I just received the Big Blue Boy photo etch set and a few other useful things. Among them was a set of cargo containers. I cut a 40 foot container in half to make the two 20 foot containers I need for the hanger bay. I'll finally be able to finish that, close it off, and get to building the rest of the ship.


I've also cut off the kit bridge wings because the photo etch ones will look a lot better.

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Work inside the hanger is done, but I need to do one more thing before I can close it up. It's a little hard to tell, but I put a bunch of cardboard boxes on a shelf in the corner, door decals on the back wall, two cranes attached to the roof, and a little photo-etch railing.


It's clear now my hanger is way too short. There should be plenty of room for two of the 20' containers on the port side and I can only fit one.

That thing I need to do is paint that thick edge of the hanger doorway, and that means I need to figure out the paint scheme now. I've been creating paint chips with all my greys. I think it's more important to have the right contrast relative to each other than having each color being the closest match individually.

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Thanks for the comments. I'm debating putting a small LED inside the hanger to make it more visible. The structure built against the aft bulkhead would be a perfect place to hide it.

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