USS Iwo Jima LHD-7
Fabrication work for USS Iwo Jima began at the Ingalls Shipyard, Pascagoula, Miss., on September 3, 1996, and the shipís keel was laid on December 12, 1997. The ship was launched on February 4, 2000, and was christened by her sponsor, Mrs. Zandra Krulak, wife of Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Krulak, in Pascagoula, Mississippi on March 25, 2000.
The commissioning crew moved aboard in April 2001 and made the shipís maiden voyage (accompanied by more than 2,000 World War II veterans - many of them survivors of the Battle of Iwo Jima) on June 23, 2001. She was commissioned a week later in Pensacola, Florida, on June 30, 2001. Shortly thereafter, the ship and crew began an accelerated Inter-Deployment Training Cycle.
Together with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), Iwo Jima conducted her maiden, eight-month deployment, returning to Norfolk in October 2003.
Completing essentially four deployments in one, Iwo Jimaís operational capabilities were put to the test as the ship inserted marines from the 26 MEU (SOC) into Northern Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom, patrolled the Persian Gulf, conducted operations in and around Djibouti as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, and executed a peacekeeping mission off the coast of war-torn Liberia, transiting more than 45,000 nautical miles.
After a post deployment maintenance period, Iwo Jima became the Flag ship for Commander, Second Fleet in October 2004. For over a year, Iwo Jima participated in many high visibility exercises, experiments, and operations with US and allied naval forces.
On August 31, 2005, Iwo Jima was sortied to the Gulf of Mexico to provide disaster relief and to conduct support operations in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Iwo Jima sailed up the Mississippi River to the city of New Orleans to directly support relief operations and act as the central command centre for all federal, state, and local disaster recovery operations.
During this critical period, Iwo Jima also served as the regionís only fully functional air field for helicopter operations, conducting over one thousand flight deck operations; provided hot meals, showers, drinking water, and berthing to thousands of National Guardsmen and relief workers; provided medical services, including first aid and surgical services, for disaster victims; and conducted clean-up operations in the city and suburbs of New Orleans.
After completing her Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) Integrated Training exercises in February 2006, the Iwo Jima stood out on her second six-month deployment in support of the War on Terrorism in June. In July, she relieved the USS Peleliu (LHA 5) ESG in the Middle East. Shortly afterwards, Iwo Jima and the 24th MEU assisted in the departure of American citizens from Lebanon after the US Embassy in Lebanon had requested assistance in the evacuation in mid-July. Later in the cruise, AV-8B Harrier aircraft embarked aboard Iwo Jima flew combat missions against Taliban strongholds in Afghanistan. The Iwo Jima ESG returned home to Norfolk on December 6, 2006.
The ship next entered the BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair Facility in Norfolk for a four-month maintenance period. Following sea trials in June 2007, the amphibious assault ship joined the Fleet Week celebrations in Port Everglades, Fla., in April 2008.
From July 8-18, 2008, the Iwo Jima ESG joined a Composite Unit Training Exercise (COMPTUEX) off the US East Coast. Assigned to the ESG was also the BNS Greenhalgh (F 46), marking the first time a Brazilian Navy surface unit was fully integrated into a US Strike Group. The IWO JIMA Team subsequently participated in USS Theodore Roosevelt's (CVN 71) Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) conducted July 21-31.
On August 26, 2008, the amphibious assault ship departed Norfolk on its third scheduled deployment to the US Central Command, returning to Norfolk on March 27, 2009, after the seven-month underway period. Iwo Jima arrived in New York City two month later to participate in this city's Fleet Week. After the Fleet Week, the ship crossed the Atlantic arriving in the Gulf of Guinea on July 9, 2009, to support US President Obama's visit to Ghana July 10-11.
From October to December, Iwo Jima went through a successful CNO Availability at BAE Systems Shipyard. During that time, the ship scored high marks during the Light Off and Assessment November 23-25. For the remained of 2009, Iwo Jima remained in port at Naval Station Norfolk.
2010 started with preparations for Inspection and Survey (INSURV) that took place in April, followed by the participation in the Fleet Week at Port Everglades, Fla.
The previous release of the USS Wasp was a very welcome surprise to maritime modellers. The fact that the kit had everything that a modeller could wish to make a fabulous model without the need to buy any aftermarket parts was even more welcome. Once again the Iwo Jima is a collaboration between MRC, (Gallery Models), Revell, and Trumpeter.
Now whilst the Iwo Jima is a sistership to the Wasp this doesnít mean that all you are getting is the same kit with different decals, far from it. This new kit shares the same hull but the superstructure and details such as weaponry and radar suite are quite different, with a full complement that really captures the complex structures of a modern combat ship.
The kit comes in a sturdy top opening box, which upon opening, is full to the brim with the 29 sprues of grey styrene, 24 sprues of clear styrene, (in a separate box), 3 brass etched sheets, hull and flightdeck. The parts count comes to 1428 which is just under 100 more parts than the USS Wasp kit.
The large hull comes in effectively one piece and the mould must be pretty impressive as the detail on the sides is very crisp and sharp. To make a waterline model the lower hull will need to be cut away. The addition of the bulbous bow completes the hull. The internals, such as the tank, adjoined well deck, and hanger deck are the same as the Wasp kit, and as such, will not be seen unless the lifts and rear ramp are lowered. Even then not much will be seen, but it would look good if fibre optics or small LEDís were fitted, so donít stint the detail painting. Once these are fitted the large one piece flightdeck is fitted. The moulded detail is still very crisp with the myriad of tie down points, which will take some careful painting. Alongside the flightdeck, the catwalks are fitted along with the liferafts, antenna and fire fighting stations.
Once the hull and flightdeck are built up, the build moves onto the superstructure. Although seemingly a simple box affair the detail that is fitted on it makes the assembly into a complex and comprehensive affair. The full communications suite fitted to the real ship is included in the kit, some of which is made up of parts from one of the brass etch sheets, such as aerials and radars. This is where the majority of parts differ from the earlier Wasp. Most of the ships weaponry is also mounted on the superstructure, including Sea Sparrow launcher, RAM launcher and Vulcan Phalanx CIWS.
Being part aircraft carrier, part landing ship means that there are plenty of aircraft and vehicles required. Revell havenít stinted on this and have provided everything a modeller could want. The combat vehicles include:-
2 M1A1 Abrams MBTís
2 M60A3 MBTís
2 HUMVEE Shelter carriers
2 M198 Towed cannon
2 MTVR trucks
These are all multi part assemblies and the detail is quite incredible considering their size.
Decks vehicles provided:-
2 Large deck cranes
2 Large fork lifts
2 Small fork lifts
10 deck vehicles such as towing and fire trucks
2 service trailers
For the air component the kit includes:-
4 MH-53E Sea Stallion
4 MV-22 Osprey
4 CH-46E Sea Knight
2 AH-1W Sea Cobra
2 SH-60 Seahawk
2 AV-8B Harrier II
The kit also includes:-
2 LCAC air cushion landing craft
2 LCU landing craft
All the aircraft, which a kits in their own right, are moulded in clear styrene which, with careful masking and painting will make for some accurate looking aircraft. The helicopters come with folded and unfolded rotor blades as an option. I would have liked to have seen some more Harriers included so that the option of an attack air wing was available. Also some UH-1Nís would have been nice, but knowing that Trumpeter are due to release some of these aircraft in separate sets these options will be able to be built.
There are three decal sheets. One huge one, which is almost 2/3 of the box length and width, provides all the deck and hull markings plus the ships numbers. The superstructure insignia such as the efficiency and personnel awards earned by the ship and crew are included on a smaller sheet. The second sheet is almost as long as the first, but not as wide includes all the aircraft and landing craft markings.
As mentioned above, one of these frets contains the radars and antenna for use on the island. The other two sheets provide the ships railings ans side netting.
This is another amazing model from Revell, although most of the praise should go to MRC for designing and producing the moulds. Whilst not hugely complicated out of the box, the sheer number of parts means that this model would require quite a bit of experience. The inclusion of everything required to build an award winning/ museum quality model without the need of aftermarket products makes this a highly recommended kit. This will be a big model when built up so one will need a fare bit of space to display properly.