JAG has produced another fine kit in its line of U.S. Navy amphibious craft, this time a 1/700 Anchorage LSD.
The kit is up to the usual JAG standardsódead flat hull bottom, zero air bubbles, limited flash and/or molding lines, even on the smaller parts. The kit contains a full set of decals, including the warning lines for the helicopter pad and "fruit salad", the ship's decorations that usually are displayed near the bridge. You get hull numbers for all the ships in this class. The photo-etch (PE) sheet has the booms for the ship's two massive cranes, as well as the safety nets needed for the helicopter deck, radars and some bracing. The PE is also labeled, so it is easy to know which part goes where by following the instructions.
Of note here are the LVT's, JAG's first time to include cast metal accessories in addition to the usual resin parts. You get twelve to start with, with more being available separately from JAG. The casting quality is good; the tiny vehicles will require only limited cleanup of seams and mold points.
Another innovative addition is clear plastic, laser-etched helicopter deck piece. It may be hard to see in these photos, but the deck has all of the tie-downs, laser cut into the deck surface. It will take a steady hand to paint these tie-downs but the skillful modeler will be rewarded with a detailed deck that is lacking from most other amphib kits out there. The clear part also leaves open the possibility that someone will not paint it, allowing a see-through view into the ship's well deck.
The action on these ships is in the well deck, where LCAC's, LVT's and other craft are prepared for launching out the massive gate at the stern of the ship. The well deck can be flooded through a complex system of ballasting, allowing the assault equipment to leave the ship already afloat. The diorama possibilities with this kit are pretty amazing.
While perhaps a bit complex for a newcomer to PE, this kit has the detail required to reward an experienced modeler looking to round out his/her collection of amphibious ships.