On May 30, 1985 when the USS Wasp LHD-1 was laid down, the United States Navy started down the path of unparalleled versatility for launching amphibious assaults. Certainly since World War Two no country has had the experience or acquired greater knowledge in amphibious operations than the USN. Of course the preferred weapon to launch against a hostile shore is the US Marine Corps, D-Day notwithstanding. Whether it was attack transports, LSIs, LSTs or the Guadalcanal Class, ancestors of the Wasp, new vessels have been designed to further increase the USN’s capability to launch and support an amphibious operation. 

At 843-feet in length, 105-feet in beam and with a displacement of 41,182-tons full load, the Wasp is as big as, or bigger than most World War Two fleet carriers. She is designed to carry a complement of up to 2,200 Marines with a ship’s crew of 1,075. With two marines for every sailor, the swabbies will have plenty of dance partners for the ship’s cotillions.  With two aircraft elevators and six 13-feet by 26-feet cargo elevators, the Wasp can quickly deploy its aerial assets, whether helicopters for vertical envelopments or AV8B Harriers for ground support missions. However, the Wasp can also deploy heavy lift Landing Craft, Air Cushion LCAC from its well deck, which alone is 266-feet in length, to quickly move Marines and AFVs from ship to shore. The ship has over 3,000 cubic meters of space in its cargo holds to store equipment, ammunition and supplies to enable to keep the Marines in action. Medical facilities can treat up to 600 casualties with six operating rooms, four dental operating rooms, a blood bank, laboratories, X-Ray rooms and even dedicated medical elevators. Even habitability has been enhanced with all berthing areas heated and air-conditioned. Before you think it is a cruise ship, it is definitely a ship of war, whose air wing, troops, equipment and cargo can be custom tailored for the specific mission. 

The Ship Fret A
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Now that Revell of Germany has produced a 1:350 scale model of Wasp, it is time to decide how to custom tailor your Wasp for upcoming missions. Of course you can build it right from the box, as it she had been laid up in reserve, or you can equip her for heavy action. If your choice is the former, read no further, but if you wish to portray your Wasp as a coiled tiger ready to spring, carryon. This is where Peter “Jarhead” Hall enters the picture. Mad Pete must have spent many days in the Wash as his efforts for the USS Wasp clearly reflect a mud marine “Hi Diddle Diddle Right Up the Middle” approach. As a former “dog face” i.e. US Army member, I know the army tends to look for an indirect approach to seize ground, in other words, use maneuver to envelope from the flanks or the rear, entirely sensible for a force with the space and equipment for maneuver. However, in an assault over the shore with limited to no area of maneuver, the USMC often would have to take an objective through direct frontal assault, which could be quick but bloody. Jarhead Hall has provided heavy impact brass photo-etch parts in the White Ensign Models 1:350 scale USS Wasp Ultimate Photo-Etch set, to allow the Wasp’s miniature Marines to seize the high ground and emerge victorious in any IPMS battle. 

The Ship Fret B
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The White Ensign Models 1:350 scale Ultimate PE set comes with four frets of relief-etched brass parts with two large frets for the Wasp, one medium sized fret for the air wing and one medium sized fret for the LCACs and deck equipment. Sheet A in the ship’s parts concentrates on railing, which is provided in different patterns and length to match the position on the kit. However, if you are one of those who just has to cut photo-etch railing to shape, WEM does throw in one run of stock three bar railing and one run of stock two bar railing. One part is not for Wasp as the fret includes part 31 “Railings ( Bataan Foretopmast Platform)”. The second largest area of concentration is for safety nets. Very fine mesh safety nets are provided in various sizes and patterns for almost every area of the ship. Radars and array are also found on this fret with parts for the SPS-10, SPS-48 and SPS-49 radars and additional parts for various antennas.  The inclined ladders are present on Fret A with each ladder designed specifically for a particular position on the model and all with trainable treads and side hand rails. Some have safety cages around them. Various platforms are also provided. Other parts that don’t fit into the above categories include: anemometers; hangar shelf retaining straps, a couple of catwalks; stern platform supports; sea boat windscreen frame; funnel cap grills; and RHIB fittings. 

The Ship Instructions
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Sheet B is of slightly thicker brass and provides many larger structural items. Largest are the vehicle deck extensions with relief anti-skid pattern. These platforms have separate parts for the braces and supports of these large platforms. Parts for a large lattice foremast and platforms for Bataan and Iwo Jima are present for any building either of those sister ships. Another large piece is a complicated series of UNREP hoses and tackle. A great part of fret B provides all of the catwalks, brackets, and supports found on the ship. Other parts include: radome platform and supports; accommodation ladders; sea boat grab ropes; fire hose points; dump chutes; different size cable reels; replacement Satcom antennas; sea boat falls; fuel hose reels; three types of well deck gantry tracks and generic runs of vertical ladder. 

Aircraft Fret
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One if by Air – The 1/350 USS Wasp Airwing Brass Fret has its own stock order number. PE 35139, so can be ordered separately if needed, but is part of the Ultimate set as well. From the name you can tell that the parts in this fret cater to the aircraft platforms carried by the Wasp. For the AV8B Harrier there are enough parts to equip two aircraft. You get a full interior with cockpit, instrument panel, yoke and seat. Exterior fittings include weapon load pylons, wing tip outrigger wheels, wing flaps, under carriage doors, air brakes, exhaust heat shields, cockpit access ladders and aerodynamic strakes. There are parts for four MV-22 Osprey aircraft. Included parts are cockpits with floor plate, bulkhead, seats, instrument panel, center console and control sticks. Exterior fittings include optional open or closed cargo doors and a flight crew/passenger entrance door. Parts for four types of helicopter are included. The fret can equip four CH-46 Sea Knights with cockpits consisting of floor, bulkhead, instrument panel, instrument console and control sticks. Exterior fittings include personnel door, optional open or closed cargo doors, optional deployed or stored rotors with multiple hub parts. Four CH-53E Super Stallions can be fitted with hull cockpit interiors with the same detail as the CH-46 and exterior parts consisting of personnel door, optional open or closed cargo doors, optional deployed or stored rotors with multiple piece hubs, and long range fuel tank carriers. The SH-60K Knighthawk helicopter doesn’t get a cockpit but does get optional deployed or stored rotor assemblies, rotor cradles, tail planes, and tail fold joints. Two AH-1W Super Cobras get interior cockpits with floor, front instrument panel, rear instrument panel and seats. Exterior parts are rotors, multiple part hubs, control rods and tail rotors. Additional air wing equipment on the fret are missile trolleys, flatbed trolleys, aircraft jacks, aircraft tow bars, liquid container trolleys, tow truck steering wheels, fire truck foam nozzles, and hangar deck mechanical handler. 

Aircraft Fret Instructions
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Two if by Sea – Same as the air wing fret, the 1/350 USS Wasp Vehicles and Landing Craft fret is available separately (PE 35153) and is included in the Wasp Ultimate set. Two LCACs get open mesh air intake grills but you’ll have to remove the plastic grills from the kit supplied parts. Other parts include the rotor guards, multiple windshield wipers, front guard rails, rear guard rails, short antenna, radar antenna and vertical ladders. Two Landing Craft Utility LCU craft can be super-detailed with a three piece 20mm Oerlikon with gun, gun shield and training wheel. Other detail includes main deck and superstructure railings, anchor jib, mast and bridge canopy. Two M60 Patton tanks get treads, turret bustle storage rack, spare boggie wheels, barrel traverse lock, and explosive reactive armor turret and hull plates. Likewise, two M1 Abrams can be fitted with track, turret bustle storage racks, turret hatch ring, hatch machine gun, and frame and plate side bin parts. For the personnel HUMVEE you can equip two with side doors, front grill, and top machine gun. For the cargo HUMVEE you get flat bed passenger seating and front grills. The AAV7 gets tracks, top rails and rear ramp for two vehicles. Two LAV-25 armored cars get turret bustles, back doors, antennas, and turret crown machine guns. Lastly, you can outfit two MTRV trucks with cab machine guns, tail gates, flat beds with railing, rear bottom frame/chassis, bench seat, tarpaulin frames and tail ladder. 

Landing Craft & Vehicles
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With the Ultimate set you get three sets of WEM’s outstanding instructions, one for the ship, one for the air wing and one for the vehicles. For the ship the instructions run five back-printed sheets with a 6th sheet printed on one side only. Page one has general instructions, pages two and three have the frets laydown and numbering. Page four has a text description of each brass part and modules for well deck platforms and another for well deck railings. Page five has assembly modules for well gantry track, vehicle deck fittings, stern platform fittings, and catwalk assembly. Page six has a single module for the catwalk raining and safety net locations. Page seven has modules for radome platforms, caged ladder, dump chutes, starboard weather deck railings and catwalk ladders. Page eight has modules for island fitting and ECM platform fittings. Page nine has modules for the UNREP hose assembly, Sparrow director platform, Satcom antenna and platform, AN/SPS 48 and 49 radars. Page ten has modules for SPS-10 radar, fore topmast platforms and antenna, mainmast platforms and antenna, and SPS-49 platform. Page eleven has modules for the foremast lattice mast for Bataan and Iwo Jima , boat gantry, radome platform, and RHIB fittings. The air wing instructions have two back-printed sheets and one sheet printed on one side. Page one identifies by name and number each part with the reverse with assembly modules for the SH-60K and CH-46 helicopter fittings. Sheet two has assembly of theCH-53E fittings. The reverse has assembly for the fittings of the AV-8B and AH-1W Cobra. The last page concludes with assembly of the MV-22 and the numerous trolley, tractor, and other deck equipment fittings. The instructions for the landing craft and vehicles are similar with only three pages. Page one has a parts laydown with each part numbered and described. Page two has assembly modules for the fittings of the LCU and LCAC. Page three has vehicle fittings assemblies for the M1, M60, AAV7, LAV25, HUMVEE, and MTRV. Every page and module comes with clear drawings and lucid text, which is the hallmark of the instructions provided by WEM

Landing Craft & Vehicles Instructions
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GUNG HO, You mud marines! Whether being deployed from the sky or crawling across the beach, you can ride into battle in style by following Jarhead Hall with the White Ensign Models 1:350 scale brass photo-etch Ultimate Photo-Etch set for the USS Wasp LHD-1. With four frets of brilliantly designed relief-etched parts for the ship, aircraft, landing craft and vehicles of the Wasp, you can seize the objective and be back to your T-Bone steaks in your air-conditioned dining halls in no time. 

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