USN Knox Class Frigate
1/350th scale model kit
By White Ensign Models
http://dspace.dial.pipex.com/town/avenue/xdt22/

In-box review by: John Sheridan


The Ship

The Knox class Frigates were originally designed as low-cost escort ship that could be mass produced in time of war. The Knox class DEs would be the primary ocean escorts should the United States become involved in a major conflict with the Soviet Union. In the mid-1970s, the Knox Class designation was changed from DE (Destroyer Escort) to FF (Frigate) as part of the overall re-alignment of U.S. Naval assets. 

Knox class Frigates served throughout the world for 20+ years before they were decommissioned and put into reserve during the late 80s and early 1990s.  Some ships have been overhauled and sold to foreign navies where they serve today.

Knox Class FF Data

Displacement

4,200 tons (full load) 

Max Speed

27 knots 

Beam

47 feet 

Length

438 feet 

Power Plant   

2 - 1200 psi boilers; 1 geared turbine, 
1 shaft; 35,000 shaft horsepower 

Aircraft 1 - SH-2F (LAMPS)
 

Combat Systems

AN/SPS-40 Air Search Radar 

Armament

8 - ASROC (from MK 16 launcher)

AN/SPS-67 Surface Search Radar 

8 - Harpoon (from MK 16 box launcher)

AN/SLQ-32 Electronics Warfare System 

4 - MK-46 torpedoes (from single tube launchers)

AN/SQS-26 Sonar 

1 - 5-inch / 54 caliber MK 42 gun

AN/SQS-35 IVDS Sonar on some ships 

1 - 20mm Phalanx close-in-weapons system

AN/SQR-18 Towed Array Sonar System

8 - Sea Sparrow BPDMS (on some ships) 

Mk68 Gun Fire Control System 

Complement

 

285 (18 officers, 267 enlisted)(active duty ships) 

Mk114 ASW Fire Control System

175 USN (10 USN officers, 165 USN enlisted)+; 

Mk115 Missile Fire Control System

Approx. 150 reserve personnel:
(9 officers, 141 enlisted)(NRF ships) 

The Kit

The 1:350th scale model of the Knox is molded in gray resin and is cast by JAG Collective. The master pattern was created by Peter Hall. All of the castings including the hull are extremely crisp and showed no signs of defects or bubbles. A excellent master pattern combined with flawless casting does make a difference, especially with the small details you find on ship models. Most of the major parts, including the hull are "keyed" to lock together like a plastic kit; a rarity for a resin kit. Also unique is that there is little or no resin overpour that needs to be removed from the parts before installation. This alone, greatly speeds up the process of assembly and reduces flaws created by oversanding parts accidentally. 

The kit is split at the waterline so you have a choice of which way to display the kit. The lower half of the hull includes has most of the parts cast into the hull, including the shaft exit, bilge keels and the bulbous AN/SQS-26 Sonar .  The lower and upper hulls are "keyed" for ease of assembly. My hull halves fit together very well with no gaps or warpage to deal with. Mating the hull halves on a resin kit is usually a very unpleasant task and time consuming. White Ensign has made it much easier to mate the hulls and should be congratulated for simplifying what is otherwise a very unpleasant job.

The upper hull is cast with most of the superstructure included. The only superstructure parts you will need to add are the hanger structure and the Mack. Most of the weapons, including the ASROC and BPDMS launchers are molded in resin and are very well done. Most of the smaller parts are cast in white metal and require a minimal amount of work to cleanup.  The kit also comes with a nice SH-2F (LAMPS) Helicopter which was used through most of the Knox's career. 

This kit comes with an extensive photo-etch brass sheet that has the radars, railings, and other delicate parts. The level of detail in the etchings is stunning and so of the parts are almost too delicate to handle without breaking. You should handle the sheet very carefully when removing the etchings. 

The instructions for the kit are well laid out and easy to follow. The kit also includes a pretty good decal sheet with all of the ship names provided; nice touch.

The White Ensign version of the Knox kit is not "as built"  but rather the later version that has been upgraded by adding extra freeboard to the bow. If you choose to build a earlier version of the Knox, You will need to remove the extra forward freeboard down to the deck and replace with railing. Since the Knox class ships  were not all upgraded at the same time, photo references are recommended for the period you wish to depict the kit. 

Conclusion

This is one kit that you should have on your "must buy" list. White Ensign should be commended for raising the standards of resin ship kits. I look forward to building this kit as soon as I clear a few other projects on the table.

knox_decals.jpg (128260 bytes) knox_resinparts.jpg (93472 bytes) knox_metal.jpg (29856 bytes) knox_photoetch.jpg (269203 bytes)  
knox_profile.jpg (87064 bytes) knox_lower_hull2.jpg (53805 bytes) knox_lower_hull.jpg (60179 bytes) knox_upper_hull2.jpg (66465 bytes) knox_upper_hull1.jpg (76954 bytes)