- Published on Friday, 17 June 2011 15:42 Nick Mayhew
Republic of Korea Navy Amphibious Assault Ship “ROKS Dokdo”
1/700 (waterline) Full Resin Kit & Photo-Etch Details
Orange Hobby ‘Blue Series’ kit
Catalogue # N07-012-220-1/700 ROKS LPH Dokdo
Price: $52.63USD from Orange Hobby
Orange Hobby of China are a relatively new entrant into the world of aftermarket detail sets, thus far mainly for 1/35 armour and 1/700 ships. They have, however, already established themselves as a company producing top quality products – their photo-etch (PE) and turned metal barrels are up there with some of the best in the industry.
Orange Hobby have now brought out their first ship kit: I am very pleased to be able to review on Scale Plastic and Rail, the Republic of Korea Ship (ROKS) “Dokdo”, Amphibious Assault Ship # LPH 6111. This is a full resin kit in 1/700 scale, complete with photo etch detail set.
In most of the products I have reviewed for this site, I have chosen not to give much background information about the subject itself, usually because the subjects themselves tended to be relatively well-known. I will make an exception in this case, however, because although many people will be familiar with the assault ship concept, they may not know this specific class of vessel.
So, first and foremost, this is a ship from the Republic of Korea, which you may also know as South Korea. It’s full designation is LPH 6111 “Dokdo”, lead ship in the LPX Class of Amphibious Assault Ships. The Dokdo can carry a mixture of helicopters, fast assault boats and the interestingly named Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) – yes, that is indeed a hovercraft to you and me! – as well as a complement of over 700 marines; the ship’s crew is c300. It is over 650ft (approx 200m) long, and over 150ft (30m) wide, with a displacement when fully loaded of 18000 tonnes, making it the largest such ship in the region. Despite this size, it is also noted for its speed, capable of up to 23knots. Finally, the name itself derives from the tiny Dokdo Islands – basically a small outcrop of rocks – which lie in the Sea of Japan, on the border between Korea and Japan.
Overview of the Kit
Ship kits usually come in one of two guises: full hull or so-called waterline, as they do not show that which cannot be seen below the water. The Dokdo is a waterline kit, but what makes it a little unusual is that it is made from resin rather than injection mould plastic. This makes it surprisingly heavy for something relatively small – the hull measures just over 11in or 28cm – but this is not really an issue given its sturdy structure. It does mean though that the level of detail is very sharp indeed, and probably higher than for a regular injection mould kit in this scale. Detail parts come in the form of separate resin pieces, turned metal parts and a further three PE sheets. The kit comes in a sturdy box and was well wrapped and padded – this is essential given the tiny and very delicate resin parts involved.
This is the centrepiece of the kit, and the contours of the bows look to match up accurately with the pictures I was able to find of the Dokdo. The nature of waterline kits means that there is a natural line for manufacturers to use for what in injection moulding are the sprue gates. Although it looks a daunting amount of resin to cut away, it is all along a straight line, and should be very easy. After a little sanding and placing on say, a glass table top (or anything else that is dead true), I think you will be able to get an excellent finish. The bottom of the kit is sealed off by a long resin piece which in part represents the hangar bay floor / deck. Again the sprue gate here is at the very tip, so minimal clean up will be needed.
Before I go into details elsewhere, a quick word about the standard of moulding: it is excellent! I am used to 1/32 aircraft cockpit resin parts, and 1/35 armour parts in resin, and in these scales there are few hiding places. Now 1/700 ships are an altogether different prospect, but the crispness with which Orange Hobby have rendered this subject is right up there with the best resin casting I have seen in my more familiar territory.
A key feature of the Dokdo is the rear hangar / docking bay and its two part door, which is represented by two separate parts. The door can be positioned opened or closed. The hangar interior has structural / rib detail extending all the way into the ship along the hull sides and roof. Hardly any of this will be seen once the kit is completed, but there is of course scope for you to go to town if you want to really superdetail the interior.
The hull sides are a rather smooth simple affair, as they are on the real thing, apart from 2 release bays for the ships small fast assault boats, and a side loading bay which can be displayed open with a PE part for the loading ramp. The boats themselves are single resin pieces and look quite realistic; there was a small amount of flash on them, but luckily only around the hull, so again clean up should be simple. The ships anchors are made up of three interlocking PE pieces, including the chain.
The deck surface has a nice dimpled effect which adds scale size and grandeur, and works much better than a smooth flat surface which in pure scale replica terms it probably should be. The forward and aft helicopter lifts are nicely represented with a combination of very subtle raised and recessed panel lines.
All around the outside of the deck are the walkways and equipment storage etc areas – here the standard of moulding is very good indeed –close inspection reveals these are all ‘squared-off’ perfectly, and not just semi-circular grooves. Be careful when handling the hull piece that you do not damage these parts by the way. Attached to the very edges of the deck are the numerous PE parts for the safety netting and also the ‘whip aerials’ which can be positioned either up or in line with the deck (for helo operations, they would be in line with the deck I believe).
Two helicopters can be placed on the deck – these are fantastic little kits in themselves, with a resin body, and a further nine PE pieces to be added representing rotors, doors, wheels and so on, and tiny decals are provided for markings. The large crane is a single resin piece with 3 further PE parts, although you will need to use some 0.4mm wire in construction (easy enough to find from your hobby supply store if you don’t have any in your stash).
The main superstructure is moulded as one onto the hull deck, but don’t let this fool you into thinking that detail has been sacrificed. Once again I have to point out the sharpness of the mouldings and the eye for detail here – right down to the ventilation grills on the superstructure sides – I can barely see them without my glasses! This is all topped off by a separate piece for the large radar and communications tower that sits over the bridge, which has lovely PE parts simulating radar dishes.
All round the superstructure different pieces of PE are provided for the railings, and beautiful turned metal parts simulate the radomes. In addition, the self defence weapons of SGE-30 cannon and RIM-116 missile system are both multi-part resin and PE assemblies. Crew doors and hatches from the superstructure on to the deck are all moulded as recessed, so they look as though they ’go somewhere’ and this effect will be heightened by tiny PE doors and door frames for each recess. Thankfully the door and frames are cut a s a single part you just need to bend it into shape, depending upon whether you want the door to be open or closed.
Instructions and Markings
Instructions come in the form of five A4 pages, providing detailed diagrams on what goes where, as well side and top-down views of the ship to illustrate marking placement. Resin parts are not numbered but are easily recognisable, whilst the PE parts are numbered on their frets.
Markings are provided for the Dokdo only, but the decal sheet is quite extensive. Once the hull, superstructure and deck markings are all applied, I think there is little danger of this looking drab and uninteresting. The decals have minimal carrier film (especially given the tiny size of many of them), and are printed in sharp register.
So what do we think?
This is an excellent kit! The quality of moulding is extremely high. The level of detail is superb, courtesy of some cleverly moulded resin pieces and an excellent array of photo-etch detail parts. Orange Hobby really seem to have created this kit with ease of construction in mind, which is a real bonus when you get down to these small scales.
With many thanks to the team at Orange Hobby for the review sample.
Orange Hobby products can be purchased directly via their own webstore here http://www.aliexpress.com/fm-store/406011 and at other leading online hobby stores.
To purchase this item directly, click THIS link.