Force Projection- That phrase has many meanings. First and foremost is the combat power of the naval airwings on the carriers of the USN. However, warships cannot seize real estate, it takes the mud marine or the dogface to go in and do the dirty work, upclose and personal. Quite often the infantryman will need the support of armor and self- propelled artillery. The most efficient way to deliver this support in a coastal area, without a port in friendly control, is the Tank Landing Ship (LST).

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The USS Newport and her 19 sisterships were designed as modern equivalents of the Tank Landing Ships (LSTs) of World War Two. This class has a light weight of 4,793 but balloons up to 8,450 tons full load. The Newport went into service in 1969 and served until 1992, when she and her sisters were decommissioned. The ships of the class had the ability to transport 2,000 tons of cargo or 500 tons for beaching on 1,765 square meters of deckspace. The ships had the capacity to transport 23 AAV-7A1 armored personnel carriers (APCs), or 29 M-48 tanks (used by the Marines), or 41 2 ½ Ton Cargo Trucks (Deuce and a Halfs) on the tank deck, which had a turntable at both ends. They could also carry 29 2 ½ ton trucks on the upper deck. They normally carried three LCVPs and one LCP in Welin davits. To fuel and arm the vehicles, the class had the capacity to carry 141,600 gallons of vehicle fuel plus ammunition. Further, the ships had berthing capacity for a small battalion of ground forces (20 officer and 380 enlisted). Bow thrusters were used to provide minute adjustment of the bow for ramp deployment. There was a stern ramp did provide flexibility in loading/unloading of vehicles.

USS NEWPORT (LST-1179) VITAL STATISTICS

Dimensions: Length- 159.2 m (171.3 m over horns); Beam- 21.18 m; Draught- 5.3 m aft and 1.8 m forward (Obviously, a shallow forward draught is a significant design feature in the mission of an LST) Displacement: 4,793 tons light; 8,450 tons full load

Armament: four 76.2 mm (3 inch) 50 cal guns (2x2) Mk. 33 DP; one 20mm CIWS (Atlantic Fleet units); two or four 12.7mm (50 cal) MGs.

Machinery: Six Alco 16-251 or GM 16-645-E5 diesel engines; 16,500 bhp; 22 knots (20 knots sustained) Range: 2,500 nm at 14 knots

Complement: 13 officers, 174 enlisted; Ground Force Berthing- 20 officers, 380 enlisted

Sisterships: Manitowoc (LST-1180), Sumpter (LST-1181), Fresno (LST-1182), Peoria (LST-1183), Frederick (LST-1184), Schenectady (LST-1185), Cayuga (LST-1186), Tuscaloosa (LST-1187), Saginaw (LST-1188), San Bernadino (LST-1189), Boulder (LST-1190), Racine (LST-1191), Spartanburg County (LST-1192), Fairfax County (LST-1193), La Moure County (LST-1194), Barbour County (LST-1195), Harlan County (LST-1196), Barnstable County (LST-1197), Bristol County (LST-1198)

 

They had a 34m long, 75 ton capacity (M1A1 tank is rated at 70 tons) mobile aluminum ramp on the bow, which was linked to the tank deck and further linked to the upper deck by a second ramp. Four pontoon causeway sections could be stored aft on the sides of the ships to allow unloading of the vehicles onto the beachhead. For quick transport of light forces, they had a 242 square meter helicopter landing deck aft. Two 10 ton cranes were provided for unloading of cargo. (The bulk of the information above is from Combat Fleets of the World 1993 can also be found in other issues of Combat Fleets.)

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RESIN CASTING
The Cascade Modelwerks USS Newport is cast in cream colored resin and captures the odd asymmetrical look of the class very well. A great amount of hull detail is cast integral to the hull. The stacks, deck winches, stern anchor & door are all part of the hull casting. The solid deck shielding forward is nicely done with inboard supports and pre-drilled scuttles. There were no defects in the hull casting, other than two pinhole voids.. The only cleanup to be done is a minimal sanding along the waterline and fill of the two small air bubbles..

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The next largest castings are the causeway sections. My kit had six of these sections, although apparently only four were carried. They are well executed with delineation of individual pontoon sections, bollards and treadway detail. Their inclusion by Cascade is very nice, as it allows the model to be built with the causeways stored on the side of the ship or deployed in front of the ship. Another option of special merit is the inclusion of the unloading ramp for the bow. Again the modeler is given the option to build the kit portraying the ship as underway with parts for a closed bow and the ramp covering the forward well or with the landing apparatus deployed with the landing ramp extended.

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Seventy detailed life raft baskets are provided in the kit. Deck fitting not cast into the hull include the two unique bow ramp support horns and the deck bollards. Cascade provides 21 delicately cast bollard fittings and the two bow ramp horns are easily fitted ton the bow. Other small parts include two detailed 3 inch twin mounts, various platforms, ramp horn outriggers, superstructure walkways, boom support tower, radar, bow anchor and ships boats. Some additional optional small resin parts provided are a deck tractor, CH-47 Chinook twin rotor helicopter and one landing craft (LCM). All of these parts are nicely done and appear to be easily removed from their resin runners. Plastic rods are provide for mast and yards.

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OTHER PARTS
There is no photo-etched fret with this kit so generic railing and inclined ladders must be purchased if you wish to add that detail. Cascade did provide two sheets of Strathmore, which is a stable and sturdy hobby card for the davit assemblies and helicopter rotors. In keeping with Cascade’s "provide options" approach to this kit, the helicopter rotors come in two versions. One has standard rotors, to represent the rotors when they are not turning. The other unique option portrays the rotors as they are turning. The tips of the blades have a blurred trailing edge that is perceived by the eye, as the rotors wind up to speed. The other items provided are two laser cut masks with the helicopter deck landing design, that allow the modeler to paint accurate and crisp deck markings without the use of decals.

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INSTRUCTIONS
The instructions are of one page, back printed and folded in half. They are the weakest part of this kit. They have four photos of the actual ships (two in color) and a good short history of the class. The assembly portion shows two isometric views of the ship with various small part placement indicated by lines running to the placement location. They are somewhat confusing as there is no sequence of assembly steps. Many other companies don’t provide sequenced steps in their instructions but with the Cascade Newport, there are a lot of things going on. They do have their strong points. I especially liked their use of color to show certain parts placement and detail of davit assembly. On the whole they are not bad but could have been better. They could have benefited from a parts matrix (laydown) and plan & profile drawings, which are absent.

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VERDICT
Cascade Modelwerks has produced a very nice kit of the last through the bow LST. The final product of the evolution of the classic WW2 LST. The only arguable weak point in the kit are the instructions. However, the strengths of the kit are numerous. The greatest strength that I noticed was the inclusion of numerous building options. With the Cascade USS Newport, you can have it your way.

The Cascade Modelwerks USS Newport is available directly from Joe D’Amato, the owner of Cascade, or from Pacific Front and other retail vendors.

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