This is my 1:350 scale USS Bronstein by Commanders/Iron Shipwright. As you can no doubt tell, she is a small boat and was originally classed as a Destroyer Escort (DE). She and her sister were designed in the early 1960's as ASW escorts for convoys during a time when it was feared that Soviet submarines would likely close the shipping lanes to Europe in the event of a conflict. Later, in the 1970's, Bronstein and her sister McCloy were re-classed as Frigates (FF) and were each provided with sensitive towed array sonar systems (TASS) on their fantails. The ships carried fairly advanced electronics and sonar equipment throughout their lifetimes, including SPS-40 air search and SPS-10 surface search radars, WLR-1 and ULQ-6 ECM systems, and SQS-26 bow-mounted sonar systems. Unfortunately, the ships were lacking somewhat in their armament. They were originally fitted with a twin MK-33 3" mount on the bow, a single 3" mount on the stern, an ASROC launcher immediately forward of the bridge, and two triple 12.75" MK-32 torpedo mounts on either side of the superstructure. With the addition of the TASS in the 70's, both ships lost their aft 3" mount. The Bronstein Class was widely criticized as being too slow with a single screw, 26 knots, too lightly armed and inadequately equipped to protect convoys. Despite this, they soldiered on for nearly 30 years before being decommissioned in the early 1990's and subsequently were sold to Mexico.

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The kit is an excellent little build, particularly if you are sick of spending months and months on a single build of a cruiser or carrier. Believe me- I speak from experience here having just spent 9 months on the ISW Long Beach. The overall casting quality was excellent, despite having a few bubbles on the lower hull. Since the ship is small, there were only a few main pieces, including the bridge, hull, and "mack" combined mast and stack. The photo-etch quality was good, as were the instructions. I chose to model my ship as the Bronstein (FF-1037) without the towed array, as she appeared in the early 1980's. Note- McCloy kept the towed array through the 80's. Furthermore, I wanted to depict her in heavy seas, as these smaller frigates frequently endured a rough ride. Overall, the kit was a joy to build and a blast to place in the water. I highly recommend this kit to anyone with an interest in cold war subjects, or for that matter anyone who would like a simpler but enjoyable build for themselves. I hope you like my model. It recently won a gold ribbon at the Palouse IPMS annual show.

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Geoff Cook
Pullman, WA
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