Lindberg 1/160 USS Carronade (IFS-1) "Bobtail Cruiser"

Lindberg's "Bobtail Cruiser" kit, dating back to the 1960s, represents the unique Inshore Fire Support ship (IFS) USS Carronade (named after a type of large, short-barreled, cannon used on late 18th/early 19th sailing warships as close-range armament). Similar in configuration to the converted landing craft - such as the LCI (R) - which saw action in WW2 and later conflicts, this was a purpose-built ship designed for providing fire support to amphibious landing operations with its eight twin rocket launchers mounted on the forward deck. Secondary armament consisted of a single 5"/38 mount (as found on many WW2 USN destroyers and smaller craft) and two twin 40mm Bofors mounts. Its strange configuration, with the superstructure fitted at the bows, gave it the nickname "Bobtail Cruiser", which Lindberg used as the name for their kit - as with quite a few other Lindberg ship kits, finding out the exact class vessel represented by the kit requires a bit of research work! As far as I know, Lindberg never actually mentioned the ship's real name on the kit box art.

Completed in 1953, Carronade had an overall length of 245'/75m and a displacement of 7500t. It was the only ship of its type to be built by the US Navy; perhaps purpose-built ships of this type were considered too expensive. It was decomissioned in 1969 and scrapped in 1974.
USS Carronade saw operational service in the Vietnam War, as the flagship of Inshore Fire Support Division 93, and fought alongside WW2-vintage converted landing craft.

Lindberg's kit of the Carronade is 1/160 scale, according to the box. This is the same as N-gauge railway models (in the US and continental Europe - British N gauge is 1/144), allowing figures and detail parts (ladders etc.) in this scale to be used. It's close enough to Revell's 1/131 USS Defiance - another "Brown Water Navy" Vietnam veteran - to display together - diorama potential maybe? The kit (originally designed for motorisation, hence the inclusion of battery + motor mounting frames) is, overall, very good by Lindberg standards. It has the usual Lindberg "brickwork" plating effect, and also horrible Revell-style solid railings on the superstructure, but the deck and superstructure bulkheads have a good level of moulded detail, and the fittings and armament parts are mostly well moulded and passably accurate, and will look good with a bit of extra detail. Overall, this kit is a great basis for detailing and improvement and will certainly build a unique model in more ways than one!

The single-piece hull moulding.

Side view of the hull.

The deck, showing the ship's odd configuration.

Main superstructure parts and 40mm gun tubs. Apart from the solid rails and spurious "plating" lines the detail is pretty good.

Smaller parts and fittings. Some of the larger parts seen here are for the battery + motor mounts.

Closeup of the gun armament and one of the ship's boats (standard 27' whalers). The 5"/38 turret is somewhat better than the ones in the 1/125 Fletcher kit. Other details such as prop guards, props and anchors can be seen here.

Display stand and decals. The "171" is wrong, as the real hull number was simply (IFS-)1!

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