by: Jim Adams [ ]
Originally published on:
USS Long Beach CGN-9...
USS Long Beach was a first and a last. She was the first all new cruiser designed and built since World War II. She was also the last true cruiser built by the US Navy. Following cruisers were built on slightly upscale destroyer hulls. She was also the first nuclear powered surface ship built for the US Navy.
Her original classification was CLGN-160. She was reclassified CGN-160 in early 1957, but was again reclassified as CGN-9 on 1 July 1957. Her keel was laid on December 5, 1957. She was launched in July 1959 and commissioned on September 9, 1961.
She served in the Atlantic fleet from 1961 until 1966 when she transferred to Long Beach California. During her Atlantic Fleet time she made two deployments to the Mediterranean, including the famous, Operation Sea Orbit. During Sea Orbit she operated with the USS Enterprise and USS Barinbridge on a 2 month around the world cruise. The group was known as "Nuclear Task Force One".
After switching home ports to Long Beach, she took part in numerous cruises in and around the Pacific. She did several deployments in the combat zone off Vietnam. She was directly responsible with downing one Soviet An-2 Colt and 2 Mig fighters. The Migs were shot down by the ship itself with her talos missiles. From 1966 until 1994 she took part in 14 WestPac deployments and underwent four overhauls and switched home ports to San Diego.
In 1994 her home port returned to Norfolk. This time it was time for the old lady to be deactivated. She served her country for 33 years before being decommissioned in 1995. Her hulk is currently sitting in Puget Sound Ship yard awaiting final recycling, nice word for scrapping.
During her career she was awarded Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal x 5, Combat Action Ribbon, Humanitarian Service Medal x 2, Joint Meritorious Unit Award , Meritorious Unit Commendation , Battle Efficiency Award x6, Navy Unit Commendation x2, Coast Guard Special Operations Service Ribbon , Southwest Asia Service Medal , and the Vietnam Service Medal x18.
Class and type: Long Beach, Cruiser(nuclear)
Displacement: 15,540 tons
Length: 721 ft 3 in (219.84 m)
Beam: 71 ft 6 in (21.79 m)
Draft: 30 ft 7 in (9.32 m)
Propulsion: 2 C1W nuclear reactors; 2 General Electric turbines; 80,000 shp; 2 propellers
Speed: 30 knots (56 km/h)
Nuclear Complement: 1160 officers and men
Sensors and processing systems:
1 AN/SPS-10 surface search radar
AN/SPS-12 search radar
AN/SPS-32 bearing and range radar
AN/SPS-33 target tracking radar
AN/SPS-48 3D air search radar
AN/SPS-49 2D air search radar
2 AN/SPG-49 Talos fire control radar
4 AN/SPG-55 Terrier fire control radar
AN/SQS-23 SONAR Electronic warfare
and decoys: AN/SLQ-32
Two twin Terrier guided-missile launchers
One twin Talos missile launcher (later removed)
One 8-cell ASROC launcher
Two 5 inch guns
Two dual 12.75 inch ASW torpedo tubes
Harpoon missile launcher added later
One Armored Box Launcher for eight Tomahawk cruise missiles replaced the Talos launcher
Aircraft carried: None. landing pad available for one helicopter
Motto: "Strike Hard, Strike Home"
The kit comes to you in a typical lidded box with a painting of the Long each on its cover. The sides and bottom of the box is covered with CAD images. Inside there are 12 sprues of plastic parts, one fret of PE, decals, and instructions.
Well, this is really the upper section of the hull. The nose is covered with a plastic sleeve to protect it in shipping. The foc'sle is molded separately. The bracing on the inside of the hurricane bow is nicely done. The stern is missing something that I am happy to see, raised lines for the helo area. Along the edge you will also find molded on deck fittings.
This is the lower half of the hull. It has the unique sonar dome and bilge keels molded onto it. I dry fit the upper and lower hull and they fit together rather nicely.
Here we get the foc'sle section of the main deck. The anchor chain is molded into the deck as are the forward two post bollards. The rudders and shaft extensions look correct. The superstructure sections look really nice. They have recessed portholes, molded on watertight doors, and drain piping.
This holds the weapons and many other small delicate parts. The ships boats and boat davits are also present. Missile launchers look nice as do the separate missiles.
Depending on which year you model you might not need these, the original 1961 radar panels. Also the aft platforms are from 1961.
Here is the 1967 aft platform and the Unrep Kingpost. Both are nice looking pieces.
The rest of the superstructure is here. These are nice looking parts as well. The bulkheads are once again adorned with different watertight doors and air intakes.
All you need from this are the gun barrels, if you are building the 1967 ship.
This is the 1967 radar panels.
Again if you are building the 1967 ship, you will need the turrets found here.
This is the typical Dragon stand, nothing really special.
The PE fret holds ladders, replacement platforms, and one of the most unique items, the AS-2866/SRR Cone Antenna. The antenna mounts on the turrets. During my time in the Navy there were two turrets like these on the base at Great Lakes. Too bad I didn't shot a few pictures back them.
You also get one card of decals. These are typical deck marking, Battle "E"s, and hull numbers.
The instructions are typical for a Dragon kit, one large sheet with multiple folds. The construction starts with the sub assemblies and finishes with the hull assembly. That is a little backward if you are doing a full hull build. So, just make sure to decide what you want to do and assemble accordingly.
The kit can be built in either the 1961 or 1967 fit. The instructions do a good job telling you which is which.
The painting guide is in typical Dragon style, shades of gray and blue. It would be really nice to have an actual colored version of the painting guide. Having the two versions on the same sheet make them very small as well.
This is a nice kit. HOWEVER, why not have a late 80's fit of the ship? I had heard an answer, but it still did not make sense to me anyway. I like the unique profile of the Long Beach, always have.
Even with the older fits of the ship you will still like this. Now all we need is the Barinbridge to go along with her and the Enterprise for your Sea Orbit Dio.