Revell 1/144 Fletcher Class Destroyer

KIT #: 05091
PRICE: $
DECALS: Yes
REVIEWER: Len Roberto
NOTES:  

 

HISTORY
Class overview:
 
Name:  Fletcher class destroyer
General characteristics
Type:    Destroyer
Displacement:   2,050 tons (standard);
2,500 tons (full load)
Length: 376.5 ft (114.8 m)
Beam:   39.5 ft (12.0 m)
Draft:    12.5 ft (3.8 m)
Propulsion:       4 Babcock & Wilcox oil fired boilers; 2 General Electric geared steam turbines; 2 screws; =60,000shp
Speed:  36.5 knots (67.6 km/h)
Range:  5,500 miles at 15 knots
(8,850 km at 28 km/h) [1]
Complement:    329 officers and men
Armament:        5 5 in (127 mm) guns,
610 40 mm AA guns (early ships carried 4 1.1 in guns),
710 20 mm AA guns,
10 21" (533 mm) torpedo tubes (25),
6 K-guns,
2 depth charge racks
 
The United States Navy commissioned 175 Fletcher-class destroyers between 1942 and 1944. They were built by shipyards across the United States for service in World War II, and some served during the Korean War and into the Vietnam War. Ironically, many were sold to the very countries they had fought against: Italy, Germany, and Japan, as well as other navies, where they would go on to have even longer, distinguished careers. Several others were cancelled prior to being laid down.
 
The Fletcher class=2 0(named for Admiral Frank F. Fletcher) was the largest class of destroyer ordered, and was also one of the most successful and popular with the destroyer men themselves. Compared to earlier classes built for the Navy, they carried a significant increase in anti-aircraft (AA) weapons and other weaponry, which caused displacements to rise. Their flush deck construction added structural strength, although it did make them rather cramped.
 
Throughout the course of World War II, the number of AA weaponry increased resulting in five twin-40 mm Bofors plus seven 20 mm weapons by 1945. Fifty-one were further modified beginning in 1945, replacing the forward torpedo tubes and midships 40 mm twin Bofors with quad mounts for a total of 14 barrels, and the seven 20 mm singles with six 20 mm twins. Three (Pringle, Stevens, Halford) were built (six planned) with aircraft catapults, resulting in the deletion of one 5-inch mount and the after set of torpedo tubes. This alteration was not a success in service and was not repeated. The three destroyers were later converted to the normal Fletcher-class configuration.  Nineteen were lost during World War II; six more were damaged and not repaired. Postwar, the remainder were decommissioned and put into reserve.
 
With the outbreak of the Korean War many were returned to active duty. During this time 39 were refitted, reducing their overall main armament and the number of torpedo tubes. A new ahead-throwing weapon called Weapon Alpha was installed in many of the ships. Others carried trainable hedgehogs. (Which is good as untrainable hedgehogs can leave a mess on the decks. Ed)
THE KIT

Features:  movable rudder, props, and gun barrels, clear searchlight lenses, display stand, decals for black waterline boot stripe, rigging line supplied for railing.

 Decals and instructions to cover 2 ships:  lead ship of the class DD-445 USS Fletcher summer 1942 and DD-451 USS Chevalier fall 1942.  What I have read so far indicates some work needs to be done to do USS Chevalier accurately.  This is a round bridge model so it limits the options as to what ships you can get out of it. As you can see with the help of my lovely 5 year old daughter, this is a massive box.  Think of the box for the 1/72 scale subs and you get the idea.

The hull is in 2 parts and dry-fitting was easy and tight-  looks to be very well engineered.  The hull measures out at just under 32 inches.  

There are 2 trees contain the parts for the very nicely molded 5 inch guns and turrets.  Gun barrels are movable.  2 long parts are for the display stand.  The deck actually slots into the top parts of the stiffeners and will be hidden by the deck houses.  This should ensure proper alignment and a solid structure for the model.

The model sports a movable rudder and props.  There are 2 sprues of stanchions around the decks that Revell provides black rigging thread for the railings.  Im sure there are better modelers than I that could make this work but to me-  I do not see how I can do a proper job with so many individual plastic stanchions.  Rigging 2-3 lines around all of these seems like a no-win situation.  They are not strong enough to take the man-handling required to rig them all and look proper at the end.  Here is the only part of the kit where I personally will hope for some photoetch brass to replace or if not, I will perhaps replace the plastic and drill down through the deck and use brass rod for more strength.

 A very nicely detailed instruction booklet with 65 steps is provided.  A decent coil of black thread for rigging the railing and the mast rigging.  One of the things I always find a pain in the rear to get properly masked is solved in this kit.  The black waterline boot is provided by 6 decal strips.  A very complete set of paper flags is also in the kit.  A separate fold out sheet shows the camo measures for the 2 choices.  I am pretty sure USS Fletcher also wore the Navy blue scheme in 1943.

CONCLUSIONS

 This is a mammoth kit that will offer tons of room for superdetailing.  It is fabulously molded and as we say looks stunning in the box.  Shipped from the UK by Hannants my total cost was just over $100.  If this was a Trumpeter kit it would be $300.00  How can Revell Germany produce such a massive and well done kit for such a great price?  Bravo Revell-  hope there is a square bridge coming too!

I will let it rest a while while gathering as much reference as I can on USS Fletcher, a ship with a pretty interesting war record.  I will await what the aftermarket companies come up with for this beauty of a kit.   

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