Revell 1/144 USS Fletcher

KIT #: 05091
PRICE: $125.00 MSRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Len Roberto
NOTES: BMK brass barrels used and Gold Medal Models PE railing


The USS Fletcher DD-445 (1942-1969) was the lead ship of the most famous class of destroyers in the history of the United States Navy. Named after Medal of Honor winner Frank Friday Fletcher, the sleek hull of a Fletcher-class destroyer slicing through the sea with a bone in her teeth is one of the most recognizable images of the Pacific War. Baptized in the fires of the vicious night battles around Guadalcanal in November 1942, she earned her first nickname, Lucky 13. Fletcher  served with honor for the remainder of the War making a name for herself independent of her status as First in Class. Whether it was the monotony of patrol duty, a flank speed night battle slugging it out with enemy destroyers, or a pitched battle with shore batteries, Fletcher took her licks and returned to the enemy more than she got. Even when death and destruction visited her on Valentine’s Day 1945 she remained on station for several weeks continuing to perform her duties until properly relieved thus earning her next nickname, The Fighting Fletcher.

After World War Two Fletcher was retired to the inactive fleet. Recommissioned in October 1949 as DDE-445, Fletcher was one of the first American destroyers on the scene after hostilities broke out in Korea the following summer. Once again her familiar and comforting profile graced the war torn waters of the Western Pacific. Home-ported in Hawaii she remained a frequent visitor to the Orient and the South Pacific long after fighting ceased. The silent but very real Cold War next occupied much of Fletcher’s time as she continued to show the flag throughout the Pacific Ocean. Later redesignated as DD-445 she soon found herself fighting in Vietnam where again she served with distinction doing a myriad of tasks ranging from carrier escort duty to gunfire support for our troops ashore.


Revell of Germany announced this kit about a year ago and it was originally supposed to be a postwar German configuration.  Thankfully, they decided to initially release the WWII lead ship of the class, with more versions to follow I’m sure.

The kit has 2 hull halves, 3 main deck pieces and markings for DD-445 Fletcher and DD-451 Chevalier.  Decals are also supplied for the black waterline boot stripe-  a nice touch even thought most will elect to mask and paint as I did.  Searchlights come with clear plastic lenses.

Rigging thread is supplied to replicate railings (more on this later.)

Plastic railings are also supplied for superstructure  (more on this later too…)

 At a cost around $90.00-  this model measures out to 32 inches in hull length-  quite a lot of plastic.  I shudder to think what the price would be if this model was in a Trumpeter box.

 Out of the box you have a very nice model -  but the aftermarket is gearing up for this kit  (Nautilus models released a beautiful PE set already) and conversion , etc are sure to come soon.


 Looking over the kit, I decided a few things right away: 

  1. I would build full hull and mount on pedastals for a clean, no weathering look.
  2. I would do the Fletcher-  lead ship with quite an interesting battle history.  The 1942 camo would also be my choice.
  3. I would have to replace the plastic stanchions and thread for rigging.  I know my limitations and there would be no way I could physically rig all those stanchions without destroying the model in the process.
  4. I would look for alternatives for the black thread for rigging as well.
  5. I would replace the plastic anchor chain with real chain.
  6. I would get some brass barrels (BMK) for the 5 inch and the twin 40mm Bofors.

 With something this big, it helps to plan out the build and I did this by writing down a list.  I went way out of sequence with the very well done instruction booklet and here is a summary: 

  1. First portion of build was to assemble hull and install the decks.  Everything fit wonderfully.  I wanted to get this main part together and painted -  then mount on a base from which to put the rest of the model onto without handling the big model.
  2. Paint sequence: 
  1. spray hull red oxide primer and mask off. ($1.12 at walmart)
  2. spray flat black boot stripe and mask off. ($1.12 at walmart)
  3. prime the rest of the hull and decks.
  4. next up was the Ocean Grey hull sides-  then cover the hull with masking tape
  5. carefully pencil and then cut out the blotches to be painted Navy Blue-  when dry mask off entire hull again.
  6. finally-  spray decks weather deck blue.

I used 2 wooden candlestick holders and drilled up through my base into the hull.  This provided a very sturdy model to work on.  Last step was to cover the wood base with Saran wrap to protect from glue and paint drops…then it was on to the sub assemblies.

 Overall, the model fits amazingly well for such large pieces.  I built the gun turrets and easily installed the excellent BMK brass barrels for the main guns and the twin 40 mm Bofors.

 Deckhouses were also well done and I dryfitted them on the model and glued them off the model with continuous checks to make sure they would fit down on the deck easily.

 Each sub-assembly was painted before gluing to the hull.  This seemed to work quite well.


 The Nautilus set of PE looked great but I could not spend another $90 and it looked like some of it would be over my head and I would just make a mess of it.  I checked Gold Medal Models who I use most of the time and bought a set of 2 bar railing in 1/200 scale…I could like with the underscale look but actually I think they look better than I expected.  These were installed easily around the ship replacing the kit stanchions. 

 Building progressed very well-  about 30 minutes a night average.  The next hurdle was rigging.  I had some fine steel wire that would have been perfect except that I could not get it to straighten properly and I did not want the slightest kinks or bends.  I decided to use the thread and run it through beeswax as I do for sailing ships.

 The directions call for some phantom attachment points on the deck and stack so I decided to use some leftover plastic eyebolts from a sailing ship. 


 The steel wire did not work out-  too easily kinked and it was impossible to smooth out and straighten.  So I used the black thread and ran it through beeswax like on a sailing ship model.  The beeswax coats the thread and prevents little fuzzies from ruining the look. 


 All paints were acrylic Model Master marine line and some spray cans from Walmart.

Red Oxide-  lower hull

Flat black-  boot stripe

Ocean Grey upper hull with Navy Blue splotch pattern

Weather Deck blue all horizontal surfaces

Haze Grey with Ocean Grey splotch pattern above the deck level

Flat Black stack tops

Light Ghost Grey for the depth charges


 Really a fun build with no problems at all in construction.  The biggest problem is where to put the thing.  A really skilled and dedicated builder can make something breathtaking out of this model.  There is a lot of room for enhancement.  At a price shockingly low, this is one to savor.


Len Roberto

April 2009

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