4,700 Yen at HobbyLink
$50.45 at today’s exchange rate)
Released in the US and Europe
under the Dragon label
I served in the
Navy during the last decade of major operations for Fletcher,
Sumner and Gearing
class destroyers. To me, there was nothing better-looking in the fleet than
these all-gun “little boys,” and there was nothing more pugnacious than the
over-gunned Gearing ships, many of
which by then had gone through the FRAM rebuild. But there were enough of them
in their Second World War configuration (other than their AA weapons, which had
been modernized) to remind a young sailor of the days - and more, the nights -
when a nation’s fate had hung in the balance of the fighting ability of “little
boys” like these ships (particularly when you could talk to an Old Chief who had
class destroyers were the product of battle learned the hard way; one can only
imagine what things would have been like had a Gearing
been in the line of battle the night of November 12/13 1942 off Guadalcanal.
To me, the Gearings
are still the best-looking, toughest, meanest American destroyers ever built.
They may have missed the war they were designed for,
held the line in Korea, in Cold War crises like the Cuban Missile Crisis, and in
Vietnam, where one of them - U.S.S. Maddox
- participated in the lie that began the Vietnam war and gave her name to the
event: “The Maddox Incident”.
The lead ship of her class of destroyers, U.S.S.
was named for three generations of naval officers in the
Gearing family: Commander Henry Chalfant Gearing, Sr., veteran of the
Spanish-American War; Captain Henry Chalfant Gearing, Jr., veteran of the First
World War; and Lieutenant Henry Chalfant Gearing,
who gave his life to save his crewmates in the loss of the submarine S-49 and
won the Navy Cross for his sacrifice.
Each was a distinguished naval officer whose service
represented the best of the Navy.
The keel for U.S.S. Gearing
was laid August 10, 1944 at the Federal Shipbuilding and
Drydock Company, in Port
She was launched on
February 18, 1945
just 192 days after the keel was laid, a tribute to the level of proficiency
American shipbuilders had achieved in four years of wartime production.
She was commissioned on
May 3, 1945,
and the crew expected they would be participants in the coming invasion of
During June and July 1945, U.S.S.
Gearing took part in training exercises in the
She returned to
in late July, but the surrender came before she could depart to join the Pacific
As a ship assigned to the Atlantic Fleet, U.S.S.
Gearing participated in many cruises on
the east coast of the
and many deployments to the
Sixth Fleet from 1947-60, when she went into the yards for rebuild under the
Returned to service in early 1962, she came close to seeing
combat that October, as one of the destroyers assigned to the “quarantine” of
during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
She was decommissioned in and stricken from the active
register on July 1, 1973 and sold for scrap on November 6, 1974.
Released in 2009 by Dragon under the Cybermodeler.com
label (in Japan; it is under the Dragon label in the US. Ed), this kit of the
USS Gearing is the second U.S.
destroyer class released by Dragon, the first being the Benson/Gleaves class
This is the first injection-molded kit of a
At a US/Japan MSRP price of around $50.00, it is a far
more attractive kit for most modelers than the very expensive resin kits
previously available, all of which start at a minimum of around $100.
Not only that, it’s a whole lot easier to build.
The kit is crisply molded, with a the two part hull that
allows a modeler to build either a waterline or full-hull kit.
There is photoetch detail for the radars, but I strongly
recommend obtaining photoetch sets for US destroyers for everything else that’s
Out of the box, the kit recreates U.S.S. Gearing
in her original configuration, prior to the modernization in 1949 that saw her
equipped with a tripod main mast, and her 40mm and 20mm anti-aircraft weapons
replaced with 3-inch DP weapons.
Construction is straightforward.
I assembled the full hull with main deck, then proceeded
to paint everything before further assembly.
I painted the lower hull below the waterline with Tamiya
Hull Red, and used
Grey and Ghost Grey for the upper surface colors.
I painted all of the rest of the parts before assembly.
I particularly like using Xtracrylix
because whether it is airbrushed or brush-painted, it will dry the same shade,
which means that touch-ups are easy to do after cutting a part off the sprue.
The screws were painted with Model Master Brass.
The kit goes together easily with no fit problems
One should pay close attention to the instruction sheet,
something aircraft modelers have a tendency to forget.
I find I really appreciate my swing-arm lamp with
built-in magnifying glass when assembling 1/350 scale ships, given that 1/350 is
about as small as my eyes can go nowadays.
I used Tom’s Model Works photoetch for the radar
assemblies and for the railing.
These went together without trouble, using Gator Glue.
I did not rig the model, since doing so will make it an
attractive nuisance for the Thundering Feline Herd.
Should I ever decide to enter it in a contest, I would
then proceed to finish the rigging.
Like I said at the outset, the
Gearing class destroyers are my favorites.
This kit makes up into a beautiful and accurate model of
this ship, as did the earlier Benson/Gleaves
I hope Dragon will finally release an accurate
Fletcher class destroyer as their next in this series.
It’s the perfect kit for an aircraft modeler who’s
decided to explore the dark side of the hobby and build a ship.
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