Dragon 1/350 USS Benson (1945)

KIT #: 1032
PRICE: $49.50 MSRP
DECALS: One Option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Smart Kit

HISTORY

The Benson class was a class of 30 destroyers of the U.S. Navy built 19391943. The first ship of the class was the USS Benson. The U.S. Navy customarily names a class of ships after the first ship of the class; hence the Benson class.

It was named after William Shepherd Benson, a graduate of the Naval Academy in 1877. He commanded the USS Albany, USS Missouri, USS Utah, and the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Benson was appointed first Chief of Naval Operations in 1915 and then served as CNO until he retired 25 September 1919. He died in Washington, D.C., 20 May 1932.

The Benson class was designed as an improved version of the Sims class with two stacks and a new machinery arrangement that featured alternating boiler and engine rooms designed to give the ships a better chance at surviving torpedo damage. Their scantlings, or framing dimensions, were increased to carry the weight of the new machinery. This increased the ship's displacement by about sixty tons. The Benson-class destroyer was the backbone of the pre-war Neutrality Patrols and brought the action to the enemy by participating in every major campaign of the war.

Commissioned on July 25 1940, the USS Benson was in time to see extended combat during WWII. The USS Benson (DD-421), the only ship of this name in the U.S. Navy thus far, was the lead ship in a class of destroyers. Before the USA entered the war, the vessel was escorting convoys to and from Iceland. Subsequent to the events of Pearl Harbor, it was again escorting convoys, this time to the UK. An at-sea collision prevented its participation in the landings in North Africa, although it did support the later invasion of Sicily and the landings at Salerno. In 1944 it was fully engaged in convoy duties in the Mediterranean, and succeeded in shooting down several German aircraft. It also supported the invasion of southern France. The final weeks of WWII were spent in the Pacific. Its valorous WWII service earned the ship four battle stars.

She was decommissioned there on 18 March 1946, placed in reserve, and assigned to the Charleston Group of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. On 26 February 1954, Benson was transferred to the government of the Republic of China, and she served the Republic of China Navy as Lo Yang (DD-14) into the mid-1970s. As the result of a survey made of her early in 1974, the Taiwanese replaced her with another American destroyer that the Navy loaned them in 1975, the former USS Taussig (DD-746), which then became Lo Yang (DD-14). Meanwhile, Bensons name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 November 1974; and she was sold to Taiwan, presumably for cannibalization and scrapping.

THE KIT

Dragon adds another ship to its growing catalogue of US destroyers with the inclusion of the USS Benson to the mix. Now you can do an early Benson class with the USS Laffey and a late war one with the USS Benson. The kit is superbly molded as are all of Dragon's Destroyer kits. It includes a raft of features that are listed below. The kit includes a goodly number of photo etch parts, but not a set of railings so you'll need to get those from some other source. Some of the p.e. parts are optional such as the hatch faces.

- Newly tooled aft deckhouse w/authentic detail
- Second torpedo tubes located
- Newly tooled flat-sided funnels for Benson class destroyers like USS Laffey

- New director radar dish
- New separate piping on rear of funnel
- New flexible self-adhesive materials for signal flags

- Photo-etched parts finely reproduced for radar and antennas
- Funnels provided w/option of molded on ladders or add on photo-etched ladders
- Realistic photo-etched funnel caps gills and funnel platform
- Extra-fine detail on superstructure walls like hose and ladder patterns delicately reproduced
- Extra-thin shield walls on superstructure reproduced for accurate 1:350 scale appearance
- Extremely fine detailed parts like davits for whalers
- Whalers w/photo-etched parts finely reproduced
- Sky-lookout shield reproduced w/photo-etched parts
- Open topped upper-mount 5-inch gun w/textured canvas cover
- Upper-mount and lower-mount 5-inch guns realistically reproduced
- Realistically detailed gun barrels are slide molded w/hollow ends
- Turret w/realistic detail
- One-piece slide-molded upper hull w/undercut details realistically represented
- Deck has realistically reproduced camber
- Waterline or full-hull version can be assembled
- Sponsons are represented on lower hull by slide-mold technology
- 5-inch practice loading machine in great detail
- 20mm AA guns finely reproduced w/photo-etched shields
- Quintuple Torpedo launcher in fine detail
- Special device included to bend specific photo-etched parts to correct angle
- Photo-etched propeller guards finely reproduced
- Optional barrels provided for gun turrets
- Rudder is movable
- True-to-scale ultra-thin propellers reproduced
- Bridge supports finely represented w/photo-etched parts
- 12-inch, 24-inch and 36-inch searchlights provided
- Movable structure for 36-inch searchlight w/clear part included
- 36-inch searchlight platform delicately rendered
- Side doors (w/optional photo-etched parts) can be assembled open or closed
- Smoke generator with fine details
- Depth charges molded w/extra-fine detail

Instructions are well done with the usual Gunze and Model Master paint references. Dragon neglected to include the main deck non-skid decal placement so an entire addendum sheet is dedicated just to placement of these items.  

CONCLUSIONS

If you like 1/350 ship kits in general and destroyers in particular, then this is a kit for you. It is reasonably priced and offers a level of detail that you will like.

REFERENCES

http://en.wikipedia.com

Dragon USA

November 2010

Thanks towww.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local shop or on-line retailer

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