Dragon 1/350 USS Livermore

KIT #: 1027
PRICE: $49.50 SRP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Includes upgraded parts


USS Livermore (DD-429), a Gleaves-class destroyer, was the 1st ship of the United States Navy to be named for Samuel Livermore, the first naval chaplain to be honored with a ship in his name.

Originally planned as Grayson, DD-429 was renamed Livermore 23 December 1938; laid down 6 March 1939 by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine; launched 3 August 1940; sponsored by Mrs. Everard M. Upjohn, a descendant of Chaplain Livermore; and commissioned 7 October 1940, Lieutenant Commander Vernon Huber in command.

Launched in the aftermath of the fall of France, Livermore, after a brief training period, was assigned 29 April 1941 to the neutrality patrol. With ships like aircraft carrier Wasp (CV-7) and sister destroyers, she escorted as far as Iceland convoys bound for England. There ensued a shadowy undeclared war with Nazi wolfpacks. She was on convoy duty with Kearny (DD-432) when the latter was torpedoed 17 October. The hazards of this duty for Livermore also included a temporary grounding 24 November during a storm and having a friendly battery on Iceland fire across the ship.

The attack on Pearl Harbor and full U.S. participation in World War II enlarged the scope of her actions. On 7 April 1942 Livermore departed New York for the first of many transatlantic escort missions. Completing her second voyage to Greenock, Scotland, 27 June, she began coastal patrol and convoy duty southward into the Caribbean.

Livermore arrived off Mehdia, French Morocco, 9 November for the north African invasion and was assigned antisubmarine, antiaircraft, and fire support duties. Five days later, the invasion force successfully established ashore, she sailed for Norfolk, arriving 26 November.

The year 1943 began with patrol duty off Recife, Brazil, and concluded with a series of five voyages from 14 April to17 January 1943 between New York and Casablanca, French Morocco. Her departure from Hampton Roads on 24 January foreshadowed a prolonged stay in the Mediterranean Sea. Two days earlier Allied forces had landed at Anzio, Italy. Livermore arrived off this embattled beachhead 5 March. She provided both antiaircraft protection and shore bombardment support. After rotation to the convoy run between Oran, Algeria, and Naples, Italy, she participated in the initial landing in southern France on 16 August. While supporting minesweepers on Cavallaire Bay with gunfire, Livermore was hit by a shore battery. The damage was slight, and her guns silenced the enemy guns. Livermore continued on duty in the western Mediterranean until 26 October when she steamed out of Oran for overhaul in New York Navy Yard.

The war ended in Europe while Livermore was on the third of a new series of escort crossings between the east coast and Oran. Completing her last transatlantic voyage 29 May, she prepared for duty in the Pacific.

Though she departed New York 22 June, V-J Day found her still training at Pearl Harbor. She reached Japan on 27 September escorting transports carrying soldiers of the Army's 98th Division for occupation duty. Her stay in the Orient was relatively brief; for, after several voyages between Saipan, the Philippines, and Wakayama, Japan, Livermore sailed 3 November for the Aleutians. At Dutch Harbor and Attu Island, Alaska, she embarked dischargees for passage to Seattle and San Francisco. Completing this duty 22 December 1945, she proceeded to the east coast, arriving Charleston, S.C., 18 January 1946.

Designated for use in the Naval Reserve Training Program, she was placed in commission, in reserve 1 May 1946.Livermore then decommissioned and was placed "in service" 24 January 1947, and was assigned to Naval Reserve training in the 6th Naval District. She was reassigned to the 1st Naval District on 15 March 1949. While making one of her training cruises. she ran aground off southern Cape Cod on 30 July 1949. Refloated the next day she proceeded to Boston and was placed out of service15 May 1950 and inactivated. She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 19 July 1956. From 1956 to late 1958, her hull was used for spare parts and experimental purposes. During this time, she was anchored off Indianhead, Maryland. Upon conclusion of the experiments Livermore was sold 3 March 1961 to Potomac Shipwrecking Co., Pope's Creek, Maryland. She was towed away for scrapping 17 April 1961.

Livermore received three battle stars for World War II service. 


This is, I believe, the second or third boxing of a Gleaves Class Destroyer. Typically, these ships were slightly different from each other in detail even when newly commissioned. As they underwent upgrades, those differences often became more and more so a ship when decommissioned could easily be quite different in appearance from newly launched. It is these differences that Dragon keys in on so when you get, for example, the 1942 USS Livermore, it will be different from the 1942 USS Gleaves.

This Smart Kit represents the destroyer as it appeared in 1942 during its Atlantic and Mediterranean service. The kit features a brand new mid-ship superstructure on which a second quintuple torpedo launcher has been added. Also new are hooded vents on the superstructure, and the aft superstructure deck with two 20mm AA mounts. These modifications make this Gleaves-class destroyer appear distinctive from other previously released kits. A large number of extras - like photo-etched ladders, antennas, and even rudders for the whaleboats - offer maximum realism. The kit even includes half a dozen crewmen sculpted accurately to scale.

While not hugely parts intensive, there are over 430 of them in this kit so it rivals some of the simpler Dragon armor kits in parts count. What is particularly nice is that most of the photoetch is not the only way to do things. For example, you can use either plastic or p.e. for the water-tight doors. Those who are not comfortable with etched brass don't have to use it. Those who use it will benefit from the finesse that is provided by the thinner material. The inclusion of the six figures is nice to provide some scale, but is certainly not enough to provide the hustle and bustle of sailors on deck during normal ops. Besides, none of them is in the standard (reclining) position!

Instructions are well done and provide detail sections where the parts count gets high. There is a sheet of paper flags and a very nicely done decal sheet that includes white ship numbers and all the non-skid one would want for the weather decks. Placement of these decals is shown as the construction goes along so this is a kit that needs to be painted in stages.


Ship fans are going to really like this one thanks to all the detailing. Even those not into ships will find this to be a well engineered kit at a reasonable price and it may even lead to doing more of them!



June 2009

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