Upon reflection, I think I’d like to use this blog more frequently for reviews of aftermarket accessories as well as for kits and historical explorations. There was a tremendous reaction to yesterday’s review of FStar’s 1:700 USS San Diego detail set, so there certainly seems to be some demand for this niche. I certainly make no claim of competition with modelwarships.com, these reviews will be neither comprehensive nor exhaustively indexed. Instead, I’ll do my best to describe those aftermarket sets which I found necessary to accurately complete certain projects.
The project in question for tonight is a 1:700 Fletcher-class destroyer, namely USS O’Bannon (DD-450). I’m going to be depicting her in the same vignette as USS Atlanta (the ship for which I purchased the FStar detail set), so it’s good that both sets would arrive in my mailbox within a day of each other. The Tamiya kit gives you all the basics that you would expect from a Tamiya offering in this scale. By that I mean that it’s a quick, easy-looking build that will benefit immensely from the added complications and modifications inherent in a photoetch set.
I love Gold Medal Models’ products. They’re made of a more rigid steel than you find in standard brass PE sets, making them more forgiving to errant contact from a wayward hand. Their US Navy Cruiser/Destroyer set (GMM7008) is a single fret packed full of detail that will elevate a number of ship classes into contest-winning territory.
Starting from the top, you get life rings, floater net baskets, and bridge windows (both generic and class-specific). Taking up a good third of the fret are railings: not just any railing, but four sets, each with a double-ended camber. That will give you enough for four ships instead of two. Of course, a healthy assortment of three and two-bar railing is included as well. This is good for any 1:700 USN vessel, and has infinite reuse possibilities (I recently saw someone use two-bar railing as aerial rigging)!
For radars, you get Mk. 3, 12, 22, and 37, as well as a SK, SK-2, CXAM, CXAM-1, SC, SC-2, and SG. Four different generic cranes are included, as well as the midships crane for a Northampton-class cruiser. Of course, mast yardarms are included for a number of different classes, and in a nice touch, you also get a compliment of 5″/25 gun railings.
Two generic catapults, your usual ladder assortment, searchlight towers, and lifeboat davits round out the set, but not before you get a bevy of K-Gun loading racks, funnel cap grills, and several depth charge racks.
The sheer number and variety of components on this single fret can really be seen when looking at Gold Medal’s instruction sheet (it was too big for my scanner, if that tells you anything): this kit will work with (and provides directional call-outs for) Rudderow and Buckley-class destroyer escorts, Fletcher, Wickes, and Gearing-class destroyers, and Portland, Atlanta, Cleveland, and Baltimore-class cruisers. Again, so many of these pieces are interchangeable with other US Navy ships that I can see myself getting an insane amount of mileage out of this kit for who knows how many builds.
I picked this set up for $25.00 at FreeTime Hobbies, but if you’re going to get it you’d better pick it up fast! I might just do something crazy and get myself another for the stash.