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First Look Review
1144
Fletcher Class Destroyer
1/144 Fletcher Class Destroyer
  • 1/144 DD Fletcher Class

by: Steve H [ HATTER50 ]


Originally published on:
Model Shipwrights

The Ship


The United States Navy commissioned 175 Fletcher-class destroyers between 1942 and 1944. They were built by shipyards across the United States for service in World War II, and some served during the Korean War and into the Vietnam War. Ironically, many were sold to the very countries they had fought against: Italy, Germany, and Japan, as well as other navies, where they would go on to have even longer, distinguished careers. Several others were cancelled prior to being laid down.

Compared to earlier classes built for the Navy, they carried a significant increase in anti-aircraft (AA) weapons and other weaponry, which caused displacements to rise. Their flush deck construction added structural strength, although it did make them rather cramped.

Throughout the course of World War II, the number of AA weaponry increased resulting in five twin-40 mm Bofors plus seven 20 mm weapons by 1945. Fifty-one were further modified beginning in 1945, replacing the forward torpedo tubes and midships 40 mm twin Bofors with quad mounts for a total of 14 barrels, and the seven 20 mm singles with six 20 mm twins.

Nineteen were lost during World War II; six more were damaged and not repaired. Postwar, the remainder were decommissioned and put into reserve.

With the outbreak of the Korean War many were returned to active duty. During this time 39 were refitted, reducing their overall main armament and the number of torpedo tubes.

USS Fletcher DD-445

Displacement 2924 Tons (Full),
Dimensions, 376' 5” x 39' 7"
Armament 5 x 5"/38, 4 x 1.1" AA, 4 x 20mm AA, 2 x 5 torpedo tubes.
Machinery, 60,000 SHP; General Electric Geared Turbines, 2 screws
Speed, 38 Knots, Range 6500 NM@ 15 Knots,
Crew 273.

Operational and Building Data
Laid down by Federal Shipbuilding, Kearny NJ. October 2, 1941.
Launched May 3, 1942 and commissioned June 30, 1942.
Decommissioned January 15, 1947 and recommissioned October 3, 1949.
Reclassified DDE-445 March 26, 1949 And back to DD-445 June 30, 1962.
Decommissioned October 1, 1969.
Stricken October 1, 1969.
Fate: Sold February 22, 1972 and broken up for scrap.

Revell's Rendition...


The Packaging:

Revell packaged the Fletcher very well in a 37 ½” X 10 ½” X 5 ½” sturdy cardboard box with a separate cardboard divider inside for the hull sections.

The Kit:

The kit is made up of over 500 pieces of gray styrene representing an early “Round” bridge type. The hull is made up of two separate hull halves, port and starboard. If you wish to make a waterline project, the “bootstrap” line is molded onto the hull. There is a decal sheet for making the USS Fletcher or the USS Chevalier. There is a wrap of black thread for rigging and rails. There is a quite extensive instruction booklet that appears to be well written.

My report:


I have waited 6 months or so for this kit. I saw no early arrival in the USA, so I got mine from the UK (WEM). I plan on investing about 6-8 months into a static model, so it is with that in mind that I give my “impressions”.

This kit appears to have the proper shape and it looks like a Fletcher Destroyer. I scaled to 144 a set of USS Abbot hull plans and overlaid the Kit hull to the plan. It is pretty darn close. The hull sheer line “might be a little more pronounced in the kit. I found no flaws in the moldings (yet) and there has been almost no flash present.

This kit appears to provide a good basic shape to start detailing or enough detail for an OOB build. There is nothing spectacular in molded-in detail. I will say that having modeled for a while some companies “Appear” to upscale smaller scale kits into the “big boys”. This really appears to be an honest and well planned kit for the 1/144 scale………for the super-detailer or Out of Boxer.

Except for the 5”38 mounts and torpedo tubes, I did not inspect weaponry. These mounts are basic. Ladders are molded on.

Pros:

1. There is good hull plating detail.
2. There are no ladders molded into the stacks, they are separate styrene pieces.
3 Very good detail in whaleboat davits.
6. Detail is good for the torpedo tubes. Room for scratch but looks ok for OOB to me.
7. Bulkheads are not loaded with detail. Some bulkheads have some raised rivet detail. Mostly none.
8. Railing stanchions provided in styrene, rigging thread provided in black.
9. This is a BIG kit. I can SEE things now.

Cons:

1. There is no PE provided. For this modeler, I need that sharp crisp intricate detail for the ship to “Pop”.
2. The main deck walkways are lightly molded onto the deck parts.
3. Some ladders are molded into bulkheads.
4. Hatchways are all closed. Void of detail.
5. This is a BIG kit. Yes this was listed above as well. It’s going to take up space at over 31 inches long. Fortunately, it’s narrow.

Conclusions: (my personal conclusions, yours may vary)

1. A very good basic kit that is good enough for OOB and a great starting place for scratchbuilders.
2. If you want to do research, there is so much that can be done with this kit in this scale.


Reference Sources:


USS Abbot DD-629 Website for very good blueprints of the ship.
USS Abbot website

NavSource Naval History - Photographic History Of The U.S. Navy
Navsource

Destroyer History: Fletcher Class
Fletcher Class DD's

USS Kidd DD-661 Museum, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
USS Kidd DD-661 Museum

USS The Sullivans DD-537, Buffalo, NY
USS The Sullivans DD-537 Museum

Steve Hornberger

Note from the Editor: Thank you, Steve!
And also a link for the Fletcher Class DD that I have visited, last century, of course:
USS Cassin Young, DD-793, in Boston
USS Cassin Young DD-793
SUMMARY
Highs: Hull plating, other details throughout the model. Size!
Lows: No PE Parts, ladders molded on other parts, hatchways closed with no details.
Verdict: A very good basic kit that is good enough for OOB and a great starting place for scratchbuilders. If you want to do research, there is so much that can be done with this kit in this scale.
Percentage Rating
90%
  Scale: 1:144
  Mfg. ID: 05091
  Suggested Retail: £39.14
  Related Link: Revell's Fletcher Page
  PUBLISHED: Jan 28, 2009
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 90.00%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 83.40%

About Steve H (Hatter50)
FROM: NORTH CAROLINA, UNITED STATES

I am a retired US Marine Corps pilot. I've modeled since before I can remember. WWII and Helicopters have been my mainstay. Interests in computers, digital artist, Flight SIM, research. Lately have been venturing into the world of ships. I enjoy researching a topic i know absolutely nothing abo...

Copyright ©2019 text by Steve H [ HATTER50 ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.



Comments

Yep, I'll need to get more than a couple to satisfy my diorama demands. This kit will certainly inspire many, many aftermarket products. I wonder if Revell will produce a crew figure set like they've done for the 1:72 U-boat & S-boat line? --Karl
JAN 29, 2009 - 05:34 AM
This is a good basic kit, but I'm now waiting for a large PE super detail set to be forthcoming. THAT will make this kit POP!!!! Not to mention "Popping" my wallet.... Regards Steve
JAN 29, 2009 - 05:54 AM
I'm so happy to see that this kit has hull plating. Excellent, thanks for the review and the great photos! So hard to resist getting this... BTW, with ship models, this isn't really a "BIG kit" per se. For many of us who have built a large 1/350 battleship or carrier, this is pretty much within acceptable parameters (which is why I suspect RoG stuck with 1/144 for this subject). 31" is pretty close to the length of a 1/350 Iowa class battleship or Akagi carrier. Trumpeter's 1/350 Nimitz is about 37" long... Around these parts of the hobby, the real biggies of note are the 1/250 and up battleships (1/200 Yamato is 48").
JAN 29, 2009 - 06:21 AM
And Lindberg's Graf Zeppelin is 56 inches long! --Karl
JAN 29, 2009 - 10:11 AM
And Soar Art's 1/144 Yamato is 72" long. But my point wasn't to see what kind of crazy large scale kits we can come up with (there's always something bigger)-- just that 31" is pretty much within the "usual" for what builders deal with in a common popular scale like 1/350.
JAN 29, 2009 - 11:43 AM
Dade.............I hear ya on the 72" kit. My dinky little 31" kit is small by those standards (but i don't want to have to purchase a new house to build it either ). I'm just extatic over having a good kit to START from and not have to struggle to fix too many kit-maker errors. While waiting for the PE guys to get geared up........I have a few things i can work on and plan for. I'm just happy as a clam right now. Regards Steve
JAN 29, 2009 - 12:02 PM
Thanks for the review! I have to wait 2 more years until I start to build “big stuff”… my eldest is going to college, and she still does not know her study room shelves will be MINE all MINE at that time! !
FEB 01, 2009 - 01:53 AM
Hey all, I have the kit (Fletcher 1/144scale)and it is awsome. but in this time of economy and looking for a great deal, I recently saw an add for the photoetch at about $86, rather than the $100. Can anybody point me in the right direction!
OCT 09, 2009 - 07:16 AM
hi Danny, welcome to MSW! An easy way to keep tabs of sales/prices is to subscribe to the email newsletter from online vendors, as well as the old venerable Squadron monthly flier. You just never know when (or where) a particular kit will pop out on sale. LuckyModel usually has free shipping (and great prices) for lion roar PE products
OCT 10, 2009 - 01:43 AM
   

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Photos
Click image to enlarge
  • Fletcher DD Class
    Instruction booklet
  • Fletcher DD Class
    Decal sheet
  • 1/144 DD Fletcher Class
    Hull halves
  • 1/144 DD Fletcher Class
    Hull plating detail
  • Fletcher DD Class
    Bow detail
  • Fletcher DD Class
    More Hull details
  • 1/144 DD Fletcher Class
    B Sprue
  • 1/144 DD Fletcher Class
    B Sprue detail (note the deck anti-skid)
  • 1/144 DD Fletcher Class
    C Sprue
  • Fletcher DD Class
    Bow detail
  • 1/144 DD Fletcher Class
    D Sprue
  • 1/144 DD Fletcher Class
    E Sprue (x2)
  • 1/144 DD Fletcher Class
    F Sprue (x2)
  • 1/144 DD Fletcher Class
    G Sprue
  • 1/144 DD Fletcher Class
    H Sprue
  • 1/144 DD Fletcher Class
    I Sprue (x2)
  • Fletcher DD Class
    Clear Parts
  • Fletcher DD Class
    Rigging material
  • Fletcher DD Class
    Detail on the 5'' Gun turrets
  • Fletcher DD Class
    Molded on ladders on 5'' Gun turret
  • Fletcher DD Class
    Torpedo tubes detail
  • Fletcher DD Class
    Depth Charge racks parts detail
  • Fletcher DD Class
    Searchlight and Davit parts detail
  • Fletcher DD Class
    Life raft details