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Ships by Class/Type: Destroyers
This forum covers all types of destroyers from all eras.
Time to pick your collective brains.
treadhead1952
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Nevada, United States
Joined: June 12, 2008
KitMaker: 552 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Tuesday, September 30, 2008 - 02:16 PM UTC
Ahoy Mates,

I had a rather interesting conversation with our maintenance guy at work today and it all started when he came outside to snag a smoke while I was sitting in my van waiting on transfers to get ready to run and eyeballing the new Squadron Mail Order circular. We got to yakking about ships and modeling, a subject that he knows that is near and dear to my heart. During the course of the conversation he told me that he had served for 3 years on board what he had termed as a "long Fletcher Class ship" as a radarman. Naturally this piqued my interest, the only Fletchers that I am aware of were round and square bridge types. He coughed up the ships' name and number, USS Robert L Wilson DD 847 which I promptly wrote down.

I will admit that I was mostly curious about his description of it as a Long Fletcher Class that got me going on it at first. Doing a quick online search I did find out a lot of information about the ship, it was a Gearing Class built at the end of the war and commissioned after hostilities had ended. His time on board the ship was after its' FRAM I conversion in the mid 60's and after learning a few things about it and finding a crew members site, I gave him a call. In chatting about it and remembering things about the ship that he had recalled I decided to see if I couldn't surprise him with a build of his ship some time in the near future. I have found a few pictures of the ship online and even discovered a Pit Road Sky Wave model in 1/700, that while it is the ship in its' original configuration would no doubt serve as a good beginning on a conversion project.

I think what triggered the desire to build was listening to his fond rememberances of all the good times that he had while he was on board as well as the fact that the ship was named for a US Marine private that gave his life earning the CMH on Tinian, being an old former Marine that sort of struck a chord with me.

So, with all of this in mind, any one have any good ideas as to where I might find any information on the FRAM conversion and its' particulars as well as clues as to how I might just go about this little project? I have no particular time frame in mind, just some time in the near future as a surprise for him. I did give him the web address for the crew site in hopes that he could contribute as well as possibly dig up some of his old crewmates, a subject that was near and dear to his heart. Especially after hearing that he had already joined a couple of other websites in attempts to locate some of them, spending money in the process and coming up dry.

Thanks for any help on this one in advance guys.

goldenpony
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Zimbabwe
Joined: July 03, 2007
KitMaker: 3,529 posts
AeroScale: 54 posts
Posted: Wednesday, October 01, 2008 - 01:11 AM UTC
Jay,
I started to do some diggin about FRAM conversions. Some people may need to know this first. FRAM = Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization. This was done to many World War II era ships to extend their useful service life. Today it is called SLEP, Service Life Extension Program.

There are two levels of FRAM.

1. FRAM MK I - developed primarily for the Gearing class it was a complete reconstruction of the ship and much more than FRAM II. FRAM I included the rebuilding of the superstructure, rehabilitated the engines and electronics and installed ASROC, DASH, SQS-23 Sonar System, a new air-search, height-finding and SPS-10 surface search radar and two triple MK 32 torpedo launchers. FRAM MK I required the destroyer to lose one of it's twin 5-inch/38 cal. gun mounts. FRAM I extended the life of a destroyer by 8 years.

2. FRAM II - developed primarily for the Sumners class but did include most versions of Gearings, was mostly a modernization program, however, not all Sumners received FRAM (20) and not all Sumners that were, received DASH. Typical FRAM II extended the life of a destroyer by about 5 years, installed DASH, MK 32 torpedo launcher, new air search, height and surface search radar and variable depth sonar (VDS).

With all that said, try looking here for a start.
http://www.gyrodynehelicopters.com/fram.htm

I will also dig some more to see what I can find.


treadhead1952
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Nevada, United States
Joined: June 12, 2008
KitMaker: 552 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Wednesday, October 01, 2008 - 07:26 AM UTC
Thanks Jim,

Any and all assistance is greatly appreciated. I bookmarked the site and it looks like it has some useful information.

The Robert L Wilson managed to lose one of its' RC helicopters on after modification shake down, when my buddy was on board it had a later manned helicopter so I would imagine it had undergone FRAM II conversion. From the looks of the model and the references I have it appears that I will get to chop the deck from just aft of the bridge to just ahead of the after turret and sorta fill in the blanks from homebrew.

I know, just from what I have managed to dig up that Ed, my buddy, is having a good time communicating with other members of the crew from other periods and already has plans to attend the next reunion so it was worth the time just for that much.
#027
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Louisiana, United States
Joined: April 13, 2005
KitMaker: 5,422 posts
AeroScale: 42 posts
Posted: Wednesday, October 01, 2008 - 09:45 AM UTC
Hey Jay,

I know that someone will come up with a name before I can hunt it down, but I know that there is a 1/700 resin FRAM Gearing kit out there. I'll do some checking tonight.

Kenny
goldenpony
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Zimbabwe
Joined: July 03, 2007
KitMaker: 3,529 posts
AeroScale: 54 posts
Posted: Wednesday, October 01, 2008 - 09:56 AM UTC
ISW in 1/350

http://ironshipwrights.com/pages/Johnston.html

FRAM I USS Johnston

Also JAG has a FRAM I in 1/700.

skipper
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Lisboa, Portugal
Joined: February 28, 2002
KitMaker: 5,182 posts
AeroScale: 22 posts
Posted: Wednesday, October 01, 2008 - 11:07 AM UTC
Well... I was busy these last days and Jim beat me to it!

JAG - has both FRAM I and II
I will have to acquire one of those FRAM II to make the spanish navy Churruca - for my Navy Days Cabinet

Give it a go, and surprise the Man (a radar operator, first class guys (cof - cof) )


Rui
JMartine
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New Jersey, United States
Joined: October 18, 2007
KitMaker: 1,698 posts
AeroScale: 96 posts
Posted: Wednesday, October 01, 2008 - 12:26 PM UTC
great story and project jay! I wish I was a good (and fast) modeler, would love to make ships for the crusty sailors who retire as reservists in my reserve center. Thanks for sharing, look forward to yoru build!
treadhead1952
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Nevada, United States
Joined: June 12, 2008
KitMaker: 552 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Thursday, October 02, 2008 - 03:54 AM UTC
Thanks Mates,

I do appreciate the links and while building one up in 1/350 scale would be a ripper of a project, spending that much is sort of prohibitive for me, especially since I can score the 1/700 scale one for 10% of that being the cheap old goat that I am.

Just the same, the link for the ship model does provide some more looks at the ship itself and give me a little more ammo for building up the scratchbuilt portions of a conversion. I am going to place an order with Pacific Front Hobbies for the kit tomorrow and I will be adding more information as I go along searching out things here and there. Having a project like this to tinker on is like a good book, as you work your way through it you come up with more details and information until finally you get to the end. Sort of like the old adage of getting there is half the fun.

Thanks again for the information and taking the time to help me search out related details for an upcoming project.