Tin Can Alley: Dragon’s 1/350 USS Gearing DD-710 Gearing Class Destroyer (1945)
Project Completed: Dragon 1/350 USS Gearing DD-710 1945 Version. Fresh off the workbench. This was a challenging kit yet an excellent model. Overall fit is excellent in many ways with no unique build challenges except from the photo-etch. This build not only included photo-etch parts, but I also purchased the excellent Alliance Modelworks Detail-Up kit for this exact model. Most of the challenge is due to the addition of extensive photo-etch both from Dragon and Alliance. If I was to build this kit again I would not spend the money on the full Alliance Detail Set. All this model really needs is a WW2 Destroyer Railing set. Dragon provides mostly everything else. If I had just opened the box and examined this kit earlier I could have saved about $50 USD. I highly recommend this kit for advanced ship modelers. It is the most detailed 1/350th ship kit I have ever built and the included molded parts, especially the main battery and all AAA guns, do not need to be replaced by resin, photo-etch, and turned brass. The kit covers it all in high-quality, good fitting, detail. But this detail comes at a cost… High Parts Count… and tiny fragile and fiddly parts that will challenge the best of us. I actually used a combination of parts to build up the highly detailed AAA guns using some resin, PE, and plastic from Dragon and Alliance taking the best from both companies. I was somewhat disappointed with the Alliance PE parts. I felt the metal was just to soft to work well and although most PE is delicate and challenging, these parts were more of a challenge as a result. No matter how careful I worked with the PE I could not use it all, or save it all; it just kept on bending, breaking, over and over from casual construction manipulation and parts handling. Also the included Alliance instructions are crude, mis-leading, and really do not mention many of the parts, or their recommended location. You must use your own photo-references to accurately place and use all the parts. As a result I am not satisfied with my final product. The PE detail is just to beat up on the final completed model. The only disappointing aspect with the Dragon kit is the lack of PE railings. It is frustrating b/c they provide PE parts that are not needed to replace the included parts but dont provide PE parts for parts that dont exist and IMHO are very needed, i.e. railings! For example they provide many PE hatches and doors in PE, but also provide very finely detailed plastic doors and bulkheads so who really needs these PE doors. Some of the plastic doors even have portholes molded into them. Don’t see that much in PE. The only thing I added paprt from the parts mentioned from both kits are the rigging lines. I only had fine E-Z Line available and after applying I realize it is just not to scale. Much to thick but overall I am OK with it. I used a lot of advanced airbrushing techniques to recreate an “oil canning” look to the main hull. It ended up being to faint for the camera to actually capture the effect. I also felt that Dragon could have molded some surface detail into the hull parts such as metal and armor sheeting seams so evident on the real ships. Finally Dragon does include the pictured stand and pedestals to display the ship. Important Note: No it is not real wood or brass. I recreated the wood base by airbrushing a wood color and created the wood grain effects with oil paints. That took me all of 20 mins to create, not bad. BTW: This model is for sale to anyone interested.
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