USS Gearing, Dragon 1/350
Here is my build of Dragon's USS Gearing, lead ship of the US Navy's ultimate WWII destroyer class. This is the excellent kit from Dragon, which comes with extensive photoetch (but, surprisingly, no railing!). Built it out of the box apart from railings (from l'Arsenal), and rigging (mostly from human hair). I also used tungsten wire to substitute the styrene parts representing the aerials sticking from the aft stack, and the jackstaff. These appeared too thick as provided in the kit, and kept breaking during the build. I also used a small piece of tungsten to create a flagstaff (not included in the kit). I am quite happy that this model won the first prize in this year's Australian Model Expo, in the category Ships/ Powered/ Large Scale!
The Gearings served in the US Navy well into the 1970's, and in other navies for many years thereafter. I searched far and wide for an injection mould kit of a FRAM II version, because these were the ships I became most familiar with, but surprisingly they don't seem to exist. Thus, I went ahead with the Gearing herself, "as built".
This kit is worth every penny. The fit between parts is fantastic, there is no flash at all, and the parts are represented precisely, both in shape and size. The sprues include spares which can be saved for future projects like doors, hatches, guns and even a set of torpedo tubes.
One feature that is apparent in contemporary photos of ships of this class, but not captured in the kit, are joints between hull panel lines, which become visible from some angles. I tried to create a suggestion of these without going overboard, by running a fine pacer in appropriate places over the painted hull, before the final sealing coat.
I only had one real problem with this kit, which was to do with the decals representing the anti-slip walkways. They are beautifully printed, but much to my surprise, don't play well with the traditional Microset and Microsol steps. This is the first time I came across this situation. At least 3 times I had to re-flatten them with cotton tips, reapply the Microset/ Microsol, and let it dry overnight. Despite the frustration, the decals are very sturdy, so none ended up torn, despite the mistreatment.
There are some problems with the instructions. Rather than bore you with details like these here, please visit my web page (https://www.marcellorosa.com/ussgearingdd-710) in case you are planning to build one. There are also many more photos.
11 additional images. Click to enlarge.