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Marcello Rosa
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USS Gearing, Dragon 1/350

August 18, 2022 · in Ships · · 26 · 1.4K

Here is my build of Dragon's USS Gearing, lead ship of the 's ultimate 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 ( in case you are planning to build one. There are also many more photos.

Reader reactions:
18  Awesome

11 additional images. Click to enlarge.

26 responses

  1. The best! I can see how that won the prize. Museum quality to be sure.

    • Thank you Emmet. The competition was strong and I was surprised to come first in that category. Big shout to the organisers of the Model Expo for bringing it back after the 2 year interruption (due to the you-know-what).

  2. An excellent build, Masrcello @marcellorosa1
    A well deserved first prize.
    The human hair rigging looks very nice.
    Well done.

    • I was surprised to find how hairs from different people are/ aren't suitable for this. In the end my luck was to have a daughter with long and straight hair which had never been dyed.

  3. Wow! Looks fabulous. I love what you did with this- excellent build and superb attention to the smallest of details. Dragon produces some really nice ship kits and you took this one to the next level. Well done! Thanks for sharing

    • Yes, I have somewhat of a masochist tendency, which leads me to do projects based on old kits that require a lot of work. Doing a modern kit with no issues, like this one, was fantastic.

  4. Nice work on this, Marcello!

  5. Beautifully done. Talk about bristling with AA guns. How did anything get thru that?

  6. Impressive build in every detail, Marcello. The Gearings are the most handsome of US destroyers designs, IMO and you have a perfect little museum-class replica here. Congratulations on the first prize. Well-deserved, I am sure.

    • I agree with you wholeheartedly, Colin.
      My father was a officer in the Brazilian Navy, and I grew up around Gearings, Sumners and Fletchers. But they were all post-FRAM (the Gearings had a hangar, and an ASROC "matchbox" midships). I still can't believe that there is no kit of Gearings and Sumners in that late configuration. I am sure they would sell well.

  7. Excellent work. The detail work is outstanding.

  8. Truly outstanding, Marcello! A jewel of a build, an absolute winner and a prize well deserved.

  9. Looks great, and congratulations!

  10. Nice work on the lead ship of the most pugnacious destroyers ever built. Gearings and Sumners and Fletchers were a common sight in the US Navy I served in and to my mind are among the best looking warships ever. You've done a bang-up job with this.

    • Thank you Tom.
      Most likely the ones you have experienced first hand were post-FRAM? I will keep writing about this until one of the manufacturers (I am looking at you, Dragon!) decides to release a modern kit of a FRAM Sumner/ Gearing, with the hangar. This was originally for a drone helicopter, but in Brazil they managed to equip these ships with the Westland Wasp.

  11. Well done, Marcello (@marcellorosa1). This is the best Gearing I have seen built. I don't do a lot of ships, but I have this one in my stash. Now I need to put mine in the build queue. Cheers.

  12. That looks very nice Marcello. I am toying to get a Destroyer model. This one definitely comes out on top and is the one to get. If only I can make it look as good as yours !

    • Thanks, Bernard. I highly recommend it. This one gives you a nice result almost straight out of the box.
      If only I understood why Dragon, which clearly put a lot of thought in this kit, decided not to include the railings. It could have added a few dollars to the sale price, but it would be truly a complete kit.

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