Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Kit review vol.23: Wickes Class Destroyer

HMS Campbeltown Wickes Class Destroyer
US$ 35,00 + Shipping
Injection molded in grey plastic. Water slide decals
This is one of those box scale kits from Revell. The molds are dated from 1962, older them me. The subject however is very interesting The Wickes class of destroyers was produced during the First World War for the U.S. Navy and, until the Second World War, these ships were the largest class of destroyers built by the Americans. Revell released this old kit several times. This is their latest re-edition, representing HMS Campbeltown. The box art however, witch is very nice by the way, depicts USS Buchanan DD-131. This is  not a big mistake, as DD-131 was transferred to the Royal Navy and renamed HMS Campbeltown. This ship would not be a great subject for modeling as most of it's service life was concentrated on convoy escort duty in the North Atlantic. However, in 1942, it was modified to look like a German destroyer and sailed to Saint Nazaire were in rammed the drydock doors that sealed the only facilities facing the Atlantic that could receive ships of the size of the Bismark Class Battleships.This would turn the Campbeltown into a great subject for modeling. However, this would also represent a major rebuilt of the kit. But you can use this kit to construct another important Wickes class destroyer: DD139 USS Ward.
The Ward was at station at Pearl Harbor, patrolling the waters near the entrance of the naval base on the morning of the Japanese attack. It sighted a Japanese midget submarine, fired its guns and released depth charges, destroying the enemy sub and then signaled to headquarters the presence of enemies near the harbor. This was one of several ignored signs of the incoming attack. Due to this action, USS Ward was the first American vessel in combat in the Pacific during World War two. It was sunk by enemy attack exactly three years latter, in December 7th 1944.
As for the kit, despite it's age, is a very nice model. There are lots of details and dry fit showed very little concern on the quality of the molds. The guns would need to be reworked and some of the other minor details would benefit from some scratch building. There are some after market items for the kit. Gold Medal has a photo-etched set for the Ward with railings, depth charges rails, guns extra details and more, that would be very useful for the construction. Artvox offers a wood deck set for this kit. It is, of course, of great quality. However, there is some debate on this subject. as many sources stated the the Wickes Class used metal decks, I got it anyway and will use it in my kit. It looks to good to be left out! The project is already on the way, so i will soon post some pictures of the USS Ward in a it's Measure 11 camouflage, as it looked on the morning of December 7th, 1941. 

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