Blue Ridge Models 1/700
USS Ward DD-139

Reviewed by Timothy Dike
March  2014
The USS Ward was a member of the Wickes Class. These flush deck destroyers were an improved Caldwell class with more speed and better stability. Easily distinguished by their four funnels and long flush deck these ships were state of the art at the end of WW1 when they were first built. However they were rather dated by the second world war. Never the less they continued to see service as destroyers were in short supply. The USS Ward was stationed at Pearl Harbor when war broke out and is known for firing the opening shots of the war. The Ward was operating off the mouth of the harbor when it spotted a Japanese Midget sub trying to enter the harbor. The Ward took it under fire and after charging past the number three mount scored a direct hit right through the conning tower. The sub was then depth charged and sunk. 

Blue Ridge Models calls this their Heritage Series as it's based on the old Classic Warships kit. That kit was pretty good even by today's standards. Blue Ridge Models adds new decals, instructions and some extra styrene parts.

The hull is cast in the waterline style with the superstructure and funnels as a single part. There is a bit of flash along the waterline, but none to be found where it matters. The kit features cast bridge windows and port holes that are opened up. The modeler might consider sawing the bridge top off and opening up the window area. 1/350 PE ladder stock can be used to make a new window frame. 
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The weapons and small fittings are cast in resin on two sprues. Torpedo tubes are nicely done, and the ships boats are well formed. One of my 4" guns didn't have a completely formed barrel, but I will be replacing mine with brass anyway. Also included is a Japanese midget sub like the one the Ward sank. Several lengths of styrene rod, and strips for the mast and other parts. 
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A photo etch fret supplies all the railings, the prop guards, davits, search light towers, depth charge racks and plenty of other details. The details are nicely etched and not overly complicated to form. 
The decal sheet is a real treat and includes flags and pennants as well as both prewar and early and late war hull numbers. These are printed by Microscale and are typical of the high quality decals they usually produce. They are nicely registered and sharp. Note; I have adjusted the contrast on the scanned image to allow the white text to show.
The instructions are four pages with a bill of materials, subassembly views and exploded views. Pretty good overall, but a nice plan view would have been a nice touch.
I have the original Classic Warships kit, and it is not bad. This one is an improvement and I am glad to see it available again. While this kit depicts the USS Ward at Pearl Harbor, it could be used to represent most any four stacker from the late 30's early 40's. 
This is kit # BM70028  available only from Freetime Hobbies for $29.95. A nice price for a highly detailed kit with photo etch.