1/700 USS Cassin DD-372 1943

Reconstructed Mahan Class DD
Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The USS Cassin was a Mahan Class Destroyer best known as a survivor of Pearl Harbor. 
Cassin was in drydock with Downes (DD-375) and Pennsylvania (BB-35) at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. In the Japanese attack, an incendiary bomb exploded Downes fuel tanks, causing uncontrollable fires on board both Downes and Cassin. Cassin slipped from her keel blocks and rested against Downes. Both ships were considered lost, and Cassin was decommissioned as of 7 December 1941. However, superb salvage saved Cassin, to play an outstanding role in World War II, and she was towed to Mare Island Navy Yard for rebuilding.
Recommisisoned 6 February 1944, Cassin reported at Pearl Harbor 22 April, and was assigned escort duty from Majuro until August. By shooting out caves and bombarding Aguijan Island, she aided in the consolidation of Tinian from 15 to 25 August, and then assumed escort duties out of Saipan Her guns took revenge on the Japanese once more when she took part in the bombardment of Marcus Island on 9 October. This was part of the preparations for the Leyte assault, and was an attempt to convince the Japanese that the main attack they sensed was coming would be directed at the Bonins. With the same force which had struck at Marcus, Cassin sailed on to join TG 38.1 on 16 October, as the carriers of that group prepared the air strikes designed to neutralize the Japanese airfields in the Manila area prior to the assault landings on Leyte. Cassin steamed northeast of Luzon during the Leyte landings, and when the landings had been successfully launched, was dispatched with her group to refuel and replenish at Ulithi. However, when TF 38 made contact with the Japanese Center Force rounding the southern cape of Mindoro bound for its part in the decisive Battle for Leyte Gulf, Cassins group was recalled to join the approaching action. In the afternoon of 26 October, her group at last reached position to launch aircraft which attacked the Japanese ships in one of the longest-range carrier strikes of the war. These strikes continued as the Japanese fleet retired north, diminished and battered.

Cassins next assignment was to the preparations for the assault on Iwo Jima on the night of 11-12 November 1944, and again on 24 January 1945, she bombarded the island as part of the pre assault softening up and otherwise engaged in patrol, escort and radar picket duties around Saipan. On 23 February, she sailed from Saipan to escort an ammunition ship to newly invaded Iwo Jima, returning to Guam 28 February with a hospital ship laden with some of the many men wounded on the fiercely contested island. She returned to Iwo Jima in mid-March for radar picket and air-sea rescue duty. With periods at Guam and Saipan for replenishment and repairs, she continued on this duty through most of the remainder of the war.

As vivid proof that hazards of war come not only from the enemy, Cassin endured the violence of a typhoon on 6 June 1945, losing one of her men overboard, as well as a motor whaleboat. On 20 July, she bombarded Kita, Iwo Jima, and on 7 August, she boarded and searched a Japanese hospital ship to insure compliance with international law. Since there were no violations, she allowed the Japanese ship to proceed on its way. With the war over, she continued air-sea rescue off Iwo Jima, guarding the air evacuation of released prisoners of war from Japan. She returned to Norfolk, Va., 1 November 1945, and was decommissioned there 17 December 1945. Cassin was sold 25 November 1947.

Cassin received six battle stars for World War II

It's not everyday that a model manufacturer takes the time to not only release a new kit, but to produce it in some pretty unique variants. This MidShip kit is based on the USS Cassin's post reconstruction fit. With a totally rebuilt bridge resembling one applied to some of the Sumner Class Destroyers then building. This kit takes the basic Mahan Class Destroyer and adds the parts needed to make it a 1943 version.

HULL AND SUPERSTRUCTURE PARTS
The hull is molded one piece with a bow insert. The molding is very good, the pictures below show flash where the hull breaks. This is exaggerated in the photo's and will be easily corrected with a light touch of sandpaper. The deck features some nice chock details. These destroyers were steel decked so there is not a whole lot of surface detail. The shape appears to match my plans of the USS Cushing.
The deck insert is correct for the later Fanning and Dunlap, but is lacking the wrap around shield for the number one gun mount found on the Mahan Class. The modeler will have to scratch one out of thin plastic sheet or brass strip. These are shown on the box art, but curiously were left out of the kit. I hope that MidShip will at least make these available in resin like they did in the bridge part # R1. Most of the parts on this sprue are nicely molded and some are very thin and fine. 

Click images to enlarge

The partial open 5" 38 cal gun shields are included on this sprue and are well molded. They are designed to be used with the open 5" guns used in the included in the weapons sprue. The gun mounts are a little oversimplified in shape, but acceptable in this scale and better than anything else on the market. The ejector pin marks on some parts are little heavy on some parts, but nothing a little sanding won't cure.
WEAPONS SPRUE
The weapons sprue is the same as the one included in the MidShip Models Gridely Class Destroyer. It includes all the weapons and fittings you will need and then some. The rafts are molded in two styles and are both nicely done. Some of the other items such as gun directors and search lights came out pretty nice.
 I wish that the 20 mm guns and the K-guns would have been done differently instead of being done almost exactly like the Skywave parts. The good thing is that the parts that I find over simplified are the ones I usually replace with Photo etch. 
EXTRA SPRUE
This extra sprue includes the post reconstruction specific parts found on the Cassin. A new Atlantic style bridge is included as well as the specific decks and Cassin specific details.  The Cassin as rebuilt didn't have the angled step up found on other sister ships. Two twin 40 mm gun mounts were mounted on a longer aft superstructure deckhouse. The molding on these parts is like the other parts with nice door and portholes details.
 
DECALS
The decal sheet 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.
INSTRUCTIONS
The instructions are nicely done on an four pages  Page 1 includes a color profile with Model Master and White Ensign Colorcoats paint equivalents. The color profile is however so dark it is hard to make anything out on it, I would recommend lightening this view. A class list and specs of the ship are included as well. 
The next two pages are dedicated to the basic subassemblies and are really well done. Since this kit was designed in CAD, there is no reason not to use CAD to do the instructions. Even thought some views are a little pixelated, they are extremely effective in showing the parts fit. The different parts are shown in contrasting colors and you will have no problems following them. Page four shows some of the other kits you will want in your collections.
CONCLUSIONS
It's good to have a new line of ships on the market. MidShip is producing those ships that have been neglected by all but the obscure resin producers. I'm glad to see not only the Mahan, but  this reconstructed Cassin. Prewar, early war, and late war variants are all available. The kits from this new manufacturer are improving in quality with every release. So if you want to see more, I would advice you to help support them and build some of their kits. They can only get better and they are being manufactured by one of our own!
This kit will provide a good base on which to produce a whole bunch of ships that have not been available in a long time time. Order yours now for $21.99   on the Trident Hobbies online website


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