1/700 USS Dunlap DD-384

Dunlap Class DD
Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The USS Dunlap was a later variant of the Mahan Class that included the new fully enclosed 5" 38 cal gun mounts up front. These new guns offered the gun crews more protection  and eliminated the need for the splash shields on the forward part of the ship. These new gun mounts became the standard on all future Destroyers through the Fletcher class.

The Dunlap operated along the east coast on training duty, and in June 1938 served as escort at Philadelphia for SS Kungsholm, carrying the Crown Prince of Sweden. On 1 September she got underway for the west coast; except for a cruise to the Caribbean and east coast for a fleet problem and overhaul in the first 6 months of 1939, Dunlap served along the west coast until 2 April 1940 when she sailed for Pearl Harbor, her new home port.

On 7 December 1941 Dunlap was at sea bound for Pearl Harbor with TF 8 after ferrying planes to Wake Island. She entered Pearl Harbor next day and patrolled in the Hawaiian area until 11 January 1942 when she sortied with TF 8 for air strikes on the Marshals, returning 5 February. After taking part in the raid on Wake Island of 24 February, she continued to patrol in the Hawaiian area until 22 March, then escorted convoys between various ports on the west coast until returning to Pearl Harbor 22 October 1942.

Dunlap arrived at Noumea, New Caledonia, 6 December 1942 and operated from that base on training and patrol duty, and as escort for convoys to the Fiji, Tonga, and New Hebrides Islands until arriving at Guadalcanal 30 July 1943 for duty in the Solomons. On the night of 6-7 August she was sent with five other destroyers to intercept a Japanese force carrying reinforcements to Kolombangara. In the resulting Battle of Vella Gulf, a brilliant night torpedo action, the ably handled task group sank three Japanese destroyers and drove the fourth back to its base at Buin. They suffered no damage themselves.

After overhaul at San Diego, Dunlap sailed 23 November 1943 for patrol duty out of Adak until 16 December when she left for Pearl Harbor, arriving 6 days later. She joined the 6th Fleet to screen carriers in strikes of the Marshall Islands operations from 19 January to 4 March 1944, then touched at Espiritu Santo briefly before sailing for Fremantle, Australia, to rendezvous with the British Eastern Fleet. After training here and at Trincomalee, Ceylon, she took part in the strikes on the Soerabaja area of Java on 17 May, and next day sailed for Pearl Harbor, arriving 10 June.

Dunlap returned to San Francisco 7 July 1944 to join the screen for Baltimore (CA-68) carrying President F. D. Roosevelt for conferences and inspections with top Pacific commanders of Pearl Harbor and Alaskan bases. Detached from this task group at Seattle 12 August, Dunlap returned to Pearl Harbor. She sailed 1 September, bombarded Wake Island 3 September, and arrived at Saipan 12 September for duty with the Marianas Patrol and Escort Group.

Dunlap took part in the bombardment of Marcus Island on 9 October. On 16 October 1944 she rendezvoused with the 3d Fleet units for strikes on Luzon, then supported the Iandings At Leyte. When the Japanese forces made a three-pronged attack on the Philippines, she was underway for Ulithi but reversed course to screen TG 38.1 in its attacks of 25 and 26 October on the enemy fleeing after the decisive Battle for Leyte Gulf. Dunlap arrived at Ulithi 29 October for patrol duty and took part in the daring bombardments on Iwo Jima in November and December 1944 and January 1945. She returned to Iwo Jima 19 March to support its occupation, and until the end of the war patrolled to intercept Japanese ships attempting to evacuate the Bonins. On 19 June she sank an enemy craft attempting to evacuate Chichi Jima, picking up 52 survivors. Japanese officers came on board 31 August to discuss surrender terms for the Bonin Islands, and returned 3 September to sign the surrender.

Dunlap sailed for Iwo Jima 19 September 1945 touched at San Pedro Calif., and arrived at Houston Tex., for Navy Day. she arrived at Norfolk 7 November where she was decommissioned 14 December 1945 and was sold 31 December 1947.
Dunlap received six battle stars for World War II service.

MidShip has produced this new kit based on one of the many variants of the Mahan class destroyer. This one is the USS Dunlap, one of the last two Mahan to be built. Together with the USS Fanning these ships represent a sub class of the Mahans often referred to as the Dunlap class.

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 deck insert is correct for the two later Mahan's Fanning and Dunlap. Most of the parts on this sprue are nicely molded and some are very thin and fine. Superstructure parts have port hole and door detailing and in some cases a handrail running along the side.

Click images to enlarge

The ejector pin marks on some parts are little heavy on some parts, but nothing a little sanding and fillings won't cure.
The weapons sprue is the same as the one included in the MidShip Models Gridley 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. The parts have a bit of flash on them and vary in quality and accuracy. The 5" open mounts look very good but the enclosed mounts need quite a bit of work. The sides of a real 5" 38 cal gun house are vertical but these are tapered and the gun mounting slot is twice as large as it needs to be. You might be able to sand these down to make them look more accurate. 
 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. 
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.
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. However there are several mistakes that you need to be aware of. First you will need to sand off the spray shield that is shown on the forward deckhouse. Trim it even with the wall that it attaches to. Second page three shows the number three 5" 38 cal gun mount along side the two twin 40 mm mounts. This is wrong as it was one or the other, not both. The 5" 38 cal was removed to make room first for 20 mm gun mounts and later for the twin 40 mm mounts.

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.

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 Dunlap and the Mahan, but just about every variation of this class. Also available is the one off reconstructed Cassin, that was almost totally destroyed at Pearl Harbor. Even a prewar Mahan version is 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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