NIKO 1/700 USS Sampson DD-394 Somers Class DD

Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The five ships of the Somers Class were a follow on to the Porter Class. The ships included the Somers, Warrington, Sampson, Davis, and Jouett. They were similar to the Porters with the same four twin 5" guns as built, but could easily be distinguished by their single stack. The Sampson operated in both the Atlantic and Pacific spending much of her time escorting ships to and from the war zone. Late in 1943 she began to operate in the South Pacific until transferring back to the Atlantic fleet in 1944. She  she sailed as the escort for troopship, General Tasker H. Bliss, on the way to the Mediterranean. Incidentally my pastor served on the Tasker Bliss during this time period. Sampson survived the war and earned one battle star for World War II service.

Niko Model has been producing some pretty amazing ships. Their latest is the first kit of a Somers class in many years. It is based on the 1943 mid war appearance of these tin cans where one of the original 4 twin 5" turrets was removed as a weight saving measure and replaced with extra 40 mm anti aircraft guns.

The hull is cast with much of the superstructure in place. There is really nice surface detailing and the only problem with my sample is the gun tub shield on the forward superstructure is broken. This is minor to me and easily fixed by replacing it with a strip of brass. The floors of the 40 mm gun tubs have a nice grate pattern cast on. The hull appears to be spot on compared to my plans of the Somers class.
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 The bridge, like the hull is very well cast. The detail is good and there is only a light bit of flash that needs to be removed. The upper level of the bridge is cast with simulated canvas covered railing that look very good. Make sure you paint this a slightly different shade to help make it stand out.
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The funnels are nicely shaped and well cast. The 5" gun turrets include separate gun barrels and plenty of surface detail. Notice the ammo boxes on the aft superstructure platform.
Small parts are very fine and delicate, so be careful when handling them. Notice the accurate looking 5" practice loading machines. The ships boats feature lots of detail, but I would consider replacing the rudder with PE. 40 mm gun barrels are almost as thin as the new Loose Cannon ones. At first glance the torpedo tubes appear rather plain, that is until you see the photo etch below that gives them fantastic detailing.
A relief etch brass photo etch fret is included to add the fine details. I have scanned it in B&W. Detailed yardarms, boat davits, 20 mm guns with bases, and depth charge racks are just some of the nice items included. A mast is made up of several slightly smaller parts that are laminated to form a tapered mast. As mentioned above there are detail parts for the torpedo tubes that include the doors, and plumbing and bracing parts. I am anxious to see how these will look when finished, these might be the best torpedo tube parts available in this scale. While these parts are not as fine as some of the other aftermarket manufactures, the approach to the detailing is very innovative. You will have to supply your own outer railings, but most of us have plenty of those anyway. 
Here are some photo's of the built up kit supplied by Niko
The instructions are the front and back of an A-size sheet. The actual ship kit is shown in photo's with notes showing where the parts go. The subassemblies and photo etch folding instructions are shown as well. These are not bad but not all that clear.. Camouflage is shown by noting photos of the finish kit. However the pattern shown does not match the photos and camo sheet of her on my AA-Military Research Somers Class CD. If you are building this kit, you will want to get the CD

A highly detailed and accurate kit of the Somers class. Almost everything you needed is included. This kit was listed in Pacific Front Hobbies February 2006 update for $39.00 a great price for a highly detailed kit like this with photoetch. They carry the entire Niko line of ships and many more hard to find, high quality kits.