NIKO 1/700 USS Hughes DD-410

Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The USS Hughes was the second of the Sims class destroyers. She was commissioned at Boston Navy Yard in September 1939. She joined the Atlantic fleet after shakedown and operated in the Mediterranean to counter Vichy French Naval forces. Later in 1940 she operated in the North Atlantic as part of the Neutrality patrol escorting convoys to England.

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, warships were urgently needed in the Pacific and Hughes sailed from Norfolk December 18, 1941, arriving at San Diego in company with the USS Yorktown  December, 30th.  See her full DANFS entry here.

Niko Model has been producing some pretty amazing ships. Their latest is the Sims class Destroyer USS Hughes. It is based on the July 1942 early war appearance with four 5 inch turrets, one with a canvas top to save weight. This fit is typical of most ships Sims class for 1942, so this kit could be used for other members of this class with only minor changes. For an as-built version of the Sims class see the review on the USS Sims here

The hull is cast with much of the forward and mid superstructure in place. The rounded front on the deck house under where the bridge mounts is cast on. So when you add the bridge, you will not have to deal with hiding an ugly seam. Surface details include the braces around the gun bases, hatches and a nice capstan. 
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I don't really care for the cast on depth charges, but when wrapped in photo etch (included) frames they should look pretty good. The dimensions appear to be very close although the rounded edges should gradually taper toward the bow.
 The bridge is cast wings and all. Not bad, but the wings have no flair at the top. That is a minor thing in this small scale. The rear splinter shield on the bridge should be removed and replaced with a section of railing. The Flag bags attach to the railings as in this photo of the USS Hughes.
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The funnel is nicely shaped and well cast. The 5" gun turrets include separate gun barrels and plenty of surface detail. Notice that one is an open top mount. The gun assembly is also well detailed.
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.  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. Detailed yardarms, boat davits, 20 mm guns with bases, and depth charge racks are just some of the nice items included. As mentioned above there are detail parts for the torpedo tubes that include the doors, and plumbing and bracing parts. 
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. Separate brass rod is included to fabricate the mast.
Here are some photo's of the built up kit supplied by Niko
Two decal sheets are supplied, one for hull numbers and one for flags. These ships typically had no other markings, so this is fine. The markings are clear and well registered.
The instructions are three pages. A bill of materials on one side and and exploded view on the other two. The illustrations are good, but a good plan and elevation of the finished ship would have been nice.

A highly detailed and accurate kit of the Sims class. Almost everything you needed is included. This kit was listed on Pacific Front Hobbies online site for $40.00 a nice price for a detailed kit like this with photoetch. Bill Gruner carries the entire Niko line of ships and many more hard to find, high quality kits.