Dragon 1/350 USS Benson DD-421
Previewed by Timothy Dike
The next incarnation of the Dragon Benson/Gleaves class Destroyers is ready. This one depicts the USS Benson as built in 1940. Most of us are familiar with the 4 gun arrangement of pre Fletcher class destroyers, however this class was originally built with five 5" 38 cal guns and two quintuple torpeodo launchers. Radar was a new invention and was not ready for use on these destroyers in 1940, so there was no director or mast mounted radar antennas. Instead you will find a crows nest high on the mast. Range finders were found on the top of the bridge and the large aft superstructure. The #3 and #4 5" 38 cal gun mounts were open  and it was necessary to fit a blast shield over the #2 torpedo launcher to protect the crew from the blast effect of that gun. On the aft superstructure you will also find the 36" searchlight. Light anti aircraft guns were the old water cooled 50 cal variety and you will find six of them in this kit. There were no splinter shields around them. Four 26' whale boats were typically carried so two extras are provided. One important feature of this kit that should not be overlooked is the hull. Dragon has retooled the hull piece to include the extra portholes so the modeler doesn't have to drill all the extra ones. 

This kit will build not only the USS Benson, but almost all of the orginal Benson Class. By swapping funnels with the Buchanan or Livermore, you can build even more. The basic configuration is essecntially the same although there were some minor changes in the aft superstructure. 

The promotional Poster on the right illustrates many of the new features as well as those that were introduced with the USS Buchanan, the first of the Smart Kit line. 
Here are some views of the assembled test shots. These will give you a better idea of the differences in this kit.
This is only a preview, look for the full in-box review here on ModelWarships.com when the kit is shipped. You can preorder this kit from Dragon USA for $42.95 right now.

More info can be found on the Dragon website.