Pit-Road 1/700 DD-421 USS Benson

Pre war Benson Class Destroyer
Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The Benson was the first ship of a new class of Destroyers. They were an improved version of the Sims class sharing the same hull but with an improved power plant and two funnels instead of one trunked together. The Benson class was nearly identical to the Gleave class with the main spotting difference being the square sided funnels vs the round ones on the Gleaves class. Later Bensons had their superstructure simplified to eliminate some of the complex curved surfaces on the bridge.

This kit represents the Livermore in her as-built condition, complete with five 5"-38 cal gun mounts, three enclosed and two open. During this time period she also had boat cranes and a towering aft superstructure. Later as World War two began she was drastically altered to a similar appearance as the Pit-road version of the USS Cadwell.

With the exception of the funnels, the parts in this kit are the same as those already reviewed in the USS Caldwell kit #W-66 USS Livermore kit #W-63 and USS Monssen kit #W-64 kit reviews. So much of the text and images are repeated from those reviews to conserve file space.
The hull is fairly complex on this type of destroyer and the mold for this kit is really well engineered to allow for the detail to be preserved without compromising for molding purposes. The hull as a separate deck insert that is glued to the open bow area. This allows for this the overhang at the step portion in the hull and test fitting shows that this will look pretty good. The deck has what appears to be the proper sheer angle with a gentle upsweep. The deck walls are molded as flat separate parts to allow for doors, hatches and a considerable amount of surface detail to be molded on.
click images
below to enlarge
The kit was designed to be able to build many ships in this class and has many alternate parts.
The weapons and accessories come from the one sprue from the new E6 weapons set. There are enough weapons options to fit the ship out in as most any prewar, early or late war Gleaves class destroyer. For a more detailed description of these weapons please refer to the review of the NEW Skywave E6 weapons set.
The decal sheet has both large and small numbering, with flags. The image on the right has had the contrast adjusted to help the white number show up better on the light blue sheet. The flags are actually better registered than they appear in the image. 
The instructions are well laid out and include enough views to show where everything goes. 
The box art shows the Livermore in her prewar scheme complete with oversize bow numbers. 
Conclusions: A well designed kit with plenty of building potential. Most of the parts I test fitted went together very well. In some cases the seams were very hard to see. The forward deck lays flat on the bow portion of the hull and must be visually located. The rounded portion of the forward deck house under the bridge is a separate part and will require a little putty to hide the seam. Fortunately for the modeler this part can be built as a subassembly and blended before attaching it to the deck. All in all, I'm very happy with this kit, it is much better than I expected. This is kit #W-63 and sells for $15.00 US from Pacific Front Hobbies. Check the latest Pacific Front  update for this and other Pit-road kits.

Reviewers disclaimer: I provided Pit-road with CAD drawings of these destroyers and was compensated for my work. The reader may wish to take that into account when they consider my opinions of this kit.


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