Pit-Road 1/700 DD-436 USS Monssen

Early war Gleaves (Livermore) Class Destroyer
Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The Benson and Gleaves class destroyers were the last of the prewar destroyers. The Gleaves were very similar to the Bensons with minor spotting features such as round funnels and a larger rounded deckhouse beneath the bridge. Pit-road will be releasing a Benson class kit with those distinct differences at a later date. The Monssen was a Gleaves class destroyer, sometimes referred to as a Livermore class. She was originally armed with five 5"-38 cal guns as the DD-429 Livermore kit. But had the number three mount removed and additional 20 mm guns added. The number four mount as given a half shield with a canvas top for the previously open mount. The Monssen was active in the Pacific early in the war and was one of the unlucky 13 ships that sailed into battle to protect the Marines on Guadalcanal. She was sunk Friday the 13th November 1942, and now resides on the bottom of Iron Bottom sound.
The hull is fairly complex on this type of destroyer and this mold fir 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. The K-gun locations are lightly marked should the modeler wish to use the inserts from the weapons sprue. I personally don't like the way these came out and would recommend scratch building them from plastic rod and wire for a more three dimensional appearance.
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 incorrectly shows Monssen in prewar colors with early war markings. In this camo scheme she should have the large bow numbers and also be in a prewar fit such as the Livermore kit. The front box art by Mikaya Yoshihara shows the correct Ms-12 modified camouflage that she carried into battle in the South Pacific.
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. 

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

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.

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