Tamiya 1/350 USS Fletcher

Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The Tamiya Fletcher is a welcome addition to the 1/350 ship market. This kit is new from the hull up and while not perfect it is well done and provides a perfect starting point for the first time ship modeler and master modeler alike. This kit is designed to build an early Fletcher with the round bridge, later versions had a square bridge and other minor changes.
 The hull is molded in one piece, and looks just like the drawings and photo's I compared it to. There are raised panel lines to represent the hull plating and molded on chocks. 
The deck is pretty plain with only a few hatches and miscellaneous details molded on. The deck has raised walkways that represent the treadplate found on these detroyers. You could paint this walkway a darker shade of 20B or get Duane Fowlers decal set that is made for this destroyer to highlight it. The stacks have the proper profile and are molded as two halves with seperate cap and grills to add on. Splinter sheilds are molded as thin as is practicle for a plastic kit and are quite acceptable. Turret mounting bases are seperate and insert into the deck levels. The gun directors are molded in three parts with seperate radar and stand.
The superstucture parts are cleanly molded but a little on the plain side.This can be a mixed blessing for those that want to add aftermarket details, as there will be less sanding to remove those details that are to be replaced. There were no flag bags included in this kit, so you should refer to Hague's Fletcher class DD buildup to learn how to scratchbuild new ones.
The weapons are pretty good overall with the main turrets molded in five seperate parts. However the gun slot is molded on the centerline which is wrong. The gun should be offset to the left when looking straight towards it. Also the turrets are all the same, but the number one turret should have an additional knuckle to give support from the blast affect of the gun directly behind it. The 20mm guns are nicely shaped but a little too thick. The dual 40mm is not bad but the gun barrels lack that distinctive coil shape around the base of the barrel.
The reason the deck is so plain is that most of the details are molded seperate. K-guns and racks are provided, these look good, I just wish they were available in 1/700 scale. The depth charge racks are good, but PE replacements would be better. There are two of these sprues included so you get a few extra weapons for the spare box. Use that extra 5" mount to experiment with moving that gun slot over!
The instructions are very extensive, covering all phases of construction with painting notes throughout the sheet. A name decal is provided for the base and decals for flags and decals for the first four Fletcher class destoryers. 
 A painting guide for the Fletchers 1942 Ms 12 Modified scheme, often referred to as the splotch scheme. I would recommend getting the Warship Perspectives book by Jeff Herne for an aid in the camouflage and details. Squadron Publications also has a Fletcher Class book that will prove most helpful.
There are a number of Photo etch sets available for this ship, so you will have plenty to chose from;

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