Building the Tamiya 1/350
Fletcher Class Destroyer
by Hague (Steven Spach)

Part 1 of 3
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This is my first ship kit in over 25 years, I finished the last one about 1976 or so when I was seven years old, wow do times change.  A year or so ago I received two ship kits in a trade for some r/c equipment, a BWN Atlanta and a Tamiya Missouri, both very nice kits. Opening the Missouri box I was taken back by all the parts, the resin Atlanta is too nice for a first time builder…..what to do? I decided to buy a 1/350 Tamiya Fletcher, much smaller but still loads of detail to be added. My first mistake was purchasing the Fletcher Planbook from the Floating Drydock, wow look at  all the detail on this little ship. The book is great, but being a detail freak it added many hours to my construction time. I purchased the GMM Fletcher set and made a short list of the additions to the kit.
  1. Drill out chocks
  2. Remove anchor chain molded detail
  3. Remove all molded on doors.
  4. Hollow out funnels
  5. Remove excess plastic from deck drains
  6. Drill out portholes in Bridge
  7. Detail forward and aft funnels
  8. Detail aft steering station
  9. Detail MK37 Radar
  10. Add flag bags
  11. Add winch on port side.
  12. Add Mushroom and 24” Vents
  13. Deck Braces
  14. Cable Reels
I decided to build an early war Fletcher Class, ship and paint scheme still undecided at this point. I will probably end up doing the Fletcher in dapple camouflage, but I really think MS 21 would look nice. I had many questions…like how I was going to paint this beast after construction, after searching, I decided to paint hull and deck separate from the superstructure parts. I also decided to apply the photoetch after the kit is painted, though I will prepare it before that step. The ship will be displayed full hull, it is mounted to a jig with wingnuts for construction, and after completion it will sit on brass pedestals and a wood base. After I got a grip on what I had to do it was on to the kit. Click on the 
thumbnail images
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 I proceeded to do steps 1-6 above and glued together the major superstructure parts, after removing most molded on detail. One word of caution, it you drill out the chocks be careful, I broke a couple. The broken chock were replaced with copper wire and actually look better than the drilled out ones. I also cleaned up the hull and bored 2 holes for mounting to jig and display. Once the jig was in place, the Deck was glued and a little seam and fill work was done. I was going to use brass rod for shafts but decided to stay with kit parts, they look quite nice once cleaned up a bit. After removing all that detail, actual building felt nice, now it was time to start some of the scratch building. Converting the 1/8”-1’ plan to 1/350 measurements I made working drawings as not to destroy the book. Using a small lathe I turned down some tiny brass parts. 
  1. Anchor capstan, the kit part molded on hull would not do.
  2. Mushroom Vents, none supplied with kit, I had to make 4 of these.
  3. 24” Vents, kit is missing 2 vents in stern area.
  4. Pelorus, not sure what they are, but I made a couple.
  5. Compass for aft steering station, hard to see once installed, oh well.
  6. Winch on port side of ship
  7. Horn, turned this one as it rode on a broken .0135 drill.
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These parts were about as small as I ever want to turn, and too small for me to cast. click to enlarge
The funnels were detailed with copper wire in 2 sizes the fun was bending 2 matching .03” offsets in the piping. I used my first piece of photoetch, the mounting bracket for the horn and whistle. I then proceeded to real funnel I removed the railing off the platform and added bracing.  click to enlarge
The aft steering station was detailed with stretched sprue, steel wire, styrene bits, photoetch ladders and railings, and #5 from the list above. I drilled out locations for vents, leaving a small nib when I parted off the parts to glue into the hull. I will install vents and such after painting, when they will not get in my way. click to enlarge

 Tamiya 1/350 USS Fletcher Class DD (in the box review)

On to part 2.

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