Dragon 1/700 USS Buchanan DD-484
& USS Lansdowne DD-486 1945 Tokyo Bay

Reviewed by Timothy Dike

The USS Buchanan and Lansdowne were Gleaves class destroyers designed by Gibbs and Cox. Similar to the Benson class designed by  Bethlehem shipbuilding. the most notable difference was the rounded funnels. These streamlined ships were an improvement over the preceding Sims class and soon proved to be the workhorses of WW2. More on the Buchanan's history can be read here. The Lansdowne was a close sister to Buchanan and the two frequently crossed paths in the Pacific. They both served with distinction and survived the war. 

When the Japanese surrendered both had the honor of being in Tokyo Bay. While the Buchanan was well known for delivering General MacArthur to the USS Missouri for the surrender signing, the Lansdowne brought the Japanese party to that ship. 

Buchanan received the Presidential Unit Citation and 16 battle stars for her World War II service. Lansdowne received 12 battle stars for World War II service.


See the preview for some of the CAD images. Dragon has produced another Benson/Gleaves destroyer in 1/700 scale and like the others, this one makes use of innovative tooling and features lot of detail. There are a lot of extra parts on the various sprues and this should allow you to do most any late war Gleaves class with very little work. Before you read my opinions of this kit, you should know that the original CAD was done by me and that I was compensated for my work. My opinions may be biased. If that concerns you then, ignore the text and let the pictures do the talking.
SPRUE A (x2)
This sprue is newly tooled for the late war Buchanan. It features a new aft deck with twin 40 mm gun mounts.  A new bridge with the wings modified for the 20 mm gun are provided. The wings are molded separately to allow for extra surface detailing. The forward deck has the extended 20 mm gun tubs moved out for a wider field of fire. The middle tub is molded separately. Like the older kits, this one also features a deck with realistic camber. Slides are used in the mold to allow for more detailing on the side depth charge racks.  Click images
to enlarge
SPRUE C (x2)
Superstructure parts are included on this sprue with forward and aft decks included.  Most of these part are not needed as they have parts for the earlier Benson/Gleaves kits. The walls of the superstructure are included with plenty of surface detailing. The typical round funnels of the Gleaves class are well done. These parts are slide molded to give the tops an open appearance. Separate funnel piping is provided to give the kit a more detailed appearance. 
There are also some forming tools provided to form the life raft brackets and the propeller guards. 
SPRUE D (x2)
Depth charges and other fittings are included on this sprue. K-gun launchers are well molded and the extra charges are molded in groups of two. Many other parts not typically seen in this scale are included such as the 5" practice loading machine, sky lookouts, and torpedo director. The 26' Whaleboats have separate tops to allow you a covered or undecked version. Many of these parts will not be needed, but can be used to upgrade your other 700 scale ship kits as they are far superior to those found in other kits. 
SPRUE F (x4)
This sprue has some highly detailed torpedo mounts. You will only need the quintuple version here. A 40 mm twin mount is included in three parts. Four 20 mm twin style mounts are included but you will use the 20 mm singles on the next sprue on these ships. The 5" blast bag equipped gun barrels are actually slide molded to allow for an opening in the barrel. You will need glasses to see them, but they are there. 
SPRUE H (x4)
The bottom of the 5" gun base and the movable gun barrel are nicely molded. I assembled the 5" turret and you can elevate the gun realistically. There are plenty of 20 mm single gun mounts provided. These are done in two parts so you can mount the barrel at any realistic angle. The stern depth charge racks are slide molded in a single piece so they are very detailed. These parts about as detailed as is possible in plastic. 
SPRUE I (x4)
Dragon has included two distinctly different 5" turrets. For those who are not aware, most destroyers with the 5" 38 cal gun house had lower mounts that had reinforced roofs. The blast effect from the upper mount tended to dent the lower roof and some stiffening was necessary. On most early DD's this was done by adding an extra knuckle. A stiffening plate was also riveted to the roof plate on some mods. 
Dragon has reproduced this by molding two version of the turret. This lower mount has the knuckle and extra rivets. 
SPRUE J (x4)
The upper mount was identical to the lower one, but had a smoother roof. The turrets also have the correct offset to the gun barrel. A triple slide is used on these parts to allow for a virtually seamless part. 
The parts fit together smartly with only a small hint of a seam. Note the hatch details and the shell extraction chute and the vent on the rear. I certainly hope Dragon makes these mounts available separately as they blow away anything else now on the market. 
Rather than mold a separate lower hull Dragon has done two versions of the hull. This one with the complete hull molded in one single piece. There is no seam to fill here.
A waterline style hull is also included identical to the other version from the waterline up. Both has the classic 40's aerodynamic styling to the bow. 
SPRUE S (x2)
There are four sprues labeled "S". These are the Square and Oval Life Rafts, The Mk-37 Directors and their Mk-12 Radar and mount, and several new searchlights. The directors use triple slide molding to capture the full detailing, and have separate bottoms. You can clearly make out the hatches, and ladder details on the sides. The Fire Control Radar Antenna and mount are three parts, and the stand is also molded using slides. The yoke for the radar screen is very detailed for such a small part. These parts are not exactly new, they first appeared in the Dragon USS Pennsylvania kit a couple of years ago. But they are detailed far beyond any other plastic parts in this scale.
Life rafts
Mk-37 Director
Mk-12 FCR
Antenna & mount
Search lights
A new base for this kit has been designed based on how most modelers like to display their ships in full hull mode. The stands which resemble lamp finales are even slide molded so they have no seams to fill and sand. Hole locations are provided so all you have to do is open them up with a knife or drill. 
Two simple photo etch frets are included, one for each ship. Bridge wing supports, propeller guards, and funnel platforms and ladders are among the details. Many ships in the Benson Gleaves class had k-gun davits fabricated to mount to the gun tubs. These are provided and will give the ship a more detailed appearance. 
Walkway decals to represent the rubber no skid pads that were used on US Navy ships is done on these well registered decals printed by Cartograph. These are made to match the typical paths they were applied in. Hull numbers for both Buchanan and Lansdowne are included. Though they are hard to see, this sheet even includes draft markings.

A second sheet includes flags and ensigns printed on a pliable vinyl material.

The instructions are an eight page booklet showing the assembly in a step by step process that is easy to follow. A full size camo drawing is provided illustrating the MS-21 and MS-22 camo schemes of the two ships. You might notice that the order of assembly has been changed to show the hull and deck being assembled first. 
I am glad to see a late war follow-up of the previous Benson/Gleaves destroyers. The details are extremely fine and the molding is first class. Not only do you get state of the art molding, you get two complete kits for one very competitive price of only $19.95, that's only ten bucks each for these detailed tin cans. At this price you can afford to buy extras and use the parts to upgrade other kits. It is available now at Dragon USA and your favorite hobby shop.