Pit-Road 1/700 DD-605 USS Caldwell

Mid war Benson Class Destroyer
Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The USS Caldwell was  commissioned June 10, 1942, and after working up and training spent the first months of her career in the Aleutians. She served there for 9 months protecting convoys in that area and shelling Attu twice before that Island was taken. Later she joined the ships in the central Pacific beginning with a  a raid on Tarawas as part of Task Force 15. A month later she joined TF 14,  in attacks on Wake Island. She participated in the bombardment of Peale and Wake Islands in addition to helping to screen the carriers.

In November she was covering the LST's that were used in the invasion of Makin, and afterwards it was sub duty until she returned to San Francisco for an overhaul. She was involved in a collision with the Escort carrier White Plains while operating with TF 52 in support of the invasion of Kwajalein and Majuro. She was sent to Pearl Harbor for repairs and returned to action in time for the Palau, Yap, Ulithi, Woleai raids of March through April of 44. She remained on patrol in the Marshall Islands until August when she returned to Pearl for replenishment.

Caldwell was then sent to screen convoys landing in the Philippines where while escorting landing craft to Ormoc Bay she was struck by one of the first Kamikaze strikes of the war. Two near miss bombs straddled her bow at about the same time killing and wounding many of her crew. She continued to fight with her aft guns while her expert damage control team struggled to keep the ship afloat. After temporary repairs at San Pedro Bay, she sailed back to San Francisco. After permanent repairs were completed the ship again sailed for action in the Pacific again screening convoys. She encountered a mine off Brunei Bay and sailed again to San Pedro Bay, in the Philippines. where she was when the war ended.

For her service in the WW2 the USS Caldwell received eight battle stars.

Pit-Road has released another Destroyer to add to their growing waterline ship line. This one represents a mid war Benson class. Like the Gleaves class destroyers that are already on the market. This kit will build most any ship of the Benson class.
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The primary difference between this kit and the Gleaves class destroyers (sometimes called Livermoore class), is the shape of the funnels. The Benson class had a flat sided square appearing stack. While the Gleaves had a round stack, as shown above and in the illustration on the right. Pit-Road has used a mold insert to change this corner of the parts sprue from one class to another without having to construct to different molds.
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  • The other parts in this kit are the same as those already reviewed in the Gleaves kits so much of the text and images below are from the USS Livermore kit #W-63 and USS Monssen kit #W-64 kit reviews.
  • 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 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 Benson 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 rear box art shows the Caldwell in her Measure 22 Camouflage
    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. All in all, I'm very happy with this kit, it is much better than I expected. This is kit #W-66 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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