Trumpeter 1/350
USS Arleigh Burke DDG-51

Reviewed by Timothy Choi

The Arleigh Burke class of destroyers as been in service with the United States Navy for over 20 years now, in three primary versions, or "Flights". Flight IIa has further sub-variants.

  • Flight I (no helicopter hangar)
  • Flight II (like Flt I with improved electronics suite)
  • Flight IIa (helicopter hangars added, superstructure changes)
    • Flight IIa 5"/62 (5"/54 gun replaced with 5"/62 in a reduced signature mount)
    • Flight IIa 5"/62 no CIWS (Phalanx CIWS replaced with ESSM)
    • Flight IIa 5"/62 no CIWS, reduced signature exhaust housings

This kit is of USS Arleigh Burke, lead-ship of class. The kit is supposed to represent her in 1991 configuration; thus, it lacks the extra communication domes and modifications given to the Burkes throughout the next two decades. The kit parts do include a pair of 25mm Bushmaster cannons, as they are on a sprue common to Trumpeter's kits of newer Burkes - one less item to worry about if one wishes to build the kit in a newer configuration (as this reviewer will likely do). However, if one has not already purchased this kit (DDG-51) and wants to make an updated Flight I Burke, then Trumpeter's DDG-70 USS Hopper kit may be best, as it does have several of the new communication domes included in the kit.

As Sean has already reviewed the Flight IIa kits (DDG-92 Momsen and DDG-98 Forrest Sherman), I will reuse his pictures where the sprues are the same and will only include new pictures where there are different sprues/parts (which is most of them, actually).


The hull is molded in Trumpeter's standard 2-piece hull; grey upper hull, red plastic lower, with an red hull plate for the waterline option. A dry-fit of the pieces indicate a significant mismatch between the two halves, as appears to be common in Trumpeter's kits - there is a discrepancy of around 0.3-0.5mm both fore-aft and on the beam. See photos, which were taken with the lower hull pushed as far forward as possible.

The hull has many small details molded on; some look good, and some need a little work. The large bow sonar dome is molded separately, and the bilge keels are a bit simplified. The Masker belts of the Prairie-Masker system are a little rough on the lower hull, and don't appear to extend far enough. They also failed to align with their upper-hull counterparts. Also, the many bumps on the hull are to represent the eyehooks onboard the real ships - unfortunately, they would probably be better left off instead.

It is good to note that Trumpeter accurately reflected the differences between Flights in terms of stern details - the Nixie anti-torpedo countermeasure fairleads are rectangular rather than circular, as they would be later. The towed sonar exit is also correctly offset from the centerline. However, it is disappointing to note that the location of the Nixie fairleads are insufficiently close to the starboard side of the ship - the bottom right corner of the starboard fairlead should be nearly touching the edge where the stern bulkhead meets the hullside.


The main deck is molded as one large piece, in the same bag as the waterline plate. The helo deck is a separately molded part on a sprue, covered later in this review.

The foredeck has some rather poor molded on anchor chains, and some raised areas for the forward VERTREP (Vertical Replenishment) station markings. The base for the 5"/54 is unfortunately wrong - Trumpeter kept the octogonal shape of the Flight IIa ships instead of molding the appropriate circular base. The Mk41 VLS has the appropriate number of cells (later VLS's have 3 extra cells replacing the strikedown module, which is molded as present here).

The rear of the deck has the VLS molded on, which again has the strikedown module correctly molded.


Sprue A is made mostly of bulkheads that form the superstructure. This sprue more-or-less combines the separate smaller sprues in the Flight IIa kits into one large sprue. The bulkheads have multiple vents, fire hoses and ladders molded on. The vents and hoses are ok, but the ladders are very faint, and could be improved.


Sprue B is one of the sprues that are universal throughout Trumpeter's Burke line - thus, the following images are from Sean's previous Momsen review. It has many of the various parts needed to complete the lower hull, such as the props and shafts and shaft supports, rudders and the bow sonar dome halves. It also other parts for around the ship; some platforms, anchors, and the antennas, yards and main sensor mast. The main props look particularly nice.


Again, another universal Burke sprue, with pics from Sean's review.

This is the "fun" sprue, with many of the more visible parts of the ship. These many parts include an assortment of radars, from the flat AN/SPY-1D arrays and the dish like AN/SPG-62 illuminators to the ship's Mk6 RHIBs, AN/SLQ-32 ECM/ESM antenna assemblies, Mk141 Harpoon launcher, UNREP Sliding Padeye, Mk38 25mm Bushmaster, Mk32 torpedo tubes, life raft canisters and SRBOC launchers.

These parts have differing levels of accuracy and appearance; the SLQ-32's are a multi-part assembly, and seem undersized. The 25mm Bushmasters are simplistic, but are so small in size to be difficult to reproduce accurately. There are also a number of unused parts on these sprues, from the earlier Flights of Burkes.


Sprue C consists of various structural parts, like superstructure bulkheads & decks and the aforementioned separate helicopter deck (with raised markings). It also contains the 5"/54 mounting and gun, along with the "seats" for the Phalanx CIWS. Detailing looks good throughout.


E is a small sprue, containing the bulkheads of the helicopter deck and major components of the bridge area.


Again, another universal Burke sprue. Sprue S is a clear sprue with the bridge windows and helicopter control/LSO area.

No helicopters are included in this kit

Arleigh Burke comes with a common fret for all Burke class ships, comprised of railings and safety nets for the helo deck.

The standard display base is included.

A normal decal sheet in included, with hull numbers, warning rings, VERTREP and flight deck markings (I apologize for them being hard to see, as they are white - try moving your head side to side or up and down if you are using a LCD or LED monitor), and some flags and miscellaneous bridge/funnel markings to adorn your Arleigh Burke. There are unfortunately no hull numbers other than 51, unlike the Flight IIa kits. There is a decal for the ship's name that goes on the fantail.


A 12 page instruction book is included, using Trumpeter's standard construction order and methods.

A full color poster showing the painting steps for Arleigh Burke is included. Mr. Hobby, Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya and Humbrol colors are shown on a paint reference chart. There is no one manufacturer with every color referenced available, so some mixing may be required.


Arleigh Burke is the earliest of the class that is available by Trumpeter. With a little TLC, this will build up into a good looking kit of the lead-ship of class and a much better one than the other plastic offering on the market.

Thanks to Imperial Hobbies for their epic clearance sale which made this kit available to the reviewer for a mere $25 CAD. It is listed as #TSM-4523 1/350 USS Arleigh Burke DDG-51.