Just released: In-box review of
Patrol Gunboat U.S.S. DEFIANCE
(PG-95) in 1/131 by Revell, Germany (05008)
by Guido Hopp, Düsseldorf, Germany
Vital stats and information on
Asheville Class PG U.S.S. DEFIANCE

Built at Peterson Builders Inc., Sturgeon Bay, Wisc.
Laid down:03. October 1967, Launched: 24. August 1968 (!) ,Commissioned: 24. September 1969 (!)
Decommissioned and transferred to Turkey in February 1973, renamed YILDERIM
Lost: 11. April 1985 due to explosion and fire at the  Greek island Mitelene in Aegean Sea

Length: 164’-6’’(50.14m); Beam: 23’-10,75’’(7.28m)
Displacement: 250t
Propulsion: GE LM1500, 13300shp for a 
Construction speed: 37-40 knots

1x 3’’/50 (7,62cm) turret gun,
1x 40mm gun mount,
2x .50 cal twin machine gun
(Reference.: Friedmann, N.,(1987) U.S. Small combatants including PT-Boats, Subchasers and the brown water Navy. Naval Institute Press (ISBN 0-87021-713-5): pp243-379, p464)
Click the images
below to enlarge
The kit:

After a couple of weeks delay, last weekend Revell’s USS Defiance hit the hobby shops in Germany.

The usual sea-green box with a cover artwork indicates a mid range 3 on the difficulty level. Colour instruction is given in Revell’s in-house code of colours. On first impression the box is a lightweight given it’s dimensions. Opening the box reveals the instruction book, a spool of black rigging yarn, a decal sheet and a flag sheet right next to a Polybag holding three injection mould frames.

The instruction book is printed black on yellowish recycling paper showing the building process in 35 steps. (Picture 4 Instruction cover, Picture 5 Instruction layout)

Decals and flag sheet are in fair condition. 
Initially, looking at the box art and my reference book, I didn’t know, what to make of the rigging yarn , because there is no rigging to be seen. When reading the instruction, I found that the railing needs extensive rigging, as can be seen in picture 5.
(Picture 6 Accessories)
On first look the kit of U.S.S. DEFIANCE holds quite a surprise: The hull is mould in one piece. As far as I know, it is the first time, that Revell did not split a large scale hull into two, three or four parts. (Hence the size of the box?) The weather deck is one piece as well and fits the quite nicely. At 38,4cm (15.1’’) the length of the hull is accurate while the beam at 5,7cm (2,13’’) is about half a (scale-) foot too wide. The hull shows plating all over, which is a nice feature.
All in all three frames hold a total of (meagre) 65 parts. On testing, the parts seem to have a nice fit, but there is - IMHO - a lot of flesh considering, that these frames come from brand new moulds. The flesh is not too bad, but it makes a mayor clean-up necessary for each part. 
(Picture 7 & 8: Frames)
Small details are mould to the parts, like fire hoses, ladders and doors. (Picture 9 close-up)
A weak point is the detail of the armament. Neither the machine guns nor the cannon shows sufficient detail for model of such scale.
The 7,62cm turret seems quite nice on first impression, but the gun barrel is not nicely shaped. As well the 7,62 turret on Asheville class gunboats has a Plexiglas dome for the gunners head. Instead of supplying clear parts along with the kit, a plump bulb is set on top of the turret. As well there are no clear parts to fill in the windows for the bridge.

As usual strong and weak points are given equally on Revell’s U.S.S. DEFIANCE. First and most obvious strong point is the price: At 15,99€ (approx. 15.50US$) Revell supplies a nice model, that will suffice the needs of the novice to the hobby. A more demanding modeller will have to put quite a bit of work into the model to get a satisfying result. There are lots of possible after market gaps to fill, like resin 7,62cm gun turret and machine guns, white metal gun barrels and antenna. I strongly hope, that someone like Classic warship, Tom or WEM will take care of the orphan on my work bench.

Personally, I find the scale at 1/131 most disappointing: In what kind of model collection will it fit in? As well, this scale prevents us from taking properly scaled tank or plane parts to cover up the weak points.

Guido Hopp
Düsseldorf, Germany

PS.: I’ll be glad to give information/help to everyone on the message board of this page.

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