The United States Navy commissioned 175 Fletcher-class destroyers between 1942 and 1944. They were built by shipyards across the United States for service in World War II, and some served during the Korean War and into the Vietnam War. Ironically, many were sold to the very countries they had fought against: Italy, Germany, and Japan, as well as other navies, where they would go on to have even longer, distinguished careers. Several others were cancelled prior to being laid down.
Compared to earlier classes built for the Navy, they carried a significant increase in anti-aircraft (AA) weapons and other weaponry, which caused displacements to rise. Their flush deck construction added structural strength, although it did make them rather cramped.
Throughout the course of World War II, the number of AA weaponry increased resulting in five twin-40 mm Bofors plus seven 20 mm weapons by 1945. Fifty-one were further modified beginning in 1945, replacing the forward torpedo tubes and midships 40 mm twin Bofors with quad mounts for a total of 14 barrels, and the seven 20 mm singles with six 20 mm twins.
Nineteen were lost during World War II; six more were damaged and not repaired. Postwar, the remainder were decommissioned and put into reserve.
With the outbreak of the Korean War many were returned to active duty. During this time 39 were refitted, reducing their overall main armament and the number of torpedo tubes.
USS Fletcher DD-445
Displacement 2924 Tons (Full),
Dimensions, 376' 5” x 39' 7"
Armament 5 x 5"/38, 4 x 1.1" AA, 4 x 20mm AA, 2 x 5 torpedo tubes.
Machinery, 60,000 SHP; General Electric Geared Turbines, 2 screws
Speed, 38 Knots, Range 6500 [email protected]
Operational and Building Data
Laid down by Federal Shipbuilding, Kearny NJ. October 2, 1941.
Launched May 3, 1942 and commissioned June 30, 1942.
Decommissioned January 15, 1947 and recommissioned October 3, 1949.
Reclassified DDE-445 March 26, 1949 And back to DD-445 June 30, 1962.
Decommissioned October 1, 1969.
Stricken October 1, 1969.
Sold February 22, 1972 and broken up for scrap.
Revell packaged the Fletcher very well in a 37 ½” X 10 ½” X 5 ½” sturdy cardboard box with a separate cardboard divider inside for the hull sections.
The kit is made up of over 500 pieces of gray styrene representing an early “Round” bridge type. The hull is made up of two separate hull halves, port and starboard. If you wish to make a waterline project, the “bootstrap” line is molded onto the hull. There is a decal sheet for making the USS Fletcher or the USS Chevalier. There is a wrap of black thread for rigging and rails. There is a quite extensive instruction booklet that appears to be well written.
I have waited 6 months or so for this kit. I saw no early arrival in the USA, so I got mine from the UK (WEM). I plan on investing about 6-8 months into a static model, so it is with that in mind that I give my “impressions”.
This kit appears to have the proper shape and it looks like a Fletcher Destroyer. I scaled to 144 a set of USS Abbot hull plans and overlaid the Kit hull to the plan. It is pretty darn close. The hull sheer line “might be a little more pronounced in the kit. I found no flaws in the moldings (yet) and there has been almost no flash present.
This kit appears to provide a good basic shape to start detailing or enough detail for an OOB build. There is nothing spectacular in molded-in detail. I will say that having modeled for a while some companies “Appear” to upscale smaller scale kits into the “big boys”. This really appears to be an honest and well planned kit for the 1/144 scale………for the super-detailer or Out of Boxer.
Except for the 5”38 mounts and torpedo tubes, I did not inspect weaponry. These mounts are basic. Ladders are molded on.
1. There is good hull plating detail.
2. There are no ladders molded into the stacks, they are separate styrene pieces.
3 Very good detail in whaleboat davits.
6. Detail is good for the torpedo tubes. Room for scratch but looks ok for OOB to me.
7. Bulkheads are not loaded with detail. Some bulkheads have some raised rivet detail. Mostly none.
8. Railing stanchions provided in styrene, rigging thread provided in black.
9. This is a BIG kit. I can SEE things now.
1. There is no PE provided. For this modeler, I need that sharp crisp intricate detail for the ship to “Pop”.
2. The main deck walkways are lightly molded onto the deck parts.
3. Some ladders are molded into bulkheads.
4. Hatchways are all closed. Void of detail.
5. This is a BIG kit. Yes this was listed above as well. It’s going to take up space at over 31 inches long. Fortunately, it’s narrow.
Conclusions: (my personal conclusions, yours may vary)
1. A very good basic kit that is good enough for OOB and a great starting place for scratchbuilders.
2. If you want to do research, there is so much that can be done with this kit in this scale.
USS Abbot DD-629 Website for very good blueprints of the ship.
USS Abbot website
NavSource Naval History - Photographic History Of The U.S. Navy
Destroyer History: Fletcher Class
Fletcher Class DD's
USS Kidd DD-661 Museum, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
USS Kidd DD-661 Museum
USS The Sullivans DD-537, Buffalo, NY
USS The Sullivans DD-537 Museum
Note from the Editor:
Thank you, Steve!
And also a link for the Fletcher Class DD that I have visited, last century, of course:
USS Cassin Young, DD-793, in Boston
USS Cassin Young DD-793