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USS Frank Knox DD 742

DML 1/350 USS Frank Knox DD 742 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review July 2012 Manufacturer DML
Subject USS Frank Knox DD 742 Scale 1/350
Kit Number 1045 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Nice looking model Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $61.95

First Look

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As the United States drew closer into World War 2, the US Navy was unhappy with the existing classes of destroyers in service. In 1939, a new class was developed to address the deficiencies of the existing destroyers and this would become one of the largest classes of destroyers ever produced - the Fletcher class. With around 175 examples produced, the Fletcher-class saw action throughout World War 2 and well beyond. As good as any design is, there are always improvements that are identified from combat experience. The next increment of 58 destroyers were based upon the Fletcher-class, but the five inch gun mounts were replaced by twin-five inch gun mounts, dual rudders, and additional anti-aircraft gun mounts. This new class was DD 682, the USS Allen M. Sumner. As construction of the Sumner-class was underway, the next improvement was a 14 foot extension put into the midships to enlarge the fuel cells and provide extended range. This new variation would become the Gearing-class with 99 ships completed before the contract was cancelled as the war drew to a close.

The USS Frank Knox DD 742 was commissioned in December 1944 and arrived in the Pacific for the final battles of the war. The Knox was present in Tokyo harbor for the surrender of Japan and remained in-theater as a radar picket. The Knox saw further combat in Korea and in Vietnam before she was decommissioned in January 1971. A few days after her decommissioning, the Knox was commissioned into the Greek Navy as the Themistoklis D-210 and would serve through the early 1990s. The Themistoklis was used as a torpedo target and sunk by a Greek submarine in September 2001.

DML has released another installment in the Gearing class with this USS Frank Knox kit. As with the previous releases, this kit is is designed for the basic ship modeler as well as the AMS modeler in mind.

Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on 18 parts trees plus two frets of photo-etched parts. The kit can be build full-hull with stand or as a waterline display model.

Construction starts out with assembly of the various gun mounts, turrets, and antennas. Some of the assemblies like the radar masts have your choice of plastic or photo-etched antennas depending on your skill level and comfort working with small parts. As you look through the kit and these early steps, you'll note that there are some really small parts that come together to replicate the detailing of these guns and radar antennas.

Next starts construction of the first level of the superstructure onto the main deck. There are a number of parts that come together to enclose this part of the superstructure and this is where time and patience will pay dividends. With the deck mounted atop the first layer of superstructure, construction continues with the next layer of superstructure as the ship is built-up one deck at a time. Soon the bridge, main mast, funnels, sensors, and all of the armament and radar subassemblies all come together to replicate this warship.

Once the superstructure is assembled onto the main deck, the assembly is mounted to the hull and the photo-etched railings can be installed. Study the instructions as the parts are called out in an overhead diagram of the vessel.

Markings and painting instructions are provided for the Knox in her combat debut in 1945.

I've seen previous releases of the Gearing class on store shelves for a while, but I had not had the opportunity to look inside the box of one of these beauties until now. DML has done their usual great job with the design of this kit and the only reason this model is rated for experienced modelers is the use of some tiny parts that may frustrate less experienced modelers. Nevertheless, the AMS modeler and the experienced naval modeler will both be satisfied with the details in the box and the inclusion of photo-etched detailing that negates the need for aftermarket details. Nicely done!

Definitely recommended!

My sincere thanks to Dragon Models USA for this review sample!

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