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USS Lassen

Trumpeter 1/350 USS Lassen DDG 82 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review December 2008 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject USS Lassen DDG 82 Scale 1/350
Kit Number 4526 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Very nicely detailed Burke-class destroyer kit Cons  
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $89.95

First Look

USS Lassen
USS Lassen
USS Lassen
USS Lassen
USS Lassen
USS Lassen
USS Lassen
USS Lassen
USS Lassen
USS Lassen
USS Lassen
USS Lassen
USS Lassen
USS Lassen

The USS Lassen is an Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer that is homeported in Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan. This ship is named for Medal of Honor winner Clyde Everett Lassen who rescued two downed aviators in Vietnam under heavy fire in his UH-2 Seasprite helicopter.

The USS Lassen was commissioned in 2001, powered by four gas turbine engines that can propel the ship above 30 knots. At first glance, it only appears to be armed with a single 5 inch main gun, but the Lassen, like the other members of the Burke-class, are armed with a number of vertical launch cells below deck that can fire the Standard Missile SM-2, Tomahawk cruise missile, and ASROC missiles. The ship is also armed with torpedo tubes and two Phalanx CIWS gun systems.

Fight IIA Burke-class destroyers are distinguishable by their twin hangars to accommodate two SH-60 Seahawk helicopters, improved 5 inch gun, deletion of the towed sonar array, deletion of the Harpoon missile launchers, among other features.

It is always interesting to see the gun battle between DML and Trumpeter as far as kit subjects go. DML released the DDG 92 USS Momsen (Flight IIA) while Trumpeter released this DDG 82 USS Lassen. You might think that these should be identical kits, but there are some distinctive differences between those two ships. More on this later.

Trumpeter molded this kit in their usual light gray styrene and presented it on eleven parts trees, plus separately provide upper hull and main deck. The kit also includes two parts in red for the full lower hull or waterline hull options, two parts trees in clear styrene, and one fret of photo-etched details.

When you look over the instructions, you'll see just how much detail is provided in this box. Trumpeter has taken great steps to capture as individually molded parts many details that other companies might simply mold as lumps on the deck. You can see the longer-barrel gun on the 5 inch mount that is fitted to this ship, the close-in gun mounts for proximity defense/security, and much more.

The hangar doors can be posed open or closed, so you can show one in the stall and one on the pad. The RAST tracks are clear and run into the hangars. The stowable flight deck extension plates are rendered in photo-etch and can be posed out for flight ops or up for safety railings.

You can see from the modular parts that make up the superstructure that Trumpeter is planning to accurately render other members of the Burke class with the right details.

I really like the details on the yardarms where Trumpeter has captured the various antennas that are fitted to these combatants. Even the ESM and Link 16 antennas are present.

As usual in Trumpeter's ship kits, you have your choice of a full-hull model on a provided stand, or a waterline presentation. Either way, you'll have some nice details to show off.

A nice touch in this kit is the set of photo-etched railings that capture one of the essential details of a ship model and are near impossible to do right in styrene. Normally the railings are left to the aftermarket companies to fulfill. You won't need any aftermarket details with this kit.

The SH-60 Seahawks are molded in clear styrene. If these are carefully masked and painted, the effect should be outstanding with the ability to see light through those windows. Nice touch!

The kit provides a very nice set of decals for the various identification and safety markings, as well as a number of spare drop-shadow hull numbers to render other ship numbers should you opt to do one of the Lassen's sisters.

In a new development, Trumpeter provides a nice full-color paint guide that is easy to read and provides paint colors using Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya, and Humbrol paints. Keep that up Trumpeter!

I was pleasantly surprised to see this kit arrive for review as I had previously squirreled away the DML DDG 92 so that I could have a Burke-class destroyer on my desk. How do the two kits compare? Well, I'll be doing a comparison article soon, but the short story is that they are both nice kits, both have photo-etch, the DML kit has the new shields for the gas turbine exhaust ducts added to those later Burkes, and the DML kit is about half the price of the Trumpeter kit. Now that I've seen both, which one would I buy? The Trumpeter model. The kit is twice the price, but it has significantly more detail. I'd recommend the DML kit to less experienced modelers, but if you want an accurate Burke, you'll want the Trumpeter kit. More details to come in the comparative review.

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!

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