Most individuals acquire brass photo-etch to supplement or enhance their model kit. With the Gold Medal Models brass photo-etch set for the 1:400 scale USS Ward/Four Piper Destroyer this is not the case. This set is so nice that modelers will acquire the Mirage 1:400 scale model to supplement the photo-etch. After all, no matter how nice photo-etch parts appear on the sprue, they are designed to be used on a model. Well what makes this GMM set the reverse of the norm. It shouldn’t come as any surprise when it comes to GMM, as Loren Perry has always been one of the rare handful to trend setters in photo-etch. With Mirage Models of Poland releasing a series of models of flush/deck/ four pipe USN destroyers in 1:400 scale, it is only natural that GMM should step forward as the outfitter of choice for this line of models. Choice is what you get with this set as it is crammed with different options in outfitting your 4-piper.
For the USS Ward GMM provides specific parts not found on other flush-deckers. There is a gun shield on the forward 4-inch gun, which is different, as most ships were equipped with open gun mounts. Of course GMM includes that hallmark feature of the line, a personality figure. With this fret the figure is the commander of the USS Ward on December 7, 1941, LCDR William Outerbridge. Options are not limited to just to those for the Ward. There are two different styles of bridge windows. One has the traditional large rectangular frames while the other has the larger frames subdivided into smaller panes. There are two different types of stern depth charge racks. The shorter version is used for early war flush deckers, while a longer rack design is used for those later war versions. Another late war addition, not found on the Ward of Pearl Harbor, is the 20mm Oerlikon. Unlike other USN destroyer designs, the old flush deckers did not have the displacement or safety margin to be refitted with any type of Bofor or 1.1-inch AA gun. That ordnance was simply too heavy to be carried by this old destroyer. However, a limited number of 20mm Oerlikons could be added as they did not have the weight of the larger ordnance. GMM provides parts for the shoulder brace, gun shield, gun sight and training wheel for six of these AA guns. For tough winter-time North Atlantic convoy duty, GMM provides optional canvas covered railing in an effort to keep the watch drier. For early versions of the destroyer the fret includes a soaring three-story lattice search light tower.
Even if it is in the realm of traditional ship fittings, Gold Medal Models provides first class quality and detail throughout this fret. Doors are of course relief etched and can be modeled in open or closed position. GMM includes both closed door pattern with dogs and open door pattern with interior door design and an open frame. Carley rafts get an open grid bottom and paddles. Boat ropes add great detail to the ship’s boat davit positions and six life buoys add further detail. The boats themselves have keel and rudder parts. There are grates for the tops of the funnels. Inclined ladders come with bendable treads and have the weight saving voids along the bottom frames. Cable reels, square DF loops, mast yardarms, and ship’s wheel all add extra richness to the build. There is plenty of other generic fittings but when it comes to the railing it certainly could not be called generic. Almost all of the railing on this fret is specifically designed for certain points on the model. The lengths, design and number of bars vary and some have openings for inclined ladders. Designs include straight rail, drooping rail, two-bar rail, and three-bar rail. True generic fittings include anchor chain, eye bolts, and vertical ladder.
Most modelers acquire a kit and then the photo-etch to supplement it. With the new Gold Medal Models fret in 1:400 scale for the USS Ward/ flush-deck destroyers, the reverse is true. You are tempted to get the brass first and then the model to supplement the fret. If you are looking for a model kit to supplement an excellent photo-etch fret, you may consider one of the Mirage 1:400 scale models of the classic flush deck/four-piper destroyers. This kit would work perfectly to complement your GMM photo-etch.