with some etched brass
Strengths: Accurate, nicely cast, easy
construction, subject matter
Weaknesses: Instructions, lack of surface detail
The FRAM (Fleet Rehabilitation And Modernization) program greatly extended the useful life of Gearing
class destroyers. Many of these modernized Gearings served in the US Navy well into the
1970s, over 30 years after their launch. And they continue to serve in many smaller
navies. See the Gearing FRAM photo
feature elsewhere in Warship for a more in depth examination of these ships.
This Jim Shirley Productions kit is a generic FRAM, representative of a typical
early 60s Gearing destroyer after FRAM surgery. Casting is very sharp and clean, and JSP
got the hull sheer line right, something that Skywave couldnt do in their recently
released WW II Gearing destroyer. Most of the deck structures are cast integral with the
hull, which greatly simplifies construction. The bridge windows are raked at too sharp an
angle, easily fixed with a little light sanding. The smaller parts are resin cast, many of
them copied from Skywave accessory frets. The 5" guns are beautiful. The master
builder, Joe DAmato, added the distinctive ribbing to the forward 5" gun mount.
There is some surface detail cast into the superstructures, but not a lot. It is not
essential that you add more, the kit stands on its own. But if you insist on adding
"density bits" to your Gearing, the photo feature will give you lots of ideas.
And you will be amply rewarded. This kit could be a knockout with a little extra effort on
the part of the modeler.
A photoetched fret is included. It is useful but lacks deck railing. Consider
using the Toms Modelworks US Destroyer fret to supplement the kit-supplied
photoetch. And note that the JSP fret includes a tripod mast. For a more convincing
treatment use the PE version as a template and fabricate your own from brass rod.
The instructions are usable and include a numbered, illustrated parts list. The
illustrative photos are poorly reproduced, a recurring problem with Jim Shirley kits. The
Gearing FRAM photo tour should answer most of your construction and detailing questions.
I like this kit. It is accurate, easy to build and clean. You can construct it "out
of the box" and get nice results, or get crazy with super detailing and produce a
stunning little gem. The potential is there. Recommended