1/700 Gearing FRAM Destroyer
by Jim Shirley Productions

Reviewed by Rob Mackie

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Scale:               1/700 waterline

Media:            Resin 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 couldn’t 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 D’Amato, 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.

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A photoetched fret is included. It is useful but lacks deck railing. Consider using the Tom’s 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