This project was a birthday present for my dad, who relishes his days as a "Tin Can Sailor" aboard the USS Maddox (DD-731) in the mid 1950's. The expression on his face when he saw the final product when we gave it to him for his 65th birthday was something I'll always remember.

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The Maddox was a Sumner Class destroyer. Since no 1/350th scale kit exists of a Sumner class I decided to use the DDR USS Dennis J Buckley kit from Blue Water Navy. This kit gave me a little better of a starting point with which to begin. I decided to do this as a waterline kit since it would be placed in a water based diorama. Obviously the main "conversion" was cutting the kit down from a Gearing class length to a Sumner. This required removing a little over a 1/4" from the hull . Out came the mitre box and saw. Once the cut was made and sanding finished I drilled three holes in each end and glued in brass tubing and glued the ends back together for structural strength. Plasti-card was used to create the aft deckhouse, lockers, etc. The single and twin 3" gun sets as well as the Mk56 director was provided by my friends at Iron Shipwright (free - they're great guys!!!!). I added some details to the Mk15 torpedo tube mount using plastic rod. The tri-pod was done using brass tubing and wire. The Mk 10/11 Hedgehog projectors were created by using plasti-card. Many other changes were made that would be too great to take-up in this space.

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Research was done using Sumrall's Sumner-Gearing-Class Destroyers book, Friedman's U.S. destroyers book, photo's my dad had, and a postcard he had from when he was on the Maddox. Something that made this project so special was guidance from a gentleman who had answered a query I made on the Maddox Alumni site. As it turned out, he (Dale) had worked with my dad on the ship, ate dinner at my parents house and remembered my mom and dad, even though they never stayed in touch. Dale gave me a great amount of information with pictures and from his memory. We got to know each other through our communications. I consider him a real friend and hope to meet him in person one day.

The display case was from B & C Plastic Inc, who I highly recommend. I gave them the measurement's I needed, sent the money and had the case at my door in about 11 days. The price was very reasonable, the acrylic case is clear and the wooden base was perfect for a base that was going to have Liquitex gel used to simulate water.

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This was my first resin kit let alone a 1/350th scale ship, with all of the conversions, photo-etch work and the artificial water. From start to finish it took me a little under two years, with about six months of no activity involved. The entire project was quite a daunting task for me but I knew what it would mean to my dad. I have to thank some folks from Steelnavy.com for their articles. The wealth of information that I received was fabulous. I'd like to thank Rusty White, Joe Lyons, Ed (no last name), David Nickels, Charles Parker, Jeff Herne, Mike Czibovic, Donald Simon, and Bob O'Connor. I hope I haven't forgotten anyone.

Al Kaplan

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