It happens time and time again. The United States Navy finds itself in a major war and huge numbers of ships are ordered, most of which are not operational before the end of the war. This trend is particularly noticeable with destroyer construction. In World War One the hundreds of flush deck four-pipers did not see combat. However, their numbers delayed new destroyer designs for a decade. The same thing happened in World War Two. At least the majority of Fletchers saw action but most of the excellent Sumner and Gearing classes only saw limited operations. After World War Two no new destroyers were ordered for some time. Following in the footsteps of events after WWI, with a glut of newly built destroyers sitting in reserve, politicians saw no need for providing funds for new designs. In any event, didn't you know the navy was obsolete? What need for any more surface ships when the fly-boys of the USAF made all ships just so many targets? By 1950 the USN had designed a couple of large Frigate/Destroyer Leader designs but they were too big and expensive for mass production. What the USN needed was a smaller design capable of mass production, as a 1950s version of the Fletcher class. he result was the Forrest Sherman class of destroyer. Eighteen were built to this design and they were the last all gun destroyers built for the USN. By the mid 1950s a new technology swept over the USN, missiles. The navy had a handful of cruisers s and only the five large DLs of the Farragut class armed with terrier missiles but no mass produced destroyer. The Admirals wanted a destroyer of a new design, the DDG, Guided Missile Destroyer.
At first it was decided to convert existing Forrest Sherman hulls into DDGs by removing the aft 5-inch mount and adding the Tartar missile system. Even after the USN designed a new DDG, they still toyed with this idea until Secretary of Defense Robert MacNamara scuttled that plan as being too expensive for a system as limited as the Tartar. Another course of action would be to design a new destroyer incorporating missiles but using the Forrest Sherman hull design. That too proved impracticable, as the hull was too small to meet all of the navy's requirements for a DDG. This design became the Charles F. Adams class, which used much larger hulls than the Forrest Sherman class. Twenty-Three C.F. Adams destroyers were ordered for the USN. The first thirteen units used a twin arm Tartar mount but the last en units used a single arm mount. The USN ships served into the 1990s as at first primary escort for carriers but with the advent of the far larger Spruance class destroyers, their roles dwindled. By the early 1990s the ships were placed in reserved or sold.
Additionally, another six modified ships were ordered for the RAN and newly founded West German Navy. The three Australian ships incorporated the Ikara ASW system and the three German ships incorporated macks. The RAN ships were Perth DDG 38 (DDG-25), retired in 1999, Hobart DDG 39 (DDG-26) and Brisbane DDG 41 (DDG-27). The class was modernized to handle the Harpoon missile and the Phalanx CIWS. The Ikara system was landed in 1991. The RAN bought the Goldsborough DDG-20 in 1993 in order to cannibalize the ship for parts for their three destroyers of the class. The stripped hulk was scrapped the following year. The three German ships were Lutjens D185 (DDG-28), Molders D 186 (DDG-29) and Rommel D 187 (DDG-30), which were in service in 1969. Molders was damaged in a fire in December 1987 and was under repair for two years. All three modernized in the 1980s to carry Harpoon missiles and new sensor systems. In November 1995 all three were taken out of service to repair their boilers. Rommel was decommissioned on October 1, 1998 and sold in 1999. In the early 1990s four of the USN ships were transferred to Greece as Kimon (ex-Semmes DDG-18), Nearchos (ex-Waddell DDG-24), Formion (ex-Joseph Strauss DDG-16), and Themistoklis (ex-Berkeley DDG-15). These were modernized with new sonar and fire control systems.
Sprue A – Forecastle and Superstructure
The Dragon Premium Edition version adds new decals and brass photo-etch the initial DML release of the ship. Optional parts and decals are included for US, Australian, German and Greek C.F. Adams ships. Sprue A has the bulk of the parts for the kit. There is a one piece upper hull with decent deck detail but with a couple of dimples in the hull sides. For those modelers who wish to build their ship in waterline format, a base plate is included. As separate forecastle with molded on anchor chains completes the main deck. There are two upper deck parts and as with other, earlier releases DML continues to use raised lines to facilitate painting warning lines. With the use of the included details, there certainly is no need for these raised lines, reminiscent of 1950s Revell kits. Most models will probably wish to sand off and smooth these lines level with the deck.
The superstructure side detail is very nice. The detail includes detailed doors, piping, vertical ladder, portholes and other fittings. Portholes are solid and probably should be opened up with a pin vice. The stack halves are even better, since they feature significant louver ventilator detail. Other parts included on the sprue are stack caps, sensor mounts, masts, mast platforms, radomes, over-size propeller guards, optional plastic radar (use the photo-etch parts), davits, life canister racks, and other assorted fittings.
Sprue B – Weapons
This is the standard DML modern USN weapons sprue found in all modern USN DML kits. This same sprue is found in the Flight II Pinckney DDG kit (Click for review of DML Pinckney, Arleigh Burke class DDG). There are 86 parts on B Sprue. However, only about half of these will be used with the Charles Adams model. Parts used will be the gun mounts, barrels, Asroc mount, ship's boats, single arm missile mount, sensors, anchors and radars. Sorry, neither helicopter is used but they make excellent spares. The balance of this sprue will provide a huge stash of spare parts for other modern USN projects.
Sprues C & D – RAN
& German Detail
Sprue C contains eight parts that are only used for the Australian version of the DDG. These parts are dominated by the additions to the amidships area. This includes a missile deck behind the forward stack. The forward part of the upper deck from A sprue will have to be removed and this part added. Another raised deckhouse part is added just forward of the aft stack. Other Australian parts include foremast, forward bridge radome, missiles and mast yards. Sprue D contains twelve parts only used on the West German variant of the destroyer. These parts include Mack tops, fore top mast, mainmast, aft kingpost and mast yards.
Sprue E – Lower Hull
This sprue contains the lower hull parts, name plate and stand for full hull version. You will not need any of these parts, with the possible exception of the nameplate, if you are building the model in waterline format. The hull is divided at the waterline, with parts for the upper hull on sprue A and lower hull parts on Sprue E provided, so a full hull model can be built. The lower hull is one piece and has a notch at the lower end of the cutwater to receive a separate sonar dome part (E13). Another design feature jumps out, separate bilge keels. Halleluiah, one reoccurring problem with DML lower hulls came in the form of bilge keels as part of the lower hull part. They are always way too thick. Although they could be thinner, these separate bilge keels are far, finer and thinner than the elongated pyramids that serve as bilge keels when molded on to the lower hull. Other lower hull parts included on this sprue are propellers, propeller shafts, and twin rudders. Also included on this sprue is a stand for the full hull model. The name plate states "U.S.S. Charles F. Adams class", so Australian, German and Greek modelers may not wish to use it even if building the full hull version.
Brass Photo-Etch Fret
Most of this fret consists of railings. There are five runs of three bar railing with lower runner/scuppers, four runs of three bar railing with open ended stanchions and one run of four bar rail with lower runner/scupper. Other brass parts include two parts for the main radar (MA4 & 5) for the main mast, cone array on aft gun mount (MA6), aft tower (MA7), and yardarm detail (MA8-11). In all cases, the brass parts will provide more acceptable detail than the plastic parts. Although you get a main radar, unfortunately the foremast radars are not on the photo-etch fret included in the kit. The kit still can be significantly complemented with a modern USN fret from Gold Medal Models.
As with all recent Dragon releases, DML has included a comprehensive set of decals by Cartograf. Names and hull numbers are provided for all 23 USN ships. I do not know if the three Australian, three German or four Greek destroyers had name plates, but they are not on the decal sheet. However, for hull numbers the units of all four nations are covered. USN and RAN use large shaded white numbers at the bow, the German navy uses smaller shaded white hull numbers between the bridge and A mount and the Greek navy uses un-shaded white numbers between the bridge and A mount. National flags are included for all three countries and smaller jacks for all except Greece. Other markings are for the red warning circles, white angular deck markings, unrep location markings and efficiency Es. Other distinctive markings are really nice squadron marking for the stack, red kangaroos for the RAN stacks, whose location I could not identify, although two appear to be green and white German navy crests (28).
Box Art & National Differences
The box art provides the opportunity to see the options provided in this Dragon kit. Since the Greek ships were originally in USN service, they are built to the same set of instructions, although the Greek version has the later single rail missile mount. Of course decals distinguish the ships. Both US and Greek ships can be instantly identified by the presence of an asroc mount amidships. The RAN version is more built up amidships, has unique missile mounts and a prominent radome on top of the bridge. The German version is easily distinguished by the flat mack tops with main radar atop the aft mack and prominent radome on a platform low on the fore mast. USN, RAN and German versions also have different construction for each of their foremasts.
The instructions are in the standard DML format with a single back-printed sheet, which folded comprises ten pages. Page one shows the sprues with unused parts shaded in blue. Page two provides construction icons and paint colors used in Aqueous Hobby Colour, Mr. Colour and Model Master colors, as well as the construction segment for the hull and superstructure of the USN/Greek build. Pages three and four contain construction modules for the USN/Greek version of the ship. Pages five and six provide the construction modules for the RAN version. Pages seven and eight do the same for the German version of the Adams. Page nine shows lower hull assembly and painting/decal guide for the USN ships. Finally page ten had plans and profiles for each of the RAN, German and Greek variants, each of which had painting and decal placement instructions.
The Premium Edition release of the Dragon 1:700 scale model of the Charles F. Adams guided missile destroyer DDG, provides an amazing degree of flexibility and options. First of all the ships of four different nations can be modeled, with optional parts that allows the modeler four different variants of the destroyer. This is further complemented with unique national decals. The kit includes a brass photo-etch fret that includes main radar but not the smaller radars. This DML kit may be a re-release of an earlier version but there is still plenty here for any modeler.