USN Destroyer Tender
AD-14 USS Dixie

1:700th scale model kit
By Loose Cannon Productions

In-box review by: John Sheridan


The Ship:

Dixie Class Destroyer Tender: Laid down as the lead ship of the Dixie Class Destroyer Tenders, 17 March 1938, at New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, NJ; Launched, 27 May 1939; Commissioned USS Dixie (AD-14), 25 April 1940; Decommissioned (date unknown); Struck from the Naval Register 15 June 1982.

Ships in Class:

AD 14 Dixie AD 18 Sierra
AD 15 Prarie AD 19 Yosemite
AD 17 Piedmont

Specifications: Displacement 16,500 t.; Length 530' 6"; Beam 73' 3"; Draft 24' 6"; Speed 18kts; Complement 1,262; Armament four 5"/38 dual purpose gun
mounts, four 40mm gun mounts; Propulsion, steam turbine. 

Despite their title, destroyer tenders service a variety of ships besides destroyers. The Dixie class destroyer tenders can provide battle damage repair, maintenance and logistics support to ships at anchor or moored to a pier, in a wartime environment. The crews are formed mainly of technicians and repair crews.  They can provide simultaneous services to as many as five ships moored along side.  

The Dixie class Destroyer Tenders were the first Modern Destroyer Tenders built for the for the US Navy. They were constructed just before WWII and were desperately needed when the US Navy lost most of their forward bases in 1942.  These ship and their highly trained crews provided outstanding service in repairing battle damaged ships all over the globe. This class of Tender served the Navy for over 40 years before being retired and replaced by more modern ship. 


The Kit:

The Loose Cannon kit of the USS Dixie represents the ship as she appeared during the latter half of WWII   The ships changed very little during their service lives so it would be an  easy kitbash to upgrade this kit to a more modern configuration if you desire.

The kit is packed in a nice sturdy cardboard box that will keep the contents from being crushed. The kit itself is packed in plastic bags and the photoetch is sandwiched between two pieces of cardboard to prevent damage. My kit arrived with no damage whatsoever and al of the parts well secured to the inside of the box.

The kit is comprised of the hull (waterline only), Detail parts, and the Photoetch fret. The detail parts are all made of resin (no whitemetal) and cast on a tree with the parts numbered for ease of placement.  The casting of the hull and detail parts is very good with a minimal amount of flash to clean up. There was no warpage of resin parts and I found only a few minor casting mistakes that were easily repaired.  As with any resin kit, most of the parts will require a minimal amount of sanding to clean-up in preparation for assembly. 

The Photoetch fret is very well done and  includes all heavy boom tackle and reinforcing latticework. The fret also includes ladders, railings, and gun shields and everything else required to complete this kit. The parts to build the heavy lift cranes are loaded with detail and would make excellent models all by themselves.

The instructions read more like what you would find in a injected plastic model kit. The instructions include drawings as well as text to explain where all the parts go. With the detail parts numbered on the casting trees, assembly of the model should be fairly easy for even a novice modeler. No decals were included in the kit so you are on your own to find hull numbers and flags.

The instructions provide a painting design sheet for the MS 32/4a camouflage pattern Dixie carried during 1944-1945. Since this is a complicated pattern, it is nice of Loose Cannon to provide a sheet for this camouflage pattern. 


Conclusion:

This kit would go nicely set in a diorama of 4 destroyers and Dixie all tied up together. For a 1:700th scale shipmodel, this kit packs a tremendous amount of detail for a small scale kit. This kit not for a novice modelbuilder so you might want to build a few easier kits (like those destroyers I just mentioned) before attempting to build this kit.  Loose Cannon has done a very good job with this model and would definitely recommend it to anyone who desire a nicely detailed, well designed 1:700th scale shipmodel.

dixie_photoetch.jpg (186519 bytes) dixie_decks.jpg (207558 bytes) dixie_parts.jpg (278110 bytes)
dixie_decal.jpg (16980 bytes) dixie_profile.jpg (43515 bytes) dixie_top.jpg (55661 bytes)