This review of the Midship Models 1942 USS Mahan has the same design history as found in the review of the Midship Models 1938 Mahan. However, it also includes a new operational history for the ship from escorting Lexington on December 7, 1941, through her ramming attack on USS South Dakota, through her exile to MacArthurís Navy to her final combat as a recipient of three kamikazes.
For the first release of Midship Models, the Bagley/Gridley/Benham classes of destroyers were chosen. These were the one stack, four torpedo mount destroyer designs, which very alike to one another. These kits all shared a bulk of common parts with specific parts or features distinguishing each of the four. For the second series of USN prewar destroyer designs Midship has chosen the Mahan class, or more accurately the Mahan/Dunlap classes, as the Dunlap was a slightly modified Mahan design. Again Midship has produced four new destroyer kits but with this release Midship has taken even greater strides in distinguishing the four kits one from the other. This class preceded the Bagley group and were characterized by twin slim funnels, three torpedo mounts and five 5-inch gun positions.
One problem of having a huge industrial base capable of turning out warships at comparatively lightning speed is that sheer numbers produced during a war inhibit further development of those types of warships after the war. Of course most countries would love to have the industrial base to allow mass production of warships but only in the United States was mass production of warships realized to its greatest capacity. At the end of both world wars the USN had a glut of new construction that in effect became a millstone for further development. After all, why should Congress want to fund any new aircraft carriers after WWII when the USN still had all of those fine Essex Class ships, not to mention the three big Midway Class already purchased.
In the 1920s the USN was in same situation when it came to new destroyer construction. Congress was not in the mood to fund new destroyer designs. Why fund new destroyer designs when the USN was sitting on 300 perfectly good flush deck destroyers purchased for World War One? After all, most were extremely low mileage and went from the builders straight to reserve, since they were delivered after the war was over. Congress was more than happy to just count numbers and not look a quality or what was being developed for other navies. The staff for the U.S. Navy could not afford to do so. As the 1920s progressed, it was clear that every major navy was making significant advances in destroyer design and capabilities. The Royal Navy, which had their own glut of late war V&W Class ships had started introducing newer more capable designs. France was building some large super-destroyers and most worrisome, Japan had introduced the Fubuki "Special Type" destroyer. Of course the Japanese special became the Japanese standard as Japan saw the manifest silliness of continued building of obsolete designs when you had a superior design on hand. The USN could only watch as Congress simply counted numbers and turned down destroyer construction.
However, the leadership of the USN could do something. If they couldnít get Congress to fund new construction, at least they could get the different navy boards to submit the characteristics that they would like to see in a new destroyer design. The results were interesting as they reflected different theories of destroyer operations. In early 1927 a base or control design was developed. This design was of 1,600 tons, 34 knots and armed with four long barrel 5-inch/51, one 3-inch/50 AA and twelve 21-inch torpedoes. To get the torpedoes on centerline the base plan called for two six fish mounts with three tubes over and three tubes under in each mount. These plans were sent throughout the fleet to draw comment. Commander of Destroyers liked it and pressed for an immediate lobbying campaign on Congress. However, he wanted to change the guns to 5-inch/25 so that the torpedo fit could be four triple mounts and the main guns could provide AA coverage. Additionally that would free up space because a separate 3-inch AA gun would not be needed. The commander of the battlefleet also liked the concept of the 5-inch/25, the same gun as used on the Treaty Cruisers, as the main armament. He likewise saw that this would greatly augment the fleetís AA capability. The Bureau of Ordnance also liked the 5-inch/25 as the 4-inch guns on the flushdeckers already could shoot farther than the ability of the destroyers to effectively direct their fire. There was no need for a long range gun if it could not be accurately directed at long range. Ordnance did not like the six-torpedo mount. They considered it far too heavy and urged an improved three-tube mount or a new four-tube mount. Even the Bureau of Aeronautics chimed in with their preferred design. The Airedales wanted a modified flush-deck design with the entire stern dominated by a catapult turntable for two seaplanes. However, the whole exercise came to nothing as Congress turned a deaf ear to the pleas of the navy.
The inter-bureau discussion of optimum characteristics continued. Director of War Plans didnít like the 5-inch/25 because he felt that ships so armed would be vulnerable to foreign destroyers in a gunfight. Director Fleet Training much preferred the AA abilities of the 5-inch/25 over the anti-surface capabilities of the 5-inch/51. Ordnance had made somewhat of a flip-flop. Now they wanted large destroyers with the 5-inch/51, able to take on the large foreign destroyer designs. However, throughout this there was a group of officers that thought the question of gun caliber was immaterial. For them the reason for the existence and prime power of the destroyer came with its torpedoes.
In 1930 new discussions had broken out concerning three possible designs. One was a destroyer leader of 1,850 tons with four 5-inch/25 guns and two quad torpedo mounts with reloads; a 1,500 design that dropped to two triple mounts and lastly a small 1,375 design that carried triple mounts at waist positions. Since the USN had fielded torpedo squadrons on their carriers, destroyer launched torpedo attacks were seen as much more remote and gunpower to match foreign designs was seen as the prime consideration. Finally in February 1931 Congress funded five new destroyers for the FY32 Program with another three for FY33. This resulted in the Farragut Class, which emphasized surface firepower with five 5-inch/38 as the perfect compromise between the 5-inch/25 and 5-inch/51 crowds as the 38 caliber weapon was exactly half way between the poles. Torpedoes would be carried in two quadruple mounts on centerline. It was with the Farraguts that US designers first started coming so close to the 1,500 ton London Treaty limit for standard destroyers, that further development of the design would be hindered.
The FY34 Program saw a greatly expanded naval program. With the country in a depression and FDR in the White House, the former Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy saw increased naval spending as perfect for not only increasing the navy but also adding jobs. FY34 called for 16 ships in the Mahan Class. The class added a third quadruple set of tubes so that one mount was on centerline and two in side positions. However, the raised centerline mount had problems. Torpedoes fired from that position would sometimes not clear the ship. They would strike the side deck before hitting the water, ruining the torpedo. The Mahan class made minor improvements to the Farragut design with one major improvement. The Mahans introduced an advance in propulsion.
It was decided to use the most advanced and powerful power plants available. This was partly prompted by a difficulty found in planning the Mahan class. Major builders wanted to stay with the old Parsonís turbine technology and did not want to use new fangled turbine technology based on Westinghouse designs for land based turbines. To overcome this foot-dragging, small firms with no preconceptions were chosen as the initial builders. They were just happy to get the contracts and would build anything the navy asked. Three builders were awarded contracts for the first six ships. Prior procedure was to select one of the builders to prepare working plans for all ships in the class. However, because of their small size, none of the three chosen companies had a sufficient in-house design staff. Accordingly, the navy entered into a contract with the design firm of Gibbs and Cox of New York. Since Gibbs and Cox had designed passenger ships incorporating advanced propulsion systems, the USN required that these be worked into the design. The maximum rotation of the Farragutís turbines was 3,460 rpm, while the new design used in the Mahans was 5,850 rpm. The plant also utilized very high-pressure steam. The design was compact and allowed 50,000shp from a machinery space that former had produced 42,8000shp. Some critics thought that this powerful plant was too complex and would be a nightmare to maintain. The service of the Mahan class proved them wrong, as later it was said of the Mahansí plant, "the most rugged and reliable of any main drive installation ever installed in the Navy up to that time." However, trial top speed jumped from 35-knots with Farragut to 38-knots with Mahan. Additionally the new machinery was more efficient than Parsonís turbines. Not only did maximum speed jump upwards, but new plants increased the cruising range to 8,730nm from the 7,400nm of the Farragut. From this point Gibbs and Cox became a prime design firm for the USN.
The Mahan class was also designed for greater stress than the Farragut class. This decision was also criticized. Many said that Mahan could not use her extra power because high/stress, light construction would permit too much vibration. They argued that the frame should be reinforced and the weight needed for this strengthening should come from reducing the gun armament to four 5-inch mounts or by reducing torpedo mount to three tubes, rather than four tubes. Other changes were cosmetic, including the introduction of a crew shelter located between the bridge and number 2 mount. In 1934 all 16 vessels in the class were laid down and they joined the fleet in 1936 and 1937. They were also initially given a light tripod foremast instead of the pole mast in the Farragut. This tripod was a design feature for that year because the large destroyers of the Porter class leaders of that year also used tripods. In theory the use of the tripod would enhance AA gun coverage. Pole masts required cable stays, which interrupted the lines of fire of the .50 machine guns and DP 5-inch guns. Tripods used the strength provided by the support legs rather than cable stays and the legs were closer inboard. To improve the efficiency of the gun crews, two crew shelters were worked into the design. One was forward in front of the bridge and the other was aft on the shelter deck between guns #3 and #4. These shelters also provided to be the base for light AA gun positions. Two .50 machine guns was mounted on top of each shelter.
Operational History of USS Mahan
In October 1942 Mahan was one of two Comdesron 5 ships escorting Enterprise and South Dakota in Task Force 16. Task Force 17 based around Hornet was also at sea in the Solomons. On October 26, 1942 the ship was involved in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. The Imperial Japanese Navy came out on top as they sunk Hornet. In this battle South Dakota, newly equipped with 40mm Bofor guns, claimed 32 Japanese aircraft but was given credit for 26. South Dakota was on top of the world. However, that night, as Task Force 16 was withdrawing South Dakota, which had fought off hoards of Japanese bombers, had not counted on a new adversary, the USS Mahan. A submarine contact caused both ships to change course, unfortunately to a collision course. The Mahan collided with the battleship and oddly, the South Dakota came off worse. South Dakotaís damage from Mahan was so severe that she was almost ordered to return to the US for repairs. Of course in any collision between a 1,500-ton ship and a 35,000-ton ship, the smaller of the two will get a few nicks and scratches.
The Exile of Mahan to MacArthurís Navy
At the start of September Mahan and her mates were the escort group for the invasion of Lae. The destroyers bombarded Japanese positions prior to the landings. As dawn crept over the eastern horizon at 0600 on September 4, the destroyers opened fire at the beach positions 2 Ĺ miles away. From 0618 to 0628 Mahan lit up the coconut trees that boarded the landing beach and then hauled clear for the first wave of landing troops. Very little resistance was encountered. As MacArthurís forces approached the town of Lae on September 8, Mahan, Perkins, Smith and Flusser delivered a heavy bombardment of Japanese positions. This was an important operation, even for the USN thrust up the Solomons, because just across the Vitiaz and Dampier Straits lay Cape Gloucester, the western tip of the island of New Britain. At the eastern tip of that island was Rabaul, the main base of operations in the area.
On December 26, 1943 MacArthur used the 1st Marine Division, rested from their exertions at Guadalcanal, to invade Cape Gloucester. USS Mahan, along with five other destroyers, provided escort for the 1st and 2nd echelons of invasion craft. Mahan, Flusser and the motor minesweepers YMS-49 and YMS-52 formed a unique harbor control unit. At night the destroyers used their radars to enter Borgen Bay. At the northern edge of the Bay was the wreck of the Japanese destroyer Mikazuki. The wreck was at a known location and plotting radar returns of Mikazuki allowed the destroyers find their positions and pass a guarding reef. Once past the reef Mahan and Flusser used their underwater sound gear to plot shoal water. These areas were spotted for YMS-49 and 52, who then rushed in to mark the dangerous water with buoys. Powder cans from Flusser were used as improvised buoys. To secure the western side of the Vitiaz Strait an invasion was scheduled for Saidor on January 2, 1944. Their were only minimal Japanese forces in the area but not only would seizure of Saidor secure the western end of the strait, but also it would cut off major Japanese forces inland. Mahan and seven other destroyers were tasked as escort and pre-invasion bombardment. The landings were picture perfect and of the whole force their was only one casualty. The force of Mahanís 5-inch fire broke a radio transmitter free of the bulkhead on the bridge of Mahan. The flying transmitter hit the head of Ensign Leo Leary. The Japanese forces cut off by this operation started to filter through to the coast at Gali, where they hoped to be evacuated by sea. Gali was 37 miles west up the coast from Saidor and on September 8 Mahan and Reid bombarded the unhappy Japanese soldiers at Gali. On February 28, 1944 Mahan and seven more destroyers performed the same escort/bombardment service for the invasion of the Admiralty Islands, north of New Guinea and northwest of Rabaul. This was another block in the ring around Rabaul to cut off the Japanese bastion. Although MacArthurís SW Pacific thrust closed off Rabaul from the west and Nimitizís South Pacific thrust closed on Rabaul from the east, the two theaters finally merged with the invasion of the Philippine Islands.
Mahan Misses Leyte Gulf but Finds Kamikazes
In November 1944 the ground campaign to seize the island of Leyte had ground to a halt because of torrential rains and the mountainous interior of the islands. Japanese reinforcements were pouring in from the west during the nights, especially into the northwest tip of the island. The far northwest corner of Leyte is on the shape of a pork chop with the wide portion called the San Isidro Peninsula . This peninsula runs north to south and is bound on the west by water. To the east it narrows to a bridge before connecting to the rest of the island. At the north point is the town of Pinamopoan on Carigara Bay. A road runs to the south, connecting Pinamopoan with the Ormoc at the southern point of this bridge to the peninsula. Ormoc, on Ormoc Bay , was the headquarters of the Japanese 35th Army and one of the favorite unloading points for reinforcements and resupply. As long as the Japanese could be reinforced and supplied from the west, the longer it would take the allies to conquer all of Leyte . MacArthur was impatient and wanted to mount an amphibious operation against the island of Mindoro but was persuaded to delay that operation until Leyte had been completely occupied.
Pinamopoan had fallen to US X Corps on November 4 but a drive south on the road to Ormoc had been delayed at a mountainous line called Breakneck Ridge. To the south and east the US XXIV Corps was pushing toward Ormoc. To prevent further reinforcement of the island by the Japanese, the USN started mounting destroyer sweeps in Ormoc Bay and the western side of the San Isidro peninsula. Because of the difficulties in moving men and material over the mountains in the center of the island, it was decided to make another amphibious end run in an assault on Ormoc. A force was gathered to carry the 77th Division in an amphibious assault on beaches three to four miles southeast of the town, designated Beach White #1 and #2. Rear Admiral Struble, commander of Amphibious Group 9 was designated as the commander of this operation. His force was designated Task Group 78.3. This task force had six component units. The Escort Force was composed of 12 destroyers for surface/ASW/AA protection, as well as fire support. There was a Support and Inshore Control Group of two SC and four LCI(R). Because of the ever-present threat of mines, there was a minesweeping unit of nine AM and 1 APD. For transportation of the army troops there were three transport groups. A heavy group had four LSTs and a light transport unit had 27 LCI and 12 LSM. The third transport unit was the Fast Transport Unit composed on 8 APD.
The first wave of troops were landed from the APDs. They shoved off from the eight converted destroyers and destroyer escorts at 0647. Sixteen landing craft took this first wave in to the two beaches and the troops went ashore with minimal opposition at 0707. The second wave was the other 16 landing craft from the APDs came in. The next two waves were LCIs from the Light Transport Unit and the fifth wave were 12 LSM, which landed vehicles and equipment. After unloading the first two waves of troops, the 32 landing craft of the APDs returned to their ships to load the last of the troops. By 0930 two full combat regiments were ashore and under the command of the 77th Division commander, Major General Bruce. There was little opposition as the operation had achieved complete tactical surprise. Four minutes later, the first Japanese air attack on TG 78.3 was picked up on radar at 12 miles. This attack was unusual and savage in its intensity and was just the start of a day of terror from the air.
The Task Group needed to set up anti-submarine cordons on the two entrances to Ormoc Bay. Mahan, under the command of Commander E.G. Campbell, APD Ward and the minesweepers Saunter and Scout were tasked to provide the ASW screen in the western approach, between Calunagan Point on Leyte and the island of Ponson to the south. They had set up and were conducting their mission. At 0948 a Japanese aerial assault bore in from the west and the first USN encountered in this assault was the Mahan picket line. Kamikaze tactics had been inaugurated during the Battle of Leyte Gulf but still were not widespread in December 1944. With this attack on TG 78.3 Japanese bombers made conventional attacks on the USN ships but if a bomber was hit, it would change its attack to a kamikaze mission. Although intercepted by four P-38 fighters, the Japanese aircraft flew through to the attack. The attack concentrated on the destroyer USS Mahan and APD-16 USS Ward.
Mahan saw the attack coming in and opened fire at 3,000 yards. The AA barrage from the Mahan was very effective. The Oerlikons of Mahan knocked down their first bomber and it crashed just 50 yards short of the destroyer. A second bomber passed right over the ship and gunners forgot her as they concentrated on the other bombers coming in from the west. Mahanís gunners claimed another two Japanese aircraft at a safe distance from the ship. However, no matter the skill of her gunners, the luck of the Mahan had run out. A fifth aircraft hit Mahan just aft of the bridge and a sixth aircraft hit her on the waterline. In the meantime, the 2nd aircraft that had passed over the Mahan had doubled back and slammed into the ship between the waterline and forecastle. Mahanís gunners claimed a fourth attacker and another attacker, damaged by P-38s crashed short of Mahan. In the span of four minutes Mahan had shot down four attacking aircraft but three more had slammed into her. Mahan set a course due east into Ormoc Bay and raised speed to 34-knots as damage control parties tried to put out the fires.
However, the high speed also fanned the flames from the hits and Mahan cut her speed and drifted to a stop, in order to put out the flames. The fire had already reached the controls for flooding portions of the ship and the crew could not access them to flood the forward magazines. By 1001 it was clear that if the fire reached the magazines a catastrophic explosion, destroying the ship and most of the crew would occur. Commander Campbell everything that would float to be jettisoned and ordered abandon ship. Survivors were picked up by destroyers Walke and Lamson. Although the fire had still not touched off the magazines at 1100, Admiral Struble commanding the Task Group ordered Walke to finish the Mahan with gunfire and torpedoes. In spite of the terrific punishment that she received, Mahan suffered fairly low casualties with ten dead and 32 wounded.
In his After Action Report on the loss of Mahan, Commander Campbell stated, "In closing, it is desired to emphasize the reluctance with which both officers and men abandoned the Mahan. A great many members of the crew had been on board since the beginning of the war and had helped bring the ship through many exciting moments such as the Battle of Santa Cruz; the landings at Woodlark and Trobriand Islands, Salamaua, Lae, and Finschhafen; the torpedo plane attack off Finschafen the early part of November 1943; the bombardment of Madang and Sio; and the landings at Arawe, Cape Gloucester, Saidor and the Admiralty Islands. It was like leaving behind an old friend who had seen you through a great deal of trouble, and now that he was in trouble you were powerless to save him. After the word had been given for the damage control personnel to leave the ship, it was decided to make another attempt to flood the forward magazines. Even at that time, with the ship rocking back and forth from the force of the explosions, two men volunteered to go forward. The explosions then became so intense it was decided not to make the try but the willingness to do so was a grand gesture on the part of a fine crew for a wonderful ship." (History of the United States Naval Operations in World War Two, Volume XII, Leyte, 1958, by Samuel Eliot Morison) (History from: History of the United States Naval Operations in World War Two, various volumes, 1958, by Samuel Eliot Morison; United States Navy Destoyers of World War II, 1983, by John C. Reilly, Jr.; U.S. Destroyers, An Illustrated Design History, 1982, by Norman Friedman)
Midship Models Mahan 1942
Midship Models has just released four new 1:700 scale models of USN destroyers based on the Mahan class. Actually three of these are from the Mahan class. This review is on the USS Mahan DD-364 as she appeared in 1942 with her encounter with USS South Dakota. Two other Mahan class models from Midship are the Mahan as she appeared in 1938 (Click for Review of the Midship Models Mahan 1938) and the highly modified USS Cassin DD-372 in 1943. The Cassin was heavily damaged with USS Downes on December 7, 1941. The pair shared the drydock with USS Pennsylvania and the destroyers were wrecks after the Japanese air attack. Cassin was rebuilt and emerged with a British style bridge. The fourth model is of USS Dunlap DD-384 as she appeared in 1938 after commissioning. The Dunlap and Fanning are considered a separate class from the Mahan, which basically used the Mahan design but substituted the new ring mounted 5-inch/38 DP gun in fully enclosed gun houses for mounts #1 and #2, open mounts with gun shields found in the Mahan. If you have any of the first four destroyers released by Midship Models for the Bagley/ Gridley/ Benham classes (click for review), you will have noticed that Midship provides a great number of common parts on the sprues, as well as some parts used for specific ships. The new quartet takes this process even further. There are two large sprues, A & B, that are common to all four kits. However, a smaller C sprue is included in two of the kits and three of the kits have a resin pilothouse. They further share a common set of decals but the instructions are of course tailored for each individual model. The USS Mahan 1942 fit is one of the kits without a third C sprue. The 42 Mahan and Dunlap kits use just the two large plastic sprues that are found in all four kits. With this kit you can build the Mahan class as they appeared in the Guadalcanal campaign. With this fit of Mahan 20mm Oerlikons have made an appearance and gone are the tripod and .50 machine guns of the prewar version. The 1942 early war Mahan is painted in the standard Navy Blue 5N.
Armament & Equipment Ė A Sprue
Sprue A is the weapons sprue and is common to all four kits. On this weapons sprue, youíll find almost every weapon system mounted on USN destroyers during World War Two. It appears that this sprue is the same as the one included in the Gridley/Bagley/Benham kits from Midship. Youíll only use a portion of the weapons in building the ship so youíll also have a great source for spare parts with each kit. There are three flavors of five-inch gun on the weapons sprue. For the 1942 Mahan youíll use the open mount 5-inch/38 and the 5-inch 38 within an open-backed gun shield used in the 1938 fit. Youíll find four open mount guns and platforms on the weapons sprue. Since you only need three of these for mounts #3,4 & 5, that leaves you one spare. You will need two shielded mounts for #1 & 2 guns, four of these guns are found on the weapons sprue but the two gun houses are found on the B or superstructure sprue. The five-inch/38 guns for the open mounts have very nice detail for their small size and are some of the nicest ordnance on the weapons sprue. They are further complemented by the gun platform pieces, which have grid platform, fuse setting positions and other detailed features. The combination is very nice indeed. The guns for the forward mounts have slightly less detail than the open mount versions, as most of the gun will be hidden within the gun shield. However, these parts have significant detail as well, so you are not being shorted in this department. The sprue also contains four closed mount/38 gun-houses and barrels but these are only used on the Dunlap kit. The weapon sprue includes four very nice four-tube torpedo mounts, although you only need three for the kit.
There are enough AA guns included on the weapons fret to fit out a cruiser. The sheer number and variety allows you to go beyond just the four Mahan/Dunlap ships specifically produced and to model other Mahan variants. As an example, the weapon fret provides two quad 40mm Bofor guns with mounts. These were found on late war fits of Mahan but not until 1944. However twin mount Bofor gun appeared earlier in 1942 and the weapons sprues provides for four of these and of course appear in the build of the 1942 fit Mahan. Both the quad and twin Bofors are well detailed and I would use them even if the barrels are a little too thick. The sprue also provides two quad 1.1-inch gun mounts. At least one Mahan, the Shaw, had this unreliable ordnance installed at mid-war. The 1.1-inch ordnance is overly thick and not as detailed as the nice Bofor guns. For some reason three small editions of the 1.1-inch guns are on the sprue. Presumably somewhere between 1:1200 to 1:1400 scale, they may be useful to modify warships in this smaller scale but of are no use in 1:700. Eight 20mm Oerlikon light AA guns are provided, which is more than enough for any of the various AA fits found in the class. Each gun consists of the gun and a separate shield/pedestal mount. They to are on the thick side but are useable. One omission is the pre-war/early war AA machine gun. There are none on the weapons sprue. The best solution would be to use photo-etch machine guns because at 1:700 scale they would be small. However an alternative would be to use the 20mm guns from the sprue and remove the gun shield. Rounding out the armament are two rows of depth charge stern racks.
Although the A sprue is dominated by armament, other fittings are found there as well. These parts will include wartime shipís boats; two types of radar array; stack caps; gun director & director radar; davits; signal lamps; searchlights; paravanes; square edged carley floats; round edged carley floats; cable reels in two sizes; and kingposts. There are also a number of other late-war fittings, which will be covered in a subsequent review. As with the weapons the are plenty of spares for maximum flexability. Both types of carleys are very well done, as are the signal lamps and searchlights. However, some equipment can not be adequately portrayed in plastic or resin, in that only photo-etch can capture the open design. Radars are chief among them and photo-etch parts would be better for the radars, davits and stack caps. Although Midship Models will probably have a photo-etch set designed for the Mahan class, it is not out now. However, the Midship photo-etch fret developed for the Bagley/Gridley/Benham class kits will probably fulfill 90% of your photo-etch needs. Although you wonít get the right stack caps, almost every other item should be covered. (Click for a review of the Midshipt/Trident Benham photo-etch fret.)
Hull & Superstructure Ė B Sprue
The bulk of the kit is found on B sprue, which includes the hull, forecastle and almost all of the superstructure. As with the weapons sprue, not all parts found on B sprue are used in the build of any one kit. The hull is one piece, except for a separate forecastle part. The hull sides forward of the breakwater are significantly thinner than the hull sides aft of the breakwater. This makes it very easy to drill out the porthole/scuttles. There are two rows on each side found only on each side of the bow. This may be a sensible step, as there are not that many and the scuttles are rather shallow if you donít drill them out. The deck has quite a bit of detail at the deck break. Four indentations are actually locator positions for the trunking of the two stacks. One piece of machinery that will be underneath the separate trunks of the forward funnel is molded integral to the deck. Also, the pedestal for the centerline torpedo mount is found here as well. Other features found amidships are locator holes for the tripod, guides for solid bulkheads, pivots for wing torpedo mounts, locator hole for searchlight tower and a pair of twin bollards. On the quarterdeck are base plates for the two depth charge racks, four more twin bollards, a deck access fitting and the base for #5 gun. The separate forecastle fits well into the well in the hull. Features on this part are four sets of twin bollards, a deck access fitting, anchor windlass and fittings and the base for #1 gun.
Superstructure parts can be very well detailed. The bulkheads are especially nice. When it comes to the superstructure the shape of each Mahan diverges from the other because of the parts required for the different fits vary. As an example there are four long superstructure bulkheads but only four are used for the 1942 Mahan. When it comes to the various decks of the superstructure, there is even more of a divergence. The B common sprue contains three large shelter decks but only one of these for the forward shelter deck is used. There are two different bridge faces, one with square windows (used in prewar and early war versions) and one with portholes. There are two different navigation decks. Only about 70% of the parts on B sprue will be used for any one fit of the Mahan kits. The stack trunking is excellent, as each funnel rises from four separate trunks. The stacks have reinforcing bands and steam pipes. Since they are in two pieces, divided at centerline, you will probably need to smooth seams. Be careful in doing this so that you donít remove detail or damage the steam pipes. Three stack caps are provided.
The 1942 Mahan as a special hooded cap for the forward funnel. Also found on B sprue are: pole foremast used on the 1942 Mahan as that replaced the prewar tripod; various tubes; platforms; gun shields for #1 and 2 guns of Mahan class; DF loop, davits; side deck edge bulkheads; solid propeller guards (use photo-etch if possible); as well as other parts for the war-time fits. Nothing on B sprue strikes me as being oversize. To the contrary the parts strike me as very well done and some such as the pole mast and DF loop appear more finely done than are commonly found in an injected plastic kit. I do have one bone to pick with the kit Ė anchors. Plastic anchors were omitted in the Gridley kits through oversight. However, there are no plastic anchors in the Mahan kits either. Iím sorry anchors are part of the basic ship and should have been included on one of the sprues. This another area where the Midship Benham fret comes to the rsecue. Of the four kits just released by Midship, the 1942 Mahan and Dunlap use only the parts from the two primary sprues. The kits for the 1938 Mahan and Cassin include an extra extension of the B sprue for specific parts for those two fits not found in the two major sprues.
The decal sheet included in the Mahan kits is also the same one included in the Midship Gridley kits. There is certainly nothing wrong with this, as the sheet is very comprehensive. Printed by Microscale, the sheet has about every adornment that a World War Two destroyer would have. There are 36 pairs of signal flags for your message hoists that will certainly add color to the finished model. There are two sizes of national flags and two jacks. The balance of the sheet is composed of seven sets of numbers. Two sets are shaded white numbers in two sizes. Both of these sets come with four rows of numbers from 0 to 9. This should handle any ship, except for one with number requiring three of the same digit. There are three sets of numbers in black in three different sizes. The largest set has only three rows, so it presents a problem in that any ship with a number that includes two of the same digit can not be represented. The other two sets of black numbers have four rows, so only ships with three of the same digit, such as DD-444, could not be represented. There are two sets of numbers with all white numbers in two different sizes. The larger sized set comes in six rows and smaller size in eight rows, so there are no restrictions as to numbering with either of these two sets. Of course for the 1942 Mahan, your looking at small white numbers on the dark 5N paint scheme.
All of the Midship Mahan/Dunlap kits come with one sheet of back-printed paper, folded to create four pages of instructions. The first page contains a variety of information. On this page are sections on the statistics of the ship; painting chart with Model Master and WEM Colourcoat paint codes listed; parts display; class listing with fates; general instructions; and computer generated color plan and profile of Mahan in 1942. In 1942 the Mahan was painted a dark Navy Blue 5N with small white numbers. The next two pages are the actual assembly diagrams. This is accomplished through 14 modules. The first ten cover subassemblies. These are on: open gun mounts (3,4,5); mounts with gun shields (1,2); forward stack; aft stack; gun director; bridge; forward superstructure; aft superstructure; 20mm Oerlikons and twin 40mm Bofor mounts. The next four steps illustrate attachment of structures, forward armament & fittings, aft armament & fittings, and lastly a view of the finished model. The assembly steps are illustrated primarily through clear drawings, although some text explanation is included. The last page is sort of a throw-back to the classic Revell and Aurora kits in that it shows the other kits in the Midship range, except these box tops are shown in full color.
The Midship Mahan 1942 presents a distinctive build for this class as they appeared at the end of 1942 with Oerlikons and twin Bofor mounts. This kit makes an interesting comparison with the prewar 1938 Mahan to show how the class quickly evolved with the appreciation of the aerial threat. With the Mahan line Midship has improved on their initial release of the Gridleys and provides more distinctly different designs with the four models in this release.