The long-awaited 1/700 destroyers from SkyWave have finally been released. Kit W63 is USS Livermore (DD-429) and W64 is USS Monssen (DD-436). Both models are identical, containing two sprues of light gray plastic parts. One sprue – 47 parts – consists of the hull and superstructure, with optional bridge and deck parts to build Livermore class ships at various times in their careers between 1940 and 1945. The other sprue has 136 parts: weapons, directors, anchors, life rafts, radars, cable reels, boats, and more. Each kit provides enough material to build virtually any combination of weapons that were fitted on these vessels.
The box art for W63 depicts the ship in pre-WW2 configuration, and the assembly instructions are for an as-commissioned ship with five 5"/38 mounts (including two without shields), twin banks of quintuple torpedo tubes, and no 20mm or 40mm guns. The artwork for W64 is circa 1942, in Measure 12 Mod camouflage, and a black-and-white painting guide for USS Gwin and USS Farenholt is provided. A generic decal sheet with large, pre-war shaded hull numbers and small WW2 white numerals is included in the kit, and also provides two flags, two ensigns, and an assortment of national insignia for aircraft in three styles.
Round funnels identified the Livermore (or Gleaves) class ships, whereas the almost identical Benson class ships had square funnels with rounded edges. SkyWave is planning to market USS Benson (DD-421) and USS Caldwell (DD-605) as future releases.
Together, these two classes comprised 96 ships that bore the brunt of the early combat in both oceans in World War Two until the larger and more capable Fletcher (DD-445) class could be built in significant numbers.
An excellent reference on the Benson/Gleaves classes is Warship Pictorial #12 in the Classic Warships series produced by Steve Wiper: 72 pages loaded with detailed photographs. In conclusion, these kits represent an important addition to the 1/700 range of WW2 combatants. Highly recommended.