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benson title

USS Benson (DD-421) was laid down in May 1938, launched in November of the following year, and commissioned in July of 1940. The lead ship of the glass that would bear the brunt of the fighting in the opening years of WWII in the Pacific and Atlantic, she served most of her time in the Atlantic and Mediterranean theaters. Due to a collision with the destroyer Trippe, and subsequent repairs, she missed the Allied invasion of North Africa, Operation Torch, in 1942. Afterwards, she spent most of her time escorting convoys around the Mediterranean. She provided support for the invasion of Sicily in July 1944, and the invasion of Southern France in August of 1944. She returned to the United States in January of 1945 for refit, then was reassigned to the Pacific theater, arriving at Pearl Harbor in May of that year.

Benson finished out the war in the Pacific, escorting carrier raids on Wake Island, then providing convoy escort and general patrol between Ulithi and Okinawa. Post-war, she decommissioned in 1946, and sat in reserve until transferred to China in 1954, where she served as the Lo Yang (DD-14) until 1974, at which time she was sold for scrapping. USS Benson earned four battle stars for her WWII service.

Paints Used

Hull Red: Model Master Acryl #4228 Anti-Fouling Red
Hull Gray: Model Master Acryl #4223 #5 Standard Navy Gray
Deck Gray: 1:1 mix of Vallejo Model Air Dark Sea Gray (o48) and Gray Green (055)
Boot Strip and Stack Tops: Vallejo Model Air Black Gray (056)
Railing Coverings and Black Bags: Vallejo Deck Tan (986)

This is the 1940 boxing of the Dragon models Benson/Gleaves destroyer kit. It basically contains everything in the previous wartime fit kits, plus the extra parts needed for the pre-war version as seen here. These parts include .50cal machine guns, alternate bridge assemblies, intricate searchlight tower for the aft deckhouse, additional boats, and several other period-specific pieces.

This was my first experience building a Dragon ship kit, and I have to say it was a fantastic experience. I've never worked with plastic so well detailed that also fit so seamlessly. I did have a bit of an issue getting rid of the hull seam where the lower hull attaches, but I'm going to write that off to my inexperience with building full-hull kits. There is also a known issue with these kits, in that the forward deckhouse is a bit long and needs sanding at the forward bulkhead to fit, but that's a quick fix if you know of it going in. Otherwise, construction was quick and relatively painless.

I did replace some detail on the bulkheads, as can be seen in the photos below, but that was mainly my own call and desire to super-detail, and was not required at all by the kit. Overall I spent 10 months building this ship, but while working on a few other projects, so I really consider this a six-month build. The full build article for this model can be found in the Modelwarships.com forums, by clicking HERE.

I primed the ship in Mr. Surfacer lacquer, and then went with acrylics for everything else. Gloss coat for weathering was done with Future floor wax, and the final dullcoat was applied using Golden Varnishes' Polymer Varnish with UVLS. The base is from Grandpa's Cabinets, and one of the nicest pieces of display work I've ever seen. Rigging was done with two mediums: Flag halyards were rigged with Caenis fishing line, while the standing rigging was done with individual strands of EZ-Line.

Overall this was a great project. I built it as part of a club build for NJIPMS, hence the tight time line (for me) and the lack of extensive scratch building and modifying. I will be building at least one more of these Benson class kits, hopefully to convert to a Sims class destroyer. I sincerely hope Dragon returns to the ship kit field in the future and delivers more US warships of this caliber.


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