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Fujimi 1/700 USS O'Brien DD975

by Richard Eaton



Finally there is an updated Spruance Class destroyer (USS O'Brien) in 1/700 scale. Fujimi put all the latest gear on their new waterline kit. This kit really fills in a nice notch for current modern US Navy modelers. Read on.

The Class

Spruance Class destroyers were designed as replacements for the aging Allen M. Sumner (DD-692) and Gearing (DD-710) class ships whose service lives ended in the mid-1970s. All 31 ships in the class were built by Ingalls Shipbuilding, a Division of Litton Industries of Pascagoula, MS. Designed for the future installation of weapons systems and sensors not yet developed, and with an unprecedented attention to habitability, the resulting design was a destroyer larger than many WWII-era cruisers. They were the first U.S. Navy major combatants to employ gas turbine engines as their main propulsion. Highly specialized ASW ships, their primary AA defense is a point-defense missile system. The target of much criticism, many viewed the advent of the Spruance destroyer as a reversal of roles from the traditional destroyer, from hunter to hunted. Throughout the years, these ships have received a number of modifications and upgrades. Now, more than 22 years since the lead ship of this class entered service, Spruance Class destroyers have taken their rightful place as the workhorse of the U.S. fleet. Like the traditional (hunter) destroyers of WWII, their service as all-purpose fighting ships is marked with exceptional performance in a variety of missions.

In the 1980s most Spruance Class destroyers received the advanced systems for which they were designed. These systems, long in development, included the SQR-19 long-range towed-array sonar, SH-60B Seahawk helicopters, and new underwater fire-control displays. Updates include:

Anti-Submarine warfare systems:

The SQQ-89 ASW systems were added. Also added were the SQR-19 passive towed-array sonar, SQS-53B attack sonar, and new displays. Enlarged hangers hold one or two SH-60B LAMPS Mk III helicopters; equipped with ASM-119 Penguin anti-ship missiles.

Strike systems:

Twenty four vessels now have the powerful 61-cell Vertical Launch System installed. Spruance Class destroyers fired 39% of the Tomahawks launched during Desert Storm.


Spruance Class ships now benefit from the Mk 23 TAS automatic detection and tracking radar, two 20mm Phalanx CIWS, SLQ-32(V)2 missile-warning detector; and SLQ-32(V)3 ECM active jammer. Radar-absorbent sheathing, reduced-signature masts, and magazine armor now aid survivability.

A strong base to grow a navy from, the Spruance Class formed the basis for the Kid and Ticonderoga classes. What a design!

In the Box:

This 1999 kit from Fujimi, places all the latest technology on the O'Brien. It is a dandy, with clean crisp moldings and no flash. The parts consist of five trees of hard gray styrene parts, a metal "ballast" bar, and two decal sheets. The numerous small parts reveal detail that is state of the art. Each tree is individually bagged which goes a long way in protecting all those delicate parts.

One small tree labeled "cannon" includes parts for the five inch guns, boats, and small bulkhead detail. This is obviously used with other kits. Time and again I had to get my high mags on to fully appreciate the detail in these tiny parts.

The largest tree contains the mast structures, various antennae, superstructure deck and bridge front. Ten parts make up the forward mast structure and mountings while seven assemble into the rear one. The superstructure deck a fair amount of detail with stairs molded in solid. The bridge front is as detailed as all the rest of the outer bulkheads. I really see no reason to add any PE details to these surfaces.

A slightly smaller tree contains the superstructure sides, VLS top and turbine cooling and exhaust housings. Two parts make up each of the cooling housings. A separate decal sheet has vent details to apply to all four sides of each structure. Each exhaust structure is made up of nine parts including separate tiny stacks. I bet those little babies would just love to zing off a pair of tweezers! The main superstructure sides are a marvel of multilevel detail within detail. Automatic life raft sponsions are molded into the pieces. Man! Where is my trusty dry brush! No wait, finish the article first..

The one-piece hull and hull bottom are on one tree. The hull appears accurate compared with drawings. It faithfully captures that rakish bow of the class. The hull bottom piece has an indentation to hold the curious metal ballast piece included with the kit. Adds heft, I suppose.

The last tree contains the flight deck, bow deck, SH-60B helicopters, Mk 15 CIWS systems, Harpoon launchers, boats, and other detail. The CIWS systems are more detailed here than in some 1/350 models I have seen. The Seahawk Helos are nicely detailed and have rotors either extended or folded. Bow detail includes molded in anchor chains and other detail.

The kit instructions are printed in Japanese. There are ample, well done drawings showing assembly. All parts are numbered in the instructions and on the sprue. Marking and painting diagrams are also include.

Decals for the kit include all deck warning striping, flight deck, bridge windows, flags and some decals so small I can't tell ... (a check of the directions and we have Helo markings) They appear to be quite thin and well registered. The decals are all numbered.


Well, now that I put my glasses on and really gave this kit a going over I am quite impressed. I think average modelers would have a great time building up this nice kit right out of the box. Add some PE railings and this one would be a show stopper. I can't wait to start building now!

Our thanks to HobbyLink Japan for this review sample.


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