Panda Models 1/350 USS Arleigh Burke
This is a delightful new kit from Panda of the USS Arleigh Burke in 1/350 scale! Finally a well done injected kit of the Aegis destroyer is available. Read on.
USS ARLEIGH BURKE, the first ship of the AEGIS Destroyer class, was commissioned in Norfolk, Virginia, on July 4th, 1991. Admiral Burke the Navy's most famous Destroyer Sailor and Mrs. Burke were present at the commissioning ceremony.
The naval architects who designed ARLEIGH BURKE incorporated many lessons learned by the Royal Navy during the Falklands campaign. The AEGIS Cruiser class was becoming too expensive to continue building, and too difficult to upgrade. The DDG 51 design includes "stealth" technologies, which improve the ship's ability to defeat anti-ship cruise missiles. Further, her all-steel construction provides greater protection for the superstructure, while her Collective Protection System allows the ship to operate in environments contaminated by chemical, biological, or radiological hazards.
After commissioning and throughout 1992, ARLEIGH BURKE conducted extensive testing at sea. As is often the case with new ship classes, Navy and commercial engineers encountered a number of discrepancies in shipboard systems that required the attention of the cognizant design and production agencies. An additional phase of testing was added to verify the effectiveness of the modifications made to these systems--modifications incorporated into later ships of the ARLEIGH BURKE class.
During her fourth cruise in 2000-2001, ARLEIGH BURKE saw service in the Mediterranean and Red Seas and the Arabian Gulf, enforcing United Nations sanctions against Iraq and conducting exercises with allied and coalition naval partners. ARLEIGH BURKE has earned one Navy Unit Commendation, three Meritorious Unit Commendations, three Battle Efficiency Awards, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Kuwait Liberation Medal, and four Sea Service Deployment Ribbons.
This review kit arrived in a nicely done retail box. The box art shows stylized photographs and line drawings. Side art shows color photographs of a completed model. The four frets and large free hull are molded in hard light gray styrene. One sheet of photo-etch parts is included with the kit! The fan fold instructions are very well done and feature clear drawings
The full hull is nicely shaped and has two holes for mounting on the base. The sonar dome is particularly well done. Panda paid a pretty price for the tool to mold this! The water line is represented with raised marks aiding in hull painting. There is one puzzling problem with this piece. The entire hull is covered with some kind of raised rivets and vertical rails. Beats me here folks, but the detail should be easily sanded off.
On the Trees
Fret B contains the main deck in four pieces, and the kit base. Detail is sharp on these large pieces. Anchor chain details are molded into the bow but should not be a problem removing. On the helicopter deck the warning stripes are raised on its surface. Decals of these marks are provided so I would again remove this unnecessary detail. There are molded-in ladders on the helo deck that I also plan on replacing.
Fret C contains superstructure parts, masts, and weapons. The superstructure parts have very nice detail molded in details. The masts are nicely scaled and usable. Various ships weapons are well molded. Hey it looks like Panda has a winner right out of the box!
Fret D contains the rest of the kit's details. These include ship's boats, lifeboat canisters, missile directors, rudders, and props. Parts are delicately molded without a hint of flash. Care should be taken in removing these very fine parts from the sprue. The ship's main gun turret is particularly nice with inscribed detail.
This inexpensive kit comes with a fret photo-etch railings and flight deck netting! Wow, at this price? The PE is done in steel and is a tad heavy for the scale. Surely, some aftermarket detail sets are in the works for this model. I will use them for the build.
The decal sheet is busy and well printed. The decals are well registered and thin. Markings for DDG 51 through 58 are provided. Just an excellent sheet here with lots of details such as exercise ratings and the like.
I am impressed with this kit. I recommend it to average to experienced small-scale ship builders. This beauty should build up to an impressive model right out of the box. With very little extra work this should be a showstopper! Can't wait to start building now!