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Panda 1/350 scale USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81)

Kit: No. 1006
Scale: 1/350
Manufacturer: Panda, imported by
Dragon Models USA, 626-968-0322,
Price: $24.50
Comments: Injection-molded, 270
parts (18 photoetched metal), decals
Pros: Good subject, accurate
Cons: Soft details, poor fit, unclear
instructions, decals responded poorly to
setting solution
The USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) is an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer and the only U.S. warship named after a foreign national. The ships of this class are designed to complement Ticonderoga-class Aegis-equipped cruisers defending carrier battlegroups against air/missile attacks. Panda Models' new offering is a good representation of this ocean escort.

The sprues are flash-free with well-molded parts, most of which have an small gate that must be removed. The detail is not to scale in some areas and is a little soft.

Topside, the fit of the decks to the hull was good in some areas and only fair in others. Bonding these parts a small section at a time will help alleviate gaps between them. The propeller shaft struts join the hull in deep rectangular troughs that need to be filled to produce a smooth contour. Gaps also appear where the propeller shaft housings meet the hull bottom. Be careful here because in step 11, the port and starboard propeller shafts (parts D14 and D15) should be reversed.

The forward superstructure is straightforward, but beware of alignment problems. The assembly will align on the port side, but there were overhang problems on the starboard side and where the superstructure meets the hull. There was also a large gap where the forward edge of the superstructure meets the deck.

The aft superstructure assembly is better, except for the gap between it and the hanger bay. Assembling the mast is a little tricky; be careful locating the photoetched parts to the yardarms and attaching the assembly to the forward superstructure. Watch for proper alignment.

The instructions call out Gunze Sangyo paint colors, but I mixed my own, using Testor Model Master acrylics. The decals were a little troublesome. I went through a lot of Micro Sol to get the perimeter markings to snuggle down on the foredeck. Once the decals were on, I added the photoetched railings.

I spent about 20 hours on my destroyer. Fit and alignment issues took most of the time. Be patient and test-fit often, and you can add a good replica of this modern ocean warrior to your collection.


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