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Dragon Black Label 1/700 scale USS Zumwalt

Kit:7141 // Scale:1/700 // Price:$34.99
Snug-fitting deck; faithful to scale
Sonar bulb required a lot of work to fit the hull below the waterline; mattress-size RAM needs to be sanded down
Injection-molded, 62 parts (4 photoetched metal), decals
Dragon continues its Black Label product line with a cutting-edge modern ship, the USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000), due to begin sea trials in 2015. The kit has just 62 parts for a $7 billion vessel and can be built in a weekend.

The main armament — two 155mm advanced gun systems for shore bombardment (62-mile range) — is realistic and perfectly scaled. They may be posed either open or closed, with hatches provided in the same manner as the 57mm amidships. The only crew deck area will be the flight deck, which supports an MH-60S helicopter and as many as three MQ-8 Fire Scout VT- UAV helicopters. The single MQ-8 Fire Scout VT-UAV helicopter provided is perfect, with photoetched-metal rotor blades and landing skids. The MH-60S is created by modifying an older SH-60 LAMPS type with corrected parts provided on an updated D sprue; either chopper would be appropriate. The hangar bay may be built open or closed. The model has a full underwater hull and stand, but you may build it as a waterline model, too.

A full set of decals provides hull, aircraft, and flight-deck markings; none posed a problem. There are no photoetched-metal railings for the foredeck, as none will be aboard the actual ship as it deploys.

In the large, pyramidal superstructure, the openings for vents, radar and optical sensors gibe with recent photos. According to information from the Navy Times, the scale length is within 1mm at the waterline and the width is exactly correct.

Certain features of the model will need to be modified to reflect the current ship, as modifications have occurred during production. The conical sensor mast atop the superstructure has been deleted (with a micromast added), and the 14-ton Mk.110 57mm turrets amidships aft have been replaced by 2-ton Mk.46 Mod 2 30mm guns. The oversize radar-absorbing-material (RAM) tiles on the ship’s upper balsa-core carbon superstructure and hangar deck areas are barely evident onboard the real Zumwalt and should be sanded down for a more-realistic appearance.

Some minor problems included: difficulty lining up parts B3 and B4 (the bow sonar bulb); sink marks on two parts (C1, the keel fins); 57mm hinge-plate parts C5 and C9 did not fill completely; and the side hull has sunken vertical sections where the internal bracing is present. All are minor issues, but they’ll take some time to fix.

Overall, this is a very nice kit of a 21st-century warship — an unusual one, from its controversial wave-piercing hull to its unique pyramidal superstructure to the capacious transom doors at the stern. You can build it in a weekend — or take a bit longer to enjoy the build.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the February 2015 FineScale Modeler.

Get an in-depth tour of the vessel here.
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