Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

Takom 1/700 scale Gearing-class Destroyer USS "Southerland" (DD-743) 1945 plastic model kit review

This small-scale ship makes big waves
Kit:SP-7057 // Scale:1/700 // Price:$51
Snowman Model and Takom (Sample courtesy of mfr.)
Good fitting parts; very good molds; no seams
Hull too deep; instruction illustrations get smaller and are hard to decipher
Injection-molded plastic (gray); 228 parts (33 photo-etched metal; 46 for 1/72 scale Mk.38 5”/38 twin gun mount); decals
The Takom 1/700 scale Gearing-class destroyer USS Southerland (DD-743) 1945 is unique in that it provides both a World War II U.S. Navy ship model (waterline or full hull) and a 1/72 Mk.38 5”/38 twin gun mount. The Southerland was one of just four “Stretched Sumner” or Gearing-class destroyers commissioned in time to participate in the Pacific Theater and held the unique title of the “First to anchor” in Tokyo Bay as WWII ended. The ship itself served until 1981 and was ultimately used as a target in August 1997.

The kit itself includes three styrene sprues to build the 5”/38 twin mount (46 parts) and six styrene sprues (149 parts) along with four single parts as well as a PE fret (33 parts) to construct the full-hull ship. The detailed decal sheet includes markings for USS Frank Knox (DD-742) as well as Southerland plus antiskid markings for decks and gun tubs.

The 10-page instruction booklet is quite good, barring a few issues, with three of the pages devoted to building the 1/72 scale twin-mount gun. Because I planned to use the antiskid decals, it meant painting the decks and applying certain decals before assembly. The decals were printed slightly off so each has to be carefully trimmed on one side to lay flat in the narrow confines of gun tubs and complex deck layouts. Solvaset worked well to help the decals lay down.

Step 1 has you build the various antiaircraft 20mm and 40mm twin and quad guns mounts. The ships 5-inch twin mounts are nicely scaled except for the “riveted” tops—at scale the rivets would be the size of large pots. You may wish to remove them. In Step 1G, parts B4 and B1 for the aft stack, but they should be parts B3 and B4. In Step 4A, you’ll build the forward stack with parts B1 and B2 instead of B3 and B2. Be warned: The instructions call for the forward stack to be installed during Step 3, so you’ll have to do a bit of scanning.

As building progressed through steps 5, 6, and 7, the instruction drawings kept getting smaller till the last was equal to 1/1200 scale. This made seeing where to attach PE parts a bit difficult; the gray styrene and brass photo on the last page helped.

The model measures 6.7 inches x .7 inches, true to Southerland’s dimensions at scale. However, the waterline version seemed to sit too low. I calculated the freeboard of the kit to be 16.22 feet forward and 5.25 feet aft; the real ship’s freeboard was 22.17 feet forward, and 8.5 feet aft. I had to drop the boot stripe to the lower hull to keep the model in proportion. This isn’t a deal breaker, just unusual, and means the model really should be built as a full hull.

The paint guide offers two options: Measure 33a/28d camouflage as Southerland appeared in 1945 or as it looked as the destroyer came out of the construction yards in 1944. Note, the tops of the twin-mount guns should be deck blue instead of light gray.

Overall, I give this kit high marks for fine mold quality, fit, and subject matter. The instruction booklet was fairly well laid out but drifted when it came to PE placement. The finished photo at the end was a help. I spent 28 hours building Takom’s USS Southerland, and it is comparable to similar kits. You’ll need some experience under your belt to finish this as it ought to be.

Read and share your comments on this article

Want to leave a comment?

Only registered members of are allowed to leave comments. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.


Essential finishing techniques for scale modelers.
By signing up you may also receive reader surveys and occasional special offers. We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. View our Privacy Policy.