USS Zumwalt DDG-1000
The US Navy’s pending new guided-missile destroyer class looks like something entirely out of a science fiction movie. Known as the Zumwalt class (Admiral Elmo Zumwalt was the youngest officer ever to serve as Chief of Naval Operations, and he led the USN during the time of the Vietnam War), it features a wave-piercing hull and sleek form to reduce its radar cross-section. The first-of-class USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) was launched in October 2013 and she’s expected to reach initial operating capability in 2016 at a cost of about $1.4 billion. Only three 14,654-ton Zumwalt-class destroyers will be built by General Dynamics. With a crew of 142, USS Zumwalt will reach speeds of 30.3 knots. Her armament includes 20 MK 57 VLS missile modules, two 155mm guns and two Mk 46 30mm cannons, plus she will carry two SH-60 helicopters and three MQ-8 Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). Author's note: the Zumwalt reminds me of the CSS Virginia ironclad.
The kit is a simple build with only about 65 parts, including a small photo etch fret for the MQ-8 drone. In addition to the drone the kit includes a SH-60 helo, and a host of unused parts that you can keep for the spares box. Reviewer's note: this is my 1st model ship since age 10 (?), bear with me !
You have a choice of water line or full hull. I chose the latter. The hull and superstructure, steps 1 & 2, were assembled with a few small notes of caution: the stabilizers (C 1 *2 ) are very thin and I broke one when I cut it off the sprue tree. The front portion of the superstructure (B 2) left a small gap on port and starboard sides that I filled with Mr. Surfacer. When you glue the front of the bow (assembled parts B3 and B4), you will need a small amount of putty to properly shape it to the bow.
I assembled the guns and cannons with no issues, but do make sure the turrets fit into the deck properly. I needed to enlarge the turret openings in the deck. Finally, I glued the drone and helo. I found these small parts a challenge, especially the drone photoetch, but taking my time, each went together with no issues.
Next came the painting and decals. I started by painting the entire ship neutral gray (Testor FS 36270), the decks were then painted Tamiya dark gray (XF 4), and I mixed my own version of anti fouling red (Testors insignia red with leather, about 50/50). The instructions would have you paint only the aft deck dark gray, but I decided to paint all deck areas dark gray as well. For the propellers and lamp finales, I used Testors gold, while the model base was painted Testors Prussian blue. I then airbrushed the entire ship with Future acrylic wax, prior to decaling. For the black stripe at the waterline, I chose to use some Xtradecal black stripes I've had for many years. Well, the decals broke up into 1/2" to 2" pieces, and I had to carefully piece together the port and starboard stripes, using a black marker to fill in any gaps in the stripes. The kit decals went on well, just remember to carefully plan the decal application! You need to very carefully cut each decal from the very small sheet. Take extra care in applying the white line decals, making sure each is straight and properly aligned. After decaling was complete, I gave the model 2 coats of clear flat. I was very pleased with the results, having dealt with some very minor issues !!
The Dragon Black Label line is new to ships and it's fitting to start with this new stealth Destroyer. The kit features new tooling and is smartly engineered to produce a good kit right out of the box. Highly recommended. Thanks to Dragon Models USA, and IPMS USA for the opportunity to review this model.