by Donald W Grasmick
1/700 USS Delaware BB-28 (Samek)
This is a full departure from my Cold War era ships. I've lived in Delaware since 2002 and thought it about time I have my adopted home state represented in my fleet. What struck me most when researching this ship was that her actual dimensions put her roughly the length of todays United States DDGs. Delaware came in just over 20K tons in displacement compared to the 6,800 ton Burke class DDGs. The USS Delaware was crewed by just under 1,000 men. Delaware was a lead ship of a class of (2). The follow-on ship was the USS North Dakota (BB-29). Delaware was the 1st "Dreadnought" class of ship for the US Navy.
I like the overall lines of this ship. We don't often see models of ships from the very early 20th century however there seems to be an increasing availability of pre WWI and WWI ships by European model companies on the market as of late. It appears that this early era of steel warships is now getting their due attention. I've modeled Delaware in her post 1919 refit. Samak gives you the option with extra parts to either model the ship in here earlier configuration or late appearance. Truth be told, there isn't very much difference between her early or late fit. The main visual difference is that the bridge and look out levels are slightly different. The late appearance also has one additional "enclosed" lookout level above the bridge and affixed to the cage mast. Not being able to find very much information about the true paint color she wore, I decided to go with good ole Modelmasters 5-H Haze Gray (in Acrylic) for all vertical sections and the hull. For the main deck I went with Tamiya XF-57 Buff. I know its buff but when testing certain "wood" colors and the absence of any color photos...Delaware was broken up (in 1923) long before color film, the XF-57 just seemed the "right" color for me. Totally open for debate but I think my artistic license was relatively close for teak deck plank color.
Overall, I'll say that Samek put out a nice model. It was well researched and appears to stand the test of overall accuracy. Minimal cleaning of the resin was needed. The Kyrlon gray primer did its job well and the above listed airbrushed colors went on without a hitch. I did upgrade the 10 resin main 12" gun barrels to Master models brass barrels and the cage masts with the Blue Ridge Models cage mast set for the Delaware class. The aftermarket cage masts were well worth it as the PE cage masts that came with the model A. needed to be hand rolled and B. once rolled, gave that "cone" look which is not realistic by any standard. The Blue Ridge cage masts have that appropriate inward taper look that is hard to replicate with rolled PE. This was one of the "fastest" models I've completed. I didn't rush, the lack of any complicated superstructure was the main reason. Delaware was completed in (3) months of primarily weekend construction work. Also this was a ship of the all "big gun ships" era and there wasn't very much else to place on the decks, lol.
I enjoyed this model a lot and is a good contrast to the WWII and modern ships. I hope you all like how she came out. I do have plans for early and late fittings, if anyone is planning on building a Delaware or North Dakota, I'd be happy to share my research. :)
Donald W Grasmick