USS Fletcher DD-445, 1942
by Ed McDonald

1/350 USS Fletcher DD-445, 1942 (Tamiya)

This is Tamiya’s 1/350 USS Fletcher DD-445 as she appeared in 1942. It is also one half of a simultaneous side by side build, the other half of which was Dragon’s 1/350 USS Buchanan DD-484 - 1942.

I was actually surprised to find that Fletcher required only 10 hours more to build than did Buchanan (Fletcher 152 hours, Buchanan 142 hours). Please see my USS Buchanan build for specific information on that model and for more information regarding the comparison of the two builds.

This was not an out of the box build. Instead, both Buchanan and Fletcher have been enhanced to the same high detail level that I would normally include on any model. Due to the already high detail of the Dragon Buchanan parts, I expected that it would take considerably less time than the Tamiya.

To be fair, it was my first build of a Dragon kit and I had just previously completed a revised version of Fletcher as USS Nicholas. So certainly, my familiarity with the Fletcher kit and lack of familiarity with Buchanan had something to do with it.

As always the Tamiya Fletcher is an excellent build. I added the following enhancements:

There is one mistake that I discovered too late for correction. The shield around the aft stack searchlight platform should be canvas covered railing in 1942.

My thanks go out to Ron Smith for finding the solution to the issue of antenna insulators. Ron, I’ve been searching for this for years. Your idea of using 32 gauge wire insulation is perfect and produced an excellent result. Thanks again.

I will make one additional comparison note regarding the 5” guns. There is an obvious difference in size between the 5”/38 guns on the two builds. The Buchanan build used the plastic guns included in the kit. The Fletcher build used the somewhat larger Corsair Armada resin guns. So I measured an assortment of 5” guns bodies with the following result:

Curious! I now see why the Corsair Armada guns are such a tight fit on the Tamiya model. Perhaps some day I’ll try to figure out which ones are correct.

Ed McDonald