by Dakota Gorder
This model is of the ‘round bridge’ Fletcher-Class Destroyer USS Saufley. Saufley is depicted as she appeared from October 14, 1944, when she finished a refit at Hunters Point Navy Yard in California, until her next refit in January of 1945. During this time, Saufley participated in the liberation of the Philippine islands, providing escort for troop convoys. While conducting such escort missions Saufley aided in the sinking of Japanese submarine I-46 and was damaged by a kamikaze on November 29 off the island of Leyte. During her wartime service, Saufley earned 16 battle stars, making her one of the most decorated USN ships of WWII.
The model is built from a 1/350 scale kit of USS Fletcher during her 1942 configuration. Converting Fletcher to Saufley in her 1944 configuration involved significant changes. Wartime experience had revealed the Fletcher-Class’s original anti-aircraft armament to be insufficient. As such, photos of Saufley during her Hunters Point refit reveal additional anti-aircraft guns and upgraded radar being added. These new guns, their fire-control directors, and radar were added and replaced the ones included in the kit. Furthermore, the necessary platforms and alterations to the ship’s superstructure to accommodate such upgrades were modelled as well.