USS Chevalier DD(R)-805
by Ed McDonald

1/350 USS Chevalier DD(R)-805 1945 (Dragon Kitbash)

This is USS Chevalier DD(R)-805 built from the excellent Dragon USS Gearing kit. The conversion to Chevalier is no small task.

The Destroyer Radar Picket Ship (DDR) was invented in late 1944 to address new needs. The Imperial Japanese Navy was gone – destroyed at the Philippine Sea and at Leyte Gulf. There was little remaining need for quick and nimble fast destroyers making daring night torpedo attacks on massive battleships and heavy cruisers. The very ships that had destroyed the Japanese fleet had, by doing so, made themselves obsolete. The new threat was the kamikaze. A ship was needed that could patrol the far fringes of the fleet, was heavily outfitted with new advanced height finding radar, could provide early warning of a kamikaze’s arrival, carried the equipment, radios and radars required to vector CAP (combat air patrol) fighters to interceptions, carried the equipment to distinguish friend from foe and was heavily armed with anti-aircraft guns for self defense.

Chevalier was one of the first DDRs to be completed. Immediately after her conventional construction, she was refitted as a DDR. The Gearing class was selected for this particular conversion because it was the only destroyer class large enough to accommodate the changes and also to have a long enough range to be able to operate essentially independently for lengthy periods.

In reality, the DDRs had little impact on WW2. Chevalier didn’t arrive on station in the Pacific until 1 July 1945. Her only action was in support of a bombardment of Wake Island on 1 August. After that she joined TF 38 entering Tokyo Bay for the Japanese surrender.

Nevertheless, the idea was nearly prescient and after the appearance of the high speed jet fighter/bomber during the Korean War and the early Cold War, the DDR quickly evolved into the fleet’s most important early warning tool of the 1950s.

This model shows Chevalier, as she appeared in the late summer of 1945, making her way to Tokyo Bay for the Japanese surrender ceremony.

In addition to the Dragon Gearing kit, the following items were also used.

And the following resources:

I would also like to thanks Dave McComb of the Destroyer History Foundation and Sean Hert of for their research and advice.

Please refer to the accompanying build-up report for details.

The Dragon 1/350 USS Gearing kit is, without question, the best plastic kit I have ever seen.

Ed McDonald