My Review and Build of Trumpeter's 1/350 scale Kit #4526,
USS Lassen DDG-82 Arleigh Burke Flight IIA Aegis Destroyer
USS Bulkeley DDG-84 Arleigh Burke Flight IIA Aegis Destroyer

Last updated: Added Bulkeley pictures - March 30, 2015 <-- Click to go directly there

Arleigh Burke Class AEGIS Destroyers

The United States navy embarked on an ambitious ship building program in the 1980s to entirely overhaul and modernize its guided missile destroyer fleet and standardize them on a single, powerful, multi-role hull design with the full AEGIS capability that had proven so successful with the Ticonderoga class guided missile cruisers. In addition, learning from the experiences of the USS Stark, the new class was built as an all steel design to improve battle damage capabilities. In addition, the new class introduced sloping and shaping deesign into its structure above the water line to reduce its radar cross section considerably.

The result of all of this development was the Arleigh Burke class destroyers, the first of which, DDG 51, Arleigh Burke, was commissioned in 1985.

These vessles represent very powerful surface combatants that can act in any escort role, in surface action groups, or independently to accomplish any anti-air, anti-surface, anti-shipping, or anti-asubmarine warfare role assigned to them. They are projected to have a 35 year service life. Although they do not have hangar facilities, they do have a full size landing pad and electronic capabilities to accomodate and support LAMPS III Seahawk helicopters as required.

Twenty eight of these 8,300 ton vessels were built.

At that time, the US Navy, with the Spruance class destroyers all decommissioning, and other earlier classes (like the nuclear cruisers) decommissioning, began feeling the need for vessels with helicopter hangers so they could house ASW helicopters that were leaving the at-sea fleet as these other classes of vessels were decommissioned.

So, the decision was taken to modify the Burke class destroyers to handle this need, and then continue building them.

The result was the Flight IIA Burke destroyer. They are heavier in displacement than the earlier Burkes and they give up some of the on-deck armament of the earlier Burkes. For example, they do not include the cannister launchers for the Haerpoon anti-shipping missiles. But they add to that a hanger for two Seahawk class helicopters, and they also added sic more more VLS launch tubes )going from a total of 90 to 96). All in all, the changes included:

•Adding approximantely 1,000 tons to the displacement of the vessel.
•Lengthening the vessel by a few feet.
•Removal of the two quad cannisters for Harpoon missiles.
•Removal of one of the two 20mm Phalanx CIWS on many ships (from DDG 85 on). •Removal of the at-sea reloading equipment for the Mk-41 VLS cells, thus opening up 6 more cells for missile launch.
•Addition of quad cannister Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM) to the VLS cells for CIWS.
•Upgrade of the AN/SPY-1D AEGIS system to the AN/SPY-1D(v) standard for littoral warfare capabilities.

These changes have made the Flight IIA Burke destroyers a more potent fighting vessel and able to perform better in the multi-role missions of ASW escorts while sacrificing little in terms of its other war fighting capabilities. Indeed, some refer to these "new" Burkes as the the Oscar Austin class, the first vessel to be built to the new standard and commissioned in August 2000, though they are officially still named Arleigh Burke class destroyers.

To date, thirty-four of these 9,300 ton vessels have been built with more under construction. Currently at least 10 more Flight IIA vessels will be built.

These will be followedby another iteration, the Flight III Burkes, which will add larger, more powerful AEGIS radars to the vessels. These Flight II vessels will displace at or over 10,000 tons. They will ultimately serve as replacements for the initial Ticonderoga Class cruisers that will begin decommission in the last half of the 2020s. Up to 24 of the Flight III Buirkes will be built.

When they are complete, the Burke class destroyers will be the longest running, most numerous class of destroyers in US Navy history with 96 or more of the vessels being built over a 45+ year span.

Introduction and What's in the Box - December 27, 2012

I built two of these models. The first one (finished in 2013) was the USS Lassen and was for my 1/350 scale Carrier Strike Group (CSG) centered on the USS Enterprise, CVN-65. The second one (finished in 2015) was the USS Bulkeley and was for my Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) centerd on the USS Iwo Jima, LHD-7. Both were built the same way and so except for the pictures of the Bulkeley at the end, I will let the many photographs of the build of the LAssen suffice for both.

With that said, Trumpeter has become the pre-iminent manufacturer of 1/350 scale model warships, particularly modern warships. This model, their kit #4526, is of the USS Lassen, DDG-82, a Flight IIA Arleigh Burke class AEGUIS destroyer. The Flight IIA models include additional vertical launch (VLS) cells and full hangar facilities for two Seahawk anti-submarine helicopeters.

Dragon also makes a Flight IIA Arleigh Burke DDG, the USS Preble, DDG-88. I have purchased this kit as well and intend to build it and compare the two. the Dragon kit is cheaper, but also includes a good Photo Etch set, as does this Trmpeter model. but far fewer parts and a single piece hull. Generlly, the Dragon model has a lot of detail molded into the deck houses which are pre-molded, where as on the Trumpeter model you have many sub-assemblies and more individual part detail. I will compare both builds but generally view Trumpter as the more detailed model, more difficult to build, and with more options. The Dragon models build into very nice models, but are generally less detailed, with less options and therefore an easier build. But, well worth the proce aas they are usually priced $15-$20 dollars less than their Trumpeter equivalent model. Watch for my Preble Build on my Main 1/350 Scale Model Warship Site.

This Trumpter model comes in a beautifully illustrated box, that is well built and very protective. Inside, the hull comes in twp ppieces, the below water-line section, and an above water-line section if the builder wants to build a water-line only model, both pieces are very well molded without any excess flash. There are a total of eight sprues with over 420 parts, including a photo etch part with all the handrails and safetyr netting. No photo etch parts for the sensors and radars, however the plastic parts are exceptionally well detailed and will suffice if one is careful in taking them off the sprues and adding them to the model. After market manufacturers such as Gold Medal Model Works and Tom's Model do make very good after market photo etching for all of the Arleigh Burke class destroyers. I may add one for this model.

The plastic parts are, as stated, extremely well detailed and very well modled, down to some of the most intricate parts, so building the model as is, out of the box can also be extremely satisfying. The parts are modled in light gray, clear (for the helicopters) and gold for the photo etched parts. I intend to use my standard US Navy paint scheme of Neutral Gray for all major vertical surfaces of the ship, a mix of 2 parts red and one part brown of Model Masters paints for the below water line hull, Flat Black for the waterline stripe and other flat black areas, Weathered Black for the funnels and the windows, Flight Deck Stain for the horizontal surfaces outside of the actual landing pad, Flight Deck Gray for the landing pad, Camoflage White for the hangar enterior walls, and Flat White for the radomes and life rafts. Other colors (such as Ensignia Orange for the life buoys), as required. Here are the initial parts out of the box.

At the time I purchased the model (almost a year ago) I did not take a hard look at it, other than opening it and making sure all looked in order. Then, after completing my Trumpeter 1/350 scale PLA Navy's Aircraft Carrier CV-16, Liaoning, and then completing my Tamyia 1/350 scale USS Enterprise, CVN-65, I began to look at this model in more detail.

To my surprise, I discovered that the entire "S" sprue was missing! This is a small sprue that contains all of the bridge window structures and the aft helo deck landing windows! I have contacted the seller (HobbyLinc) to ask them to replace these parts but am proceeding forward trying to scratch build the respective parts as I go. If I get the parts later, I will (if I do not do a very respectable job on the scratch builds) take the model apart and rebuild those areas with the appropriate parts.

The Build - Painting all parts and initial deck houses construction - December 31, 2012

I first go through and paint all of the parts on the sprues their respective colors, figuring to do any touch-up work later after they come together where necessary...and it is always necessary.

So, here are all the main parts painted accordingly:

Then it was time to actually start building the various major deck house structures. This shows the after deck house areas being built and the forward one (with my initial work on the missing parts shown) completed. I will further work on the sracth build of the bridge areas later.

All in all the detail of the vessel is quite good with this kit, and I expect it will continue to come together nicely with furute reports. Back again in a few day's time.

The Build - Mid-ships Deck House, Hangar Bays, and intial Railings complete - January 4, 2013

Well, I contacted HobbyLinc and their policy is to only do returns or fixes after three months. Despite the fact that the model remained un-open, since it has been almost a year, they will not send a replacement for the "S" Sprue...not very good customer service in my opinion...but it is what it is. I contacted Stevens Interational, who is the US supplier for Trumpeter, but their policy is to do returns only on items purchased directly from them. I contacted Trumpeter in China and have not heard back from them. HobbyLinc is holding firm, and it will probably result in me buying my USS Preble by Dragon from someone else because HobbyLinc (IMHO) is not "taking care" of me, their customer. If they have a policy to get missing parts, then they could easily make an exception in a case where a model remained unopened for a year and was essentially new out of the box. But they are sticking to their guns and I suppose they will lose my business on the USS Preble purchase. Oh, well, such is the life of model building, particularly when dealing with models and parts delivered from off-shore. I'll make due with my own scratch building efforts, or buy another kit.

I left this a few days ago in the middle of the mid-ships deck house construction. This is the part that includes the largest Mk-41 VLS launcher with 64 cells, their directors, the aft smoke stacks, and the coverings for the helicopter hangar bays. The hanger bays include parts that show a very detailed and accurate depiction of each hanger bay. I completed the deck house and then completed both hangar bays as shown below. This is one difference between this Trumpeter Arleigh Burke Flight IIA the Flight IIA USS Preble by Dragon Models. The Preble makes no provision for the hanger bays for the two helos being open and visible. Their model is set up to be built with the hanger doors closed, though they do provide the Sea Hawk helicopter for the landing deck. I intend to leave both bays open on the Trumpeter model to show helo flight operations with one helo coming out of one bay, and the other helo on deck preparing to take off, with its bay also open. As I said, the bays have a nice amount of detail on the interior and they were fun to build and paint.

Once that was all built and dried, it was time to put it together onto the hull. The fit is good, but because of the hangar bays being situated under the mid ships deck house with a close fit, and because the after edges of that deck house are flush with the sides of the hull, it required some careful placement and then clamping to ensure that a good solid fit and bond were formed.

At this point, I decided to place the railing on all of the deck areas using the photo etched railing that came with the kit. To this point I have completed the forward and mid ship main deck areas and the forward second deck, around the forward CIWS mount. I will continue with more of this railing for all main deck areas in the next section, adding the forward stack area along with the detail between that stack and the forward deck house/bridge area. As it is, here is the intial PE railing.

Coming along nicely now.

The Build - Forward and Mid-Ship Details, Decals - January 8, 2013

There is simply a lot of detail in this ship. Many, many small parts that add a lot of realism to the decks. All sorts of equipment, instrumentation, sensors, weapons, and other details.

In this build I added a lot of those, including the forward gun. The gun was meant, in this model, to be glued in place. I decided to scratch build a simple mechanism to let it rotate. I did this by removing (cutting off) the bottom spindle on the 5" gun assembly that was to be glued into the hole in the deck, and then drilling a hole in the lower plate of the 5" gun to add a small round piece of sprue. I then ensured that the hole in the deck was a tight fit for this and added a small cap on the bottom, glued to that sprue that now extended through the deck into the hull so the gun could rotate. I also built the many, many other small details provided by Trumpeter for this model. It is another of the areas where the Trumpeter model differs sifnificantly from the Dragon model of the same Flight IIA Class (which I will discuss later during that build, comparing the two). Here's how some of that building went:

I then went on to add the missile directors forward and aft (three directers in all, one forward and two aft) the forward and aft smoke stack structure and smoke stacks, and the details above the main deck for the forward deck house and all the details on the main deck forward on the ship from the bridge to the bow. This necessitated adding many of the decals so that the guns and CIWS and other pieces could be placed over the deck decals. So, I just added all of the decals. Here's how the vessel looks now:

Good progress over the last few days. Next will be the main mast which is a significant assembly of scores of pieces in and of itself...but will add the characteristic raked mast to the vessel. Then, in the same build, I will add all the details on the main deck clear to the stern of the vessel. There's a lot of them, including the Mk-38 25mm guns, the ships boats and cranes for them, more .50 cal machine guns on the helo deck on the forward port and starboard sides, and a lot more equipment, life buoys, all of the life rafts, etc. I'll go there over the next few days and then catch back up here.

The Build - More deck details and Main Mast - January 10, 2013

I continued with the Lassen, adding more deck details, like the MK-38 25mm guns, the ship's launches and davits, and numerous other details, and began working on the main mast. The main mast on the Arleigh Burke destroyers is distinctive. It is a raked mast, angled back to help with reducing its radar signature. It is a miniature model all its own consisting of over 30 parts. I added a couple of Photo Etch parts from my Dragon, 1/350 Scale, USS Sullivans model that I am using for spare parts to assist with this model and the other two Burke Flight IIA DDGd I inytend to build for the US CSG and ARG. The Dragon Models have a second PE sprue that contains more parts, including the personnel supports on the main masts for the sailors to climb up there and do maintenance on the sensors. Here's the construction of those various parts:

Now it was time to attach the main mast and its supports. This had to be carefully done since the main supports for the mast, and the supports for the main arm of the mast could not be added until the mast itself was glued in place. You do not want the mast to dry firm before doing this because you have to have enough "play" in the mast to allow for the proper placement of those main supports and ensuring that they are both symetrical and properly placed.

So, here's the process I used to do this. First, you get the glue on...and in this case I carefully added glue to both surfaces (the mast and the deck), and then let it get "tacky." Once it was a little "tacky," I added the mast, pressing it in place firmly for about 20-30 seconds to get the bond started, and then letting it set for a few minutes so it would stand on its own, but not set enough to be firm. It was then that I added the two long support braces that extend from the middle of the mast at the main arm, down to the two locations on the forward deck house aft of the mast. This process allowed me to gently place those parts and move the mast into its proper final position, with both braces symetrcial to each other and the mast set evenly. Then, I let that dry firmly and then added the supports that come from the outer portion of the main mast arm (underneath on the bottom of the arm) down to each of these supporting braces. I was pleased with the results.

Very good progress on the vessel now. You can see the lower hull in the background in several of these pictures. For the next and possibly last installement of this build, I will paint the black waterline strip on the upper hull, add all of the life raft caontainers onto the vessel, build and locate the SeaHawk helicopters on the flight deck and add the safety netting there, and then add the lower hull, the props, screws and rudders. This should complete the model and I hope to be able to have the time to do that over the next 2-3 days, accomplishing the most on Saturday when I have more time to work on it. Back with more then.

The Build - Helos, Rigging and Completion - January 13, 2013

I had a couple of more items to build to finish the model. One was the two Seahawk helos for the landing pad and hangers. I decided to complete one ready for takeoff in the middle of the landing pad, and the other just peeking out of its hanger, preparing to be the next in line for takeoff. These helo models are molded in clear plastic so that if you wanted, you could really do up the interior and leave the windows clear to see that level of detail. I am afraid a 1/350 scale detailed helo cockpit and interior are a bit too much for these later 50s hands and eyes, so I painted them in normal colors. Testor's Model MAster Light Ghost Gray for the fuselage, black for the tires, canopy, and rotors, which I added yellow tips to. And then steel for the landing struts.

I also had to scratch build the aft, landing pad viewing station, which was on that "S" sprue that was not included with the model, and which I fabricated from spare parts and then used a couple of small rectangular PE parts, painted black, for the windows. Also, masked off the name plate area on the stand I had built to paint it light gray so I can later stencil or find decals for it to name the model. I used nasking tape and paper, and then (what I really wanted to show here) used my high-tech, very expnsive (/sarcasm) spray paint booth to paint it as shown below. Really, you can buy really nice modeling spray paint booths for upwards of $200 solution works pretty well at...let's say...a real fraction of the cost. Hehehe.

I then did the rigging. The rigging on this model is fairly staright forward with four lines on each side from the main mast down to areas behind the main deck house and forward of the first smoke stack. I had placed hand rails there (not included or shown on the model) specifically to provide these tie down points behind the main deck house. Intricate work and somewhat time consuming, but also gratifying. Adds one of those "touches" to the model that lends more realism. I also scratch built an aft yard arm from the main mast to place the rigging for the main flag.

Now it was time for placing the model on its stand, doing any final touch up painting and adding a couple of coats of dull coat over the entire thing to give that flat finish and protect the decals. I did that, completing the model (except for 1/350 scale figures and flags I amy add at a later date) and completed the model. Here's how she looks. A real beaut!

USS Lassen, DDG-82, completed in 1/350 scale for my US NAvy CSG. Now on to those two Chinese Type 054A FFGs for the PLAN CSG.

The Build - Compeltion of the USS Bulkeley, DDG-84 - March 30, 2015

I used the same Trumpeter kit to build DDG-84, the USS Bulkeley. She was built as an escort for my Amphibious Ready group centered on the USS Iwo Jima, LHD-7.

The earlier pictures of the build for the USS Lassen suffice for the overall build portion of this ship. Here are the pictures of the Bulkeley after she was completed.

So, both Arleigh Burke, Flight IIA destroyers now completed using the trumpeter kit for the USS Lassen.

SCHEDULE for Future Activities - March 10, 2015

  1. By Apr 15, 2015, Complete the US Navy Amphibious Ready Group centered om the USS Iwo Jima, adding a CG and a DDG, to the vessels already completed.
  2. By Apr 16, 2015 Go back and finish the rest of the final DDG escorts for the British, French, Japanese, and Russian CSGs.

The completion of the PLAN Carrier group was centered on the already completed Trumpeter's 1/350 scale PLA Navy's Aircraft Carrier CV-16, Liaoning, (in addition to the other escorts already completed) included Mini Hobby's PLAN Guangzhou, DDG-168. I recently pre-ordered a 1/350 scale model of the PLAN Type 071 LPD, Yuzhao Class, announced by Trumpeter and due out in October, 2013. I will end up adding two of those, probably LPD-998 Yuzhao and LPD-999, Jinggangshan, add the PLAN- DDG-139, Ningbo, and the PLAN DDG-115, Shenyang, along with the PLAN Weifang, FFG-550 and thus build a PLAN ARG.

The completion of the US Carrier Strike group was centered on the completed Tamyia's 1/350 scale USS Enterprise, CVN-65, (in addition to the other escorts already completed) included Trumpeter's, USS Freedom, LCS-1, Dragon's USS Preble, DDG-88 and Hobby Boss's USS Texas, SSN-775. When a 1/350 scale USS Enterprise, CVN-80 (or any Gerald R. Ford Class) is released from Trumpeter, Tamiya, Dragon, or whomever else, I will add it to this group along with another AEGIS Cruiser. Whichever Ford Class coms out in 1/350 scale, I will build it as the USS Enterprise, CVN-80.

The US ARG will include Tamiya's 1/350 scale, USS Iowa, BB-62 (which I have already completed), Gallery's 1/350 scale USS Iwo Jima LHD-7, Gallery's 1/350 scale USS New York, LPD-21, Cyber Hobby's USS Independence, LCS-2, Bronco Model's 1/350 scale USS Coronado, LCS-4, a Flight IIA US AEGIS class destroyer based on Trumpeter's 1/350 scale USS Lassen, DDG-82, and a Ticonderoga AEGIS cruiser...all of these models which I already own.

The completion of the UK Group featured the Airfix 1/350 scale HMS Illustrious, R06 as its center piece until a 1/350 scale Queen Elizabeth carrier is released. When that happens, I will add that carrier to the group as its centerpiece. The Royal Navy CSG will also include two Airfix 1/350 scale Daring Class DDGs (one of which is already completed), two Trumpeter 1/350 scale Type 23 HMS Duke class Frigates (one of which is already completed), and the Hobby Boss 1/350 scale HMS Astute SSN (which is also already completed) and Airfix 1/350 scale HMS Trafalgar SSN. One day, when a 1/350 scale HMS Ocean LPD comes out, I will use it to start building a Royal Navy ARG.

The French CSG is centered on Heller's 1/400 scale Charles De Gaulle, R91. I have purchased the 1/400 scale Heller French De Grasse, D612 DDG, which is an ASW DDG, the French Duquesne, D603 DDG which is an anti-air multi-purpose DDG, and the French Aconit D612 FFG and Gueprattet F714 FFGs, both of which are Lafayette class frigates. These five vessels will round out my French CSG. As soon as a French Robin class nuclear sub, like the French Pearle S606 SSN is released in 1/350 or 1/400 scale, I will add that to the group. Also as soon as the Forbin D620, Horizon class anti-air DDG is released in 1/350 or 1/400 scale, I will purchase two of them and replace the De Grasse and Duquesne with them, and then save those two for when a Mistral Class LPD is released in 1/350 or 1/400 scale so I can create a French ARG with those vessels.

The completion of the Japanese JMSDF group was centered on Fujimi's very finely detailed, 1/350 scale Hyuga, DDH-181. It will be escorted by Trumpeter's 1/350 scale DDG-177, Atago, an AEGIS class DDG and the JMSDF, DDG-174, Kongo class (which I own), Trumpeter’s 1/350 scale DDG-114 Susunami and DDG-111 (both of which are Takinami Class DDGs which I own), and by the 1/350 scale SS-503 Hakuryu (which I own), one of Japans new, very modern and capable AIP Diesel Electric submarines. As soon as a DDG-115 Akizuki in 1/350 scale is released, I will add it to this group. Should a 1/350 scale Osumi Class LPD be released, I will buy two of those vessels and create a JMSDF ARG.

Then, finally it will be a complete Russian CSG (centered on Trumpeter's Kuznetsov which I own) the Russian Kirov Class nuclear battle cruiser (CGN), the Peter the Great, by Trumpeter (which I own), the Russian Slava Class cruiser, Varyag by Trumpeter (which I own), two Trumpeter 1/350 scale Udaloy DDGs (which I own), Hobby Boss's Akula II class SSN (which I own), and the new Yasen class Russian SSN (which I own), all in 1/350 scale. Sometime in the more distant future when a 1/350 scale Russian version of the French Mistral class comes out (which is building in real life right now), I will add two of those and build a Russian ARG.

Recently I purchased Heller's 1/400 scale Foch, the Clemenceau Class carrier that was sold to the Brazilians in 2000 and in 2002 was refitted and became the Brazilian CV, Sao Paulo, using steam catapults. I will build the model as the Sao Paulo and thus start a Brazilian group, though the Type 22 DDGs and the FFGs the Brazilians use are not available at present. I have however purchased a set of 1/400 scale A-4 Skyhawks and S-3 Trackers to build a suitable air wing for the Sao Paulo.

Then, again, once the models are available, I'd like to build an Italian Carrier Strike Group centered on the Cavour and their Horizon DDGs, a Spanish Carrier Strike Group centered on the Juan Carlos and their F-100 AEGIS FFGs, and ultimately an Australian Strike Group centered on the new Canberra Class LPD and the Hobart class AEGIS DDGs. If they ever build the models, an Indian Carrier Strike Group centered on either the Vikramaditya or their new ADS Carrier, the Vikrant, and their Kolkata class DDGs and Shivlak class FFGs would also be nice.

Years more worth of work!

You can see all of these actual carriers, read their histories and specifications at my site:


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