Trumpeter Models kits are a mixed bag in terms of accuracy and quality. While there is no such thing as a perfect kit, some Trumpeter offerings have had more
than their share of flaws and others are considered to be rather good. Their
USS England destroyer escort kit falls into latter category and has been generally well
received by modelers. So this kit is a very good choice for Five Star Model’s first 1:350 scale upgrade set. Up until now, Five Star Model has focused on
producing 1:700 scale ship specific upgrade sets as well as some more general sets in both scales. This set is a mix of photo-etch, resin and turned brass parts and
contains both add-on and replacement parts for the kit. Each photo-etch fret is identified by a letter and parts numbers etched into them for easier identification and
cross-reference (a combination of fret letter and part number) to the assembly guide. The brass has excellent relief-etching and appears to be fine but still sturdy
enough to handle. Each photo-etch fret is sandwiched in clear plastic film to protect the parts.

Fret A contains parts to for the 20mm Oerlikons and quad 1.1-inch antiaircraft guns. This fret also the depth charge roll-off and K-gun loading racks, ammo
storage boxes, Mk. 10 Hedgehog launcher blast shield, four styles of watertight doors in both open and closed positions and arbor heads for the K-gun launchers.

Fret B contains new bulkheads for the superstructure, which is an interesting feature. These parts are not meant to replace the kit parts. On the contrary,
according to an email I received Five Star Model in answer to this question, they are to be glued onto the face of the kit parts and this will require removing all
molded on details from those parts. Etched into the photo-etch bulkheads are the locations to affix other PE details which are included with this set, like the fire
hoses and pipes also contained on Fret B. Other parts on this fret include the spray bulkheads, deck for the 3-inch gun tub, deck for the aft 20mm gun tub, deck
for one of the midship 20mm guns tub, deck hatches, four styles of cable reels, life raft stowage racks, life ring stowage racks and storage racks for the K-gun
arbors.

Fret C has several decks and platforms:  the navigating bridge deck, the forward superstructure deck (where the #2 3-inch gun position is), various bridge
platforms, the remaining three midship 20mm gun tub decks, the quad 1.1-inch gun tub deck, the aft 3-inch gun tub deck and a mast platform. The relief-etched
tread plates, where present on the decks on Fret B and C, are subtle and nicely done as are the anti-skid sections on the navigating bridge. The other parts on Fret C
include the bridge face and windscreen, bulkhead for the aft 3-inch gun position, splinter shield for the #2 3-inch gun position, flag bags, inclined ladders, boat
davits and depth charge endcaps. There appears to be an error in the part numbering on this fret as there are two parts C19: the mast platform and the depth charge
endcaps. These parts are referenced in the instructions the same way.
Fret D has several lengths of railings, some pre-measured and some not. Most of the railings on this fret are for the main deck and there are two versions to choose
from, with or without netting. The rails have a bit of sag to them which are a nice touch. The pre-measured sections for the forward area have a curve to
accommodate the sweep of the deck. Fret D also has the main sections of the floater net baskets and their support mounts and a detailed SA radar with mounting
support and dipoles.

Fret E has more sections of railings with narrower stanchions for the upper decks and platforms. This fret has a number of small detail parts, including depth
charge handling davits, the ends for the floater net baskets, yardarms, mast fighting lights, mast platforms, ECM and D.F antennas, details for the 26’ whaler
including the canopy frames, details for the funnels, handles for the Mk. 51 directors, details for the sky lookouts, gun depression rail for the #1 3-inch gun, smoke
generator platforms and lengths of vertical ladders. There are some other detail parts that I honestly could not identify and I did not see them referenced specifically
in the assembly guide.

Fret F has the underside of the navigating bridge deck as well as the some of the 20mm gun tubs and sponsons. Fret F also has all of the gun tub bulkheads,
mooring chocks, gussets for the gun splinter shield and supports for two of the aft 20mm gun tubs.

The resin parts provided with this set include a 26’ motor whaleboat, Mk. 51 gun directors, sky lookouts, Mk. 10 Hedgehog complete with spigots, the base for the
SA radar, SU radar dome and life rings. The resin parts are well cast and very clear and are an improvement over the kit parts. There are a number of turned brass
parts and they include the capstan, 20mm Oerlikon pedestals, 20mm Oerlikon barrels, 1.1-inch gun barrels and the 3”/50 gun barrels. These parts are very well done
and so much finer than the kit parts. The turned brass 20mm and 1.1-inch barrels are really tiny and must be handled with care so to the damage them or lose them.

The assembly guide is comprised of 6 pages printed on 3 double-sided sheets. Page 1 has images of the photo-etch frets and resin parts. The following pages have
full color photos showing the assembly and placement of all the parts provided with this detail set. The photos are images of the actual kit with the various photo-
etch parts fitted in place, which is very helpful. Yet going through the assembly guide, I noticed that some parts on the frets are not referenced or do not appear at
all, so placement is a question. Some other parts are in the photos but are not referenced by part numbers, such as the grab handles on fret E with appear affixed to
the bulkheads in the photos. This is quite a complex and complete detail set and I strongly suggest studying the photos very carefully.
This is an extremely extensive and well-done upgrade set which will turn a good kit into something outstanding. There is no area of the model not covered in some
manner with this detail set and because of that, I would recommend it for experience modelers and not for someone just starting to working with photo-etch. Some
of the parts could be omitted according to your appetite for super-detailing or patience. My thanks to Five Star Model for the review sample.
Felix Bustelo
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