The Tamiya Models USS Fletcher kit is about 25 years old now, give or take a few years. At the time it was released it was considered a fairly well-done kit and it
still holds up in some ways today. However, as with just about any injection-molded kit, it would benefit from some after-market additions. Dedicated photo-etch
sets and even separate resin parts became available to add to this model. Now, many years later,
Five Star Model provides all that you need in one box with their
complete upgrade set.

Just like their previous upgrade sets, this 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 new bulkheads for the superstructures. Most of these parts cover the main deck housings and are not meant to replace the kit parts but instead
glued onto the face of the kit parts. 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, such as the watertight doors, fire hoses and vent pipes. The latter two items are contained on Fret A, along with
some lockers to fit on the bulkheads, small deck hatches, the Mk. 51 gun director tub, deck for the aft 40mm gun tub, non-slip walkways, the inside openings for
the funnels, boat davits and several perforated gussets.

Fret B contains parts for the depth charges, such as the roll-off racks, k-gun racks, storage racks and end caps to affix to the pieces of round plastic rod that are
cut down to make the depth charges. This fret also has parts for the K-gun arbors, inclined ladders, 20mm ammo lockers, the base and details for the 5-inch
practice loader, parts to build the torpedo launchers, the silo-style housing for the aft torpedo launcher, rudders, propellers and canopy frames for the 26-foot motor
boats and cable reel in various sizes.
Fret C has more bulkheads and sections of non-slip walkways. Other parts include the flag bags, running light housings, funnel cap grills, the forward funnel
platform and aft funnel searchlight platform.

Fret D has the floater net baskets and their support mounts, watertight doors and hatches, vertical ladders, sky lookout details, netting inserts and storage ropes for
the rafts, some bulkhead handrails, additional funnel details and the fins and propellers for the turned brass torpedoes.
Fret E provides premeasured sections of superstructure railings, propeller guards, more bulkhead handrails, vent grills for the funnels and vertical ladders for the funnels.
This fret also has a number of detail parts for the mast, such as vertical ladders, footropes, platforms, ECM and DF antennas and other parts.

Fret F has parts to detail the resin 5-inch gun turrets, such as access doors, hatches and ladders. This fret also has hatches, ladders and handlebars to detail the resin
Mk. 37 gun director. Other parts on Fret F include the Mk. 22 and Mk. 12 radars and support base to fit them on the Mk. 37 director, parts to make SC-2 and SG
radars, cruciform supports, depth charge handling davits and additional watertight doors.

Fret G 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 premeasured sections for the forward area have a curve to accommodate
the sweep of the deck.
Fret H contains the splinter shield for the 40mm Bofors gun tub, the splinter shields for the 20mm Oerlikon gun positions, the large spray shields that are fitted to
sides of the ship, chocks and bases for the catwalks. Also included on this fret are several circular parts that are meant to be stacked up to form the base for the
torpedo launchers. I have probably overlooked parts on the various photo-etch frets, but this is easy to do with all of the sheer number of them.

The resin parts provided with this set include the Mk. 30 5-inch gun turrets in both the single and double knuckle variants, twin 40mm Bofors mount, a pair of 26’
motor whaleboats, the 5-inch practice loader, Mk. 51 gun directors, sky lookouts, the Mk. 37 gun director housing, the bases for the SC-2 and SG radars and life
rings. The resin parts are well cast and are an improvement over the kit parts. There are a number of turned brass parts and they include the 5-inch/38 gun barrels,
windlass, mast and yardarm, 20mm Oerlikon pedestals and barrels, 40mm Bofors barrels, ten Mk. 15 torpedoes and parts for the torpedo tube launchers. These parts
are very well done and so much finer than the kit parts. The turned brass 20mm and 40mm barrels are really tiny and must be handled with care so to the damage
them or lose them.

The assembly guide is comprised of 12 pages printed on 6 double-sided sheets. Pages 1 and 2 have images of the photo-etch frets and resin and turned brass 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 their placement is a question. Some other parts are in the photos but are not referenced by part numbers. 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. With
this set you do have options: you can go 100% and use everything in this set or you can choose to omit some parts. This all depends on your appetite for
super-detailing and patience. My thanks to
Five Star Model for the review sample.
Felix Bustelo
New York
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