Shortly after the conclusion of World War One, the United States Navy had a vast inventory of newly constructed flush deck destroyers. In the period of the limited construction budgets of the 1920s, little thought was given to new destroyer
construction. The prevalent thinking was that the flush deckers were sufficient for the navy’s needs. Other navies continued to build destroyers to new designs. In the late 20s, Japan began construction of destroyers that were larger and arguably
more powerful than any design elsewhere. The "Special Type" destroyers of the
Fubuki and subsequent classes in reality established a new standard, by which all other destroyers would be measured.

It wasn’t until Fiscal Year 1932 that Congress opened the purse strings to allow new destroyer construction. There were two designs that were put into production, the
Farragut class of 1,500 tons, to be the standard fleet destroyer and the Porter
class of 1,850 tons destroyer leaders.
The Farragut-class destroyers consisted of eight ships and their 1,500-ton limit was to comply with the provisions of the London Naval Treaty of 1930. The ships were laid down beginning in 1932 and were completed by 1935. Twelve years after
Clemson class, the last class of flush-deckers, was commissioned, the United States Navy newest class of destroyers were commissioned in 1934 and 1935.

Farraguts were slightly larger than their predecessors, measuring 341 feet 3 inches long, 34 feet 3 inches in the beam and a draft of 16 feet 2 inches. They were a considerable improvement from previous destroyers, taking advantage of
technological advances that developed during the 12-year gap in destroyer production. The growing threat of aircraft on naval ships was reflected in their heavy main gun armament of five 5-inch/38 caliber Mark 12 dual-purpose guns. The forward
two mounts, 51 and 52, were had open back shields while the remaining three, 53, 54 and 55, were open mounts. Mount 53 was fitted midships. Another difference from the flush-deckers is that two quad 21-inch torpedo tube mounts were on the
preferred centerline position. A pair of single .50 caliber machine guns were fitted just aft of mount 52, next to the port and starboard rails and another pair were on the main deck midships.
They also had greatly improved machinery and greater fuel capacity that extended their range. The Farraguts had better seakeeping capabilities thanks to their raised forecastles, which gave them a higher freeboard. They were arguably sleeker looking
ships, sporting two funnels instead of four. Their larger size and improved habitability soon earned them the nickname of "goldplaters" from the crews of older destroyers. Even with their relatively improved seakeeping, the
Farraguts were unstable in
heavy weather and in turns. This would be made even worse with wartime modifications that made them even more top heavy. During the war, the need for improved anti-aircraft protection resulted in some changes. Mount 53 was replaced with a pair
of twin 40mm Bofors. The .50 caliber guns were replaced with much improved 20mm Oerlikons, with additional mounts added. Roll-off depth charge racks were added to the stern, along with four K-gun depth charge throwers. The addition of radar
increased their top heaviness.

All eight
Farraguts saw extensive front-line service during World War II. While none were lost in battle, only five survived the war. USS Hull and Monaghan succumbed to their increased top heaviness and were lost during the December 1944
USS Worden ran aground in the Aleutian Islands in 1944. Farragut was laid down on September 20, 1932 at the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation's Fore River Shipyard in Quincy, Massachusetts. She was launched on March 15, 1934 and
commissioned about three months later on June 18.
Farragut spent much of the early part of her career on developmental operations, cruising out of her homeport of Norfolk, Virginia, to the Caribbean and along the east coast. In 1935, Farragut escorted President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s yacht on a
cruise to the Bahamas. FDR later embarked on her for the return voyage back to Jacksonville, Florida. On April 19, 1935,
Farragut became the flagship for Destroyer Squadron 20, based in San Diego, California. During the latter half of the 1930s, she
participated in fleet maneuvers along the west coast and on training operations in the Hawaiian Islands and Alaskan waters. On October 2, 1939,
Farragut transferred to her new base at Pearl Harbor and was at sea for exercises with carrier task forces
for much of the time.

On December 7, 1941,
Farragut was berthed with other destroyers in the East Loch of Pearl Harbor. Ensign James Armen Benham, the ship’s engineering officer and the senior officer on board during the attack, got her underway, firing continuously
against the Japanese aircraft as she sailed down the channel. For his action, Ensign Benham was awarded the Bronze Star. Through March 1942,
Farragut operated in Hawaiian waters on antisubmarine patrols and from Oahu to San Francisco,
California on escort duty. Farragut was part of the task force that participated in the Battle of the Coral Sea from May 4 to 8, 1942.
Farragut's group came under heavy air attack on May 7, but they downed at least five aircraft with no damage to any
ship. Before returning to Pearl Harbor,
Farragut was on escort duty in the South Pacific.
Farragut was part the task force with USS Saratoga, leaving Pearl Harbor July 7, 1942 bound for action in the Solomon Islands. During the Guadalcanal campaign, she first served as screening ship and plane guard during the air operations covering
the assault and later patrolled the eastern Solomons to protect the sea lanes to Guadalcanal. On August 24 and 25,
Farragut was guarding Saratoga while her aircraft engaged Japanese forces in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons. Farragut remained in
the southwest Pacific, patrolling off Guadalcanal and escorting convoys. She returned to Pearl Harbor on January 27, 1943 and later steamed to the west coast for an overhaul and training exercises.

In April 1943,
Farragut was deployed to Alaskan waters to conduct patrols. On May 11, she screened transports landing troops on Adak against submarine attack. The next day she made several depth charge attacks on an enemy submarine and
continued antisubmarine patrols off the Aleutian Islands through June.
Farragut patrolled and blockaded off Kiska, participating in the bombardment of the island in the days before the landings on August 15. She continued her patrols off Kiska until
September 4, when she left in convoy for San Francisco for a brief overhaul.
Farragut, as part of a carrier task force, took part in the landings on Tarawa November 20, 1943. In 1944, she saw action in the Marshall Islands. During the assaults on
Kwajalein and Eniwetok,
Farragut screened carriers and conducted antisubmarine patrols. She later supported the air strikes on Woleai and Wakde and the landings in the Hollandia.
In June of 1944, Farragut guarded the carriers covering the landings of Saipan, bombarded the shores of Saipan and Guam, and served as radar picket through the Battle of the Philippine Sea. She also supported carriers in their operations during the 1945
Iwo Jima and Okinawa invasions. After the Japanese surrender,
Farragut sailed from Saipan August 21, 1945, arriving at the Brooklyn Navy Yard September 25. Farragut was decommissioned on October 23 1945, stricken from the Naval Vessel Register
on January 28, 1947 and eventually sold for scrap on August 14, 1947.
Farragut received 14 battle stars for her World War II service.

The 1:350 scale
Farragut is not Black Cat Model’s first ship model kit, but compared to their previous releases, it is certainly their largest and most complex offering to date. As with their prior releases, this kit is comprised of cast resin, 3D printed and
turned brass parts as well as a photo-etch fret and decals. The masters for the cast resin parts were 3D designed and printed. The kit represents a late war
Farragut. The one-piece full hull comes on a casting runner along the keel but with minimal
attachment points and resin film. The hull detail is primarily along the side and at the foc’sle. The hull has the anchor hawser, portholes with proper eyebrows, ladder footholds and depressions aft to fit the propeller guards. Along the bottom you have the
bilge keels, propeller shaft fairings, an opening for the rudder and slight depressions to fit the propeller struts. The deck is festooned with depressions, slots and openings to accommodate the structural and smaller parts. The foc’sle deck has the hawser for
the anchor chains, breakwater and supports for the forward raised gun platform. At the foc’sle break there is a small housing with a cast in watertight door. The casting for the hull is overall very clean and well done.
The large superstructure parts include the forward and aft deckhouses and the bridge. The forward deckhouse is designed to fit into the foc’sle break and has the blast shield over the 51 gun position. The deckhouses have very nice detail, including
portholes with eyebrows, watertight doors, vent piping and hand rails. A bit of cleanup is required to remove some excess resin from bottom of the forward deckhouse and any residue from the casting block underneath the aft deckhouse. The
bridge is also nicely done with an open back. The windows are solid but the frames are well defined to facilitate painting them to simulate glass. The face of the bridge is attached to the casting runner, which will require care in removing and
undoubtedly some clean up to remove any remnants of the joint.

The next largest resin parts include the amidships upper deck, the aft 54 gun deck, the two funnels and several smaller deck housings. The deck parts are nicely detailed, with the amidships deck having the gun tubs for the twin 40mm Bofors and
bandstands for the Mk. 51 gun directors. The decks will require the removal of excess resin bits and film. The funnels are actually the lower ¾ sections, with the top sections done as 3D printed parts. The funnels are well done with vent piping
included. A wee bit of cleanup is needed to eliminate some resin film along the casting runner. The small deck housings are also well detailed with watertight doors and portholes.
The remaining cast resin parts are comprised of the bases for the funnels, various 20mm gun tubs, vents in a variety of types, a dozen different types of ammunition and general storage lockers, depth charge storage racks, depth charge roll-off racks,
the propeller shaft v-struts and rudder. The depth charge roll-off racks should be substituted with the 3D printed versions. There are a lot of 3D printed parts which are a sight to behold. All of the 3D parts are printed in gray resin, which will accept both
enamel and acrylic paints. They are printed ultra-smooth and not require the fine sanding need with parts printed in other media. The parts come on flat beds with raised ends to protect the parts, and have very thin attachment points to facilitate removal.
The largest 3D parts are the top sections of the two funnels, complete with cap grills and the cowl on the forward funnel. Having the cap grills printed and integrated into the part eliminates the need for photo-etch that will have to be shaped. They are
designed to fit over and onto the resin funnels, which is a very clever approach.

All of the armament is done in 3D printed parts and they are quite stunning. The 5-inch/38 Mk. 12 guns are comprised of the mount base with gun carriage and the gun barrels with elevation gear underneath. The partial open back shields for the 51 and
52 guns actually have rivets printed into them. The open mounts have the railings printed into the base. The pair of twin 40mm Bofors are comprised of the base detailed with railings and hand wheels and separate barrels with gun sights. The single
20mm Oerlikons are amazing and are printed as one part with pedestal, gun and shield including the gun sight and hand wheels. The quad torpedo tubes come as two parts with the base and the launcher. The launchers are highly detailed with the loading
hatches, firing mechanisms and all of the controls. Rounding out the armament are a pair of depth charge roll off racks, which again eliminates the need to deal with photo-etch, depth charge throwers and the 5-inch practice loader. The 3D printed parts
also include the parts for the Mark 33 gun director, Mk. 51 gun directors and torpedo fire control directors. A pair of 26-foot motor whaleboats, one with a hard top, are provided and are also incredibly detailed.
A variety of deck fittings and other equipment are provided as 3D printed parts. They include the individual posts for the bitts, open and closed chocks, searchlight, 12-inch signal lamps, sky lookouts, hatches in different styles, round balsa rafts,
capstan, anchors, anchor chain pipes, life rings, port and starboard running lights, smoke generators, cable reels, boat davits, binnacle, pelorus, SG radar, radio direction finder, propellers and other fittings. Some of the 3D parts are very small and will
require careful handling to avoid losing them.

The turned brass parts are made by Master Models and include the fore and main masts, yardarms, propeller shafts, various deck support columns, the ensign staff and a rod fitted between the boat davits. Not all of the parts are actually turned brass.
The yardarms, propeller shafts, jack staff and support columns are premeasured bits of brass rod. This will save time and effort and eliminate potential errors as the modeler will not have to measure and cut brass rod. A small decal sheet with the hull
numbers for the bow and stern in white, covering all of the ships in the class, is included.
The brass photo-etch fret contains all of the railings and vertical ladders in pre-measured lengths, inclined ladders, the 51 gun platform, SC radar, raft stowage racks, boat cradles, foremast platform, propeller guards, depth charge handling davits and
hand wheels. An interesting and welcome inclusion on the fret are the supports for the yardarms which wrap around the masts and thread the yardarms through, which should provide a more secure attachment point. The photo-etch has a fair amount of
relief etching, especially for the folding points on some of the parts. Part numbers are etched into the fret for easy identification. The photo-etch railings for the bridge deck, parts 18 and 20, also have the underlying wing supports included, so all you
have to do if fold them down and attach the ends to the housing below. Some photo-etch parts in the fret, such as the depth charge roll-off rack frames and propellers for the whaleboats, are not needed as they are already incorporated into the 3D
printed part.

The instruction guide is a 20-page booklet with each step of the assembly detailed with 3D CAD renders in color. The cover has a brief history of the Farragut and ship class in general in both English and French. Pages 2 through 7 have a breakdown of
the resin, 3D printed and turned brass parts and decals with corresponding identification numbers and a small image of the photo-etch fret. The 3D printed parts that come on a bed are shown with an overhead view with the parts numbered as well as
images of the individual parts also with identification numbers. The different part numbers are color-coded by the media used to help differentiate the part numbers that may overlap. Pages 8 through 18 contain the 3D renders depicting the assembly steps
with images of the various sections of the model from different perspectives. The renders are very well done and clearly show how the different subassemblies go together and were everything goes on the model. Page 19 has two views of the completed
model. The final page has color plan and profile drawings with Measure 21 camouflage scheme worn by USS Farragut. The color references are for standard United States Navy colors. The images on page 20 also show the placement of the hull number
Overall, this is an impressive model kit release from Black Cat Models and certainly their most ambitious to date. The kit contains all of the elements that have made Black Cat Models popular with modelers, especially the superior and highly refined 3D
printed parts. This kit will build into a fully detailed model of
USS Farragut out of the box. If you wish to build any of the other ships in the class, you may need to do some research to see if there are any differences, but this kit will be best place to
start. I know that some other full kit releases are in the works by
Black Cat Models and if the Farragut is any indication of what is to come then modelers will be rejoicing. Due to popular demand, a waterline version was later released. My thanks to
Benjamin Druel for providing this review sample.
Felix Bustelo
New York