The USS Ward was a Wickes class destroyer built at the Mare Island Yard and launched on June 1, 1918 after being laid down only 15 days earlier.
She was commissioned on July 24, 1918. The
Wickes class, along with the Caldwell and Clemson classes, was commonly referred to as “flush-
deckers” or “four-pipers”. Ward had a brief career before she was decommissioned on July 21, 1921 and subsequently placed in reserve with many of
her sisters at "Red Lead Row" in San Diego.

With World War II raging in Europe,
Ward was recommissioned on January 15, 1941. She was sent to Pearl Harbor where conducted local patrol
duties in Hawaiian waters over the next year. It was during one of these patrols outside the entrance to Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7,
1941 that
Ward received a signal from the minesweeper USS Condor of a periscope sighting. She later sighted a periscope tailing the cargo ship USS
Antares
and she opened fire on the target. Ward ended up sinking a Japanese midget submarine that was hoping to sneak past the anti-torpedo nets
behind the
Antares. The midget sub’s conning tower was hit by shell fire and Ward also dropped several depth charges. So the USS Ward is credited
with firing the first American shots of World War II before the Japanese air raid of Pearl Harbor a few hours later. In 2002, a team of scientists from
the University of Hawaii found the wreck of the midget sub which showed evidence of damage from shell fire which caused her to sink.

In 1942,
Ward was converted to a high speed transport (APD) and she spent the next few years supporting the American island hopping invasions. In
1944, she participated in the invasion of the Philippine Islands when she was struck by a kamikaze, ironically on December 7th of that year. The
damage was too severe and the surviving crew was ordered to abandon ship. She was sunk by gunfire from the destroyer
USS O’Brien.
The Ward kit was original produced and sold under the Classic Warships label. At some point, Yankee Modelworks purchased all of the Classic
Warship patterns and the
Ward kit was re-issued under the Midship Models label. Blue Ridge Models in turn purchased the assets of Yankee
Modelworks and Midship Models and they have started a “Heritage Series” line under which they plan on re-issuing these old kits with some
improvements and enhancements. The
Ward is one of these “Heritage Series” kits.

With the
Blue Ridge re-issue of this kit, you get the a resin cast waterline hull, just like the previous versions but the smaller parts are now also resin
when in the past they were white metal. The box label is also new, with beautiful full-color original artwork by painter Wayne Scarpaci. The resin hull
has all of the superstructures, deck housings, funnels, cowl vents, depth charges and some other details cast as one part. This simplifies assembly
and but will require careful masking for painting. The detail is pretty good for a kit in this scale and arguably still holds up even though the original kit
was issued I guess about 20 years or so ago. The casting is overall very good, but there is a little bit of resin over pour along the waterline that needs
to be sanded down. There is also a little bit of resin flash between the funnels that needs to be removed.

The bridge on this class of ships was open but the kit has this as a solid, enclosed piece. Now if you are one of those really detail-oriented modelers
that have to build an exact miniature replica of the real McCoy, then you will probably want to saw the bridge off and build a new one with styrene
strip and some photo-etch ladder for the windows – and there is nothing wrong with that. Most others will be happy with the bridge as is.
The smaller resin parts include the guns, torpedo tubes, boats, rafts, davits and searchlights. You even get a Japanese midget submarine. These parts
are now resin and not white metal is in the past, which I personally like a little better. The casting is also good and the parts need just a little bit of
clean up. A bit of plastic rod is provided for the masts.

The photo-etch, decals and instructions for this kit is the same that came with the re-issued Midship Models kit. The photo-etch is a generic World
War II U.S. Navy destroyer set, so not all of the parts are to be used with this kit. The parts to be used are the railings, ladders, propeller guards,
depth charge racks, boat davits, anchors, a yardarm and the searchlight tower. There are probably a few other detail items that you can use that I
am overlooking. The plus side here is that there are plenty of parts for the spares box. The photo-etch is very crisp and nicely done. The decals are
also a generic U.S. Navy set, with shaded and non-shaded hull numbers various sizes, signal flags and the U.S. Flag and U.S. Navy Ensign. The
decals are printed by Microscale so they should be top quality.

The instructions are printed on a double-sided sheet of paper folded in half to make a pamphlet. The cover page has a smaller version of the box label
image, a profile drawing of the
Ward and a photo of the ship in a dazzle camouflage scheme. The next page was two images of the photo-etch, with
and without part number labels. The top of page 3 has a table identifying the photo-etch parts, but looking it over it appears that some of the parts
are mislabeled. There are five small assembly diagrams for a few of the photo-etch parts, but the part numbers do not correspond to the actual part.
These errors appear to be carry-overs from the Midship Models version of the kit. At the bottom of page 3 is a photo of the resin parts with the
smaller items labeled with id numbers. The last page has a simple assembly diagram showing the location of the resin parts and some of the
photo-etch. Some measurements are provided to guide the modeler in making the masts and searchlight platform. While adequate, I personally would
have liked to have seen a more detailed drawing or even the profile that is on the first page but larger to supplement this diagram. The modeler will
need to seek out other references if you wish to super-detail the model.
It is great to see some of these, I dare say, “vintage” resin kits seeing the light of day again. This kit falls under the “oldie but a goodie” category and
replacing the white metal parts with resin versions is a bonus in my opinion. You can build just about any ship in this class in a 1930s and Word War
II fit with this kit, but you will need to do some research. The instructions could have been re-done and improved but this wouldn’t typically stop
someone from building a nice model from this kit. I am curious to see what else
Blue Ridge Models has on tap in the “Heritage Series”. My thanks
to
Blue Ridge Models for the review sample.
Felix Bustelo
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