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Looking for a 1/700 ship model for a beginner

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  • Member since
    February 2017
Looking for a 1/700 ship model for a beginner
Posted by buzz_bomb on Monday, October 4, 2021 12:21 AM

Hi everyone, 

New to the forums. I have built models on and off since I was a child but never being happy with my work I rarely completed the models I started. As an adult I assmebled and painted miniatures so I've had some experience but not so much is modeling. 

I've always wanted to get back into it but the perfectionist in me has a hard time actually making a mistake or doing something not well and accepting it. 

Anyway, I feel I've had the most success building through naval ships and I watched something recently that peaked my interest in modern missile destroyers. I also happen to have never attempted a post WWII ship but I feel it might be easier to do actually. 

I also wanted to have a go at some basic photo etch. I'm looking for a 1/700 modern destoyer/cruiser that ideally has photo etch with the kit. It's hard to search for that. Can anyone recommend one? If that's to difficult then who makes the highest quality 1/700 range of modern warships? Also, when I say quality I'm not referring to complexity as in more parts but overall good molds and accurate. I tried looking for a Tamiya model but it looks like they make no modern ships?! Also, if the PE parts have to be bought seperate in consideration of the kit and PE combo what would be the best brand. Not entirely sure but I think PE parts are made to go with certain kits and are not universal. Thanks a lot and hopefully I actually build and paint it all the way through rather than destroy what I don't finish. Trying to do it correctly this time.  

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Monday, October 4, 2021 12:32 AM

Dragon made a nice Arleigh Burke at that scale.



 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.


  • Member since
    June 2021
Posted by rocketman2000 on Monday, October 4, 2021 7:45 AM

For you, I would NOT recommend a 700th destroyer with PE.  That is daunting work.  A 350th destroyer with PE or a 700th without PE.  PE for smaller ships is really tiny!


Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    February 2017
Posted by buzz_bomb on Monday, October 4, 2021 11:09 AM

That's interesting. From what I understand a 1/350 scale model pieces aren't necessarily bigger but that there are simply more pieces therefore making it more complex. Is that true?

  • Member since
    August 2021
Posted by goldhammer88 on Monday, October 4, 2021 11:19 AM

If your ship is 12" Long in 1/350, then it's 6" in 1/700.  If your PE railing is 1/8" high in 350, it's 1/16" in 700.  If you're new to PE, that can be a nightmare and turn you off to modeling completely, especially since you say you're a perfectionist.  I'd try a 1/350 kit first to see how you do with that, and if good, then move to 1/700.

  • Member since
    November 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Monday, October 4, 2021 2:53 PM

aren't necessarily bigger but that there are simply more pieces therefore making it more complex. Is that true?

It is if it says "Dragon" or "Trumpeter" on the box (since neither wil lcast one thing if they can cast 11 instead).

Oh, and any PE with "Pontos" in the name also will use 5 bits instead of 1, and/or fold thhings 3 times rather than etch thicker material.

The Tamiya Fletcher builds into a reasonably good build of DD-445.  IIRC, is has a small fret of PE, too.  --Ok, just checked Scalemates, the Tamiya kit has no PE--

The only complicated bit of PE bending wil lbe for the radar on the Mk 37 gin director.

Panit schemes for Fletcher can be as simple or as complex as you care for (and to your preference for adding/removing bits to match the date desired for a given paint scheme.)

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: Mansfield, TX
Posted by EdGrune on Monday, October 4, 2021 3:21 PM

Look at the Trumpeter USS England DE in 1:350 scale.  It will be the same size as a modern 700 destroyer, perhaps a bit smaller.  There is a small PE fret included for the depth charge rails. You will need to go to the aftermarket for railings and other details (not much else is needed). 

Starting in 1:350 will give your 15 dancing thumbs a chance to begin to learn some muscle memory.  And it is easier to start with a more manageable piece of PE.  And, accept the fact that this is a learner model and you WILL make mistakes.  You will learn from them   Once you have a handle on 350 then consider moving down to 700  

[Well if bigger is easier to learn on why not start at 144 or 200 scale?  It's about the cost]

Morrisons recommendation of a 700 Dragon Burke checks your boxes, but it is likely not a learner kit. IIRC it has a small PE fret of the helo deck nets and not much else. Aftermarket will be needed for your learning goal too.

  • Member since
    July 2014
Posted by modelcrazy on Monday, October 4, 2021 4:10 PM

I'd go with Ed on this one, however, if you'er bent on a modern then the Academy Oliver Hazard Perry wasn't bad. I believe White Ensign Models makes a PE set for it but it's not for beginers. While I've never built Dragons Arleigh Burke it may be OK. Yo might want to look at the other nations as well. Trumpeter's Atago (similar to the Arleigh Burke class) is a nice kit with it's own PE


Building a kit from your stash is like cutting a head off a Hydra, two more take it's place.

  • Member since
    February 2017
Posted by buzz_bomb on Monday, October 4, 2021 5:41 PM

Thank you for the suggestions. I suppose I'm not dead set on a modern missile boat. One of the reasons I thought I should start with that in my mind is that it might be easier but maybe I'm wrong about that. I took a look at the Trumpeter USS England kit and as some mentioned the PE only covers depth charges so I'd have to buy another PE for even basic things like the railings. If that's the case and seeing as Tamiya is kind of like the gold standard in kits, then I guess I might as well go for the 1/350 Tamiya Fletcher and buy a PE kit. Are Tamiya kits any more difficult to put together then Trumpeter. Are WW2 DDs in general much more complicated that say this Dragon Arleigh Burke in 1/350:   

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: Mansfield, TX
Posted by EdGrune on Tuesday, October 5, 2021 10:59 AM

Tamiya has a reputation for well-engineered models which fit well and assemble with a minimum of hassles

Trumpeter is a mixed bag.   While their USS England was designed by their varsity team, their USS The Sullivans by their junior varsity.

Tamiya's Fletcher would be my choice for a learner kit over the Trumpeter USS The Sullivans kit.

The US made about 147 Fletcher-class destroyers during WWII.  The first third (approximately) were termed 'round bridge'.   The latter were termed 'square bridge'.  Cutting and welding square plates of steel was cheaper and more efficient than roll-forming steel to a rounded shape for the bridge house front.   Hey, there was a war on.

The Tamiya Fletcher is a round-bridge variant.  The Trumpeter Sullivans is a square-bridge.  Remember what I said about Trumpeter's JV design team.

The armament on Fletcher's evolved and changed throughout the war as the threat changed and more equipment came on line.   The Tamiya Fletcher represents one of only four of the early ships (armament-wise).   The Trumpeter Sullivans can be built as any of the mid-to-late war versions.   But remember what I said about the JV team.

Photoetch for either, Gold Medal Models (GMM) is very good, as is old White Ensign Models (WEM) and Flagship.   They are etched from a more robust brass.   Tom's Modelworks is good, but their brass is softer.   This is a double-edged sword, it forms easily but is subject to crushing by an errant thumb.

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Wednesday, October 6, 2021 12:55 AM

Along with all of the above, I am a fan of 1/700 steel navy stuff.

Yup, photo etch at that scale is not a task for new ship modelers.

Pluses are that a lot of the 1/700 models come from a sort of third generation of mold design. 

Not slide mold wonderfulness, but also not the old big draft layerss of plate part design.

I've built the Tamiya 1/700 Bogue, a good waterline model.

I've built a number of the Pit Road USN cruisers. Nice models also.

A nice kit I am building is the Dragon Independence CVL. The kit is about 8 inches long, it has a clear flight deck (scratches head), little airplanes.

Most of those 1/700 carriers really don't need much PE. Radar.



 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.


  • Member since
    February 2005
  • From: Nashotah, WI
Posted by Glamdring on Wednesday, October 6, 2021 10:06 PM

I have recently built Dragon's Type 42 destroyer in 1/700 as my first in that scale with PE, and while I certainly wouldn't consider the PE to be easy it wasn't overly complicated either as long as you have the correct tools and glue.  By the end, I honestly didn't find it to be enjoyable experience though.

As one who doesn't build ships very often, I echo the others in going with a 1/350 scale to avoid frustration. Last year I build Trumpeter's LCS1 USS Freedom in that scale and it had a fair amount of PE included, built up well, and isn't a shelf hog.  I think it's out of production, but it is probably on EBAY at a reasonable price, or as a different release with another ship of the class 


"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." 

  • Member since
    July 2014
Posted by modelcrazy on Thursday, October 7, 2021 10:00 AM

Last year I build Trumpeter's LCS1 USS Freedom in that scale and it had a fair amount of PE included, built up well, and isn't a shelf hog.  I think it's out of production, but it is probably on EBAY at a reasonable price, or as a different release with another ship of the class 

I wouldn't nessessarly call the Freedom a beginers build. It has tons of extremely tiny plastic and PE parts. But if you're intrested, you can find one on ScaleHobbyiest for $30. It comes with all the PE you'll need. It is small and looks good on display.
If you go with the 1/350 Fletcher, you can find 3d depth charge racks on Blackcat. The PE ones are very fiddley and you need to make your own depth charges.


Building a kit from your stash is like cutting a head off a Hydra, two more take it's place.

  • Member since
    September 2010
Posted by potchip on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 8:44 AM

For modern 1/700 subjects, LCS by Dragon, or Type 21 by Trumpeter (+ PE by Tetra Model Works), or Pitroad's JMSDF DD-115 and later kits are all good. Though PE sets for Pitroad kits (by Pitroad) are relatively expensive and probably too extensive for someone starting out.

The Burke/Ticonderoga/Perry kits are a bit dated. You can also try the AFV Club's Knox Class version with the detail set. It retails for 100+ yet I recently bought one from a German seller for like 44 Euros shipped which is a good deal.

  • Member since
    September 2005
  • From: Groton, CT
Posted by warshipguy on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 1:16 PM

There are quite a few options for modern 1/700 modern cruisers and destroyers available today.  However, you have to ask yourself about your preferences for how you would display a ship. For instance, there are waterline only options and options for full hull.  Dragon/DML and Trumpeter both produce Russian Kirov class and Slava class for both the Soviet and Russian navies.  The USN is well represented in the Dragon/DML range, as well as with Trumpeter, Hobby Boss, and one or two kits from Revell.  Dragon/DML produces one British destroyer as well.  They are not overly complicated and they require only simple paint schemes.


  • Member since
    July 2019
  • From: Vancouver, British Columbia
Posted by Bobstamp on Wednesday, October 13, 2021 10:12 PM

My modelling experience is similar to that of the OP, and he and I seem to share the same (dysfunctional?) perfectionism!

When I restarted my modelling career, after a 60-year hiatus, I decided that my first model would be the U.S.S. Repose hospital ship. In March, 1966, after I was seriously wounded in South Vietnam, I was a surgical patient on Repose. My wound probably wasn’t life threatening, but I didn’t know that when I was evacuated. A couple of days later, missing a lot of my right thigh, cocooned in plaster from my feet to my armpits, and filled with morphine and antibiotics, I left Repose for a four-day evacuation to the U.S. Navy hospital in San Diego. I would be a patient for the next ten months.

When I decided that I wanted to built a model of Repose, I soon learned that I would not be easy. Revell had produced a model of Repose’s sister ship, U.S.S. Haven, in the 1950s, and subsequently packaged the same model as U.S.S. Repose. But those early Repose models are scarce as hen’s teeth. In the 1970s, IIRC, the same model was boxed as a civilian ship, S.S. Hope. Eventually, I bought one model of Haven and two of Hope. I am now in the final stages of building. I want to add an antenna, more DIY Red Cross decals (along with U.S.S. Repose decals), a radome that was apparently added during the Vietnam War, and rigging. 

The only reason I built this particular ship model was because it was the only one available. As far as I know, no one else has ever produced a different model of Repose, or Haven, or Hope. I won’t recommend it to anyone! Indeed, a model shop employee warned me away from building any models dating back to the 1950s or 1960s. He wasn’t wrong. He just didn’t know how much I wanted a model Repose

The kit’s problems are numerous. For starters, it’s small, about 1/500 scale, which doesn’t match the scale given on the box. Some parts from one box were badly warped. It has many dimples and a lot of flash from the molding process. The lifeboats and some of the deck furniture looks to have been designed by Walt Disney rather than a marine architect. Some parts are impossibly out of any scale I’ve ever heard of: the kits all come with a tiny Sikorsky UH-34 Seahorse helicopter that’s only about ⅔ the size it should be. I’m trying to scratch build a replacement helicopter, but I don’t have much hope that it will look even slightly realistic. Many other parts are out of scale as well. The lifeboat davits look big enough and strong enough to raise and lower the Titanic

My biggest complaint, which my limited skills certainly can’t overcome, concerns the railings and the netting around the helicopter landing pad: they are solid plastic, not open like railings and netting should be. I thought about adding photo-etched railings and netting, but I couldn’t find anything close to the right scale, and I’m probably not skilled enough to install them anyway! 

Now, having said all this, I’m pleased with the way the model is turning out. It will never win an award, but my wife has said, on several occasions, “Wow! That looks great!” Here it is in its near-glory and current state of completeness (I’ve got the hull covered to protect it from scratches and dings while I complete final deck details):

I would like to try a bigger ship model, but as far as I know, models of the two troop ships I sailed on — U.S.S. Magoffin and U.S.S. Paul Revere — have never been produced. And a bigger ship model would be too big for the available display space in my small apartment. 

My bottom line(s) about ship models:

• If realism is important, choose larger rather than smaller scale models.

• Choose models made after 1970, or even later if possible.

• Buy a couple of kits, if possible. I’ve used parts from all three of my hospital ship kits (usually because of mistakes or having parts launched into oblivion by my tweezers.)

• Practice painting with a range of brushes — airbrushing just doesn’t cut it when it comes to painting the molded details on model ships.

• Assemble the largest, robust parts of the model first. If you add the smaller, delicate parts too early, you risk breaking them. That happened to me with two masts and a lifeboat. Thank god for crazy glue! 

• Be aware that any given ship model is unlikely to be more than grossly accurate, and probably inaccurate in many details. In researching Repose, I found some 20 different photographs of the ship taken at different times from the 1950s, when it was in service during the Korean War, through its time in Vietnam in the 1960s, but not including the interim when it was mothballed.  Few of those photographs show identical Reposes. Masts are all white, or all black, or black and white. Cranes are in place in some photos, but missing in others. They probably weren't very necessary in the Vietnam War.* Deck furniture that’s present in some photos is missing in others.  Radio and radar antennas seemingly move on their own accord from one position to another, or disappear completely. The position of Red Cross logos changes from photo to photo. There seem to be about six different designs for the touchdown and liftoff area of the helicopter platform, some with white crosses, others without. Even the bridge changes shape and position. Lifeboats have longitudinal red stripes in some photos, none in other photos. In some photos, the ship’s name is centred on he stern, in others its located on each side of the stern. One thing I learned from the photographs is that about 20 drainpipes extend down the side of the ship to the waterline, but the hull of the model is as smooth as a baby’s bottom. My skills were severely tested in kit bashing those drains, but they look good!

I’ve actually thought about building another Repose model, but I don’t think I could stand it! Too much fiddling about for a model that can never look realistic. 


* Early in the Korean War, wounded U.N. soldiers couldn’t be taken directly to hospital ships. First, boats or helicopters ferried the soldiers to barges tied next to the ships. Then the soldiers had to be hoisted by crane to the ship. A doctor, realizing that soldiers were dying because they couldn’t be treated before the “Golden Hour” for successful treatment had passed, suggested the addition of a helicopter landing platform to the stern of the ships. 





On the bench: 1/500 Revell S.S. Hope, being built as the hospital ship U.S.S. Repose; Academy 1/72 F-86F Sabre, and a diorama to illustrate the crash of a Beech T-34B Mentor which I survived in 1962 (I'm using Minicraft's 1/48 model of the Mentor). 

  • Member since
    October 2021
Posted by Armored soupcan on Friday, October 15, 2021 11:22 AM

Yeah a 1/700 destroyer is pretty small. I would recommend a 1/350 destroyer or light cruiser. Trumpeter's 1/350 belfast does have pe parts but that thing is really expensive, their Indianapolis in that scale also fits your needs and its less expensive. 


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