USS Essex class

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USS Essex class

  • Heard through the grapevine the Revell of germany is rereleasing this 25 year old kit. Then I found this post http://www.modelshipbuilding.com/essexclass.htm !!! I did the kit when I was 13 or 14 and my little brother took it to our stock pond and sunk it, with some MK 1 rocks. I got justice though my dad made sure he couldn't sit for a week.

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  • MK I rocks!  I like the terminology.

    At that age I'd have probably been like your brother - my first impulse would have been to sink that baby.

    Gig 'em, Steven

     

  • Looked it up in Dr. Thomas Graham's Remembering Revell Model Kits.  It's actually forty years old - in that particular incarnation.  It was originally released in a box labeled "Hornet Plus 3" (a nickname that was used for her in the press after she picked up the Apollo 11 astronauts and their command module), in 1970 - obviously in the midst of the publicity following the first moon landing.

    The ship in the kit, of course, is Revell's old Essex-class carrier, which (using Dr. Graham as the source again) dates from 1958.  Dr. Graham's coverage stops in 1979; by then the kit had been reissued eight times, under the names Bonhomme Richard (several times), Lexington (twice), Oriskany, Wasp, and Hornet. 

    So far as I know, the basic parts making up the ship were never altered.  The original release contained a length of hard wire with nicks in it at the appropriate points, so it could be snapped off into short pieces to form the radio antennas at the edge of the flight deck and on the island.  (Sheez: 1958 high-tech.)  And the air group changed several times.  (According to Dr. Graham, in the "Hornet Plus 3" incarnation it included S-2 Trackers, E-1 Tracers, Sikorsky Sea Kings, and what I remember as a barely-recognizable Apollo command module.)

    I remember this old kit with considerable nostalgia.  By modern standards it has some pretty serious accuracy problems, but for anybody looking for an angled-deck Essex-class carrier it's probably the easiest to find.  (Renwall and Lindberg did angled-deck Essexes too - the latter on two scales.  But they're pretty scarce.)  I imagine Dragon's series will eventually get around to the angled-deck ships.  With my luck, the day after I finished updating and correcting an old Revell kit the new Dragon one would hit the shelves.

    Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • In no particular order;

    Were any of these a part of the Picture Fleet? I would assume. And if so, did John Steel illustrate any of the boxes? I would also assume so.

    My own particular memory of these were that they were the first full hull kits of modern warships I built.

    Up to that time, my fleet included the Revell New Jersey, the Missouri, and various Aurora Forrestal class CVs that were a very important part of my 3rd grade after school social life, circa 1963 or so.

    Imagine a war game, with cookies and milk, at the home of my best friend Curtis Wong, Ships shoved around on the floor, air wings deployed, and damn he had the Yamato!

    That meant broken props, serious side lists.

    My best memory of that series of ship models was the decal "beware jet blast" that was put on the island.

    I look now at this series of models as excellent, but at the time maybe a little ahead of the market. They were designed to be displayed on stands, which if I recall were a pair of V braces fore and aft, and were very accurate, if at a unique scale at about 1/526 or so.

    I would think that Revell was looking at a market of Korean War Navy veterans, perhaps.

     

     

  • I'm no box art expert (though I know there are a lot of them out there); the two convenient sources I know about for such questions are Dr. Graham's book and www.oldmodelkits.com

    My recollection is that Revell started using the "Picture Fleet" logo when it hired John Steel, in about 1960, as a means of recycling its very oldest ship kits:  the Midway-class carrier, the Iowa-class battleship, the Baltimore-class cruiser (with and without missiles), and the Fletcher-class destroyer.  (On p. 70 of Dr. Graham's book there's a tiny copy of an ad from Boy's Life magazine showing Steel with the carrier in his hand and the other "Picture Fleet" ships arrayed on a table in front of him.  I remember ogling that ad and fantasizing about buying the kits - till my cynical older brother figured out that they were reissues of models he and I had already built.)  I'm not sure how long the "Picture Fleet" logo hung around; Revell used all sorts of such labels ("Commander Series," "Sea Power Series," "Flanker Series" to promote warship kits in the sixties.  On p. 72 there's a photo of a pretty stunning Steel painting of the Lexington with a "Sea Power" logo on it. 

    I wasn't able to find any of the Revell Essex-class kits on www.oldmodelkits.com at the moment.  My tired old brain is recalling, though, that it recently saw a Revell Bonhomme Richard (the carrier, not the you-know-what) with a Steel painting on the box (a classic broadside view from the port side).  I suspect the kit appeared with at least one more Steel painting,  but those are the ones I remember.

    Dr. Graham's book also includes a photo of a built-up Revell model of the Forrestal,  complete with a cardboard "diorama" showing the ship (resting firmly on its trestle bases) steaming under a cardboad replica of the Golden Gate Bridge.  (The accompanying copy reads:  "History-making addition to any real model fleet."  What modeler's parents could resist that?)

    The book says the Forrestal wason 1/542 scale, the original version of the Essex on 1/538, and the ancient Midway-class ship on 1/547.  What mattered most to me was that the aircraft supplied with all three of them seemed to be on the same scale - or close enough.  (And the bags full of planes that came with those Aurora Forrestal-class kits weren't too bad either.)

    What strikes me as most remarkable nowadays about those old trestle-style stands is that Revell used them indescriminately for its full-hull models and the ones that were sliced off at the waterline.  The sight of a "waterline" model sitting on trestles looks pretty ridiculous to me now - but back then I guess people just didn't notice such things.

    Ah, memories....   

    Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • I built the Oriskany back in the day, maybe 1976, before I knew anything about the evolution of the Essexes

    As for the Essex class in their original configuration, Revell had the Franklin and the Intrepid in the catalog (same mold, I would guess).

    The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

     

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v233/HansvonHammer/Humor/th_MonogramMafia.jpg?t=1296972087

  • Unless I'm much mistaken, the very first plastic aircraft carrier kit was either the Revell Franklin D. Roosevelt (straight-decked) or the Lindberg Essex-class Wasp.  Both came out in about 1954.  (Maybe the Lindberg offering was a year or so earlier; I don't have a good reference on that point.) 

    For a five- or six-year-old modeler that Lindberg kit was pretty awesome - and slightly scary.   The first one I saw included an electric motor (there was a non-motorized version earlier), and a great mass of Hellcats - with instructions to chop off and "fold" the wings on some of them.  It also had a hangar deck, in the form of a pre-cut sheet of cardboard.  (I don't remember how one was supposed to change the batteries.)

    By modern standards, of course, it's pretty awful.  It did have a full hull (unlike Revell's FDR), but the underwater hull form was based on speculation.  (The hull lines of WWII American warships, generally speaking, were still classified in those days.)  Lindberg gave it two rudders - which no ship of the class ever had.  It also featured individual (if not very accurate) 20mm guns.  Quite a project.

    Lindberg issued it many, many times; I have no idea under how many names.  (I'm pretty sure John Steel did the box art for some of them.)  Most notoriously, the company sold it for a while under the name Enterprise.

    Here's a currently-available example in (I think) the original box.  Take a deep breath before you read the price:  http://www.oldmodelkits.com/index.php?detail=2060&cat=Military%20Ship&manu=Lindberg .  Lindberg in fact still lists this old fossil:   http://lindberg-models.com/water_model70826.html .  I'm not sure of the company's status at the moment; I've heard rumors that it's gone broke.  Those interested in the history of plastic warship kits might be well advised to grab it while the grabbing's good.

    Those Revell straight-decked Essexes were pretty crude; they were among the company's first effort to establish a new standard scale of 1/720.  The underwater hull was a separate piece, so the modeler could choose between full-hull and waterline configuration.  Not long after that, Hasegawa started releasing its 1/700 Essexes - both long- and short-hulled.  And now, of course, we have an embarassment of riches in this department, with excellent 1/700 kits from both Trumpeter and Dragon.

    I do hope Dragon eventually gets around to the later modified versions - with the angled deck and the hurricane bow.  To my notion this is a rare example of a major modification program making a bunch of ships look better than they did when they were built. 

    Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Revell should do this in a 1/350 scale of the BigO or the Lex.Yes

  • I'd prefer the Lexington, I used to drive her back in the mid-70s.

    I'm from the government and I'm here to help.

  • jtilley

    Unless I'm much mistaken, the very first plastic aircraft carrier kit was either the Revell Franklin D. Roosevelt (straight-decked) or the Lindberg Essex-class Wasp.  Both came out in about 1954.  (Maybe the Lindberg offering was a year or so earlier; I don't have a good reference on that point.) 

    For a five- or six-year-old modeler that Lindberg kit was pretty awesome - and slightly scary.   The first one I saw included an electric motor (there was a non-motorized version earlier), and a great mass of Hellcats - with instructions to chop off and "fold" the wings on some of them.  It also had a hangar deck, in the form of a pre-cut sheet of cardboard.  (I don't remember how one was supposed to change the batteries.)

    By modern standards, of course, it's pretty awful.  It did have a full hull (unlike Revell's FDR), but the underwater hull form was based on speculation.  (The hull lines of WWII American warships, generally speaking, were still classified in those days.)  Lindberg gave it two rudders - which no ship of the class ever had.  It also featured individual (if not very accurate) 20mm guns.  Quite a project.

    Lindberg issued it many, many times; I have no idea under how many names.  (I'm pretty sure John Steel did the box art for some of them.)  Most notoriously, the company sold it for a while under the name Enterprise.

    Here's a currently-available example in (I think) the original box.  Take a deep breath before you read the price:  http://www.oldmodelkits.com/index.php?detail=2060&cat=Military%20Ship&manu=Lindberg .  Lindberg in fact still lists this old fossil:   http://lindberg-models.com/water_model70826.html .  I'm not sure of the company's status at the moment; I've heard rumors that it's gone broke.  Those interested in the history of plastic warship kits might be well advised to grab it while the grabbing's good.

    Those Revell straight-decked Essexes were pretty crude; they were among the company's first effort to establish a new standard scale of 1/720.  The underwater hull was a separate piece, so the modeler could choose between full-hull and waterline configuration.  Not long after that, Hasegawa started releasing its 1/700 Essexes - both long- and short-hulled.  And now, of course, we have an embarassment of riches in this department, with excellent 1/700 kits from both Trumpeter and Dragon.

    I do hope Dragon eventually gets around to the later modified versions - with the angled deck and the hurricane bow.  To my notion this is a rare example of a major modification program making a bunch of ships look better than they did when they were built. 

    Dragon offers a non angle decked Essex class carrier as the USS Boxer which is a LPH with at least 8 UH-34's. And I have built the 1/720 scale Revel Intrepid it wasn't that bad of a kit but the aircraft we a bit of a disappointment something you can now fix with Trumpeters 1/700 scale aircraft.

    On the workbench: Dragon 1/350 scale Ticonderoga class USS BunkerHill 1/720 scale Italeri USS Harry S. Truman 1/72 scale Encore Yak-6

    The 71st Tactical Fighter Squadron the only Squadron to get an Air to Air kill and an Air to Ground kill in the same week with only a F-15   http://photobucket.com/albums/v332/Mikeym_us/

  • I agree with you.I went out and purchased the 1/700 ANTIETAM just so I would have and angled deck carrier.I would like to see that old beast re-released one more time. tankerbuilder

  • I just finished a super, updated version of the kit and turned it into the Oriskany. Real wooden deck, resin island, and a cut hull to make it a water line. I still love the old kit and look forward to seeing it again.

     

    "What we do in life echoes in eternity !" - Maximus

  • Folks:

    I seem to recall that Renwall had a relatively nice (for the time) Essex class kit that was offered as both the Shangri-La and the Kearsarge (and probably other names as well).  I recall building the Shangri-La along with a guided missle cruiser (USS Galveston, I think) and a destroyer leader of some sort (all Renwall kits) somewhere around 1960, possibly just before the Cuban Missle Crisis.

    My somewhat hazy memeory on this is that the Renwall kit was bit easier for me to build than the Revell Essex - I recall having a dickens of a time getting the hangar deck walls to fit the hull properly and then getting the flight deck in place on the Revell kit.  I think that Revell has the old Renwall molds (I think they re-issued the old Galveston kit a few years ago) - it would be nice to see some of them again (their model of the Washington / North Carolina was great for its time).

    If you're tempted to build the re-issue of the Hornet - check Gold Medal Models - I think Loren has a fret designed just for that kit.

    Mike 

  • Carmike

    Folks:

    I seem to recall that Renwall had a relatively nice (for the time) Essex class kit that was offered as both the Shangri-La and the Kearsarge (and probably other names as well).  I recall building the Shangri-La along with a guided missle cruiser (USS Galveston, I think) and a destroyer leader of some sort (all Renwall kits) somewhere around 1960, possibly just before the Cuban Missle Crisis.

    My somewhat hazy memeory on this is that the Renwall kit was bit easier for me to build than the Revell Essex - I recall having a dickens of a time getting the hangar deck walls to fit the hull properly and then getting the flight deck in place on the Revell kit.  I think that Revell has the old Renwall molds (I think they re-issued the old Galveston kit a few years ago) - it would be nice to see some of them again (their model of the Washington / North Carolina was great for its time).

    If you're tempted to build the re-issue of the Hornet - check Gold Medal Models - I think Loren has a fret designed just for that kit.

    Mike 

     

    man, I would love to build an accurate Shangri La, as my father was attached to VF-13's F-8 Crusaders in the late 1960s.....

    Looking online, I did find this kit.  it is shown as a 1/500 scale USS Shangri La, complete with a Regulus missile on a launch dolly, sealed in box on oldmdelkits.com for $325....it has F9F-8 Cougars and A-3 Skywarriors in the air wing. 

    I always did prefer larger scale kits too.....it would be a real dream to see a large scale kit of the old 27-Charlie boats.