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First timer to US Naval ship modeling (USS Nassau LHA-4)

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  • Member since
    June, 2015
First timer to US Naval ship modeling (USS Nassau LHA-4)
Posted by Fireblade910 on Sunday, June 14, 2015 10:19 PM

Hey all, first time attempting a US naval ship model. I am an intermediately-skilled N scale train modeler, and appreciate the details in my models.

Well I have been wanting for quite some time to build the USS Nassau, and finally found a reasonably priced kit on eBay, a Revell 1:720 LHA-1 Tarawa kit.

I am unfamiliar with the companies that manufacture detail kits or decals for custom projects, and Google searches have surprisingly not revealed much to me.

My goal is to model the Nassau as it was in the 90s, approximately 15 years after being commissioned, when my uncle served with her crew. I am comfortable with weatheirng techniques, but do need to ask what base colors I should use for the deck, hull, superstructure, etc to give me the best effect for weathering. Also, what detail parts are availoable that will really make the stock model stand out? I also know I will ne a decal kit to change the number from 1 to 4, so i would assume that a generic 1:720 decal kit should suffice since everything else from revell's kit should work.

With that being said, are there some detail decal kits I should look into that will give me more decals that I should have that revell doesn't include?

Thanks for all the help, I look forward to possibly getting back into ship/armor modeling!

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Monday, June 15, 2015 10:03 AM
  • Member since
    November, 2003
  • From: Virginia
Posted by Mike F6F on Monday, June 15, 2015 5:00 PM

Fireblade,

The base gray is FS 26270 which is a semi-gloss paint.  You will no doubt have to go with FS 36270 which has a flat finish.  Different manufacturers call this gray by different names, so you'll need to go with the numbers.  The ship should be painted overall with this color hull and island.  You may want to add a percentage of white to the gray to compensate for scale.

The one color you shouldn't use for the flight deck is black.  Go with dark to medium dark gray and the grays vary do to weathering.  Study flight deck photos in the excellent Navy photo gallery at navy.mil.  You'll see various LHD and LHA photos.  Since the only Tarawa-class still in service is the Peleliu you'll find good shots there.

There's no definitive red paint used for the underwater hull.  Navy specs don't list a specific color, so the under hull red is whatever the spec anti-fouling paint ends up.  There are various Hull reds out there.

Enjoy your build.

Mike

 

"Grumman on a Navy Airplane is like Sterling on Silver."

  • Member since
    November, 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Monday, June 15, 2015 10:25 PM

Large combatant ships have large crews, so go easy on the weathering.  Pretty much everything from the main deck up is regularly painted (stripped, needle-gunned to bare steel, primed and repainted, for that matter).

As a large combatant, the hull gets paint attention whenever in port (other than official Port Visits) so it's weathering will be very mild as well.

Use the Search function for "Modern USN paint" and you will find some good recommendations.  Like Gunship Grey for flight decks.

I'd not sweat decals per se, I'd focus on what PE is available--both specific and general (which is how you will probably find decals).   This will take some patience, 1:720 is about 3 times smaller than what you are used to in N.

  • Member since
    June, 2013
Posted by RobGroot4 on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 3:36 AM

Personally for flight decks I like to use Model Master Aircraft Interior Black.  It's a very light black (or super dark grey, however you want to look at it), and flight decks tend to appear darker than regular decks.  Find a color that looks right to your eye.

Also, if you are going for the cruise, weather up the flight deck.  Decks can't be repainted without a re-certification (a lengthy and sometimes painful process), so they are pretty rarely repainted, and not during workups and cruises.  While the rest of the ship will look decent (less so if it has been underway for a while), the flight decks take a beating.

Groot

"Firing flares while dumping fuel may ruin your day" SH-60B NATOPS

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Mansfield, TX
Posted by EdGrune on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 5:54 AM

Sets of both high-vis and low-vis shaded hull numbers for USN are available from Hawk Graphics

http://www.hawk-graphics.com/

  • Member since
    November, 2003
  • From: Virginia
Posted by Mike F6F on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 9:53 AM

Here's a couple Navy photos of Peleliu (LHA 5.)

You can see that flight decks are not black.

Mike

 

"Grumman on a Navy Airplane is like Sterling on Silver."

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 10:10 AM

Great photos. Actually the deck looks warm gray, almost a brown color. Close I would say to dark Gull Gray.

By contrast, all of the rotary parts on the aircraft are a good solid black.

  • Member since
    June, 2015
Posted by Fireblade910 on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 11:15 AM
Thank you all for the tremendous support! I think what I will do is stop by the hobby shop and pick up a cheapo kit to practice on and find out what colors match what I am looking for. I am going to ask my uncle when/where he was out to sea and do some more research! I definitely want this model to be the best I am capable of! I definitely understand the issue with getting a "true" color because of lighting differences, and will have to pour over plenty of pictures to determine how much/type of weathering I will need to apply.

Thanks also for the detail part and decal recommendations, I ordered the photo etched kit and will work on the decals next.

Thanks again to everyone for your time and assistance, I'll definitely make this site a regular visit, and send progress reports as I work on it!
  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Seattle, WA
Posted by Surface_Line on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 11:53 PM

One more nuance -

Figure out what air wing was on the ship for the period you want.  Early on, before Harriers and Ospreys, it was all helicopters (no surprise there).  That long stripe on the deck was white, and the weathering pattern on the deck was just related to helicopter operations.

After the ship was converted to operate Harriers, (and later, Ospreys), that stripe was yellow, as in the photos above.  Then there would be a lot of lengthwise scuffing, from the STOL aircraft coming and going.

And for the flight deck on my LHA, I used Modelmaster Engine Grey, an even lighter "dark grey", to prevent the stark effect of either plain black or Aircraft Interior Black.  Likewise, for the sides, I use Modelmaster Dark Ghost Grey, rather than the exact 26270 color used on the full size ship.

Ed,

Those shaded number decals from Hawk Graphics are wonderful for the sides of the bow and stern, but this class has tall, unshaded numbers on the flight deck.  Just as our original poster needs some tall "4"s for his Nassau, I need some tall "5"s for my Peleliu.  Any suggestions for that?

Thanks,

Rick

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Sydney, Australia
Posted by Phil_H on Wednesday, June 17, 2015 12:44 AM

Another point to consider, also time period dependent, is the weapons fit. The Revell kit depicts LHA-1 with the 5" mounts and Sea Sparrow launcher box.

IIRC, you would need to delete the 5" mounts and add 2 CIWS units (which can be had in 1/700 scale) and whatever other weapons which may be appropriate.

  • Member since
    June, 2013
Posted by RobGroot4 on Wednesday, June 17, 2015 3:45 AM

Mike F6F

Here's a couple Navy photos of Peleliu (LHA 5.)

You can see that flight decks are not black.

It depends on when in the maintenance/workup/cruise cycle you depict the ship as to how dark you make the deck.  Also, where it deploys/deployed matters.  The newer the nonskid, the darker it is.  Deploying someplace like the Middle East will rapidly lighten the flight deck due to the dust, dirt, and OPTEMPO, whereas the North Atlantic nowadays is a little slower and usually involves rougher seas and more moisture on the deck.

 

Groot

"Firing flares while dumping fuel may ruin your day" SH-60B NATOPS

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Mansfield, TX
Posted by EdGrune on Wednesday, June 17, 2015 6:28 AM

Surface_Line

Those shaded number decals from Hawk Graphics are wonderful for the sides of the bow and stern, but this class has tall, unshaded numbers on the flight deck.  Just as our original poster needs some tall "4"s for his Nassau, I need some tall "5"s for my Peleliu.  Any suggestions for that?

Thanks,

Gold Medal offers some deck number decals in 1:700.   They are for a WWII era CV but may work.   GMM also offers a supercarrier set with outlined numerals in white

That GMM set may be a better one-stop choice as it also includes high vis shaded numerals and other colorful markings

  • Member since
    November, 2003
  • From: Virginia
Posted by Mike F6F on Wednesday, June 17, 2015 9:24 AM

The low sun angle on Groot's posted photo of Peleliu makes the deck appear darker of course, and fresh from a yard availability the deck would be dark, but never black.  Even in Groot's photo you can see the deck looks more "gunship grayish" than any shade of black.

Model builders can make their flight decks any color they'd like, but I just so often see ship models of CVNs, LHAs, LHDs, etc., with coal-black flight decks.  In reality, the decks just aren't that dark.

The navy.mil photo gallery is a wonderful source to judge ship appearance in various lighting conditions, and stages of wear and tear.

While it is more apparent on CVNs than the gator ships, you can often see patterns in the flight deck non-skid.  Since the big carrier decks don't often get a full covering of non-skid at once, you can often see block areas of the decks in lighter and darker shades, usually with a rather sharp demarcation line between them.  You can see different gray shades even under freshly painted markings.  The non-skid fades quickly in sunlight.  You don't notice these differences on the gators as often.

It is subtle, but makes a very nice touch to use such details on a model containing such large surfaces.  It breaks up the monotone look and adds a little challenge to the painting.

Surface_Line's idea of using the aircraft color dark ghost gray for the hull of an LHA is an interesting approach.  The FS 26270 reflects the water's color and often adds blueish tones to the hull depending on the light, etc.  That could be an elegantly simple way to depict that effect.

Mike

 

"Grumman on a Navy Airplane is like Sterling on Silver."

  • Member since
    August, 2008
Posted by tankerbuilder on Thursday, June 18, 2015 9:33 AM

Hey !

     CapnMac82 . You mean to tell me they made the deck apes job easier with Needle guns ? Gees , what happened to the old Chipping bar and it's best friend the Chipping hammer ? Now those taught you not to mess up and get extra duty during the day !

     Any time I got extra duty crew , I had them work around the fire fighting equipment and the life saving equipment . Saved my guys for the important stuff , Pads , Panels and Timbers ! Yes , I was a D.C.Chief for all of two years . Loved it .Then they took my job away . Time to do something different !

  • Member since
    August, 2008
Posted by tankerbuilder on Thursday, June 18, 2015 9:41 AM

To help you out here Mike .

   I advise All the builders of ships I know to use varying shades of Testors Model Master rust .You can take one bottle and develop four distinct ship bottom colors from it .

  • Member since
    November, 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Sunday, June 21, 2015 12:26 AM

Tank, the newer pre-catalyized  & acrylic paints (let alone the CARC stuff) would take no notice of a shipping bar.  (Unless to come off in a great huge sheets, fouling antennae or rigging, or the like.)

Was never down to me--the XO would clear his throat in a way that just suggested the word "paint" and that task went to the Division Officers, and in turn to the LPO, and on down the line.

By the time i reached such exalted position, i was in a painted CMU shop, and GSA was on the hook for the paint jobs.   Such is life.

  • Member since
    June, 2015
Posted by SL70 on Monday, June 22, 2015 3:21 PM

I was onboard the USS Guadalcanal (LPH-7) from '89-92 which was also an anphibious assault ship so operations were similar however, we didn't have a well deck. I was an ABH, yellow shirt who worked on the hanger deck and flight deck for three years. If you depict the ship at flight quarters, the ships starboard side aircraft elevator should be up. You never brought aircraft to the flight deck with this elevator during flight ops otherwise they'd call a red deck and flight ops would stop. The aft elevator I would assume could be up or down. I would ask a crewmember on this point since our ship was set up diffrently. If at flight quarters, the P-16 (Fire fighting truck) was allways stationed at spot one. This is spot, on our ship was almost off of the deck. You will notice the P-16 the white truck with the red stripe is far forward on a few of the photos. All yellow gear, tow tractors, ox carts, maintenance stands were stationed behind the foul line if not in use. The foul line is the red and white stripe that goes the length of the flight deck near the island. Dispite what previous posters stated these ships allways rusted. Especially from the deck drains that are visible on the side of the sip. Also the anchor rusted pretty good. I remember on the way back from the med the deck department had guys painting the hull using cargo nets straped to the side of the ship while we were underway! Crazy. Aircraft elevator nets and the deck edge safety  nets were allways in place during flight ops. If they were not, then it was another red deck condition and you wouldn't fly. Also during that time period these ships did operate Harriers. They had an AIMD department that could support these aircraft. Our ship could launch and recover the Harrier but could not support the maintenace of the aircraft due to the age of the ship so we never deployed with them. Our ship had a glide slope indicator on the fantail for the Harriers and it looks like the LHA had them as well. Look for the long stick type thing with about four lights on the rear of the ship to the left. This was a later modification for us so your ship may not have had it yet. Along the side of the flight deck should be bomb chutes. These were used in case we had to jettoson bombs off the flight deck. The chutes were bright yellow with a flat black bomb stencled on them.

Check out the link for the Model Warship forum for specific info on Navy ships.

A few links:

www.navysite.de/.../lha4.htm

www.navsource.org/.../0704.htm

www.shipmodels.info/.../index.php

Anchors Aweigh!

Steve (ABH-3)

  • Member since
    June, 2015
Posted by Fireblade910 on Friday, June 26, 2015 1:45 AM

Wow the information you all have given me is tremendous. I am still waiting for my package to come in the mail, but I have the detail kit and decals ready to go. I will likely find a cheapo ship to build and paint wirth various colors to test what looks best to my desires. I know all too well the tribulation of trying to "color-match" from proto pictures, in my model railroading hobby. I have been in contact with my uncle about his era, and he said he had harriers on board, which makes the yellow stripe add that much more depth and color to an otherwise drab vehicle. Once I get the model in and start work, I hope to share my experience with everyone!

  • Member since
    October, 2005
  • From: Tulsa
Posted by deattilio on Friday, June 26, 2015 9:17 AM

Looking forward to watching your progress on this one.  I have Dragon’s 1/700 LHA in the stash that I plan to complete as the U.S.S. Belleau Wood, the largest amphib I ever spent any time aboard.  Of course the only time I was on the flight deck was for PT, Steal Beach parties and becoming a Shellback, and we even brought an AAV up on the aft elevator to test all the platoon’s guns before heading into Somalia (Operation United Shield).  The rest of the time I was in the well deck with worst experience – there were actually quite a few aboard that ship, was cleaning out clover leafs. 

You could tell when a 53 was landing, but when the Harriers came aboard they made the whole ship rumble when landing.  They even fired the 5” guns (she still had them in ’95) and for as tiny as they look you could feel it through the whole ship.

AAV on aft elevator

 

AAV on aft elevator, heading to or from the flight deck

 

Looking fwd from AAV driver’s station on aft elevator

 

On port elevator looking fwd

 

AH-1W on flight deck

 

Harriers on flight deck

 

WIP:
School break - hobby on!

 

"Gator, Green Catskill....Charlie On Time"
 

 

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Friday, June 26, 2015 10:35 AM

One heck of a thread. What does cleaning out clover leafs mean?

  • Member since
    October, 2005
  • From: Tulsa
Posted by deattilio on Friday, June 26, 2015 1:55 PM

I figured a picture would work better than a word description, I pulled this image from the Marine Corps website.  Those little “x”s in the deck are what we referred to as clover leaves, it is how we secured the AAVs to the deck.  People use these things as spitunes, urinals and just plain old garbage holes, not to mention they are in the deck and all the muck and junk would collect in them after flooding the well deck.  If you screwed up you had to go clean the clover leaves.  I don’t think it served any real purpose, just a memorable punishment that kept you from repeating the offense. 

 

 

 

WIP:
School break - hobby on!

 

"Gator, Green Catskill....Charlie On Time"
 

 

  • Member since
    June, 2004
  • From: 29° 58' N 95° 21' W
Posted by seasick on Saturday, June 27, 2015 12:06 AM

The flight deck has a non-skid coating on it. It does get sun bleached. The deck markings will be heavily faded if the non-skid is too. The paint for vertical surfaces is 26270. The USN calls this color haze gray.  Testors calls the color neutral gray. Beware that in WW2 the USN had a paint with the same name that is the federal standard 35237. It's a blue gray.

The colors always look brighter in the photos you see on the net because they are taken in full sunlight on a clear day with minimal sea mist.

Chasing the ultimate build.

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Saturday, June 27, 2015 9:42 AM

Thanks D. In the picture (great pics by the way) of the CH-46, that looks to be one of the previously mentioned bomb chutes in the foreground.

  • Member since
    June, 2015
Posted by Fireblade910 on Monday, July 20, 2015 12:53 AM

Well the model came in this past week, I didn't realize paying for economy shipping meant a month of transit time from the East coast. Oh well, the LHA-1 kit actually comes with all the numbers fo the Tarawa class, so the 4s I need are included! Glad I didn't order a set! I'll likely be painting the deck a darker grey than the hull, but not too dark as most have suggested. As always there will never be a "correct" color, but from all the pictures I've been gathering, the deck looks like a medium dark grey rather than anything close to black. I will get some various colors and test them out to find what I feel to be the ideal color, plus there willl be patches as some of you suggested.

Since this is my first time building a ship since my childhood, I will likely start with the aircraft and painting/detailing them with the GMM kit, and then start working the structure and hull. I'll need to figure out what parts to build before I paint, and when to add the detail parts before i even start the kit.

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Mansfield, TX
Posted by EdGrune on Monday, July 20, 2015 8:16 AM

Fireblade910

Since this is my first time building a ship since my childhood, I will likely start with the aircraft and painting/detailing them with the GMM kit, and then start working the structure and hull. I'll need to figure out what parts to build before I paint, and when to add the detail parts before i even start the kit.

I generally recommend that you mask & paint the kit parts (i.e. paint the deck,  mask it, paint the vertical) before you apply the PE.   Paint the PE on the fret,  use light coat(s).    Remove the part from the fret,  prepare and attach.   Use white glue (I prefer Aleenes Tacky Glue from the craft store)  to tack the part in place.  Then permanently attach with  CA.   Touch-up nicks & cracks in the paint with a hand brush.  At the end an overall dusting of clear flat will dull down any remaining shine from the glue and tie everything together. 

Since doing the entire airwing at one sitting may get repetitively boring,  you might consider doing only a couple at a time,  then move to the ship for a step or two, then back to the aircraft.

When applying the PE work top to bottom, inboard to outboard.   This minimizes the chances of an errant thumb smashing previously attached parts.     

  • Member since
    June, 2015
Posted by Fireblade910 on Monday, July 20, 2015 6:28 PM

What is PE? As far as paint goes, I am pretty decent with the airbrush, and detail N scale locomotives (1:160) So I have a good base to go off of, I Figure I'll paint the hull and deck separate, build the superstructure into one piece and paint it by itself and then attach everything together and continue with the detail/weathering.

  • Member since
    December, 2010
  • From: Salem, Oregon
Posted by 1943Mike on Tuesday, July 21, 2015 11:30 AM

Fireblade910,

PE are the initials for Photo Etched. That is photo etched brass material that can be made much more finely and more detailed than plastic. Usually, I suppose, stamped, chemically etched and/or laser cut..

Here's the URL to the set in which, I believe, you'd be interested: http://www.goldmm.com/ships/gms7026.htm

Mike

P.S.: Here's another URL with a much better explanation of how PE is made than my ignorant attempt above: http://titanic-model.com/articles/photoetch/Photoetched_Brass.htm

Mike

"Le temps est un grand maître, mais malheureusement, il tue tous ses élèves."

Hector Berlioz

  • Member since
    June, 2015
Posted by Fireblade910 on Wednesday, July 22, 2015 2:11 PM

Ah okay thanks!

  • Member since
    March, 2004
  • From: Kincheloe Michigan
Posted by Mikeym_us on Wednesday, July 22, 2015 4:38 PM
I believe they actually use asphalt on the flight deck. Starts out black then fades to that very shade of gray over time.
Mike F6F

Here's a couple Navy photos of Peleliu (LHA 5.)

You can see that flight decks are not black.

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/

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