The Build - Bulbous Bow, Air Wing, Life Buoys, Personnel, Completion, CSG - February 18, 2017
I began this session by scratch building the bulbous bow on he front end of the Ronald Reagan. The Reagan is the first Nimitz class to receive this addition, which helps with stability and maneuverability, particularly at high speed. I found a 1/72 scale fuel tank that had the proper width and then worked on its shape and then cut off the appropriate section of the bow from the Trumpeter Nimitz model and added this to it, painted it, and then it was done.
T hen built, painted, and addded the decals and tuch up to the air wing on the carrier. This took quite a bit of time. I had already added 12 aircraft to the hanar deck. I decided to add 28 aircraft to the flight deck. They included:
12 x F-35C Joint Strike Fighters
04 x F/A-18F Super Hronets Strike Fighters
02 x FA/18E Super Hornet Fighters
04 x EA-18G Growler Electronic Warfare aicraft
03 x E-2C Hawkeye AEW aircraft
02 x CVM-22 COD Osprey aircaft
01 x MH-60R SAR/ASW Black HawkHelicopter
This makes a total of forty aircraft on the model. Typical peacetime air wings consist of more than this, usually close to 60 aircraft. In war time, with a full load, the Nimitz class carriers can carry 90 aircraft.
I used Orange Hobby resin kits for the F-35Cs along with several Skyway 3D models. I used Trumpeter 1/350 scale models for all of the other kits except the COD Ospreys, which were made from Gallery Models, US Marine aircraft kit in 1/350 scale.
These took some time. For example, each Hawkeye consisted of 28 pieces itself. All of these are small kits. Then adding the painting, some of which consisted of paint schemes from actual US Navy squadrons for the Hawkeyes, the Super Hornets, the the Grim Reapers for the Super Hornets, and the Growlers.
Here's how that turned out being built:
Then it was time to complete building the deck equipment. This included the newer tugs for the F-35Cs, the older tugs, Fire equipment, cranes, electrical servicing carts, etc.
There is a LOT oe equipment on the deck of a US Navy super carrier when it is conducting high tempo operations...and the deck is a finely tuned, orchestrated busy...and dangerous...place.
I also built some crates and packed equipment for the fork lifts to be moving around on the deck.
Here's three pics to show how that went:
At this point I decided to arrange and glue all of the aircraft and equipment in place on the deck.
I decided to depict a large launch operation, using the two bow cats and one of the waste cats to launch F-35s, F/A-18s, and a Hawkeye.
I then spotted aircraft around deck in position to be towed to their launch positions when the time came.
Here's how that looked with numerous pictures:
I then added life buoys around the vessel, from the stern to the various areas along the vessel where they might be located to toss to anyone who fell overboard, or whom the vessel may come to on its way...though if someone needed SAR, the helos and Opsreys could take care of that at any distance from the ship.
A couple of more of the carrier, the last with all of the aircraft spotted:
At this point it was time to add US Navy personnel on the fight deck, along the catwalk all around the flight deck, on the stern, and on the island.
I had already added personnel inside the island, and in the hangar deck. I had a total of 17 inside the island, and 24 in the hangar.
Now it was time to add more. The distinctive colored shirts for armament, fuel, electronics, and deck maneuvering for the aircraft, and then numerous personnel in thei US Navy whites, working around the carrier..
I used Veteran Models 1/350 scale US Aircraft carrier personnel...and they were very reasonable for purchasing the pre-painted personnel, so I bought those. They are very tiny and they certainly have the equipment to mass produce them in a very decent paint scheme which I would not have been able to duplicate.
Altogether on the flight deck, outside the island, on the stern and around the catwalk and various auxiliary decks I added another 91 personnel. Which means I have 132 personnel around the carrier. This of course is a very small number as over 5,000 personnel man these carriers.
Here are a bunch of pictures showing the personnel:
At this point the ship was essentially completed. Much earlier than expected...but I gauged my work on doing the work only in the evenings after work. Now that I have retired, I found myself working on the carrier many more hours each day...probably three times as much each day...just couldn't tear myself away.
Here are pictures of the whole thing on the work table after adding the touch up and the dull coat paint:
Now it was time for the final layout pictures on or kitchen island, where I take the final pictures of most of my models:
Very, very nice indeed! ...and here are some close ups, along with looks into the hangar:
And finally, I thought I would show the Reagan with its full Carrier Strike Group. This includes 1/350 scale models of:
1 x CVN-76, USS Ronald Reagan, Nimitz Class Nuclear Powered Super carrier
1 x CG-53 USS Mobile Bay, AEGIS Ticonderoga Class cruiser
1 x DDG-82, USS Lassen, AEGIS Flight IIA Burke class destroyer
1 x DDG-68, USS The Sullivans, AEGIS Flight I Burke Class destroyer, 1 x LCS-1, USS Freedom, Freedom Class Littoral Combat Ship
1 x SSN-775, USS Texas, Virginia Class nuclear powered attack submarine
This is the heart and soul of US Naval power on the high seas. These carriers, along with their strike groups represent the most powerful surface groups of ships on earth, particularly when protected as they are. This is a peace time grouping, in war time you would probably add another Frigate or LCS, another cruiser and another attack submarine.
This was a very enjoyable build.
Probably my most enjoyable to date (though I have to say that the USS Iwo Jim in 1/350 by Gallery models comes in a close second, and the Tamiya USS Enterprise, CVN-65, I built, a close 3rd behind it.
Given the work to convert the 1970s era Nimitz and namesake of the class, to the 2000s USS Ronald Reagn, CVN-76, which is the next to last Nimitz class and represents a lot of development work over an almost 30 year period.
Further development has gone into the Ford Class, the first of which is supposed to conduct her intial sea trials, next month, in March 2017. With her new electromagnetic catapults and arrestor system, her new all electric drive, her awesome, and very powerful new reactors, each 200% more powerful than those on the Nimitz class, and her new air-wing, which will include the 5th generation F-35 stealth Joint strike gihters and the new COD Osprey aircraft I have shown here (because the Nimitz class will also receive them) as well as new UAVs...not to mention the likelihood, with all of that electrical power available on the Forc class of her class embarking ultimately with laser and rail gun weapons for self defense...they will be the new pinnacle of naval power.
As soon as a 1/350 scale Ford class is available...she will be added to my collection as the USS Enterprise, CVN-80, which is scheduled to be built in the early 2020s.
Thanks for reading...I hope you enjoyed my build of this marvelous carrier..
SCHEDULE for Future Activities - February 18, 2017
- By April 28, 2017 Complete the German Class F122 Frigate, F212, Karlsruhe by Revell
- By June 31st, 2017 Complete the 1/350 scale WW II Doolittle Raid strike group with the Gallery Hornet CV-8, the Merit International Enterprise CV-6, two destroyers (one a Dragon and the other by Trumpeter) and a Trumpeter cruiser.