|Kit: Tamiya 1/350 USS Enterprise CVN-65
Price: $110.00 Model Expo best price
Gold Medal Models set 350-2 $36.00
Gold Medal Models hi and lo-viz decal sets for airwings 350-2D $5.00 and 350-3D $6.00
Tom’s Modelworks Brass sets for airwing 3525 $16.00 & 3526 $14.00
Preview and Photos by: Len Roberto
FLIGHT DECK PAINTING and WEATHERING:
The kit does not provide any decals for the flight deck except for a handful of what I think are observation “bumps” for the catapult operators. The modeler is faced with painting the deck but a little help can be found in the Gold Medal Models 1/350 Ship Decals set which offers some of the safety striping that would be a nightmare to mask.
|Over the course of a week, I masked off the “runway” using
plain Scotch clear tape taking extra care to keep the lines straight! I
brushed on flat white in two coats foregoing the airbrush because I thought
the result would look too “clean.” The same methods were applied
to paint the “65” on the bow and the other deck stripes.
The tie-down padeyes were another challenge. The first time I built this kit, I used a pointed toothpick dipped in white paint-- it worked OK but there were many mistakes made with too much paint flowing off the toothpick. This time, I tried one of my wife’s paint pens. These are just like a roller point pen only they use real paint. Luckily, she had a light grey! Holding the pen straight up, just a touch to the raised line tie down worked perfectly. I cut the goofs to a handful and finished in half the time.
I cut the red and yellow safety decals from the GMM sheet and applied them around the elevators. The deck has these molded in raised lines so I used Solvaset to help the decals snuggle down.
|Once all the painting was done, it was time to weather the deck. I had a bunch of pictures for reference and went to work. First a light sanding to deaden the paint. Then it was a healthy dusting of chalk pastels using mostly black but with a touch of greys and even some browns and reds to simulate stains and rust. Focusing on the landing area, I really tried to scuff up this heavily worn patch. I went a little more than satisfactory because when the dull coat is laid on top of this- it lightens some of the effect.|
I had high hopes for making a detailed airwing using PE details, decals and drilling out exhausts, etc. I succeeded in some areas and failed in others.
|The first task was two E-2C Hawkeye AWACS planes.
These are little kits in themselves. I was able to substitute brass
replacement propellers and these look much better than the overthick and
incorrect plastic ones. I also used the tailhook from the Tom’s Modelworks
set. This set also provides tiny brass gear doors and wheels but
I had a heap of trouble with these. Cutting them off their fret left
tiny points which had to be sanded off or they would stick out and look
silly. Well after trying various methods to hold the part while sanding
failed. After the first 5 were launched into the netherworld of my
carpet- I decided to skip the gear door operation. Ditto for
the wheels. The GMM decals do add a lot however- the kit only
provides insignia and the “NAVY” decals. The GMM set provides canopies,
tail, nose, and specific aircraft decals. In high-viz gull grey over
white- I think these look great.
Next up were five F-4S Phantom II’s. I drilled out the exhausts and managed to keep my fingers whole. Here is a tip for anyone using a mini-Dremel for this: use the low setting and don’t push. Too fast and the plastic melts leaving you a deformed exhaust. Tailhook brass was added and the GMM canopies look super. Light Ghost Grey lightened with white allows the decals to be visible.
Four S-3 Vikings followed. Drilling out the intakes on the big engines make these jets look very polished.
Two S-3H Sea King choppers next with the folded rotors. I tried using the brass blades but I made a shambles of these delicate pieces as well as managing to invent a few new vulgarities. Again, the GMM decal sets add a lot to these choppers.
Two EA-6B Prowlers and I was determined to use the brass refueling probes…I got these on with no problems along with the tailhooks.
Finally, I turned to six F-14 Tomcats- canopy decals went on fine with Solvaset. Tail and nose decals helped. I drilled out the exhausts on these planes and went very slow here as well to avoid melting the plastic. Only had to scrap 1 F-14!
I then used some black and grey pastel chalk to lightly weather up the planes especially the Tomcats and Prowlers. I couldn’t have them look too clean…Then I closed up the aircraft shop for now. At some later date, I’ll go back and build a few more aircraft but for now this complement will do!
The last of the decals were applied to the island and stern.
I used the wife’s silver paint pen to simulate the light bulbs that illuminate
the “65” on the port side of the island. PE railing was installed
around the ship. Props were painted gold and the non-skid portions
of the sponsons were touched up. The CIWS and Sea Sparrow launchers
were painted and installed. As of yet, the hose reels are still absent-
I need to get away from this model for a while before I can start that
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