1/350 USS Enterprise CVN-65

by Rory Shallis

Model Started: April 14th, 2002
Model Completed: (not finished)

After checking the pieces out and fitting them together for about two or three days, I started my long project by painting the underside with a perfect dark red/maroon spray (and later hand painted the waterline black stripe. I decided that the ship would probably be built to look like the 1996 CVN-65.

The first major approach was to assemble the model step-by-step, as the Tamiya instruction booklet says to, but I usually do five billion steps at one time. The sponsons eventually made their way to being the first step. Continuing the booklets steps, I soon finished the ship part about 35-40 hours later. (This isn't including the island superstructure!!!)
Click images to enlarge
Then it was time for the aircraft.  I just happened to do the F-14As first I used  a primer  base coat spray paint, but soon after used one of the three or four greys that I picked up for the low-viz approach. Then, a mixture of greys were used to weather the aircraft and a mixture of brown, beige, and black to dirty the aircraft.
I then did the Hornets. When was the last time you saw a high-viz F/A-18 on the Big E? As for these, I also used a primer base coat, and this was followed by a light grey finish, but without weathering. Two of these planes have hollowed out cockpits, ejection seats, and (thermaform) canopies in the open position. Two of these also have their refueling probes (painted red) exposed. One of them has dropped flaps and ailerons. Half of the Hornets have weapons including HARM missiles, Sidewinders on the missile rails on the wing tips, and drop tanks.
The following aircraft were S-3 Sea Vikings. There are only a few hi-viz aircraft on the ship- the helos and a couple A-6s (white). After pulling up a few photos of the specific squadron (given on the decals I used from Gold Medal Models), I started painting. The distinguished dark grey and tinted canopy is noticeable. Decals were applied and then super detailing began. I painted on red, intake covers on some of the S-3s. One of these planes, with wings in the half-open position, has one intake cover on, but the other just being removed by maintenance crew. A large ladder off of a tow mule is present for stabilizer maintenance and inspection.
I made two E-2Cs which were painted light sea grey, decaled and photoetched. This was added just make a slight difference in the air wing makeup. For the same reason, I made two SH-3Hs. One is in the stowed position at an angle beneath the island. The other has just made a dramatic landing angled flight deck part of the ship and all planes in the area had to be cleared immediately as I tried to make it look like there was confusion. I tried to detail these craft extensively, but it wasn't much use. Both have rotor droop, yellow fuel nozzles, and the detailed canopy decals from GMM. The one on the angled flight deck has steps, and a tow mule with a luggage wagon attached to the back for an expected guest that hasn't yet come out of the cabin door. There are 2 Kaman Sea sprites and 2 SH-60s on the aft landing area for Vertrep purposes. I received them from buddies on ModelWarships and Steel navy (Thanks guys)! 
The Intruders followed the same color scheme and assembly. All have been built in the stowed position, all were sprayed grey except for a couple in the hi-viz scheme, which is white. The usual details were added, except for two or so had open canopies. 
After the air wing was practically finished, I had to decide an arrangement or configuration for the moment I was trying to capture. Since this would eventually be a double UNREP, I felt it would be more realistic if some aircraft were getting ready to take off for security and safety reasons (which are always conducted during any type of unrep to make sure the group was not in any danger, since they're practically sitting ducks). A fuel exchange probe was constructed for CVN-65 due to some diagrams Mr. Kelly Quirk sent to me (THANKS!) Super detailing began. The catwalks had numerous pieces added. The island superstructure had new walls added, clear plastic windows inserted, numerous little video cameras and they're wires added above the flight control center (rectangular plates were added underneath also), and the very accurate and detailed PE from GMM (350-2).
I water-lined the ship (after being practically finished) up the large, black waterline strip and mounted it (screwed it down) into celluclay. This base was painted the darkest blue I could find.

For the remaining things, I added over 200, hand painted figures using the accurate color chart provided with the set from GMM.

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