Nearly three years ago I had the idea to build a complete carrier strike group (CSG) with the USS Nimitz as a center in 1/700th scale…what a project! If I had knew it before…
But – it had to be the Nimitz! Originally I aimed to show her like in “Final Countdown” configuration, the early version (because of the high-viz markings of the planes!). But the escort ships during that era were not all available as a model kit. During my research I found a very interesting period, the “Operation Southern Watch”, 1997/98. Here the Nimitz was convoyed by the USS Sacramento AOE-1, USS Olympia SSN-717, USS Ford FFG-54, USS Kinkaid DD-965, USS Benfold DDG-65, USS Port Royal CG-73 and the USS Lake Champlain CG-54. All these ships are available as model kits in 1/700th scale!
Ok - the “little ships” were built rather quick. You can see them on my homepage www.matthias-pohl-modellbau.de , if you’re interested in. But the main theme here is the building of the USS Nimitz.
It was very clear for me that I don’t want to show again a scene with starting and landing jets as so many other modelers did. One can see it so often while surfing through the www. I found it much more interesting to show an UNREP and VETRAP scene (underway replenishment and vertical replenishment)! Because of the deck’s security there no starting and landing jets are allowed in that case. Above all there must be a plenty of work in the hangar deck – but most of the 1/700th scale aircraft carriers are very well built, with some nicely detail in the hangar bay, which can’t be seen clearly because the lack of light! So my USS Nimitz ought to have a lightened hangar deck!
In fact my Nimitz is a kit bash because TRUMPETER edited two versions of the carrier: the early version and the one from 2005. The 1998 version needed to be refitted with part of both kits; some parts must be used from the early kit, some of the late kit. I tried to get as much pictures as possible of that era of the Nimitz, but they are very rare. The main changes were:
1.) the backbord RIM starter on the bow had to be replaced by an CIWS
unit, the platform had to be changed referring to pictures;
At the start of the whole building the illumination of the hangar deck
has to be considered. I used 24 very small SMDs, they were fixed in two
rows at the ceiling of the hangar deck. I soldered them in parallel connection
on two strings of wire, which I led under the diorama’s plate. Outside
the diorama I use a 2x 1,5 Volt battery pack for electrical power supply.
A single SMD is illuminating the green glassed bridge windows (colored
with Tamiya X-25 transparent green).
The main eye catcher of the whole model are the airplanes and the maintenance crews in several little scenes. During the 1997/98 period the CVW-8 was embarked on the Nimitz. Sadly there exists no decal sheet for that air wing in 1/700th scale. All those marking were self-printed on a regular ink jet printer, completed with some Starfighter decals. So I drew the decals by myself in low-viz-style and a workable size and minimized them afterwards to the right size and shape.
The squadrons are:
In addition I used the deck tractor set by JAG, Sailors by EDUARD and
the complete PE set for Nimitz class carriers made by GMM. Loading goods
and boxes are made by BlackDog, partly self-crafted. The trolleys came
|The dimensions of the whole diorama are 5,90 x 2,95 ft.
Each plate measures 0,98 x 1,96 ft. All ships are fixed on their bases
of plywood, which were colored with gloss paint from the hardware store.
I applied the waves by using acrylic gel and a foam roller.
It took more than 320 hours for completing the Nimitz, the Sacramento
replenishing scene too (The Sacramento and the Kinkaid are both conversions!).
The other ships were accomplished in ca. 60 hours each, except the Los
Angeles class submarine. ;o)))))
Needless to mention that the whole diorama only could be showed on model exhibitions and contests – in the show cases in my hobby room there is only enough place for a few of the models, normally the Nimitz and the Sacramento…
Hope you like it!
Matthias Pohl, Germany
of Matthias Pohl 's work.