Building the USS Edson DD946 from the 1/318.5 Revell kit by Phil Toy
The USS Edson was the eighth Forrest Sherman Class Destroyer built by Bath Iron Works. She was named after Merritt Edson, a Medal of Honor awardee and Marine Corp officer of World War II fame, and active from 1959 until 1989. The eighteen ship Forrest Sherman class was the last of the gun armed general purpose destroyers built for the US Navy. The design was soon made obsolescent by shipboard anti-aircraft guided missiles and nuclear submarines but served as the basis for the succeeding CF Adams DDGs. Four ships were later converted into the Decatur class DDGs, and eight received an extensive ASW modernization adding a towed variable depth sonar and ASROC. Edson was one of the remaining six that were not upgraded because of lack of money, but still useful enough to serve a full service life. All saw extensive use during the Vietnam War. Edson had her original pilot house/open bridge replaced with an enclosed pilot house which was usually installed only on her modified sisters.  Perhaps because of her enclosed pilot house, she was later transferred from sunny southern California, to the Naval Reserve Fleet as the OCS training ship operating out of Newport Rhode Island. After decommissioning she became a museum ship with the Intrepid Museum in New York City. She was returned to the Navy when that museum received the Concord supersonic airliner. She is currently a museum ship with the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum in Bay City Michigan.

This model depicts Edson as she was configured in December 1974 during a transit from Pearl Harbor to Subic Bay in company with USS Coral Sea CVA 43 and USS Cook DE 1083. With the replacement of the original bridge, mount 31 was landed and a two level deck house was added amidships mounting the ULQ6 ECM antenna array. By this time the hedgehogs and depth charge racks had been removed, the SPS6 air search radar replaced by the SPS37 radar, and a TACAN dome mounted atop the main mast. She was displaying the insignia for DESRON 9 and was home ported at Long Beach Naval Station.

The model started from the Revell USS John Paul Jones kit H309 originally issued in the 1961 (previously issued as the Forrest Sherman kit H352 in 1958 and reissued as Decatur H430 in 1962) and subsequently reissued many times. This kit was one of the better ship model kits for its vintage which were sized so the sprue trees fit into a standard boxes resulting in a scale of approximately 1:320.
 

The Edson was a later ship in the class and was built with her bow modified to provide more freeboard forward. As this was to be a waterline model the bottom was cut off with the bow trimmed about 1/8Ē lower than the molded waterline. Layers of 30 thousands Evergreen plastic sheets were added and shaped to build up the sheer line adding 1/8Ē at the stem. This changed the modelís scale to 1/318.5. The kitís molded anchor hawse pipes, and accommodation ladder and prop guard locator slots were filled in and the kitís main deck was replaced with sheet styrene. The superstructure footprint was drawn in pencil on the main deck. All the molded panel lines were sanded off. Click images
to enlarge
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The superstructure was manufactured by laminating a 10 thousands styrene sheet to a 20 thousands styrene sheet. The thinner sheet was positioned outboard and arranged so a step was created at the top to provide a ledge for the placement of the deck above.  Ships built in the era had rounded as well as sharp edged corners in the superstructure. Evergreen plastic tubes were used to represent this. Doors were added and portholes and vent holes were drilled or cut out before the structure was assembled. Drainpipes, ladders, and vent hoods were added after deck house assembly. Details were added and areas were painted in areas that would be hard to paint in later stages (i.e. the athwart ship passage between the new deckhouseís lower level and the forward superstructure on the 01 level. Rudimentary shapes for the helm, lee helm, compass binnacle, captain chairs, and quartermasterís chart table were added to the pilot house. The superstructure expansion joint covers were added from 5 thousands sheet styrene strips. Styrene strip placement locator bars were added for the stacks. New anchor hawse pipes were made. Pict0002
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The 03 level deck was added with the flying bridge windbreak, Mk 68 GFCS gyro compartment and signalmanís shelter. The pilot house and signalmanís shelter interiors were painted. The fore mast and main mast were constructed from Evergreen rod. The new rounded Bridge wings were added using Evergreen styrene tube and sheet styrene. Pict0005
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The basic superstructure shows dry fitting the stacks and the Mk 56 GFCS deck house. Pict0007
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In December 1974 Edson still carried a Mk 33 twin 3 inch 50 cal. mount aft. Pictured is the original kit gun on the left, a 1:350 scale Veteran Models mount on the right and a scratch built mount in the center. Photos, the Veteran Model and drawings from Classic Models USS Salem book were used as references for building the mount. The mount was built from sheet styrene, styrene rod, wire and stretched sprue. Pict0009
The Armaments picture. In the upper left corner are the original, scratch built and Veteran Model 1:350 twin 3 inch mount. In the middle lower picture are the two scratch built Mk32 ASW torpedo tubes made from Evergreen styrene rod, stretch sprue and bits of styrene sheet. The base was made from plastic tube and stretched sprue. The Mk 42 5 inch gun mounts were modified from the kit parts. Mount 53 from the kit is at the top, with the new modified mount 51 at the right and the new mount 53 on the bottom. The frog eyes were removed and new foundations were moved outboard. By December 1974 the Edsonís original Mk42 mod 7 and 8 mounts were replaced by mod 10 mounts to improve the reliability of the guns. The new mounts decreased the rate of fire from 40 rounds per minutes and retained only the left frog. Since the new mounts were remanufactured from old mounts the round foundation for the right frog eye was retained eye after the removal of the actual local anti-aircraft control station. The clear bubble on the frog eye was made from a clear styrene sprue from an aircraft model kit and masked off before painting. The barrel elevation of the original kit was disabled and the elevation opening was widened and rounded. Doors were added and hand rails and steps were made from stretched sprue.  Pict0010
The electronics picture. The kit representation of the Mk56 GFCS director is in the upper left corner. To its right is the scratch built version, and to its right are the scratch built Mk68 GFCS director and its kit counterpart. Below are the kit supplied SPS6 antenna and SPS10 antenna, to its left is the new SPS37 antenna made from stretched sprue and bits of styrene, and to the right is the new SPS10 antenna made from stretched sprue. Pict0011
Miscellaneous assemblies. On top are the kitís stacks on the left and their replacements on the right. The stacks were made from Evergreen Tube and sheet styrene detailed with stretched sprue. Below are a kitís boat and the replacement scratch built captainís gig, and motor whaleboat with canopy. Pict0012
A stack less model almost ready for painting. Most of the details are in place with the exception of most railings and lifelines. The long whip antennae are beading needles from Walmart. Waveguides and cabling are added to the masts. Pict0013
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The next pictures are before the model is added to a seascape. The model was airbrushed with Testorís Model Master Light Ghost Gray on the vertical surfaces, flat black on stack caps and the upper masts, and Schwartzgrau RLM 66 painted on the decks The DESRON 9 insignia, flag bag signal flag markings, and bridge wing campaign ribbons were hand painted on a decals before placement on the model.  Pict0018
Weathering was kept to a minimum, being she was outbound for what was supposed to be a peacetime deployment. Pastel chalk was used for the rust stains and graphite used for the emergency diesel generator exhausts (portside forward by the bow numeral six and portside aft by the prop guard). Testorís Dullcote was used as a flat overcoat.
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The final pictures show the model in water made with Liquitex Heavy Gel Medium laid over black Plexiglas and painted with Liquitex Acrylic paints: Phthalocyanine Blue, Phthalocyanine Green, and Titanium White covered with Gloss varnish. Pict0035
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More of Phil Toy 's work.
Updated 3/27/2015

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