by John MacKay
1/72 USS Clarion River LSMR-409 (Scratchbuilt)
During the past couple years, Iíve built several models of the Clarion River for friends who served aboard her. That has continued to lead to additional requests for models of the ship. Last year, the former Engineering Officer of the Clarion River during the Viet Nam war contacted me to ask that I build one for him. Previously, I'd built the models in 1/96th and 1/144th scale. This time, however, he requested 1/72nd scale. The increased size added a lot of additional complexities, beginning with taking up a lot more space on my workbench. As it turned out, the project took a great deal more time to complete as well.
The hull is balsa sheet on a plywood frame, which was then covered with styrene sheet. Hull structures and fittings were made of styrene. Masters were created of items such as the deck hatches, watertight doors, ventilators, and launcher tube assemblies. Then, molds were made of the masters and resin castings produced. Among the items purchased from vendors were the starboard side davits, which were from H&R. The 40mm guns, 5 inch 38 gun and base ring, and Mk 51 gun directors are 3D printed, purchased through Shapeways. The base units for the launchers were adapted from 3D printed 40mm guns. Several figures were added by request: two officers on the bridge, including one on the port bridge representing Mr. McMahon, and two enlisted personnel working on a port side launcher. All figures were 3D printed purchased through Shapeways. Focsle .50 caliber machine guns are from White Ensign Models. Hull number decals are from Hawk Graphics. Fantail lettering decal is homemade. The water surface was simulated with acrylic gel medium, painted with acrylic paints.
The photos were taken upon transfer of custody to a very pleased Mr. McMahon in September 2017.