by Phil Toy
1/311 USS England CG-22 (Scratchbuilt)
The Leahy Guided Missile Frigate was the USNís second large class of new construction Terrier equipped destroyer leaders intended primarily for air defense of fast carrier task forces but also equipped with the best ASW sensor/weapons available when designed. Designers gave up the medium caliber dual purpose gun and the flexibility it provided in return for doubling the Terrier missile capability. Studies simulating nuclear weapon blast effects and the increased demand for internal volume resulted in a block superstructure. The combining of stacks and masts into macks to save centerline space, the incorporation of a raised forecastle hull with higher freeboard and a knuckle for seakeeping, the introduction of the stem anchor with installation of a bow sonar dome, and the symmetric arrangement of missile launchers and guidance radars resulted in a modern attractive appearance completely unlike WWII designs.
USS England was the seventh of nine Leahy DLGs which were reclassified to CGs on 6-30-75. She was built in Todd Shipyard, San Pedro, CA; launched 3-6-1962, commissioned 12-7-1963, decommissioned 1-21-1994, and scrapped in 2004. Except for a major modernization to install NTDS in Bath Maine from 4-10-70 to 6-26-71, she deployed from various Pacific homeports to WestPac, Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf, and Southeast Asia with multiple Vietnam War tours. The widespread introduction of Ticonderoga AEGIS CGs, the political pressure for a Peace Dividend because of the Soviet Unionís collapse, and the high operating cost of steam propulsion plants versus gas turbine plants led to Leahy retirements despite significant sums of money just spent to upgrade their combat system.
This scratch built 1/311 model was built in 1993 depicting her configuration on 3-8-86 as moored to Broadway Pier in San Diego Bay. The model was built from Evergreen styrene sheet/tube of various thickness and detailed with stretched sprue. All boats, radars, and weapons were built from scratch. Clear styrene sheet was cut for the pilothouse and signalmanís shelter windows. The shipís crest was painted on the 03 deck amidships during the visit and reproduced by hand painting it on a white decal incorporating white decal stars for GHQ wargaming armor models. The CruDesGru 3 Insignia was hand painted on styrene disks affixed to the forward superstructure. Model railroad decals provided the bridge wing efficiency awards. Gold Medal decals provided the damage control markings on the doors and traffic control arrows. Flags denoting the shipís call sign were painted on white decal sheet. Shipís campaign ribbons were photoshopped from a walk around photo and printed on glossy photo paper glued to the bridge wing. National ensign was painted on aluminum foil. Model railroad shop provided the anchor chain. The model was mounted on a blue plexiglass sheet built up with heavy acrylic gel medium and painted with artist acrylic paint topped by a gloss varnish