USS Arkansas CGN-41 
by Phil Toy 

1/311 USS Arkansas CGN-41 (Scratchbuilt)

Model of USS Arkansas CGN 41 circa December 1983

USS Arkansas was the last Virginia class nuclear powered cruiser. The Virginia CGNs were designed to provide fast carrier task forces with high speed all weather AAW and ASW protection with endurance matching the nuclear powered aircraft carriers. They brought improved ASW capabilities over the earlier California class CGNs by replacing the analog SQS26 sonar with the digital SQS 53 sonar and the single arm Mk13 SAM launchers with the twin arm Mk26 launchers featuring twice the rate of fire and the ability to launch ASROCs. This eliminated the need for the separate Mk16 ASROC Launcher. The cost was the elimination of half the AAW missile fire control channels and reduced missile magazine capacity. The advanced integrated combat system provided reduced reaction time and improved command and control.

This model depicts CGN41 as she appeared in December 83 in San Diego Bay after her homeport reassignment from Norfolk VA to Alameda CA. She was assigned to Cruiser Destroyer Group 1 and remained configured as she was when commissioned on 10-18-80. In early 1985 she was modernized by adding armored Tomahawk Launchers on her fantail eliminating her stern aircraft hangar. The SLQ32 ECM arrays were moved lower and outboard beneath a new Phalanx CIWS platform. She was deactivated 10-18-97 and decommissioned 7-7-98 to save money from the cost of nuclear refueling.
This 1:311 model was scratch built in 1984 from homemade plans derived from photos. The result of this second scratch-built project was not entirely satisfactory as the towers ended being too thick and the SPS48 and SPS40 being undersized. Structures were fabricated from sheet styrene and plastic rods. Except for anchor chain purchased from a model train shop, stretched sprue was used for most details. The captainís gig and motor whale boat were modified from the Monogram Brooke kit. The large motor launches were scratch built from layers if sheet styrene. Testors Model Master matt paints were used. The CruDesGroup 1 shield was hand painted. Testors Dullcoat was applied to even the sheen but has yellowed over the years. The waterline model was mounted in a seascape of plexiglass and acrylic gel atop an oak board adorned with the shipís heraldic shield.

Phil Toy

Gallery updated 2/18/2023