by Robert Apfelzweig
1/350 USS Lexington, CV-2 (Trumpeter)
After completing work in August on Trumpeter's USS Hornet (CV-8), with its extensive hull modifications, I thought that this same manufacturer's impressive USS Lexington would be comparatively easy. Well, it wasn't, but in my quest for accuracy, I closely followed the online description of superstructure modifications posted in 2009 on the ShipModelForum's WIP (work in progress) section by "lvsquarerigger". This provides a step-by-step procedure for modifying and, where necessary, scratchbuilding the various bridge decks, platforms and gun tubs all over the ship. Since this was the third Trumpeter Lexington or Saratoga I've built, by now I've mastered the tricky process of smoothly fastening the upper and lower hulls together, which would otherwise be badly misaligned amidships (the lower hull being narrower than the upper one). I outfitted my model with L'Arsenal 1.1-in. quad mounts, Veteran 5-in./.25 cal. guns, and GMM photoetch. The 20 mm Oerlikons include a smattering of ModelMasters along with the GMM modifications for the kit's plastic guns (for which I replaced the barrels with stretched black sprue). I had to do some research to be certain of where all the 20 mm guns were located (some in the kit instructions are incorrect), and how many were present. I had a copy of Steve Wiper's excellent Warship Pictorial 33 for the USS Lexington to help; this and some recently posted online photos (again, from the ShipModelForum) were a great assist in detailing the ship, especially the bridge and stern area, where the kit's catwalk/deck edges and gun emplacement designs are incorrect and require significant modifications.
For its portrayal at the Battle of the Coral Sea in early May 1942,
the Lex was painted in 5N Navy blue with a 20B dark blue stain on the flight
deck. Taking a pointer from an earlier modeler who used a mahogany
stain on the otherwise gray plastic of the 3-part deck, I did the same
with a wood stain and then airbrushed the 20B over it after it had dried,
so that there is the faint image of the mahogany color showing through.
I used WEM Colourcoats 5N blue and US Navy antifouling red, Pollyscale
20B, and Tamiya flat black. I used some plastic 3-bladed propellers from
my spare parts box (Trumpeter's 4-bladed propellers are incorrect).
The air wing (Devastators, Dauntlesses and Wildcats) was ordered separately
from Trumpeter, and the Dauntlesses were detailed with WEM's photoetch
set. A similar set for the Wildcats has been backordered for months,
but when it eventually arrives I'll add more Wildcats to the flight deck.