by Douglas Conrady
1/350 USS Nimitz CVN-68 (Trumpeter)
This is the USS Nimitz on the morning of 24 April 1980 - Operation Eagle Claw. This project started out life as a way to model a CH-53 on the deck of a Nimitz class and have a real world reason to back it up. When I went looking for pictures I kept running across this one certain mission. Well, after a lot of research, I knew I had to model Operation Eagle Claw.
I started out with the -53's first, because they were the key to the whole look. I found a set of -53E's and thought they would work... WRONG! Eagle Claw used D's, and yes, there is a difference. Being the OCD guy that I am, I had to fix the E's into D's. After I modified one of them, I knew copies would have to be made, because I knew I couldn't replicate that work 7 more times. I sent the master off to a friend and he sent 8 copies back. It was at this point I realized the rotors were different too. Of course! So.... I built a jig and modified the rotors. Fortunately, painting was a breeze. The -53's had all been painted desert tan to match the Iranian -53's with no other markings.
The airwing came next. I used most of the kit planes, but had to add F-14's and EA-6's. The decals came from Starfighter. I figured I would have to have custom ones made, but about the time I was working on the airwing, Mark came out with a set specifically made for Eagle Claw. Talk about timing!! As with all his decals, these are the best. After the airwing was done, I posted it and the RH-53's on an aircraft modeling site, much like this one. I was contacted by a viewer and was told I had the deck layout wrong. He knew this because he was standing inbetween cats 1 and 2 on the very morning I was modeling. Again... timing. He directed me as to the disposition of the -53's on deck. I had about 1/2 of them correct. He also proceeded to tell me I needed an EA-3B. Nothing I had showed one. I was wrong. They had picked one up on the way to the gulf. With the airwing all done, it was on to the ship.
Fast forward many years and here we are. With commissions getting placed, I pushed the Nimitz back several times. I finally decided to get her done, nothing else was to enter the lineup. This build was pretty much OTB since I want the spotlight to be on the aircraft (specifically the -53's). The brass set is a White Ensign set. The crash crane came from Shapeways, and is 3D printed. Its so detailed, I actually looped the "cable" around the pulleys. The decals are the kits, because I could find any aftermarket sets. The fouling lines are all hand painted. I upgraded the props from G-factor.
From my understanding, Ive got the deck too full, but I wanted to place at least 1 aircraft on deck from each squadron to represent everyone. Ive even got a 1/350 C-130 to go along with the set.
Here are the sites to the aircraft
Thanks for looking and don't throw rotten tomatoes.